Wednesday, 22 December 2010

FrozenUK

Started a new Twitter stream yesterday to collate stories of the Big Freeze...

Follow @FrozenUK for the cold weather geographical digest... or add #FrozenUK to your tweets and I'll pick it up and add it when I get the chance...

There is more snow falling as I type this...

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Points of View

A new feature was added to the GA website yesterday, following discussions by the Website Editorial Board earlier in the year, and some great work by the web team.
You can now  JOIN THE CONVERSATION..
As a GA member, when you log in you will be able to add a comment to any page of the website and, if you have purchased an item from the GA shop, you can also add a STAR RATING and a comment. This will let us develop more of a community feel to the website (non GA members will have to wait for their comment to be moderated) and if you are logged in you can add an image to your profile.
I have added a comment to the page which contains my WINTER TEACHING IDEAS, so feel free to take a look at that and add your own thoughts...


The snow is falling again outside the window as I press PUBLISH POST...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

New IB Geography course from the GA...

The International Baccalaureate is being considered by a growing number of teachers as an alternative to more traditional courses.

IB Geography - Reflecting on the 'new' syllabus
This CPD course will help Post-16 teachers, both new and experienced, reflect upon the demands of the IB geography diploma programme.

The 'new' 2009–2017 syllabus will have completed its first cycle in the summer of 2011 and this one-day course will provide an excellent opportunity for teachers to reflect upon the first cycle and make plans for the next.

London - Friday 24 June 2011

Further details and online booking are available on the GA website

The course tutor is Richard Allaway, creator of the rather wonderful GEOGRAPHY ALL THE WAY website.

Google Earth 6

A new version of Google Earth was released recently: GOOGLE EARTH 6...
It includes millions of 3D trees, and other improvements, including better integration with Google Street View



Go to the AMAZON for example, and you can wander the jungle and explore some of the tree species in the rainforest... I'm sure we can come up with some ideas for using this in the geography classroom :)


And don't forget my Innovative Geography Teaching funded project from back in 2005...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

David Lambert at the SSAT Conference #nc10

David Lambert gave a keynote lecture to the 2010 SSAT annual conference on Friday 26 November. 
He addressed round 1500 school leaders on the question: are subjects in crisis? 
Obviously he focussed on geography and made some positive remarks about the recent White Paper The Importance of Teaching and its intention to recentre the school curriculum on 'knowledge'.

You can see a video of David's lecture on the SSAT website (take a look at Dylan Wiliam's session while you're there....)

The slides that David used (you might want to listen to the presentation while watching the slides, or put them side by side on the screen...) are available via SLIDESHARE... and have been embedded below...
November 2010 SSAT Presentation

View more presentations from GeoBlogs.

If you're snowbound today & your school is closed take a look...
Think of it as a little impromptu CPD

Friday, 19 November 2010

GA Conference Programme 2011

Geographical Association Conference & Exhibition 2011 Programme

This is the main event for geography teachers wanting to update their subject knowledge, and meet with colleagues...
Come and see Hans Rosling: the creator of Gapminder.

Monday, 25 October 2010

SAGT Conference 2010

Up to Glasgow for the last few days for the 6th consecutive SAGT conference, this year held in the city for the first of its 3 year residency.
The weather was mixed, and the journey up was not without its delays either, but the actual day of the event was bright and cold, and managed to get some nice pictures taken in the evening, as above - looking along the Clyde from the Crowne Plaza hotel and SECC.

My presentation was part of the overall conference programme, which included a number of familiar names from previous events, and from English geography circles...

I arrived the night before the conference, and over to Hutcheson's Grammar school via a jammed M8 to set up the GA stand. The school was a nice mix of ancient and modern, with a wonderful church for the keynotes. Our hotel was next to the SECC, and the Finnieston Crane and made my way back there eventually after various diversions to meet with Dan and Noel, and out for a meal with Val Vannet at the City Cafe, overlooking the Clyde and the Clyde Arc (or Squinty bridge as it is called - one for LOCATION LINGO there....)


The following day, over to the venue early and set up. Met lots of delegates for chat, Ken and Darren from the Ordnance Survey, who gave me lots of jute bags, and Paul from Mapseeker. John Hopkin: GA president for 2010-11 came up to do the fraternal greetings after the first inspiring keynote from Al Humphreys.

