How far would you walk?

UNICEF 'ad' raising awareness of water security issues... As always with this sort of resource, they are sourced from the wonderful OSOCIO website. One of my top 5 go-to places...

Just one Thing

Part of new Environment Agency campaign, which outlines the risk that young people face during floods.

Thought for the Day

I missed out on attending the Hodder Natural Hazards Conference this year, but my colleague went, along with various other teachers who I follow on social media. One of them tweeted a comment apparently made by Professor Iain Stewart which would make an excellent quote for options time on the power of geography...

"If you're not going to study Geography at'd better hope people smarter than you will"

Immigration and cultural identity

Via Geographical Magazine
One for Year 11s who have been looking at the OCR 'B' topic on the UK in the 21st Century and the cultural impact of migrants in cities such as Leeds.

Edward Storey: Fenland Poet and chronicler of place

I have worked in the Fenland city of Ely for the last six years - commuting in all weathers and at all times through the Norfolk and Cambridgeshire Fens...

Edward Storey has died at the age of 88.
He was a chronicler of the Fens: an author and poet.
There was a lovely piece on Edward on BBC Radio Norfolk earlier tonight on the way home, which described him as 'a poet of place'.

You walk the roof of the world here.
Only the clouds are higher
And they are not permanent.
Trees are too distant for the wind to reach
And mountains hide below the horizon.
The wind labours through reed
As though they were the final barrier.
Houses and farms cling like crustations
To the black hull of the earth.
Here, you must walk with yourself,
Or share the spirits of forgotten ages.

Keith Skipper has written a lovely piece in the EDP.

More to come on Edward in a future blog post....

Image: Alan Parkinson - Fens near Manea - CC licensed

Fashion Revolution Consumer Survey

The survey can be downloaded by following the link, along with a document with all the results from the survey.

Australian Geography - the next 10 years

Via Susan Caldis.
Fascinating to read this document which sets out a strategic plan for Geographical education in Australia for the coming decade.

National Parks: pressure on their distinctive landscapes

There has been a great deal of interest in the proposal to make London the first National Park City.
More traditional National Parks are also placing increasing pressures.

In 2010, the South Downs were designated as a National Park, and the GA were involved at the time in producing the Education Pack for the new NPA.
In 2015, the Broads Authority was designated. This was particularly aimed at increasing tourism, but there were some who were concerned about the potential impact on local businesses.

The ONS released a useful report on the population dynamics of National Parks following the 2011 Census.
It can be downloaded as a PDF.

There are some additional pressures on these areas.
The population in National Parks is often older than other parts of the country, and this can cause issues for small rural communities.

Image: Hope Valley Cement works - Alan Parkinson, cc licensed

New ESRI resources

ESRI are putting together a range of excellent resources for teaching about GIS. They have produced a series of maps and resources using SWAY.
This is a useful set of resources.

Here are two other rather useful maps as well...

Climate Migrants

Here's a map showing erosion along the Holderness Coastline for example

Authorial London

London as portrayed by writers, collated on a map.

Via the Geography Teachers' Association of Victoria.

The Authorial London project is compiling and mapping references to London places found in the works and biographies of writers who have lived there.
You can explore and analyse these curated passages from literary, geographical, and biographical perspectives, on dimensions of genre, form, period, social standing, and neighbourhood.

USA and Climate Change

My current reading is Chris Beckett's 'America City'. It's described as science fiction, but there are obvious parallels with the rise of Donald Trump, and political decisions being made around climate migration in a country which (in the book) is split along a new border: the cold states to the North such as Alaska, and the dustbowl and storm states of the south which are particularly badly hit. A charismatic senator wants to be President, and appoints a young data analyst to help him tap into the public 'social media' of the 22nd century to help sway public opinion. It's a cracking read, and is recommended.

A major report has now been released by the US Government, which warns of some grave consequences of climate change for the economy and the environment.
This is the 4th National Climate Assessment. It can be viewed here, and chapters and other sections can all be downloaded for further in-depth reading.

