Piktochart is an infographic generator, which is free to join for both students and staff.

I also use Canva and other apps on my phone to generate images, posters etc.

I'll be leading a CPD session on infographic use and creation for colleagues later this week, so just a reminder to myself to update the materials I'm using.

Try out a free account here, or at similar sites like Venngage and Easel.ly

Lawrence Stenhouse

Another blog post which has been several months appearing from the drafts, and was prompted by a few conversations today.

There's been many a blog post written over the last few years on teacher well being, and the growing range of tasks which are supposed to be done by others, but which teachers take on, or are expected to complete.
I was interested to read a piece in the TES on the work done by Lawrence Stenhouse some years ago, and as with other people like Ted Wragg, people who are new to the profession often forget that a lot of what they perceive as new challenges have been going round for years. Stenhouse was clear that teachers shouldn't aim for perfection as it's very unlikely to happen.

"the idea of education is sufficiently ambitious to preclude the possibility of perfect performances. No teaching is good enough: therefore good teaching is teaching towards the improvement of teaching. The implication is that all teaching ought to be seen as experimental" (Stenhouse, 1977)

It's another reminder that as we move into the busy time of the academic year, teachers need to look after their well-being.
Stenhouse is also referenced by Alex Standish in this interesting piece.

Stenhouse was a Professor of Education at UEA, where I used to visit annually to speak to the PGCE cohort for many years, so there is a local connection too.

Stenhouse also had plenty to say on the nature of the curriculum, including the phrase that there can be 'no curriculum development without teacher development', which is an area I've certainly been involved with over the years.

How do we find time as teachers to keep up to date with curriculum thinking alongside the suggested changes we need to be making to our pedagogy...

Thought for the Day

By combining study of the physical and human worlds, geography provides a unique context to study how our climate is changing and how we might adapt to and mitigate against the changes; an education that all pupils deserve and that geography can provide.
Steve Brace

In this Guardian letter: a response to previous comments that no subject covered climate change...

Plan A Earth

Plan A Earth is a new crowdfunding platform which offers people the chance to support people who are involved in climate change projects.

Check out the progress of particular projects on the Twitter page.

Eddington: a sustainable community

An FT piece on Eddington flagged up recently by Carl Lee reminded me of our previous visits there with students to explore the development's sustainable credentials using the EGAN wheel. It's well worth a visit if you're near Cambridge.

My Flickr images of our visit are here.

Image: Alan Parkinson, shared under CC license

Escaping Wars and Waves

I've blogged about Olivier Kugler's reportage illustrations previously, and I came across his latest book in the wonder that is Heffers bookshop in Cambridge recently, and will be using this when I next teach the issue of migration.
The book is called 'Escaping Wars and Waves' and has been created from face-to-face interviews with migrants in various locations including 'the Jungle' in Calais.
There is a connection here with the event I've got a ticket for down in London in two weeks' time at the House of Illustration.

Videogame landscapes

Computer games are big business and can have many hundreds of millions of pounds spent on creating them, and earn even more in sales. Some of them have landscapes which are perfectly rendered, and incredibly life like. There are open worlds, with city streets, and landscapes to explore at your will, rather than being linear or controlled, or repeated.
The Victoria and Albert museum in London had an exhibition on videogames last year.

The landscapes of video games have developed substantially from the early games, where they had to be described in a few short text extracts.
I know there are teachers who have taught about cities and favelas using video game landscapes.
This also connects with the academic keynote at the first TMGeographyIcons event earlier in the year. It featured Phil Jones from the University of Birmingham.
He reminded us that any renderings of places in video games are also therefore places, and many young people will spend more time in these fictional places than out in the real world.

Head for the Ice Sheets of Antarctica here.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Britain from the Air

This project has had some publicity today. 

It's the first tranche of hundreds of thousands of images which were taken from the air for Cambridge University to record the post-war reconstruction of the country.

The images have been added to the Cambridge University Digital Library.
They are now in the University's Geography department.
Details below are taken from the CUDL website:

Cambridge University’s Collection of Aerial Photographs, CUCAP, represents a unique, long and proud tradition of aerial survey and interpretation in the British Isles and Europe, started by the pioneering Roman archaeologist JK St Joseph. Much of the imagery is remarkable, of great technical interest (e.g. early colour aerial photography), of high academic value, including as it does records of coastal change, discoveries of archaeological sites and the pre-and post-industrial landscapes of Britain. The total assemblage of hard copy images, dating from 1945 to 2009, comprises 497,079 aerial images. The Collection includes both vertical and oblique aerial views of British landscapes, in both black and white and colour, and slides.