David Rogers, Noel Jenkins and Dan Raven Ellison were among the other seminar presenters, along with Ollie Bray, whose Hodder Gibson book also won an award. Good to see a few of my Twitter followers popping up as well, and gained a few more over the weekend.
Writing the earth

View more presentations from GeoBlogs.

My seminar presentation (or a version of it at least) is above.
Handouts included a copy of "Chop one red onion" from the PGCE Survival Guide, and a range of other resources and maps.
I also read one of Rob Hindle's poems from "Neurosurgery in Iraq".

SAGT Delegate Notes


After the 2 full seminars, it was a final keynote from Alun Morgan.

Earlier, I had collected two awards for the GA's publications:  COMMENDED awards to GCSE toolkit and TOP SPEC series...


Out into the sun for the evening, and over to the Granary with Kenny and Akiko for a pint and chat with Ollie.
Another good SAGT experience.
In the evening, did some photography with Noel along the river, and then food, after a 'mystery tour' of Govan....
The following morning it was a simple matter of scraping ice off the car, and a 350 mile drive south...

David Rogers has posted his seminar presentation on his blog already, along with a write--up... Will be blogging about his present later...

All pics by Alan Parkinson, and available on Flickr.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Institute of Education Seminar

The latest in the Engaging Geography series, which was originated by the late Duncan Fuller, and now organised by his great friend and colleague (and fellow Geography Collective member) Kye Askins is being held on Wednesday of this week at the Institute of Education.

Here are the details.
I shall be 'recording' as much of the events as I can to help with my nascent MA studies, and own professional development....
If there is phone reception, I shall be tweeting from the event too... some amazing speakers...


Date: 13th October 2010
Venue:
 Room 836, Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1 H 0AL 
Convenors: David Lambert (Geographical Association / Institute of Education) and John Morgan (Institute of Education)
Programme:
10.30: tea/coffee
11.00: Introduction to the day.
  • Introductions [10 mins]
  • David LambertDo we have to say what geography is? To whom? [10 mins]
11.20: Session one. ‘Setting the scene and whetting the appetite.’
  • Professor Alastair BonnettGeography in public. Geography as one of humanity’s big projects? [20 mins]
  • Dr Jessica Pykett: The public in geography. Can the public(s) be identified? (20 mins]
  • Discussion: [10 mins]
12.15: Lunch & informal discussion [Room 802: 30-40 mins]
1.00: Session two. ‘Particular settings and perspectives’.
Key elements and participants (10-15 minutes each, including questions) are as follows. Contributors are encouraged to provide specific instances, examples or case studies to illustrate or exemplify the points they wish to make.
2.30 pm Discussion: Michael Young: what is a Powerful Knowledge?
Michael Young is a distinguished Professor of Education at the Institute of Education. The disciplinary basis for his research is the sociology of knowledge, represented by two career spanning and important books:
Young, M. (1971) Knowledge and Control. London: Collier Macmillan.
Young, M. (2007) Bringing Knowledge Back In: From social constructivism to social realism in the sociology of education. London: Routledge.
Michael will provide a 20 minute input, possibly picking up on matters arising from the above, plus further time for questions.
3.15: Tea break
3.30: Session 3. ‘In what ways is geography a powerful knowledge to communicate, and to whom?’
1. Pairs or threes [40 mins]
Write down (in a form that can be left with the seminar organisers):
  • specific ways in which geography is a ‘powerful knowledge’
  • particular ‘publics’ who need access to geography as a powerful knowledge (and why)
2. Feedback-discussion, based on a ‘one-minute headlines’ from each group [30 mins]
4.40: Brief round-up and short break
5.00: Session 4. School Textbook Archive (with wine and nibbles)
Launch of the Geography School Textbook archive: a fully catalogued collection at the Institute of Education, assembled by donation and financial assistance from the Frederick Soddy Trust.
Opening up opportunities to study the ‘knowledge of the powerful’ and ‘powerful school curriculum knowledge’ in the context of school geography. With Ashley Kent, Emeritus Professor of geography Education and leader of the archive project.
6.00: Depart

Monday, 4 October 2010

Lobby your MP

The Geographical Association is asking geography teachers, and others with an interest in ensuring that geography keeps its place in the school curriculum, to lobby their MP.
The reasons for this are fairly clear, when one considers that there are many schools now which don't offer Geography at GCSE level, and there are also pressures on curriculum time lower down the school. At Primary, student experiences of geography are patchy, although there are many excellent schools, a growing number of which hold the Primary Geography Quality Mark as a way of celebrating their commitment.