This second volume of the report has a particular focus on impacts, and these are fairly stark and worrying... There are national topics such as water and energy, and also regional reports.

Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States
CNN report says that:

The federally mandated study was supposed to come out in December but was released by the Trump administration on Friday, at a time when many Americans are on a long holiday weekend, distracted by family and shopping.

For the GCSE course, we need to be able to describe the impacts of climate change on the UK, and similar reports are published by the UK government.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump still confuses climate and weather:

The Republicans are of course downplaying the report.

Looks like Donald Trump isn't going to get the "great weather" that he wanted, following his visit to Paradise which was so badly hit by forest fires last week.


President Trump on reading it

“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” he said outside the White House on Monday. “I don’t believe it.”

East of Ipswich: Suffolk Network meeting

A lie-in earlier this week for a change, as I was out for a CPD network meeting which involved colleagues from local schools in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Royal Hospital School near Ipswich were the hosts for the day, with Hamish and Harriet, and their colleague Tim. It's a very impressive building and location overlooking the Stour.
I started off the day with a quick half an hour on how I use technology (alongside other tools) - which was an adaptation of the presentation I used in London last week. It's shared here as a PDF if you have use for it.
RHS AP 2211 by GeoBlogs on Scribd
Hamish then went through some ideas for how he has developed, and then uses his PLN: personal learning network

EAL / SENCO colleagues then provided a series of strategies for supporting these students.
An EAL Guidebook, containing a range of sentence frames and structures which students carry around with them, and can use where necessary has been developed, and they very kindly shared these with us.
Vocabulary is a key area where there is also an impact on exam performance, as well as the quality of written work.
Advice for introducing new vocabulary in advance of the lesson, ten words or so at a time, and with collocations.
Definition and derivation / type - Level 1, 2 and 3 vocabulary linked to exam papers.

After a fine lunch, we were shown an interesting project in the DT department, which uses the Zappar AR app to add stories of the first World War as part of an armistice centenary project.

The afternoon was taken up with a productive discussion on themes which were of common interest and concern, and the start of some sharing of resources.

Thanks to RHS for the hosting. We hope to circulate the hosting of the event, and welcome all the colleagues to King's at some point in the future.

Al Humphreys and Blue Peter: How to have an adventure

Following Al's recent YHA video, which is called 'The Adventure Effect' and which we have been using with Year 7, he has now teamed up with Blue Peter to share some ideas for getting outside in a video and poster called 'How to have an adventure'.

The poster can be printed out as a PDF.

OS Map Cover photography competition

Have you taken a decent photo of a number of Welsh peaks or more generally in Wales, or of the Three Peaks?

The Ordnance Survey are running a competition at the moment.

In 2015, Ordnance Survey (‘OS’) changed the design of its iconic paper maps and we decided to run a competition to find beautiful, inspiring photos for every one of our OS map covers. We were delighted by the response and the amazing photographs that were submitted which offered a new perspective on the British landscape.

Our paper maps (with their covers) are updated on a rolling cycle and we would like to offer a new opportunity for the public to have their photographs featured on an OS Map.

The 6 maps that are due to be updated shortly are as follows:

OS Explorer Map series:
OL17 – Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa
OL18 – Harlech, Porthmadog & Bala/Y Bala
OL23 – Cadair Idris and Llyn Tegid

OS Tour Map series:
OS Tour Map 10 (North and Mid Wales/Gogledd a Chanolbarth Cymru)
OS Tour Map 11 (South and Mid Wales/De a Chanolbarth Cymru)

The Three Peaks Challenge Map

So if you are a keen amateur / professional photographer, and/or you have an inspiring photo of the area depicted within one of the above maps, please enter our OS Photofit 2018 competition and your photo could be one of the Judge’s favourites which will appear on the applicable map cover.

While you're on that photo page, you can also see a link to all the OS Champions down the right hand side, and click my link if you fancy to see a few blog posts I've provided to the OS blog.