The Collection came to the Department of Geography in October 2000 on the closure of the University’s Air Photography Unit, and was subsumed into the Unit for Landscape Modelling (ULM). Following the closure of the ULM in 2010, the Collection was saved from disposal by a project using the proceeds from the sale of the ULM’s aeroplane and associated equipment. It soon became apparent that whilst the original negatives and slides, themselves were under expert curation, the Collection was difficult to access, except to a small band of professional and enthusiastic ‘aerial archaeologists’ (based in Royal Commissions and English Heritage (now Historic England)). Between 2012 and 2016, funded by the Department of Geography, the ‘front end’ of the Collection was thoroughly overhauled and modernised. Remedial work on the catalogue (such as the removal of some 28,000 duplicate entries from the corrupted database inherited from the ULM) is now substantially complete, and linked to state-of-the-art online mapping technologies. These innovations are based around a new website

From this page it is now possible to: 
 i) browse the catalogue with over 450,000 clickable locations. There are now over 80,000 thumbnail digital scans of selected images, with wide geographical coverage over the whole of the UK (only the Historic England’s National Monuments Record aerial photography collection holds as many digital images, the Cambridge collection is thus the second largest in the UK);
 ii) search the catalogue by image caption; by themes; and by geographical area; and iii) see some of the very best images in the collection showcased under the headings of coast, ancient Britain, transport networks, castles and stately homes, docklands and the post-industrial north.

Now the ambitious vision is for the long-term digitization of the entire Collection of half a million images. Such a strategy offers the possibility of opening-up a valuable, and in many ways unique, resource to scholars, both in Cambridge and beyond, and the possibility of a much enlarged revenue stream to give long-term sustainability to the maintenance of the Collection. And Open Access to medium resolution imagery for all those interested in UK aerial photography will enhance the University’s reputation as a centre for the study of landscape history.

Our initial release consists of c.1,500 high resolution zooming images, with accompanying descriptions indicating exactly where and when the photograph was taken. The images are openly available without a need for login or subscription, and lower resolution images can be downloaded through the site for research or educational use. The images are also being made available using the innovative International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) technology which opens up the collection for digital analysis by researchers. The whole site is searchable, giving users a quick and easy way to find, for instance, all images of a particular place or feature. As more content is added users will be able to navigate a huge variety of images from this fantastic archive in extreme detail, and we are sure that the collection will be of interest to a very wide audience in academia, interested amateurs and the general public.
Professor Tom Spencer
Department of Geography

Check out the images HERE

Spanish salads

Simon Reeve recently explored the greenhouses of Almeria in Southern Spain as part of his series on the Mediterranean. I read his book over the Christmas period.
This is not a new story, but there are many geographical connections to be made here.
I put together a lesson on this area a few years ago for an observation lesson, and the materials for that are available online on my Slideshare page.

Darren Anderson has written about this area too, along with others. His piece in the Atlantic journal outlines one possible vision for our rural futures, involving technology.
And recently, Internet Geography added a case study on this area, which has saved me a lot of time, as it includes some useful images, mapping and data.

Come and work with me

The Head of Geography role at King's Ely school is currently available for applications. It's an opportunity to work with me and lead the department in the Senior school (I mostly teach in the Junior part of the school) and take us forward to the next step.

Happy to answer any questions about the job or school.

Details about the school and the role are here on the school's website.

Look forward to seeing some of you on interview day perhaps.

Image: Alan Parkinson, shared under CC license - The Old Palace

British Antarctic Territory - a new website

British Antarctic Territory has a new website.

Thanks to Steve Brace for the tipoff.
Will be useful for those exploring the Polar regions, and go along with the Discovering Antarctica website which is the main resource for my Heading South unit.

Border Wall: the environmental impact

Curriculum Reading (and thinking)

At this time of renewed focus on curriculum content, intent, implementation and impact, it's important to have some background reading if required.

Grace Healy has made a good start on a list of suitable references over on her blog. 
The rest of the blog is also very much worth your time.