Lobbying your MP sounds like it might involve a lot of hard work, but it actually takes just a few minutes.

Visit the GA's website page on LOBBYING YOUR MP.

Print off the letter that has been written as a template for you to use.
You might want to add your address, and also edit it to add your own thoughts.

You can also print out and include a copy of the latest document, written by John Hopkin and David Lambert.

Put it in an envelope - the address is on the website...
Then, importantly, please TELL US WHICH MP YOU HAVE CONTACTED so that we can keep a track of who has been suitable "lobbied"...
Thanks in advance for your support with this.

And by the way, it works...
I received a reply from my MP...

New Teaching Geography now available for download...

The latest issue of Teaching Geography is now available to download by those who subscribe to it....

It features a range of inspirational articles on the theme of place by Mark Jones, Eleanor Rawling, Becky Kitchen, Margaret Roberts and others...
Articles range from a teacher visit to Greenland, to the urban re-branding and renaissance of Scarborough...

To add a subscription to your GA membership, or to join (and gain access to the last five years of journals in electronic format) click the JOIN THE GA link.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Controlled Assessment Videos by Dave Holmes

2 great videos made by Dave Holmes.
The first is shot in London and provides some simple ideas for ethnographic fieldwork data collection.... "people watching"...



The second is particularly helpful.
It is a short video featuring Nick Blunsum: the Head of Geography at Kingsmead Community School



What's great is that Nick talks about the impact of going through the process of gaining the Geographical Association's Secondary Geography Quality Mark.

He talks about "evaluating what was good and developing areas that needed improvement" and also "giving back some of the control to students to stop the lessons being too teacher led..." - some good advice on controlled assessment too....

Thanks for sharing these Dave, and to @GeogAdviser for the tip off on Twitter....

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Microsoft Innovative Education Forum

You have a limited time to secure a place at the Microsoft UK Innovative Education Forum 2010


Following content is borrowed from David Rogers... (I could type it all out myself, but....)



The 7th Microsoft Innovative Education Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend and will look to address the theme of ‘Connecting Learners, Connecting Teachers.’
image
This forum aims to connect Teachers with Teachers, Educators with Educators. Allowing you to share expertise and learn from each other. Giving insights into how you can connect your students with technology and connect them with their learning.
This year the Forum is being held at the Hilton Deansgate Hotel in Manchester on the 30th Nov.
image
We have a packed agenda with Keynote speakers at the event will be the world renowned Prof. Sugata Mitra famous for his ‘Hole in the wall’ project and Michael Furdyk CEO of the young person’s online community , Taking IT Global.
In addition, Delegates will be able to choose from a range of practical workshops covering areas such as using free software and Web 2.0 technology, games based learning and managing innovation in schools.image
Workshop 1- TakingITGlobal - Mandeep Atwal, TIGed UK
Workshop 2- Outdoor learning & technology - David Rogers, The Geography Collective
Workshop 3- From the cloud to the classroom, making innovation stick! - Guy Shearer, Head Teacher, Lodge Park Technology College
Workshop 4- Creative use of technology in the classroom - Dan Roberts, saltash.net community school
Workshop 5- Office 2010 in the Classroom – Stuart Ball – Microsoft Partners in Learning
Workshop 6- Kodu Games based learning - Nicki Maddam, Hartsdown Technology College, Margate
Find out more details about each workshop here>>
What’s on your mind?
For the first time we are holding an Innovative Teacher Meet, 29 Nov. at 7:30pm
Join us for drinks, canap├ęs and a series of TeachMeet style pitches from leading teachers at Hilton’s vibrant Cloud 23 bar, providing 360-degree views of Manchester.
Share with like-minded teachers in a series of 3-minute open pitches.
Also, find out who are Microsoft’s 2010 Award-Winning Innovative Educators. The awards will be presented at this event, to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to The European Education Forum being held in Moscow next year. These project will be on display at the event.
Don’t miss out, register todayhttp://uk.partnersinlearningnetwork.com





image


I shall be there at the Teachmeet and also the main event...
See you there...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Cape Farewell: a voyage around Svalbard

The Cape Farewell voyages aim to bring a cultural response to the issue of Climate Change.