Image: Alan Parkinson, CC licensed

Spatial structure of LIDC cities

A short video made by Ed Glaeser

The use of Computers in the teaching of Geography

I've used this document in a few recent events, when I've been talking about technology in the Geography classroom. I wrote it as an assessment piece as part of my PGCE at the University of Hull 1986-7. There are large sections which are still relevant today, or which are a reminder of some of the 'dead ends' or challenges that still face those using technology in teaching.
Here's a slide clipped from the presentation I use, showing some of my own technology journey:

Please note that the original version had diagrams pritt-sticked onto it - this was the days before DTP was well established and available and I could only draw using standard characters. Those diagrams aren't available any more, but some could probably be located, along with some of the documents in the references.

GA Cambridge Branch CPD opportunity - January 2019 - get it into your diaries

This will hopefully be of interest to those who can get to Cambridge fairly easily.

Curriculum making: new tools and serendipity
Alan Parkinson

A practical CPD session for teachers which will introduce a number of new resources made with the British Red Cross, Gapminder Foundation and others, along with the work of the GeoCapabilities project, which outlines the teachers' role of 'curriculum making' and the use of curriculum artefacts.
Alan will demonstrate a number of websites and apps which he has been using in his teaching and which may increase the depth of investment that students have in geographical topics, and describe how serendipity plays a major part in his work.

The session will take place on Wednesday 23rd January (5.00 pm - 6.00 pm) at Netherhall School, Cambridge, CB1 8NN (map)

Please use the link here to sign up.
The session is free to Branch members.
You can join the Branch for £1 on the day.

No evidence... no comment...

Ice cold

Thanks to Matt for the pictures, and remember that the book is still available from all good book shops.

Calling Cambridgeshire and Fenland Schools

A reminder for you all....

I am part of a team which is offering free CPD on Critical Thinking for Achievement.

It can be delivered in different ways: as two whole days or a series of twilights, and is free of charge.

Funded by the TLIF (Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund)
It will involve the GA and the Association for Science Education (ASE) working to lead CPD events for Primary and Secondary teachers.

Here are the details from the GA website.

Critical thinking for achievement

The GA is delighted to announce that, from autumn 2018, the Association will be funded by the Department for Education (DfE) Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund (TLIF) to provide free CPD for primary and secondary teachers to develop the critical use of evidence in geography and science classrooms.
Under the Critical thinking for achievement project, the GA will be working alongside our project partner the Association for Science Education, to:

  • strengthen teachers’ subject knowledge and build confidence and capability in curriculum planning and teaching
  • help teachers teach reformed geography and science qualifications and curricula effectively, focusing on knowledge application, the critical use of data and evidence, construction of arguments and geographical and scientific investigation
  • make more efficient use of teacher planning time through provision of practical planning tools and quality-assured curriculum plans and resources.
Find out whether your school is eligible to join this free CPD programme here.

Check the availability for your school.
You can take part in the CPD, which will include:
  • free ‘plan-do-review’ CPD over one school term, available from autumn 2018
  • a focus on knowledge application, critical use of data and construction of evidenced arguments
  • an extension to core training on the use of data in geography and science, including geo-located and fieldwork data
  • CPD tailored to local priorities, delivered through teacher networks
  • support for teachers to apply techniques in their classroom
  • raising standards in geography and science

Joining the project

Eligible teachers are those working in schools:
Note – whilst Ofsted 3-4 schools are the main target of the TLIF fund, other schools within Opportunity Areas and Category 5 or 6 Local Area Districts may be eligible as part of a local network. Find out if you or your school might be eligible for this free CPD here.

Contact Julie Beattie ( to register your interest in joining or to enquire about your eligibility.

I work in one of the OAs (Social Mobility and Opportunity Areas) where the CPD is available to schools: Fenland and East Cambridgeshire.