Take a look and feel free to suggest additional reading that you've found helpful when thinking about curriculum.

Putting New Zealand on the map

The Fear Instinct

I've been teaching the Fear Instinct Chapter of Factfulness recently: Chapter 4 and been reflecting on what I did, and the outcomes from students.
I've been re-using something I wrote a few years ago for a Year 9 scheme, and it was supposed to have been published but never was.
It explores the work of Professor David Spiegelhalter.
Watch Professor Risk talking about his daily life, and decisions that people make which are related to risk. It's an entertaining watch, which I have used many times before with students of all ages.

If something exposes you to a micromort of risk, this means it exposes you to a one-in-a-million chance of dying.

Micromorts are a one in a million chance that something will result in your death. It was an idea first suggested in the 1970s.

A useful article here on the reasons why some things we think are dangerous are less dangerous than we thought.

Very flat?

There are a few quotes that are associated with Norfolk, the county where I have now lived for more than half my life, and one of them is from a character called Amanda in the Noel Coward play 'Private Lives' from 1930, who says it is "very flat".
Anyone who has cycled through Norfolk can testify that it is far from flat.

Back in 2011, I was the President of the Norfolk Geographical Association, and for my presidential talk (which was also used for after dinner speeches) I created a talk exploring the sense of place that Norfolk has and explored what it means to different people.

Interestingly, the Royal Geographical Society's Discovering Britain project (which has created walks with accompanying information for many locations around the country) have a walk based around Sheringham which takes that very name: Very flat, Norfolk.

The walk was written by Daniel Evans, a Gap Year scholar of the Royal Geographical Society, who I met with some years ago and advised him on a few elements of what he wanted to do career wise, and how to share what he was doing with people. He's since gone on to study for a PhD at Lancaster University. Daniel is a soil scientist, and writes a number of popular soil science blogs and tweets too.

You can download the walk as a PDF file from this link.

The Discovering Britain projects tag-line is that "Every landscape has a story to tell", and this would make a good project to carry out some time during 2019 too: what is the story of your local landscape? Find out and (re)tell it....

British-Irish Dialect Quiz

This has been going the rounds for the last few days, and is an updated version of a previous quiz which aimed at pinpointing people's home area from the way they pronounced certain words, or used vernacular terms for particular things.
For some reason, it was shared from the New York Times website.

I was born in Rotherham, and so I had a childhood using words like snicket, spell and wagging it.

It was successful in identifying Sheffield as the likely area.

I have since lived in Norfolk for more than half my life, but not lost some aspects of my accent and natural vernacular vocabulary. The quiz was less successful pinpointing my son, with a vague diagnosis of the SE of England.

How accurately does it locate you?

WMEC Teaching Resource

The WMEC is the World Energy and Meteorology Council.
It is based on the UEA Campus.
They have shared some resources.

A teaching pack has been put together by Kit Rackley to show how to use one of their electronic tools. Worth a look.

It can be downloaded from here as a PDF.


Stonehenge is a place which has been in the news for many decades with regard to the traffic jams building up on the A303, and the need to diver traffic away from this UNESCO World Heritage site. I've passed it many times, and stopped by just the once (once is all you need)

This Guardian article explores the latest plans for the monument.

Illustration: Jasper Reitman

Wonder where Noel Jenkins' classic Stonehenge videos went?

Child Labour podcast

Thanks to Matt Podbury for telling me about this resource on the BBC World Service (and available for download as an mp3 file)
I've been teaching about aspects of child labour at the moment with regard to cobalt mining in DRC, and also in clothing sweatshops.

Most countries in the world have signed up to the idea that no child should work at all under a certain age – but is this the best approach? This week Nicolle, a 17 year old from Peru, has been part of a delegation of child labourers visiting the UN to ask them to rethink their ban on child labour. She’s been working since she was 8 years old, and says not only did her family need the money she earned, but working brought her status and respect. Some charities and experts working with child labourers agree that there are safe forms of child work. They say non-hazardous work can allow children to help their families, gain life skills, and even pay for the school uniforms and equipment they need to stay in education. But the UN and other former child labourers disagree, saying an outright ban is the only way to protect children from exploitation. We ask whether it’s time to rethink the ban on child labour.