Previous voyages involved Anthony Gormley, and Rachel Whiteread, who was inspired to fill the turbine hall at Tate Modern with white cubes.

When teaching the now sadly ex-Pilot GCSE Geography course a few years back, I used the Cape Farewell pack that the Geographical Association produced.
The blog posts that relate to my studies of this EXTREME ENVIRONMENT are available by following THIS LINK to the blog: you'll see student work and a range of other resources which I hope you might still find useful...

The latest Cape Farewell expedition is going to follow the route shown on the map above, and it has JUST SET OFF... you can follow if for the next few weeks by visiting the CAPE FAREWELL WEBSITE, or following CAPE FAREWELL on TWITTER.

Monday, 6 September 2010

NQT Survival Kit now 'live' on the GA website

Welcome back to the new academic year !
I hope the first day is going well. My daughter started secondary school today, and my son a new primary school, so my educational adventure continues over 40 years since I first passed through the doors of my own first school: Northfield Lane Infants School, Wickersley.
For those starting school as a teacher for the first time, the GA has produced a new resource: an NQT SURVIVAL KIT.

If you know an NQT, please direct them to this resource: a lot of it is not 100% geography specific: it's just solid advice...

This is not a 'completed resource'. We would really appreciate any updates for the resource - send us your experiences, thoughts, ideas and tips for fellow colleagues who are starting out on their professional journey.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

David Lambert in the TES

Just caught up with the publication of a piece by Professor David Lambert in the TES, published on the 27th of August, while I was away on holiday. I saw the original piece, and haven't checked yet for any possible editing of the piece for publication. It was titled "Crack curriculum's core and open a world of opportunity"


If politicians want more focus on knowledge, subject teachers should decide what is crucial
The Government appears determined to reform the school curriculum again. This is something that some teachers may resist - it will appear as yet more change, when not enough time has been allowed for the last alterations to settle. And because of the return to "knowledge" as opposed to "skills", changes could be accompanied by much Gradgrind-sounding rhetoric about facts and old-fashioned subjects.
It could sound like a rush to restore a golden age of subjects past, and undo the curriculum reforms of the last government. However, if we can just stop dodging the imagined swinging pendulum for one minute, perhaps we can see a more progressive future, which is in teachers' hands. Teachers should seize this chance to get stuck into the knowledge question rather than collectively avoid it, which has in some ways been the story of recent times.
The professional language invented over the past 10 years is the language of pedagogy. This is no bad thing in itself, of course, but pedagogy has become so dominant that it is now confused with its apparently weaker cousin: curriculum. But it is the curriculum that teachers need to engage with.
At present, the subject curriculum is often referred to as the vehicle to "deliver" transferrable skills. This is wrong. It is pedagogy - the skills of doing and thinking - that is the vehicle. The curriculum is about the destination, the aims and goals, and is therefore a matter of serious moral deliberation.
Skills, on the other hand, are said to be value-free. But what shall we teach and how do we justify this? These are the important questions and they ought to be informed by what we think young people need to know.
The curriculum, like pedagogy, is about choices. It is, therefore, a part of what we have come to know as "professional judgment".
In the case of curriculum, the choices concern the selections of knowledge we try to teach. We make these selections according to principles we value, governed by our sense of educational purpose.
A curriculum shaped by whim, the topics in the news and contemporary themes of "relevance" - or, worse still, policy imperatives laid down by the Government - is likely to be incoherent, shallow and like junk food: deeply unsatisfying after the initial fat and sugar rush.
So this is why the subject disciplines matter. Geography is a good case in point. It is an ancient human fascination: its big idea is to try to make sense of ourselves at home on planet Earth. Mapping the world was, and is, fundamental. Today the project is augmented by all kinds of technologies including geographical information systems. But it is useful to consider for one moment what it means to know a bit of geography.
This is particularly important because these days, thanks to the internet and Google Earth, sat-nav and mobile phones, everyone knows some geography. Furthermore, we all have a geographical existence: we live somewhere, shop somewhere and have relatives and friends dotted around the globe.
This realisation has encouraged a lot of interest in "everyday geographies" - but again, let us pause for thought. Is our interest in everyday geographies curriculum-based or is it more a matter of pedagogy? Every teacher knows the strengths of working from the known and what is familiar to children - this is sound pedagogy. But in curriculum terms it is a betrayal not to move to the unknown and unfamiliar. Curriculum goals must be in the driving seat.
Part of the unknown for most young people consists of what is sometimes called "core knowledge", a component of our cultural literacy. This includes locational knowledge - also known as geographical facts, or what the Geographical Association's manifesto refers to as the subject's "vocabulary".
It is important to embrace this in school because this knowledge is not easily developed in everyday life. And yet, it is knowledge that helps make sense of information encountered in everyday life. It helps us function in society. If there is a move to identify subject essentials, or core knowledge, let us engage with it at face value. Instead of shrinking from the curriculum debate, it is time for teachers to take back intellectual responsibility for their work.
- The Geographical Association manifesto is at: www.geography.org.uk/adifferentview
HOW DOES 'CORE KNOWLEDGE' FIT IN GEOGRAPHY?
The good news is that absolutely necessary core knowledge is not a large component of the geography curriculum. It can be taught via the regular use of atlases, occasional quizzes and other enjoyable and simple devices that form part of the repertoire of careful teaching.
It can be thought of as the extensive knowledge base upon which more intensive geographical case studies and inquiries can acquire deeper contextual meaning. To illustrate: can we really expect to be able to engage with global climate change meaningfully, without a mental framework that would include naming the oceans and some of the world's ocean currents? Without such knowledge, we are literally disabled to some degree.
We can incorporate it, as many careful geography teachers already do, into the broader geography curriculum. Geographical vocabulary is powerful, but so, too, is its grammar or syntax captured by its key ideas such as place, space and environment.
A person growing up in the 21st century as a global citizen (and all that implies) is at a disadvantage without geographical knowledge - economically, culturally and politically. How can we make any of the personal decisions that already confront us every day about energy, food and water security without geographical knowledge?
Understanding geographical perspectives contributes to our capabilities as educated individuals and members of society.
Professor David Lambert, Chief executive of the Geographical Association