Norwich Print Fair

My son has started his 'A' levels, and one of the things that we did a couple of months ago was to visit the Norwich Print Fair. We've been to this for the last few years, and there is always plenty of interesting work on offer.
We had the chance to speak to the artist Clare Johnson, who was very kind with her time, and explained the process that went into the production of her prints.

We also liked the work of Bev Coraldean, which was a real contrast to some of the other print makers as it was quite graphic.
She had some amazing sketchbooks, which we loved looking at, for the range of styles and very detailed work.
You can view Bev's work from here.
You can buy from her ETSY shop: Rooftop Art.
An alphabet of cities: A-Z is another of Bev's projects, with cards available for the cities.
I bought a few of these, and it was interesting, as always to see which imagery had been selected to represent the cities.
Here's A for Amsterdam, which I bought, along with the P for Paris - can you work out why? :)

We also enjoyed tracking down Bev's art on the side of several buildings in Norwich.

StoryMap of a Battery

UK Blog Awards - voting continuing

Intrigued to say that I have been 'longlisted' for the UK Blog Awards 2019 in the Education Category.

If you felt able to vote for me, having found this blog useful over the 11 years it has been up and running, please follow the link here.

To vote:
Click on the categories and view the entries. I've been chosen for the EDUCATION category of course.
To see their website, click on the globe.
To see their entry information, click on the "i".
To vote for their entry, click on the red heart .
Please note, there is only one vote per person per category. 

You'll have to hunt to find my entry on the 3rd or 4th page of EDUCATION blogs, some of which aren't particular educational to be fair...

If you don't want to vote for me, can I also recommend Mrs. Humanities (Victoria Hewett) blog instead, which was also shortlisted last year and the year before.

A shortlist will be drawn up when voting in this round ends in late December.

Park life

A couple of very useful resources on the change from public to private ownership of some parts of London, with a focus on some of its Royal Parks.
The Guardian has had a range of wonderful articles on cities over the summer, and their section of the website is worth exploring if you are studying cities.
Over the summer there have been a number of concerts, including Radio 2's Festival in a Day, and some big gigs such as Phil Collins in Hyde Park. These required parts of the park to be fenced off and access restricted to what is normally a public space.

This was discussed at the RGS's Summer conference.

Dr Andrew Smith, an urban geographer from the University of Westminster, studied the use of Finsbury Park, Gunnersbury Park and Brockwell Park and found councils were increasingly over-reliant on them as commercial assets.

The trend towards bigger and more frequent festivals in parks highlights the pressure councils are under to generate income under austerity, he said.
“It’s for good reason – they’re desperately trying to find ways of making revenue, but it’s got to the point where we need to think about protecting parks from local authorities’ exploitation.”
“If you live next to one of those parks, you not only lose the access for several weeks of the year, but you also endure the practical inconvenience, the noise and the trucks as well. It’s a double whammy.”

Winter Wonderland has been installed in Hyde Park, and will remain there for the next few months. It opens today!

Is this part of the creeping privatisation of many cities, such as the sell off of land at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Westfield.
For more on this, read Anna Minton's 'Ground Control'

Tutor2U Geography Conference

A date for your diary for 2019.
The Tutor2U Geography conference.

Inaugural Geography Teacher National Conference 2019! This CPD course will feature keynote speakers and a fabulous interactive teaching & learning session in the afternoon. Not to be missed.
Who's it for: ALL teachers of A Level and GCSE Geography.
Price: EARLY-BIRD DELEGATE RATE (for bookings made by 31 December 2018): £40 (+VAT) for all delegates. Includes buffet lunch. DELEGATE RATE IS £50 for bookings made on or after 1 January 2019.
Hosts: To be confirmed
  • JUNE 2019
  • 20th


    Vue Cinema - Westfield Stratford
    10:20am - 3:20pm BST
  • Registration on the day opens 45 minutes before the event's start time.