Contributors include:

Benjamin Smith – Senior Officer for Child Labour, International Labour Organization
Jo Boyden – Professor of International Development, Oxford University
Zulema Lopez – former child labourer
Kavita Ratna - Director of Advocacy and Fundraising, Concerned for Working Children

Image: Alan Parkinson - shared under cc license

Feeding the World in 2050

Which countries eat the most meat?

Perhaps these could be targeted for meat reductions or quotas?

What is the carbon footprint of your diet?

Image: Alan Parkinson - Lamb Stew in Iceland 

Flood Risk

Some discussion today on flood risk maps.

A reminder of this one here. An interactive map on the website by following the link.

Transport for the North

New cubes

Heard today that there are some new Rory's StoryCubes now available. There are two new Core sets, and 3 new Mix sets, all of which are going to be useful for further storytelling.

I have ordered them of course, to keep my collection complete, and because there are some good options here for Geographical storytelling when combined with my other sets.

As well as these above, there is the EXPLORE Mix set.

TUI and Augmented Reality

An interesting story on the work of TUI to add layers of detail for visitors to specific locations, using augmented reality glasses.

Hoping to get to have a play with this technology at some time.

Containers Podcast

I've done a lot of work on supply chains recently, and came across this Containers podcast. It is available to download or subscribe to on Soundcloud.

Cambridge Retail change

Last weekend was spent in Cambridge, and not having been there for a while, and at the weekend in particular, it was clear that there has been a dramatic change to some parts of the city.
One stretch of road that I noticed had changed a lot was the end of Regent Street nearest to the train station (and the SPRI)

This has changed significantly over the last five years or so, when there were internet cafes and other similar businesses in this part of the city.
The first sign of the change is Jim Wah Express at the junction here.
Follow the red bus here, and you will head down Regent Street.
Look to left and right as you go, and you will see a clustering of shops which are of a particular type, and with a particular 'demographic' in mind...
Could this be linked to some other population changes within the city?

Image: Parkers Piece - Alan Parkinson shared under CC license

What 3 Words: Signs now available

I've used What 3 Words many times before, and included them in my GI Learner resources that are available to explore on the website.

Don't forget that What 3 Words has a map app which will help you make, and navigate to, a location, and also a photography app, which will add the What 3 Words reference of the location of any photograph taken with it.
They have now started to make signs for both outdoors and indoors to show the location of a place. I have ordered one for my classroom.

Royal Meteorological Society Survey - Tropical Cyclone Resources

The Royal Meteorological Society are planning some new resources on the development and impacts of Tropical Cyclones.
They are asking for teachers to share their ideas on what they would find most useful.
Please help out by filling in the survey here.

The Water we Eat

Image result for water we eatOne of our favourite websites is the Water we Eat

This comes from the work of Angela Morelli.

It uncovers the invisible water that is hidden in the food that we eat as well as the clothes that we wear, but more particularly when we eat foods such as beef.

This website uncovers the story of the website's creation: an 8 month process.

Kiln's Flourish - a new option for data visualisation

I've previously shared a map made using a visualisation tool called Kiln which showed the movement of shipping around the globe.
In early February, Kiln released Flourish which is a free (with extra paid options) tool for making visualisations.
It looks to have tremendous potential for making data come to life in an engaging way. There is a wide range of templates that can be used and adapted. It takes a few minutes to get to grips with them, and there are plenty of data sets that can be copied and pasted into Excel and edited to suit your data.

Sign up for a free account (which means anything you make has to be shared publicly in order to be usable) and then choose NEW Visualisations.
This will bring up a whole range of templates.
I used it to produce this visualisation of the countries from which our students come at school.

Thanks to Brendan Conway for the tipoff to this site.

More to come as I get to grips with Flourish.

Using illustrations for teaching and learning about Refugee experiences

House of Illustration and Positive Negatives are delighted to invite educators to a very special Teachers’ Twilight Event to celebrate the launch of our brand new teaching resources for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.

These new resources use illustration techniques for teaching and learning about this important subject. Packed with both inspiration and practical guidance, these cross-curricular resources are completely free to download and ready to use in the classroom.

House of Illustration will launch our KS2 resources, packed with guidance notes, a choice of activities, step-by-step instructions and a slideshow, while Positive Negatives launches their own resources for KS3 and KS4, built around comics and short animations.

