Monday, 31 March 2014

London: the next National Park ?

A campaign is launched today which suggests an obvious move forward for our capital city: a designation as the country's newest National Park.



We see no reason why London shouldn't join the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Norfolk Broads as having a designation as a National Park.
The city has a breadth of habitats, and a diversity of wildlife that rival some of the existing parks. Check out the new WEBSITE to find out more.

From the press release...


The Greater London National Park* was launched today, celebrating the importance and diversity of London’s urban habitat. It may sound like an April fools joke, but it is not.

It is only a “notional park” for now, but geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison is calling for the public to back the idea.“There is this idea that a National Park has to be remote and rural, but cities are incredibly important habitats too. An amazing 13,000 species of wildlife can be found in London’s open spaces which together make up 60% of the Greater London National Park*. In London we have peregrine falcons, 13 species of amphibian and reptile, pigeons, over 8 million people and countless dogs and cats too. The Greater London National Park* celebrates all life.

”National Parks are currently funded by central government to conserve and enhance natural beauty, wildlife and their cultural heritage; and promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public. These objectives could be applied to a city like London as well the countryside.
Raven-Ellison makes clear that he is not proposing any changes to planning policy in the capital, or that the Greater London National Park* would have the planning powers that so many residents in current National Parks dislike.
“I am proposing a new kind of National Park – an ‘urban’ National Park that would aim to conserve and promote London’s awesome ability to be dynamic, innovate and evolve. The Park’s role would be to inform and inspire best practice, while helping to better co-ordinate and promote London’s biodiversity and recreational opportunities, especially those in outer London.”
Raven-Ellison, a geographer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, argues that the park would create a new way to see and think about London.
“How would being a National Park change the way we live, work and play in the city? How would we educate children, design buildings, plan health services or create new leisure activities differently if we started thinking of London as a National Park?”
“It’s a bit of an outside-of-the box curve ball, but sleep on it and you will realise what a great idea it is. Being the world’s first National Park city would celebrate and consolidate London’s position in the world as a leading, green world city that invests in the health and wellbeing of its people, which is great for both new and mature business and employees. Besides, wouldn’t you like to live in London and a National Park at the same time? I know I would!”
Raven-Ellison is asking the public to support his idea by adding their name to www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk (GLNP).
*Officially just a Notional Park.


Click to enlarge

You can HELP SPREAD THE WORD in a number of ways.

The project has already featured on the National Geographic website.


Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind



Ralph McTell

Global Learning Programme CPD

The Global Learning Programme has been underway for many months now, and there has been lots of activity across the UK.

The next stage of the programme involves a range of CPD events. Angus Willson is leading one on School Improvement through Global Learning.
I am developing a new course, which will run in June and July.
It will involve a range of web tools to support learning about places, and involve the development of a new unit called 'Global Village'

Details are on the GA website, where you can also book a place.
I hope to see some of you there...


Supporting Geography teacher mentors

At the GTE Conference in January 2013, I heard about the work that was underway on a new area of the Geographical Association's website.

This was being led by Andrea Tapsfield and colleagues on the GA's Teacher Education Special Interest Group.

The background was that with an increasing number of teachers being mentored within schools as part of their training, alongside the needs of NQTs who would need continuing support. There has been considerable effort to prepare a range of materials on all aspects of the task of MENTORING colleagues since then.


The area of the website is now live.

You will find that it is useful for any teacher, not just those who are mentoring others, or being mentored. This is a wonderful addition to the GA website.

There are resources for FIELDWORK for example - dig deeply and you will find some really important resources here.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Extreme Environments

One of the things about being a prolific blogger is that things you write disappear off the main section of the blog quite quickly.
I thought it was worth reminding you of something that I created a while back with the guy on the left here...

A couple of years ago, Richard Allaway and I created an eBook on Extreme Environments.

It is perfect for revision, and as we come closer to REVISION SEASON you may want to download it, as thousands of other people have already done.

Now available in over 50 countries...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

DISTANCE.... we've come a long way...