About this event

The Conference comprises:
  • Keynote presentations in the morning (with Q&A) from Iain Stewart and Safia Minney
  • Lunch (and shopping in the UK's best shopping centre!)
  • An afternoon teaching & learning session with a new, editable interactive resource your students will love and you can take back to share with colleagues!

I helped to create some of their support materials for the AQA 'A' Level.

Oxfam's Behind the Price campaign

Do the people who grow our food always have access to food themselves?

Oxfam's Behind the Price campaign explores that issue, along with some stories and data. I shall be digging into this later in the year with our Year 7 group.

The Magic Washing Machine

I've started to teach Paul Turner's Factfulness unit, with some additional elements, with thanks to David Rogers for his recent additions and thoughts, which have been blended in there as well.
We've been watching this TED talk.
There are so many resources in this that it's challenging to add them all in.

I've created a resource that I will share once finished, but you can see the progress here.

Thanks for the mention :)

Orbit - in real time

Via Ben King.... The Earth from the ISS as it completes an orbit in real time...

“Orbit” is a real-time reconstruction of time-lapse photography taken on board the International Space Station by NASA’s Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit.
Typically each time-lapse sequence was photographed at 1 frame per second. Each sequence was processed in Photoshop. A dirtmap was made in order to repair dust, blemishes and hot pixel artifacts that would otherwise confuse the re-timing phase of the workflow resulting in strobes and distracting blurs. Image processing techniques were used to emphasize features on the Earth’s surface.

The length of the film is exactly the same as that of ISS to orbit the Earth: 92 minutes and 39 seconds.

Source: TwistedSifter

Exciting news...

Robert MacFarlane's new book, which has been many years in the writing is now scheduled for next May - another book to look forward to next year alongside Barry Lopez's 'Horizon'.

Time for Geography - new video on Portsmouth

This new video based in Portsmouth, provides students with a 9-minute case study of an urban regeneration project in a major UK city.

Developed in collaboration with human geographers from the University of Portsmouth, the Team explore:

  • The decline of Portsmouth's traditional industries linked to shipping and the Royal Navy
  • The regeneration of the Gunwharf Quays naval dockyard into a global destination for leisure, heritage and retail
  • The success and challenges of the regeneration project
  • Wider impacts on the City of Portsmouth

Ice Flows Game - Version 2

It's been a while since I saw the first iteration of Ice Flows.
The 2nd version of the website has now been launched, and we've also launched a series of instructional videos which help relate the game to the science that underpins it. If you haven't seen it before (or even if you have) head over to the Ice Flows Game website to take a look.
Coming soon: the official launch of the Ice Flows Game Resource Pack (all 70 lovely pages of it... keep an eye out for that next week.

Civilisation - Gathering Storm - climate change

The latest version of the classic computer game Civilisation, out next year has Climate Change very much on the agenda.

There is a useful article on the game here.

Ed Beach is the lead designer of the new game / expansion and had this to say in the article:

"We did do our background research on trying to figure out where the global temperature has been over the last 150 years and what types of factors influence it....So we feel like we don't have to make a political statement, but we can take the common wisdom of the vast majority of the science community and embed that in the game and that becomes something really interesting for players to be able to engage with."
"We have things like climate accords, we have deforestation treaties, we have recovery efforts for people that have been hit by natural disasters that need humanitarian aid," said Beach. "So if you decide to play nice with the planet, it'll definitely help you in terms of respect from the other leaders.
"But we also wanted people to have the option to look at it the other way and see what happens if they don't care about those things: how bad will rising sea levels get? Maybe in a Civ game, that could be a strategic advantage to you. If you're not on the coast, but your enemy is, you can hurt them by letting the sea levels rise. We didn't want to preclude playing on that dark side because we think that's very interesting. I think having that there as something you can strategise on in a strategy game is super interesting."
Certainly sounds like it might be worth exploring when it comes out. using G.I.S

StoryMap of the Day 1: Climate Migrants

I might start this as a regular feature as these are now coming thick and fast, and the quality is remarkable. I still need to embed the creation of these into the curriculum, as a way of capturing a narrative, and getting a sense for what a city is like (for example)
This one is on Climate Migrants

MOSAiC Project

Was taking a look at the MOSAiC project website earlier in the week.