These complementary projects address the experiences of unaccompanied young asylum seekers, the dangerous journeys to Europe being undertaken by refugees and the lives of undocumented young people in the UK.

We provide information and activities to explore citizenship, creativity and critical thinking.

Join us for an inspiring evening in the gallery at our special exhibition Journeys Drawn: Illustration from the Refugee Crisis.

The event will feature talks from House of Illustration, Positive Negatives, artist Karrie Fransman and teachers with first-hand experience of using these approaches in the classroom.

Take the opportunity to network with a free drink in hand and gain ideas and inspiration from fellow teachers and education professionals.

I'll hopefully see you there.
I have a copy of Eoin Colfer's book, and also Olivier Kugler's recent book, as well as others such as My name is Not Refugee, and Malala's recent book too.

City Life

City Life is an excellent item, showcasing some work by Sergio García Sánchez, who has filled a room with his iPad drawings of city life.

Climate Change - coastal vulnerability

Living in Norfolk, I am well aware of the possible impacts of climate change on sea level rise - I moved away from the coast, where my house was just 8m above sea level some years ago.

There are some further changes which are likely to happen over the coming decades, as a result of melting ice caps, and the thermal expansion as oceans warm.
Happisburgh is a place where this is playing out right now, along with other locations along low-lying coastlines, such as the Holderness Coastline.

Climate Change vulnerability is part of the report here. Our Year 11 students have been introduced to this document.
The conclusions of the authors are:

Overall, we conclude that the current approach to coastal management in England is unsustainable in the face of climate change.
The key findings are:
  • Coastal communities, infrastructure and landscapes already face threats from flooding and coastal erosion. These threats will increase in the future.
  • In the future, some coastal communities and infrastructure are likely to be unviable in their current form. This problem is not being confronted with the required urgency or openness.
  • Sustainable coastal adaptation is possible and could deliver multiple benefits. However, it requires a long term commitment and proactive steps to inform and facilitate change in social attitudes.
It would be a good idea for students / teachers to fillet this document, to identify appropriate local and national strategies for climate change in the UK.


Will be interesting to see how many students get involved in this action on Friday the 15th of February.

There is plenty of information on this site providing some resources outlining why this felt to be a worthwhile action to take, and providing guidance including the importance of obtaining permissions. It provides some awkward decisions for headteachers to make though.

“You don’t have to school strike, it’s your own choice. But why should we be studying for a future that soon may be no more? This is more important than school, I think.”
Greta Thunberg

Football in the Arctic

A Guardian article which explores the role of football in a place which one wouldn't normally associate with the sport.

The Arctic, and Nunavut doesn't seem to be the most obvious place for football to be played, but this is a global sport, and one which has the potential to change people's lives for the better.

Image: Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid - image by Alan Parkinson

The American Dying and Carbon Storage

The Carbon Cycle is an important element of the 'A' level Geography specifications, and students need to be clear on the different stories and processes which lead to carbon being stored, released and transferred on a global scale.

Some fascinating research has been published on the possible connections between atmospheric carbon, climate change and the historical period following the 'discovery of the Americas' by European explorers.
When Columbus and contemporaries encountered native peoples they weren't particularly peaceful towards them. In fact, they generally enslaved and killed them, so that they could take their land and resources, or use them as slaves. This is well worth reading, as it reminds us that there are occasional changes to natural cycles which are influenced by human activities.

BBC News article

Critical Thinking Course in Norwich

East Anglian colleagues are cordially invited to a session organised by Kit Rackley, which will take place in Norwich, hosted at WEMC.

It is part of the courses being offered by the GA in association with the ASE.

First day is on April the 1st, and the second day is in June.

Check your eligibility on this page here and book a place.

An Englishman (and Geographer) in New York

I'm heading for New York, for the first time, during the Easter break.

I've got a few guide books, and advice from people who've been before, and got a hotel booked. We'll be there for quite a few days, and will of course be hitting the usual places you would expect: Top of the Rock, Ground Zero, Staten Island ferry etc.

There's some plans for architecture, film locations, walking the High Line, taking in a show and some psychogeographical wanderings.

Does anyone have any suggestions for things that I definitely should not miss as a geographer?

The Central Park erratics and rôche moutonnee are on the list of course, as well as the many urban highlights.