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Google Earth Weather Forecasting

When I taught weather with Key Stage 3 pupils, I used to use a Met Office pack which had some outline maps of the UK, and some reusable stickers with weather symbols on. It's still available for sale from the MET OFFICE shop for £15.

Students could be video/audio recorded standing in front of the board, to which the map was 'blue-tac'ed (is that a word ?)

Some colleagues used a 'green screen' setting on their camcorder and a tarpaulin from B&Q to rig up a more professional studio style effect.

Noel Jenkins produced a neat web based solution on his Juicy Geography website.

Now this can be done using a website based on GOOGLE EARTH...

I tried it out and it's a really neat tool that I'm sure I would use if teaching about weather forecasting and the way that the information is collated and presented.
Symbols are dragged onto the UK map, which can be re-sized and positioned accordingly, as in the example above. A large range of symbols is included, and they are satisfyingly large and clear. A LOGO can also be added e.g. a school crest or departmental 'logo' of some kind.

Once this has happened, pressing a button marked PRESENT THE FORECAST will start a Google Earth tour which mimics the slow pan across the country in various directions that the BBC uses in their forecast...


Saturday, 21 August 2010

Researchers in Residence

I mentioned this scheme earlier.
It is designed to link academics with teachers.
I am grateful to Nanasha Oyofo for passing on this report of an example...
If you like the sound of this project, the details of how to potentially get involved are included at the bottom of the blog post.

Sustainability in sport: a geographical analysis

The world cup and 2012 Olympics were used by a researcher in residence to link the geography curriculum to real-life situations, and enrich teaching even further at Cardiff High School. The project was part of a UK-wide scheme that is looking for geography teachers to host enthusiastic researcher scientists.

The scheme, Researchers in Residence (RinR), funded by RCUK and the Wellcome Trust places geography researchers in schools to enrich 11-19 year old classes. ….

With anticipation high prior to the 2010 World Cup, Lesley Williams, Geography teacher at Cardiff High, was inspired to host a researcher who could apply their technical expertise to a sport themed study, sourced through the Researcher in Residence scheme.