Inside Government Geography Day

I was asked to speak at this event some months ago, and had prepared a packed half an hour session of ideas on the use of new technologies in innovative ways. I was grateful to be asked to be part of a day which included contributions from the following people;
Dr Alex Standish, UCL IOE (chairing the day)
Alan Kinder, GA
Steve Brace, RGS-IBG
Paul Turner, Bedales School
Rachel Hawkes (who also spoke at TMGeographyIcons)
and a number of other teachers and geographers.

Some notes on some of the sessions that I made as people were speaking. All interpretations my own as always when blogging my notes on what other people have 'said' at events of this type.
I didn't take notes on all sessions other than the first few, as I knew I would get copies of the presentations from other colleagues.

Alex Standish opened the day with a brief description of some of the work that he does on the PGCE course.
He outlined the structure of the course, and what they felt were important.
The first mention of the changing binary between enquiry and knowledge.

Alan Kinder was the first speaker, and he described the work of the Geographical Association.
Grade boundaries are likely to go up next year, he said, following the first year when there was an effort made not to disadvantage anyone.
Sharp drop in cohort size at ‘A’ level - Geography down 11.4% in terms of entrants.
GA view - opposed decoupling of AS and ‘A’ level
'AS' - shrinking to a third of what it might have been
University applications are down
Alan described the recent work of the Geographical Association, and some opportunities for delegates to get involved.
Chief examiners had positive things to say about the nature of teaching, and the quality of preparation for this year's students.
Superficial answers (lacking depth and structure) were one issue.
Knowledge application when working in unfamiliar contexts was another area to work on developing.
Metacognitive routines need to be established
GA Branches, Secondary Quality Mark schools, Social media
DfE funded Critical Thinking for Achievement available

Steve Brace from the RGS-IBG was next up, and he described some work on GIS.
1999 National Curriculum - Rita Gardner quote was the starting point (the old brown document)
Recognise the importance of the spatial dimension
>3.7 billion people are using the internet regularly.
ESRI UK - one of the largest geography-related companies in the world
What is the ‘everywhere’ of Geography?
Data Skills in Geography programme was mentioned: I have contributed several resources to this.
"Future of Geography is Cheap" - Jon Reades (PDF download)
ESRI: ‘the science of where’ - a well-worded mission statement
Why is GIS in the specification?
‘Thinking like a geographer’ - what does that mean?
Showed links to the CDRC mapping
Data Skills in Geography - a report to be published shortly on the impact of the project - looking forward to seeing that. Meanwhile, here's a very useful presentation. (available as a PDF)
Geography - Post-16 Maths report - role of numeracy
52% of Geography undergrads are females - gender equality
Our subject - low dropout rates / above average employment / good graduate earnings - 10% above national averages
Here's my session presentation, which took place after lunch.
Thanks to

Image of me in action: Steve Puttick

Here's my main handout:

And finally, thanks to the following people for handouts and freebies that I was able to give to delegates:

- Des McDougall - VR handouts
- Richard Allaway - Google Earth stickers
- Ordnance Survey - for cards giving offers and details on OS Maps App
- Edina - Handouts and folders on Digimap for Schools
- ESRI UK (via Jason Sawle) for pens, badges, USB sticks and other bits and pieces

TeachMeet GeographyIcons 2019

Good news - just announced on Twitter.
I was proud to have been asked to be the teacher keynote at the first event, and will hope to be there for the 2nd event too... but perhaps just with a short input.

Cologne Practical Pedagogies 2018 - #9 - Feedback and impact

A couple of weeks have passed since Practical Pedagogies, and the impact is sinking in, and I've already used a few things that I picked up from sessions. Russel has also been making use of LOTUS diagrams, and shared some work that he'd been doing.