Distance stands for:
Demonstrating the Internet of School Things: a National collaborative experience

It's a project that I've been involved with along with a group of partners including INTEL, Sciencescope, CASA at UCL and the Open University.
Helen and Tom from Explorer HQ have worked with me to produce some exciting ideas, supported by Mark, Dan, Paul and other colleagues from Explorer HQ on the technical side.

We've been working to create educational materials for the schools involved in the Pilot, and ultimately schools all over the country.
Click the Resources tab on the website, and you will find that you can see some of these...
They would be useful to adapt even without access to the kit that the schools had.

The website has developed tremendously since the start of the project...

Follow Apps > Dashboard to see some of the live data feeds from the project.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Young Geographer of the Year 2014

The theme for this year's competition, run by the Royal Geographical Society, in association with 'Geographical' magazine is now available:

How can Geography help you ?

Details of how to enter are HERE

Pupils are asked to relate the value of geography to a number of different settings. The significance of both human and physical geography could be considered at a variety of different levels.  Pupils should demonstrate how geography can support their everyday lives, improve their understanding of the world’s people, places and environments and help to prepare them for life beyond school.
We want to hear how geography, be it the knowledge young people learn, the understanding they gain, or skills they develop, helps them in different aspects of their lives. This help might be at many different levels:
  • At school
  • At home with your family
  • When you travel and go on holidays
  • When you think about current events at home or abroad
  • Whether it will help you with further study, perhaps at university
  • Or lead to a particular career you would like to do
We are interested in answers which might look at both the serious and the fun sides of geography and particularly want to see how entrants can relate the value of geography to a number of different settings.  We welcome applications which, as appropriate for the age range, recognise the value of both human and physical geography. 
For the all categories appropriate and accurate geographical vocabulary should be used and we will provide additional credit for entries which use primary data collected by the student, alongside
secondary data.
The competition has four categories: 9-11(Key Stage Two), 11-14 (Key Stage Three), 14-16 (GCSE) and 16-18 (A Level students).

If you're a new teacher, you can also submit some resources on the same theme for the Rex Walford Award.
Download guidelines here (PDF)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

First hand experience...

I've been reading quite a bit about a man called Hugh Miller in the last few weeks.
He was a geologist and storyteller and had a fascinating life.
Now you have a chance to sail through the Scottish Highlands on a voyage of discovery...



The voyage is being organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

The Geological Societies of Glasgow and Edinburgh are offering unique opportunity for young Earth scientists to follow the journey of Hugh Miller in "The Cruise of the Betsey".

On 6 September 2014 Leader, a wonderful old Brixham Trawler built in 1892 (www.trinitysailing.org/vessels/leader/), will set sail from Oban heading north for the Small Isles in a one-week voyage in homage to Hugh Miller and his Hebridean tours, described in his classic book "The Cruise of the Betsey". The boat sleeps 19 people including 4 crew members, and will be filled with an inter-generational mix of geologists, geographers, artists, writers, ecologists, storytellers and historians (including a Gaelic speaker). The voyage will take the form of a mobile conference during which each participant will apply their own talents and interests in celebration of the achievements of Hugh Miller, and the landscapes, seascapes and cultural history of the Hebrides. The reward for the successful applicants will be to broaden and deepen their appreciation of Hebridean geodiversity, but also to gain new and probably unexpected perspectives on the geology, landscape and people of this beautiful sea-bound realm.

The Geological Societies of Glasgow and Edinburgh will fund up to four berths on the boat for young people (aged 16-30) studying Earth science, who have a research interest in the area or in a subject related to Hugh Miller, and a passion for sharing and communicating geology, landscape and/or Hebridean culture to a diverse audience.

Dates: Saturday 6 to Friday 12 September 2014; you will need to be in Oban ready for embarkation on the morning of Saturday 6th.

Costs: £500 per berth (including all food during the voyage) plus travel costs to/from Oban.

Grants from the two Geological Societies will meet most of these costs but you may be expected to make a modest contribution.

How to apply: Email Simon Cuthbert, Honorary Secretary, Geological Society of Glasgow for more details at simon.cuthbert@uws.ac.uk by 31 March 2014.