“I wanted to improve links with Cardiff University and to tap into a nearby pool of experts who could add so much to the curriculum and our students’ learning experience”, Lesley explains.

“One specific goal was to highlight to the students the real world application of elements of their geography study, through the sustainability in sporting events project for example.”

The placement…

RinR regional coordinators matched Lesley with Dr Andrea Collins, a social science researcher from BRASS[1], whose research involves assessing the environmental impacts of sport and major events. Working in consultation with Lesley, Andrea developed a range of engagement activities that would enable pupils to think creatively about the negative impacts big events can have on the environment and how they could be reduced. Andrea explains, “my placement was spent with Year 9 pupils and teaching staff from the Geography Department.

The Stadium is one of London 2012’s venues for the Olympic Games.

My placement involved; contributions to classroom sessions on ‘London 2012 Olympics and Sustainability’ and ‘Greening Events’. Judging a poster competition on ‘Making Big Events more Sustainable’, and organising an educational tour of Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

The year-long poster competition involved students creating a promotional poster highlighting the issue of sustainability in sporting events and recommending preventative measures that could be taken to reduce environmental damage. Winners of the poster competition went on a bespoke tour of Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium, that included a talk from the stadium’s environmental manager on the different measures taken at the grounds to make games more sustainable.

Many of the in-class activities Andrea developed encouraged students to use their creativity, problem-solving and reasoning skills to find solutions and fully grasp the subject matter of the project.

Groups of students worked together to create mock ‘bids’ for the 2012 Olympic games and presented their ideas to the rest of the class. They were also tasked with evaluating the 2004 FA Cup in Cardiff, an exercise that involved analysing past data on visitor numbers, modes of transport and food consumption relating to the event. Following an initial analysis, students then recommended measures event organisers could have put in place to limit the environmental impact of the event.

Suggestions included care sharing, advance travel planning and the use of ‘combi’ tickets, (tickets that are redeemable on public transport as well as grant access to the stadium).

Interactive activities like a poster competition and visit to Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium provided a context and stimulus that students could use to apply the concepts they were learning about in class. Such activities required students to appreciate the many factors incumbent in organising large scale events and the precautions that must be taken in order to mitigate their environmental impact.

Conclusion

On reflection, all parties involved in the placement have noted specific benefits gained as a result of the experience. Andrea notes, It [the placement] forced me to think hard about the best way to communicate my research to that particular target group. I developed a range of teaching activities to engage pupils at an individual and group level, and I plan to use these in future public engagement activities.”

According to Lesley, both the students and staff at Cardiff High benefited markedly from the experience. “The children have certainly benefited. The prize which Andrea arranged was wonderful and the powerpoint presentations based on her research were most informative. The project on sustainability in sporting events was educationally valid and relevant given that when we started it in school, the World Cup was just beginning - allowing students to explore the impacts of such big events.

This fed nicely into the London 2012 Olympics and given our proximity to one of the Olympic venues, the Millennium Stadium, the work took on even greater significance. It was definitely worthwhile and demonstrated the relevance of geography in our everyday lives thus also promoting the subject.

It was a valuable and enjoyable project which has enhanced the experience of our students and was excellent for my own professional development.

It has been a superb experience and I would certainly repeat it.

Lesley’s advice to prospective teachers/schools interested in hosting a researcher…

“Teachers need to bear in mind that the subject specialisms of researchers should enhance the taught curriculum at key stage 3 or the examinations syllabus at GCSE , AS or A2. / The teacher needs to check that the work is relevant at the outset, therefore maximising the potential impact of collaboration for all stakeholders.

To apply to Researchers in Residence or for more information on hosting a researcher, call 0845 365 7470 or visit www.researchersinresidence.ac.uk



[1] Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society centre

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Hans Rosling at GA Conference 2011

There was some exciting news earlier this week !


Hans Rosling is the Director of the Gapminder Foundation, and produced one of the most exciting tools for geographers in recent times: GAPMINDER (now in a desktop version too)

Thanks in part to some work by our colleague Bob Lang earlier in the year, it is now confirmed that Hans will be doing the keynote lecture at the Geographical Association's conference at the University of Surrey in Guildford in April 2011.

One for your diaries: for the chance to see Hans in action - get a flavour of his presentations by watching this TED TALK.

Online booking for the conference is available next week!