I was delighted to read the feedback from my session that Russel sent through: all very positive and some lovely comments on the impact.

Roll on 2020 - make sure you sign up to be involved when it happens...

Image: Russel Tarr

Sick squid

A story that William Atkins led me to, regarding the impact on human communities of changing ecosystems, which begin to remove particular species on which people depend: the flying squid.

The fate of the flying squid is a microcosm of a global phenomenon that has seen marine life fleeing waters that have undergone the fastest warming on record.

Virtual Reality Day

VR Day Logo - Transparent.pngIt's apparently Virtual Reality Day
I've just been out into the real world, so don't forget to #GetOutside into the sunshine, but there are plenty of virtual explorations you can get involved in.
One of them is Google Voyager, which is part of the new Google Earth. CLICK THE SHIP's WHEEL LOGO (3rd down on the left)

I'm also grateful to Des McDougall for sending through some materials that he has prepared and had printed for use with the VR Tours that he has created.

I was able to hand those out an Inside Government Day, which I took part in earlier in the week, and will blog about later today all being well...

Fairtrade Fortnight 2019

Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 will be from 25th February to 10th March, have you got these dates in your diary?
Put them there now...

Fairtrade Fortnight is the time of year that we all celebrate our Fairtrade achievements and our commitment to making trade fair. Schools, town groups and places of worship come together to make our voices stronger against unfair trade!

This year, we are focusing on cocoa. Farmers of this much-loved product have seen prices for their product fall to crisis levels in the last few years, making life increasily difficult for cocoa farmers. This is especially true in West Africa, where most cocoa is grown.

Simon Reeve: geographer

The most recent issue of 'Geographical' magazine has Simon Reeve on the front cover, saying 'I am a geographer'.

The BBC have now listed a large number of Simon Reeve series and made them available for viewing on the iPlayer.

I can't see the word Geography anywhere though...

Thought for the Day

“When you are called to action, sometimes the most useful action you can take is to improve the data.”
Hans Rosling

Geographical Association and Twinkl

The GA has teamed up with Twinkl to produce a pack for the teaching of Grid References.

This is available as a FREE download, although as a teacher in a Junior school I have access to them through a school account.

It's a 51Mb Zip file, which contains a spine PPT and some PDF resources that can be printed.

The Library of Ice

I have this book as an Audible download - it is well worth seeking out.
Here's the description from the publisher's webpage.

‘A wonderful book: Nancy Campbell is a fine storyteller with a rare physical intelligence. The extraordinary brilliance of her eye confers the reader a total immersion in the rimy realms she explores. Glaciers, Arctic floe, verglas, frost and snow — I can think of no better or warmer guide to the icy ends of the Earth’ Dan Richards, author of Climbing Days
A vivid and perceptive book combining memoir, scientific and cultural history with a bewitching account of landscape and place, which will appeal to readers of Robert Macfarlane, Roger Deakin and Olivia Laing. 

Long captivated by the solid yet impermanent nature of ice, by its stark, rugged beauty, acclaimed poet and writer Nancy Campbell sets out from the world’s northernmost museum – at Upernavik in Greenland – to explore it in all its facets. From the Bodleian Library archives to the traces left by the great polar expeditions, from remote Arctic settlements to the ice houses of Calcutta, she examines the impact of ice on our lives at a time when it is itself under threat from climate change.

The Library of Ice is a fascinating and beautifully rendered evocation of the interplay of people and their environment on a fragile planet, and of a writer’s quest to define the value of her work in a disappearing landscape.