Got a good deal on the New York Pass, which includes free entry to a huge range of museums and buildings which will also save us hundreds of dollars. Thanks also to Danny O' Callaghan for some suggestions.

Image by Ella Parkinson, edited using Prisma app.

London National Park City crowdfunder

There has been a great deal of progress on Daniel Raven Ellison's campaign for London to become a National Park City.

 This will be launching in July, and Daniel has started a Crowdfunding campaign to ensure that as many Londoners as possible know about it.
Why not support the project with a small donation (or even a larger one if you can afford to). I've just made mine.

Teachmeet GA Conference 2019

I'm looking forward to the TeachMeet at the GA Conference in April, which I've just realised is only two months away, and I haven't given it as much effort as I need to in terms of the sessions that I'm going to be leading and involved with.

You can get your tickets on Eventbrite here. They are FREE, and you don't have to be a delegate at the conference to attend, so all Manchester geographers who haven't got a chance to come to the full conference can at least attend this session.

Confirmed Speakers include:
Robin Bailey // Kate Stockings // Susan Pike // Ali Murray // Lucy Fryer // Denise Freeman // Kit Rackley // Ali Murray // Luke Hinchliffe // Caiti Walter
Thanks as always to the sponsors.
Drinks and snacks will be provided.

I'm having a small input into the TeachMeet, which is followed by the latest BeerMeet, at the Lass O' Gowrie pub - the third time that we've held it there.

We've gone back through the archives, and this is the 10th BeerMeet... 

8500 posts

Another milestone reached on the blog, with the arrival of the 8500th post.

There is a search box on the top left, which will allow you to browse through all these posts going back to May 2008

Get Active - our way...

There's been a continued interest in how active young people are for at least a decade. This has been connected to epidemics of obesity amongst young people (although there is some debate over the use of BMI for assessing this) and type 2 diabetes.
The DfE recently stepped into this debate.

The official DfE Passport can be downloaded here.

Back in 2006, Daniel Raven Ellison and I developed Mission:Explore to deal with this sort of issue, and I think we undoubtedly did this far better
Here's a few comments on what we produced...

"Mission:Explore is cool, exciting and just plain fun!" National Geographic

"Mission:Explore is like bringing along a nanny with endless patience and a James Bond fixation" The Sunday Times

Mission:Explore National Parks is our most recent book, and was produced in association with the National Park authorities.
This got some good feedback from people including Julia Bradbury and Steve Backshall.

"What a wonderful resource! Mission:Explore and the National Parks have developed a really imaginative way of re-engaging children with nature. Through its wacky drawings and irreverent tone, this book effectively gets across a fundamental truth: exploring our natural world is FUN!"
Nick Gardner, Project Dirt

Finally, some people are already suggesting that the official DfE list will be monetised, or used for additional performance management of teachers - not its original purpose.

The Activity Passport hashtag has also been busy

This ironic contribution was interesting:

Thanks a Thousand

I saw this book in the local library at the weekend and got it out.

It's got the TED logo in the corner and I assumed there would be a link to a TED talk.

Details on the book are here on the publishers' page.

It seemed to me that it would be a nice angle on a set of lessons we do where we follow the people involved in the production of a single product.

This time it's a cup of coffee that is the catalyst for a journey of gratitude, to say thanks to the people involved.

A good supply chain example.

Extreme Weather in the Historical Record

There have been a few projects aimed at exploring databases of historical records, sometimes involving citizen science to decode them and help unlock them. A new database resource has now been created and shared by the RGS-IBG, as part of their growing suite of educational resources.
The resource was developed by Paula Owens.

Cambridge Science Festival 2019 - geographers welcome

The Cambridge Science Festival is an annual treat. Living where I do, and working in Ely, we have easy access to Cambridge for students as well as staff.

It's a good sign that the front cover of this year's programme is a geology map.

Reverend Professor John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861)
Geological map of Anglesey 1822
Credit Cambridge Philosophical Society

Perhaps better known as the mentor and teacher of Charles Darwin, John Stevens Henslow played a pivotal role in the development of geological mapping. Henslow’s map of Anglesey, which features as our cover image, is one of the first detailed geological maps of the UK. It was published in Volume One of the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, the Society he jointly founded and whose 200th anniversary we celebrate this year.

The Perse Geography department produced an excellent visual summary and shared on their Twitter feed.

