Monday, 25 July 2016

National Parks Week

National Parks Week is the National Parks family's annual celebration of everything that is unique and wonderful about Britain's breathing spaces.
It runs from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 July 2016.

The theme for National Parks Week 2016 is adventure
. With diverse landscapes, activities and events there's an adventure waiting at whatever scale suits you! 


One way to ensure that adventures take place is to get hold of a copy of Mission:Explore National Parks.
Available from all National Park shops for £5 or 500p....

I'm off to the Norfolk Broads later in the week for my National Park adventure...

Saturday, 23 July 2016

'A' level textbook gone to print

After two years and thousands of hours of effort, the 'A' level textbook for the new AQA specification has now gone to print. It will be published by Cambridge University Press. This is great news, as it means that the book will now be out several weeks before other similar books, and also ahead of the end of the summer break, so teachers will be able to have access to it in the crucial few weeks before the start of the new academic year.

I was the series editor for the book, and also the associated materials. You can see the names of the author team on the cover image below - a great team, helped by a large team from CUP.


You can find out more about the book (and order your copies) here.

Friday, 17 June 2016

10 years of the Edexcel Ning

Over ten years ago, while working as a Head of Geography at a school in King's Lynn, I came across the Ning platform, short for Networking. It offered a free (at the time) platform which had the features of all sorts of other sites in one:
- bulletin board for discussions
- chat room
- hosting of image galleries
- hosting of videos, with embed codes
- numerous groups with membership
- profile pages

Documents could be attached to discussions and this allowed for a community to develop, which could chat, share ideas and join groups around sub-themes.
I built a Ning to support 6th form students and it worked well - in fact I did my first teachmeet presentation back in 2008 on Nings.

In June 2007, faced with the changes that were coming at 'A' level, we opted for Edexcel as the most forward thinking of the new specifications. They were introducing new ideas for the time, including ideas such as Rebranding Places, and a unit on Cultural Geography. We were teaching the OCR Pilot GCSE Geography at the time, and so the Edexcel spec was the best follow on for a forward thinking and creative department like the one I led at the time. I had a background in supporting teachers through my GeographyPages website, which was still getting many thousand of visitors a day. I didn't want to have to resource and prepare a whole new 'A' level course by myself over the summer, so I started a NING called New Edexcel Geog.

The NING is now, I've just realised, 10 years old!
It's been a decade of teachers helping other teachers.
Thanks to Jon Wolton for funding the NING for the last 6 years or so.
There are over 4300 members now.

And thanks to anyone who has ever shared a resource, or joined a discussion.

We're now preparing for the New New EdexcelGeog from September 2016

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

New OCR GCSE B Geography textbook


It's now just over two and a half years since I went to a meeting at the offices of Hodder down in London, to start the process of writing a set of textbooks and support materials for the then-as-yet-written OCR GCSE Geography specifications for first teaching from September 2016.
The authoring team of Jo Payne, Jo Debens and myself were joined by Simon Ross, and we had the editing talents of David Rogers helping to steer the project, as well as Ruth Murphy from Hodder and numerous editors and other publishing professionals at various points during the project. Earlier today, the postman brought me a package, and I finally held the results of hundreds of hours of effort in my hand.


I wrote quite a few chapters in the end, and also helped to create the digital support materials, and the answers to all the various activities that have been included in the book. These all form part of the support materials that are available.


More details about the books are here, where you can find out about the various options for ordering. There are various options for discounts and inspection copies if you look at various sections of the website.

Thanks to all those who helped me with writing the books in various ways, including Ian Ward, Bryan Ledgard and Richard Allaway for the use of their images in my chapters. I managed to get quite a lot of my own pictures in, which was nice.

If you're teaching OCR specification for GCSE, please consider making our book(s) your set text. Order plenty just in case… It would be a pity for it not to sell a lot after all that effort...

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Free 'A' level CPD course

Geography teachers are invited to a one day workshop at the University of Manchester on 24th June, 2016 to support the launch of the new A-Level Geography Syllabus.

Parallel lectures run by Geography@Manchester researchers will deliver the core Geography of space and place theory, the carbon cycle and arid land Geography, the areas of the new syllabus which are perhaps less familiar to some teachers. 

In the afternoon, teachers are invited to a round-table discussion to consider how to translate the new learning to the classroom, in turn generating tangible lesson ideas.

The workshop will be opened by Professor Martin Evans who led the new A-Level consultancy on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society.

This workshop is FREE to attend.

Please book your place by 20th June and indicate which of the three workshops you would like to attend by choosing the relevant ticket.

Coffee will be served with registration from 9.30am in the Foyer of the Humanities Bridgeford Street Building.
WHEN
Friday, 24 June 2016 from 09:30 to 15:00 
WHERE
Humanities Bridgeford Street, Ground Floor Foyer, University of Manchester