GA members get substantial discounts!
Full time and PGCE students get FREE registration!
Delegate fees have been frozen to 2009 levels !

Follow the GA on Twitter (@The_GA) with the hashtag: #gaconf11

This year, the conference will also be raising money for ACTION AID: the President's chosen charity.

Monday, 16 August 2010

New GA Merchandise

You can now show your appreciation of all things geographical by shopping at the new

The shop is organised through CafePress, and each item is individually manufactured and shipped.

Get in touch if you want to suggest other items, or colours in addition to those that we have already added.
I have just done some shopping of my own, and will post a picture of myself in my new GA shirt once it arrives...

#pgcetips (not PG tips)

A few months ago, Tim Handley, a PGCE student at UEA hosted the first Teachmeet in East Anglia, and also started to collate tips for fellow PGCE tips using the hashtag #pgcetips

A few months later, with the help of a range of people, he collated these into an e-book.


It can be downloaded, or a hard copy can be purchased via Lulu for just £6.91

I was delighted to contribute an article on Curriculum making to the book.

I recommend that you follow Tim as he undertakes his NQT year in a Norfolk primary school. Tim's blog makes good reading as he reflects on his educational journey.

And if you, like Tim, finished your PGCE year last year you may be interested in 3 regional events that we are going to be running in March 2011.
They are going to be designed specifically for NQT Geographers.
You'll spend the day working with me on a range of projects and workshops designed to get you up and running for the first phase of your career....
More details on the GA website soon...

Every child matters, and so does every geography teacher...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Invention of Geography

I have said before (and also used it as part of my Chartered Geographer update evidence last year) my job is like having 365 days of CPD a year...

I learn things every day from the people I work with, and who get in touch with us. When I'm being asked questions all the time, or asked to present a session on something that I need to be authoritative about, it's a challenge. This requires a lot of reading, and an attempt to keep on top of a huge amount of new thinking on curriculum and pedagogy.

Here is a piece of imaginative writing by my colleague Ben Major, who works on our website, and other projects. It imagines a world where geography had not been "invented"...

The Invention of Geography

Let us know what you think of Ben's piece...

Friday, 16 July 2010

Google Earth 4 Degrees

A very exciting new Google Earth layer was launched this week.
The layer has been produced in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and shows information about a possible 4 degree rise in temperature

A range of YOUTUBE videos are available for use with the layer.
The Tyndall Centre were involved in its creation...

Don't forget the Teachers TV programmes which I was involved in, which has a focus on a poem looking at various degrees of warming and the potential impact on the UK.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

CPD Survey from the GA


The GA is carrying out a CPD survey with regard to its CPD offerings for next year.
Please go along and spare a couple of minutes of your time to let us shape our courses and other materials for the year ahead. What are your priorities ? What do you want from us ?

Be careful what you wish for, you could end up spending the day with me...

I look forward to a whole range of new venues and events for 2010-11 !

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Dad's gone to Iceland....

New life pushing up through the ash deposits from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano: image by Val Vannet, taken last week

After many years of waiting, it seems like I will finally be going to Iceland later this year.
I will be accompanying teachers on an inspection visit to Iceland in October 2010.

The visit is organised by the Brighton based company TRAVELBOUND

Download an itinerary HERE (PDF download) and I might have the chance to spend a few days with you exploring and curriculum making...
Some of the places that are here are on the lists of places that must be seen when visiting Iceland...
  • Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik
  • Hekla
  • Solheimajokull Glacier trek
  • Kerid Crater and Thingvellir National Park
  • Reykjavik
  • Geysirs and waterfalls
  • Hellishollar
Why not request a copy of the brochure, or visit the Travelbound website to find out more.
If you'd like to come on the inspection visit, the price is £199, and you will need to do the following:

Contact James Walker on: 01273 265 266 for details.

I will be blogging the whole process of preparing for the visit, as well as creating an online home for a range of curriculum making resources. One outcome will be a unit for KS3 with the title (N)ICELAND ICELAND....
Currently exploring the workings of WORDPRESS to create the new blog, which is now available to view (although there's not much there yet) at (N)ICELAND ICELAND.

If you have been to Iceland and would like to contribute to the new blog in any way, please get in touch.
Special thanks to Val Vannet for the use of her excellent images....