Browsing through, there is plenty of interest for Geographers, including a session with the legendary James Lovelock.

Cambridge GA Branch event with Richard Bustin

I spoke at the GA Cambridge Branch two weeks ago on the subject of curriculum making.
My presentation is available here if you're interested.

The next event features Richard Bustin.

The session will take place on Wednesday 20th March (5.00 pm - 6.00 pm) at Netherhall School, Cambridge, CB1 8NN

Sign up to the session here, it will only cost £1 (or nothing if you're already a branch member)

Joe Smith and future plans for the RGS-IBG

A nice interview with Professor Joe Smith on a Hong Kong news channel.
Giving some insight into the work of the RGS-IBG and some future plans for the work of the Society.

Also caught a quick glimpse of Jason Sawle and Katie Hall from ESRI UK.

Data Skills in Geography project continuing

Good news on the RGS-IBG website that the Data Skills in Geography project is continuing into 2019.

There was a very positive review that can be seen by following the link above.

I am proud to have been asked to get involved with this project and authored several resources which form part of the final project outcomes which have been very successful.

Visit the main page to see the various resources that were created along with a video by Steve Brace and a useful booklet.

Resource page is here.

My name has been missed off this one here on the Hunstanton Cliffs, but it can all be downloaded and viewed.

GA Secondary Committee - a new Facebook page

At the weekend, during our SPC meeting (the GA's Secondary Phase Committee), we recognised that a lot of people are members of Facebook groups to support them with their GCSE and 'A' level teaching. These have thousands of members and some excellent sharing going on.
We decided we should have our own Facebook page as well. 

We've had a Twitter page for a while - and have almost 800 followers.

This page will not necessarily be a resource hub - there are plenty of those - but will share some of our work and things that we find interesting, and we'll also be asking some questions. If there are things that you would like us to do on your behalf (we will be adding some thoughts to the latest OFSTED consultation for example.

Click the CONTACT US button on the page to send a message or ask a question and we'll get back to you.

For those who don't know, here's a bit about our work. We've got a page on the main GA website.

The purpose of the Secondary Phase Committee is to support GA members concerned with geography at key stages 3 and 4 and to represent their views and interests.
What we do
Monitor the views, interests, concerns and issues facing secondary geography members of the GA. In addition, monitor the state of health of secondary geography as indicated by data on numbers and assessment evidence.
Initiate ideas for engaging and challenging teaching and learning ideas in the secondary geography classroom.
Disseminate these ideas through workshops at the annual GA Conference, the GA website and occasional articles and contributions to GA publications such as Teaching Geography.
Represent the views, interests, concerns and issues facing secondary geography members of the GA at the GA Education Committee and to external bodies.
Promote geography to teachers, pupils, schools and the wider community as a relevant and exciting subject.
We have led numerous sessions on a variety of themes at the GA Annual Conference and published articles in Teaching Geography on topics such as team teaching, Valuing Places, the geography of crime, using ICT to enrich geography, leading the geography department/self assessment and fieldwork. We have also represented the GA in the QCDA review of the key stage 3 curriculum and published several resources on the GA website.

And here are our current members:

Tanith Ludlam
Emma Johns
Alan Parkinson (secretary)
Judy Gleen
Gary Dawson
Claire Harrington
Stephen Schwab (co-chair)
Paul Hunt (co-chair)
Kathryn Stephenson
Rachel Kay
Paul White
Ryan Bate

We are almost all classroom practitioners, also including consultants to the GA, Head and SLT, teachers near the start of their career and others near the end, authors and resource writers, and with a range of experiences and school contexts, and contributors to GA journals and consultations.

From time to time we recruit new members - we have just been joined by Paul White.

UK to Australia

Thanks to Josh Sutheran for the tipoff to this video, shot by a GoPro on the dash of a car driven from London to Australia.
Now that's a trip I could get behind... although some of the music choices are a little dodgy :)

Epic of Everest

Down to London a few weekends ago, and discovered this Blu-ray / DVD edition of Epic of Everest, along with 'The Great White Silence'.

I was reading Peter Jackson's article on the history of the Geographical Association in the most recent issue of 'Geography' (written for the GA's 125th anniversary year) and also Balchin's 'First Hundred Years' of the Association as well.
This article explains more about the filming and the resulting film itself.