‘The Library of Ice instantly transported me elsewhere... This luminous book is both beautifully written and astute in its observations, turning the pages of time backwards and revealing, like the archive of the earth’s climate stored in layers of solidified water, the embedded meanings of the world’s icy realms. It is a book as urgently relevant as it is wondrous’ Julian Hoffman, author of The Heart of Small Things

‘An extraordinary work not only for the perspicacity and innate experience of the author who leads the reader carefully across intertwined icy tracks of crystallised geographics, melting myths and frozen exploration histories, but through her own tender diagnostics of what reading ice can show us in these times … Perilous in its scope, exacting in its observation, wild in intellect, The Library of Ice captures the reader’s attention almost as if caught in ice itself’ Kirsten Macgillivray, poet

‘This is travel writing to be treasured. A biography of ice, the element that has another life, with hard facts thawed and warmed by a poet's voice. Campbell's writing is companionable, curious, deeply researched and with no bragging about the intrepidity that has taken her between winter-dark Greenland, Polar libaries, Scottish curling rinks, Alpine glaciers and Henry Thoreau's pond at Walden’ Jasper Winn, author of Paddle

Some VR stories to engage with for Virtual Reality Day

I presented on VR this week in London for Inside Government.
You can follow it over on #IGGeography18

Here's one:
Produced by UNCHR

They also have an app.

The Story of Omar

Omar is a nine-year-old Syrian refugee boy who suffers a debilitating hormone deficiency. Untreated for the three years that he lived as a refugee in Lebanon, Omar was resettled last year to Finland. Join his friend Warda Al-Jawahiry, herself a former refugee, on a journey to Finland to see how he is faring in his new home.

This #VirtualReality film was made in cooperation with Nokia and The Humanitarian Cooperative to show the impact of the ongoing refugee crisis through a new lens. #MakeTechHumanitarian For the VR headset version, use the free UNVR app: * Android / Google Play: * iOS / App store: Information for media: If you would like to use this video to communicate refugee stories or require B-Roll, transcripts, stills or much more information, please contact us at or

There's also a Water Aid story, which followed the aftermath of the Nepal Earthquake.


I like the Autodraw Tool, which guesses what you are drawing and provides you with an icon style version of it, which could then be snipped and used in powerpoint slides. You could just search for an image of course in the first place, but it's fun to use, and see how quickly the site can guess what it is you are drawing... No rude drawings though of course!

How much water do you use?

Visit this website to see the full size infographic. or click for biggery
Image credit:

Learn ArcGIS

On World GIS Day today, came across this collection of activities based on real world problems.

UK Blog Awards 2019

Voting has been suspended while the site is sorted, so please try again in a day or so.

I'm delighted to say that I have been 'longlisted' for the UK Blog Awards 2019 in the Education Category.

If you felt able to vote for me, having found this blog useful over the 11 years it has been up and running, please follow the link here.

To vote:
Click on the categories and view the entries. I've been chosen for the EDUCATION category of course.
To see their website, click on the globe.
To see their entry information, click on the "i".
To vote for their entry, click on the red heart .
Please note, there is only one vote per person per category. 

The voting website is a bit flaky as I post this due to demand...

If you don't want to vote for me, can I also recommend Mrs. Humanities (Victoria Hewett) who was also shortlisted last year.

A shortlist will be drawn up when voting in this round ends in late December.

From one island to another

A GRIST post describes a project connecting art with climate change, that took place in Greenland.

Cologne - Practical Pedagogies 2018 - #8 - The final evening and the journey home...

Bus journey back into Cologne on the front seat, and then past the Dom and to seek out some hot food and dump our bags in the Hotel Hayk, which was filling up for the weekend it seemed.
We ended up back in the Haxenhaus, sat at the bar to watch the endless flowing glasses of beer as more and more people came in for the evening.
We then walked across town to an area of the city we hadn't been to before, and met up with other delegates for drinks and conversation into the early hours.

The following morning I had a chance to explore the city in the sunshine as it woke up, and then headed to sign some books, before going to the railway station to catch the ICE train back to Brussels. I had a seat with restricted window view, which meant I didn't make the most of the trip through Germany, and then had a quick dash to a chocolate shop before going to the Eurostar terminal, and a good journey back home and final train North

Roll on 2020, and the next Practical Pedagogies.