Geography Fieldwork Unlocked - fresh from Australia

I follow a lot of Australian geography educators and organisations on social media.

There have been lots of connections betwen UK and Australian geographers over the years, with the work of the GA influencing the work of curriculum development. Our work on 'a different view' and colleagues such as Simon Catling and Professor David Lambert have spoken at the conferences of the teacher associations over the years, including AGTA and the GTAV. I've also used a number of resources in my teaching which originated there, including themes of flooding, wildfires and coastal management.
One of the teachers I worked with at the GA on projects: Paula Cooper also moved out there, as have quite a few former colleagues.
The AGTA website has details of recent conferences with downloads of sessions and keynotes which are excellent free resources. Their GeogSpace resource is worth exploring too.
ACARA curriculum reforms were also worth a look at the time and resources are still available to view.
AGTA have also been part of a group which put together a decadal plan for geography which is worth taking a look at for itsscope and conceptualisation of the subject's importance. (PDF download)

There is also an Institute of Australian Geographers Incorporated.



The Geography Teacher's Association of Victoria (GTAV) is another website worth looking at.
Their resources include a 3 module resource, freely available on the theme of Bushfires for the Primary phase.



One of the Australian educators I follow is Susan Caldis, who has held a number of roles, including the Vice President of the Australian Geography Teachers' Association.  
She was also a former President of the Geography Teachers' Association of New South Wales - their journals can be read online.
Susan is currently completing a PhD and has also visited Singapore recently on their Outstanding Educator programme.
Geography Fieldwork UnlockedCheck out the Twitter feed @Austgeog for more too.

Sue has very kindly agreed a book swap.
In return for a copy of the 2nd edition of Fieldwork through Enquiry, which should be available from the GA Shop before Christmas (the ideal stocking filler perhaps), she posted me a copy of a new book published by AGTA and written by a group of educators, coordinated by Grant Kleeman, and released earlier this year.

It was written to connect with the Australian Geography curriculum, from Primary up to Year 10, giving ideas for fieldwork and is called 'Geography Fieldwork Unlocked'. Grant Kleeman is the coordinating author, but there are contributions from a number of other geographers, including Susan.

Copies can be ordered from the AGTA website using a Google Form.

Here's a description of the book from the AGTA website

Geography Fieldwork Unlocked features 34 inquiry-based fieldwork activities developed by a team of experienced Geography educators.
Key features:
  • Section 1 of the book introduces the reader to inquiry-based fieldwork. It provides guidance in developing fieldwork action plans, research methodologies, and data collection tools and approaches as well as guidance on the presentation and communication of fieldwork findings.
  • Section 2 features nine fieldwork activities for primary students (Years F/K–6). Each of these activities has been designed to develop students’ conceptual understanding and the skills associated with inquiry-based learning.
  • Section 3 showcases 25 fieldwork activities aligned to the topics studied by students in Years 7–10.
  • Each fieldwork activity is framed by one or more inquiry questions. They also feature: a statement of expected learning; a list of the equipment needed to successfully complete each fieldwork activity; a short introduction; background information that contextualises student learning; pre-fieldwork activities; and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to complete each fieldwork task.
Cost: $59.95

Alongside the Fieldwork book, there are two others in the UNLOCKED series, as shown here.




The book arrived earlier in the week, and is already providing some ideas for a forthcoming couple of events: one with the ITE colleagues at Homerton College, Cambridge and one at the GA Conference in April next year.
Each chapter provides a context and ideas for exploring a particular theme, with early sections introducing an enquiry plan structure, action planning and methodologies. It is up to date, with ideas on using apps and drones.

The main body of the book provides ideas for different age groups, and includes a range of strategies and tools, including Google Earth, pictorial maps,

New and interesting ideas include explorations of Healthy Habitats, Urban waterways, place liveability and shared space. I liked the coastal ideas, which moved on from familiar wave investigations towards an investigation into the beach as a social space - this could work equally well in urban situations. I learned about the previous rivalries between the 'Rockers' and the 'Surfies' in the 1960s (similar to Mods and Rockers at Brighton I guess). A look at Food Waste is not something I had thought of previously, but would make sense as a possible NEA title as well, perhaps connecting with an interesting chapter on investigating restaurant cultures. There's also a look at homelessness, something I've discussed as a possible future project.

Some of the contexts have an Australian focus of course, most of which would translate into the UK, although others like the Aboriginal sense of space, or the bushfire enquiry might be more difficult. However, the bushfire enquiry includes images and ideas for further research which mean that with the aid of BOM: the Australian Bureau of Metorology site, an interesting project for students to track bushfire outbreaks could be developed.
Some useful resources can be seen on BOM here.

A final Australian connection would be with Tony Binns, a former GA President, whose entry on the GA Presidents blog I've started writing with his help.
He is apparently planning to be at the GA Conference next year to do a session, so will be good to meet up in person.

Australia has also been in the news today in my feed for a number of stories which relate to the climate emergency.

A shortage of drinkable water is becoming evident with changing rainfall patterns no longer replenishing groundwater in the same way, and demand increasing.

The bushfires are affecting air quality in Sydney and this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald makes it clear that they are being made worse by climate change.

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