Thursday, 24 December 2009

SafeShare TV

SafeShare TV is a useful site, as it allows you to view YouTube videos without the distraction of seeing the comments and other related clutter, and also to crop the videos...

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Literacy in Geography

... then I'll begin this post...

One dark morning, a middle aged man got up at 6am so that he could set off to drive 80 miles south to the Suffolk coast and arrive in plenty of time to work with some teachers from the county. He was going to spend the first 90 minutes of a Geography conference to talk to 40 colleagues about Literacy in Geography and Geography through Literacy...."

Was there a happy ending ? Read on to find out...

The presentation that I used on the day is available from SLIDESHARE, and is embedded below...
View more presentations from GeoBlogs.
Thanks to James Woolven for adding the various resources to the Suffolk Geography page of the Suffolk Learning Hub....

On the day, I also gave an update on GA projects. There was a range of other sessions: Colin Breeze presented a session on the work he had been doing on the flooding of 2007, and shared a comprehensive range of activities on the theme of flooding.
Also heard a useful phrase from the Suffolk Advisor for Humanities: Dale Banham.
He used the phrase "iceberg questions" - will come back to those in a later post...

For the same session, I asked my Twitter network to tell me about a book which they thought had excellent descriptions of LANDSCAPE. These were the results of the consultation....
Tynemouth – Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native" – Egdon Heath

Isle of Islay – Iain Banks' "Espedair Street", Ferguslie Park, Paisley

London – "Bone People" – Kerry Hulme

Bedfordshire – "Waterland" – Graham Swift - description of the Fens

Newcastle – Wainwright’s Guides to SW Lakes

Portsmouth – "Touching the Void" – Joe Simpson – mountain landscapes

Sheffield – "Jamaica Inn" – Daphne du Maurier – moorland in Cornwall

W. Midlands – "Sunset Song" – Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Brighton – Sebastian Faulks – "Birdsong" and "Charlotte Gray"

Ipswich – "Around Ireland with a Fridge"

Ashford, Kent – Paul Theroux – "The Great Railway Bazaar"

Scotland - "The Lord of the Rings"

On the same morning, David Rogers was using John Davitt's Learning Event Generator to work with students on the Copenhagen Climage change conference, and challenged them to create some Army chats, which he then shared through Twitpic...

Thanks to Dale Banham and all the delegates and presenters for their work on the day.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Assessment at KS3 - what do we think of it so far ?

Rubbish... as Eric Morecambe used to say...

Have been preparing a session on ASSESSMENT at KS3 for a CfBT event in Norfolk Heritage Park in Sheffield.
A timely report in the newspapers laments the "poor quality of exams" in the UK compared to other locations. At least at KS3, students should be having a more positive experience, so that they don't equate assessments with 'TESTS' and lots of writing...

The Telegraph article has more detail...

Below is an edited version of the presentation I am using..

Update: Many thanks to John Lyon for stepping in to run the session for me at the last minute

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Google Earth Survey Results

A recent survey conducted on behalf of Digital Explorer shows that Google Earth has a significant positive impact on teaching and learning.
The survey was sent out to 481 geography teachers across the UK who had attended Google Earth training courses.
80% of respondents noted an increase in pupil attainment and their understanding of geography since using Google Earth in the classroom.
Similarly, 80% stated that their pupils were more engaged and 90% were likely or very likely to recommend Google Earth as a teaching tool.
“These figures are fantastic and back up what we have heard from teachers anecdotally,” commented Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop. “When we first started using Google Earth and training other teachers, we thought it was an amazing way to engage young people in environmental and global issues and we now have the evidence to back that up.”
Digital Explorer first used Google Earth on an expedition to Morocco in 2006 and since then has trained over 500 teachers to use Google Earth on their own field trips and in the classroom. The software has the ability to make “international learning more real” and “brings the wider world into the classroom” according to teacher comments as part of the survey. Others mention that they “can’t use it enough” and through it “geography is made more accessible and personal”. However, teachers also highlighted that school networks and ICT infrastructure can be a barrier to the widespread use of technologies like Google Earth in the classroom.
“I loved the Digital Explorer training and was full of ideas when I came back to school. The number one factor holding me back is the school network. Images loaded into Google Earth do not load in time and if I put a class on Google Earth it grinds to a halt. All very sad! I have high hopes for better results when we get a new school!” explained one course participant.

The survey was designed and conducted by Sandy Beatty of Sandy Beatty Services Ltd on behalf of Digital Explorer. 481 survey invitations were delivered to the email addresses of the participants of Digital Explorer Google earth training courses held between January 2007 and July 2009.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from:

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Quality Geography Conferences

Work included in portfolio for Quality Mark submission...

There are two events planned for March. For more details see the GA WEBSITE.

Booking now available...

Leszek Iwaskow, Ofsted's National Adviser for Geography, will open these conferences with his view on quality geography that challenges and supports student learning. Quality geography aims for both excellence and enjoyment. These conferences provide the opportunity to discuss and develop what we mean by 'quality geography' in both the primary and secondary phases.

Central London - Tuesday 2 March 2010
Sheffield - Tuesday 9 March 2010

About the Conferences
The overarching strength of the Quality Mark is its capacity to act as an effective 'lever of change' for the development of geography in schools and these conferences for KS1, 2 and 3 will explore the nature, effects and impact of the Geography Quality Marks.The conferences will identify elements of quality geography exemplified through work from Quality Mark schools, and will look in detail at how schools can prepare for, work towards and achieve the Quality Marks.You will take away ideas and materials to use in your school, receive a certificate of attendance and if you use the ideas from the conference in your school you will be eligible to receive a Certificate recognising Professional Development. This can help you work towards a TLA stage 1 or Geography Quality Mark.
Aims and outcomes
The outcomes of the conferences include raised understanding of:what quality geography looks like in practicehow Ofsted arrive at an 'Outstanding' judgement when undertaking geography subject inspectionshow to achieve the top Quality Mark awards in your school

Leszek Iwaskow - National Adviser for Geography, Ofsted
Wendy North and Paula Owens - GA Primary Curriculum Project Leaders
Justin Woolliscroft - GA Secondary Geography Quality Mark Co-ordinator

Teachers already participating in the Primary and Secondary Geography Quality Mark schemes will also lead workshops and share how they have supported and developed quality geography in their schools.


09:15-09:45 Coffee and registration
09:45-10:15 Keynote Address
Quality Geography: Challenging and supporting student learning
Leszek Iwaskow, Ofsted's National Adviser for Geography
10:15-10:30 Refreshment break
10:30-12:30 Phase-group workshop
12:30-13:15 Lunch
13:15-15:00 Phase-group workshop
15:00-15:30 Next steps
15:30 Close