I can see a link with the Royal Geographical Society, but there was also a link with Everest and the Geographical Association which I need to pursue more as that is less clear in the booklet that comes with the film.

Tricky Trawling

Back when I worked for the GA, I did a little project type thing with ZSL: the Zoological Society of London.
They have just released an exciting new resource which explores the impact of trawling on fish stocks and the marine environment. In Year 7, we used to do a small unit on the importance of sourcing sustainable food, Hugh F-W's Fish Fight campaign, and changing impacts on the marine environment.

They have developed a new project called TRICKY TRAWLING.
This includes a game which explores the impact of trawling on local ecosystems.

Play in different languages, and let me know what you think.

A message...

Back in June last year, I did the keynote at the first TM Geography Icons. I asked a number of esteemed colleagues to send a message to the assembled teachers, and some of them are worth repeating at the moment, as we reach a stage in the year when some are feeling the stress of the dark winter term, and the pressure to finish teaching courses before the exam season.

Here's a message from Joe Smith, Director of the RGS-IBG. Tickets are now available for this year's running of the event, and I have secured mine already, so see you there.

Mapping on Purpose

A useful looking resource, and well worth a watch...

Africa with Ade

Adepitan not Edmondson...

Starting Sunday 3rd February on BBC Two.

Here's a description of the series from the BBC website.
Trailer and some clips available, and the programmes will be on iPlayer after broadcast.

Ade Adepitan embarks on the first leg of his epic four-part journey around Africa. Starting in west Africa, this episode sees Ade traveling from Cape Verde to Senegal and the Ivory Coast, before finishing in Nigeria - the country of his birth.

In Cape Verde - a group of tiny volcanic islands in the Atlantic - Ade visits a community living in the shadow of an active volcano. He also witnesses how solar power is transforming lives by bringing electricity to isolated communities.

Ade's next stop is Senegal. Here he visits Goree Island - a former staging post in the transatlantic slave trade. He then travels down the coast to a fishing village, where he hears that much of Senegal’s catch is being taken by foreign companies and turned into fishmeal to feed western livestock. Making a last stop on his journey through Senegal, Ade visits Lake Retba where he joins the workers who wade through the lake gathering salt which they sell for less than half a penny a kilogram. Ade’s host has tried to escape poverty by migrating to Europe, but - like so many others - he never got further than the horrors of the camps in Libya.

In the Ivory Coast, Ade meets more people who share the dream of getting to Europe. This time, however, they are footballers training to become professionals in Europe’s big leagues. But it does not always work out, as many are scammed into giving their cash to dodgy football agents.

The final stop is Nigeria, the country Ade was born in. In Lagos he meets some old friends who play para soccer, and he also visits the largest church building on the planet. Traveling out of Lagos, he discovers a country in chaos. Under armed escort, he hears about a conflict that has created hundreds of thousands refugees, but barely been reported on in the west. He finishes his journey at Nigeria’s equivalent to Silicon Valley – a company that believes tech can transform the continent.

Food - some new angles

I've been preparing some new resources on the theme of food, for the next run through of our 'You are what you eat' unit.
One area that has been mentioned is the arrival of meal kits, also known as recipe kits. These offer all the ingredients that are needed to make a particular meal, pre-weighed and with instructions. Meal kits are now big business.

One could say that they are likely to cut down on food waste, as they just include the ingredients that are needed, enough to make the meals that are required.

However, they have the issue of the packaging that is required, and also the impact of their delivery method, compared with regular trips to the supermarket. I tend to shop on the way to and from work rather than making a special trip just to the supermarket, so additional 'food miles' are

While meal kits may be convenient, their near-brazen anti­-environmentalism should make your stomach ache.

There's also the issue of calories in food (along with sugar and fat) contributing to high levels of obesity and sugar intake.
Joe Ray has written this:

Hopefully the waste issue gets solved, because meal kits can be a potent gateway drug. By using them, we might realise that we enjoy standing in front of a stove, preparing a nice weeknight meal, and spending time together. We could open a bottle of wine from the shop around the corner. Then we could light a candle, relax, and appreciate the food we made for each other. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? We might even decide to forget the meal kits altogether and start ­preparing things ourselves from scratch.

GA Event at the OS

Details here of a new event called Using Data Better.
OS Launch Event Information... shared on Scribd