Sunday, 18 December 2011

Normal service will be resumed in 2012...

I'm going to take a couple of weeks away for Christmas (although I probably won't be able to resist blogging if something important happens between now and the 1st of January 2012.)

I'm going to be doing one or two things over Christmas as well as enjoying the festive cheer

  • Writing a GCSE book
  • Completing a major resource pack for the Ordnance Survey
  • Planning out a Children's book I'm going to be writing
  • Preparing for CPD events in the New Year
  • Writing some Online Updates for Harper Collins
  • Edits and proofreading for 2 books I'm editing that are published in early 2012
  • Adding new content to my Vital Geography Portal
  • Preparing some thoughts for new Curriculum consultation
  • Putting together some ideas for Mission:Explore Food

On 1st of January I'll be back with various New Year thoughts...

Please join me on the 5th of January for my Teachshare on New Year New Geography

It'd be great to have your company at 7pm with your plans for the year ahead for New Year New Geography, and if you are tweeting your plans, please use the tag #nyng

Thanks to Rich Allaway for his early contribution to the tag.

Thanks to everyone who's employed me during 2011, or visited this blog and contributed in some way.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Moorland Ecology

I worked on a range of projects for the Royal Geographical Society a few months back, and the final pieces of the project that I contributed have now gone live on the RGS website.

They were part of the Goldsmith's funded FROM THE FIELD project.

The latest module which I contributed was for the KS4 series, and is on the theme of MOORLAND ECOLOGY. It explores the process of moorland regeneration, and its link with the ecology that is needed to make the regrowth productive.

It's worth remembering that all the resources from the Geography Teaching Today website have now been migrated to either the RGS or the GA websites, depending on which organisation was responsible for producing the original content.

If you're after the excellent KS3 RESOURCES they are available here on the RGS website.

If you're after the FIELDWORK resources they're here on the RGS website.

Thanks to Rose Wilcox, PhD researcher from the University of Hull for her guidance and support on the From the Field project and images, and thanks to John Lyon for the images that he contributed to the project as well.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Mary Portas Review: Saving the High Street ?

Regular readers of the blog will know that I have an interest in the changing fortunes of town centres and have written various posts on Clone Towns, Rebranding and other projects to revitalise town centres as they face competition from out of town retail parks and the rise of online shopping.

This was also part of the 'A' level specification that I used to teach, and some ancient resources from the Cambridge Urban Field Day that we used to run are available via the link.
I also started a Flickr Group called The Disappearing High Street some years ago, and several kind photographers have contributed their images to join mine.

Mary Portas, who has featured in a number of recent TV programmes looking at changing the fortunes of retail businesses, was asked earlier in the year to explore the ways that the fortunes of the High Street could be turned round. The report was published this morning....

There is also a free KS3 resource that you can obtain from the Harper Collins website that I wrote on the changes that have taken place in the High Street: "Shop, or they start to drop". This would sit well with the report, and also the diagram opposite, which is taken from the report.
While you're there, why not subscribe to the other monthly online updates which I'm writing ?

What is important is that they are 'vital and viable'.

The report is now live on Mary Portas' website, or click here to download as a PDF (1.9 Mb)

There are 28 ideas to explore with students, who can research them, and suggest how successful they might be in your local town centre.

Right, I'm off to Tesco Extra....

Sunday, 11 December 2011

VITAL Geography Teachshares

Check over at Living Geography for the details on my Teachshares for this term and listen to the replay.

Sign up for the Geography portal.

Join me on the 13th for one on revision, and follow my new Twitter feed @VitalGeography

Monday, 5 December 2011

Culture: the latest Digital Explorer site...

I've been working with Jamie Buchanan Dunlop over the last few months, adding some new resources to the OCEANS DIGITAL EXPLORER website.

The Digital Explorer empire is now expanding to CULTURAL matters, linking in with the idea of Citizenship and (as always) a link with real world exploration.

Check out the new CULTURAL WEBSITE which has some superb resources.

The FILMS and PHOTOS section looks like being an amazingly useful resource for exploring Citizenship issues.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

New Story Cubes

Regular readers of the blog will know of my love of Rory's Story Cubes. I use these in  my CPD sessions, and link them in with the creation of geographical narratives: geography as 'writing the earth'.
The latest set of cubes is now available to purchase from the Creativity Hub website, and will be in shops in the UK in a few weeks time.
Story Cubes Voyages is a whole new set of dice for story-telling which can be used in combination with the previous sets, or by themselves...

My cubes are on order...

Monday, 28 November 2011

New GeoPacks resource and CD

For over a year now I've been getting regular e-mails from Rick Cope and Mark Hacklett at GeoPacks - creators of the excellent COASTAL MANAGER  software - to tell me about the latest free resource that they've shared.

If you want to catch up with the freebies that they've made available, there's now an excellent Resource CD which will get you right up to speed.
It's available for £12 from GeoPacks. Follow the link to find out more.

Make sure you SIGN UP to receive a regular free resource update too.

Follow the link to FREE STUFF from the home page.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

GA Conference 2012

The programme for the GA conference 2012 is now available to download as a PDF from the GA website.
The conference runs from the 12th to the 14th of April 2012.

I will be attending on the 12th and 13th of April, so come and say hello if you see me.

As you'll see when you read it, I am featured on the 13th of April...

If you want the cheapest price, book your place in the next 5 weeks to make sure that you get the best rates. Some personal highlights for me, after a quick browse through the list...

12th April

Public Lecture
Free of charge
Novelist Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Two Caravans, and We Are All Made of Glue, will present the free Public Lecture on 12 April.

13th April

Workshop (IT) 3
Instant computers: mobile devices in the classroom
Dr Andrew Lee, Head of Juniors, St Paul's School, London
The iPad and iPod offer a wide range of tools available for the geographer to conduct geographical enquiries and to record geographical phenomena during field expeditions, on their journeys to school or on holiday. What are these tools, how do they work and how might the be used?

Reporting Research
The residential fieldtrip experience: a sensory ethnography
Nick Gee, Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of East Anglia

Workshop (IT) 9
Controlled assessment with AEGIS
Diana Freeman, Director, Advisory Unit and Helen Young, Teacher, The Friary School, Lichfield
This workshop will demonstrate methods and examples of using AEGIS, GIS for Schools, to
improve controlled assessment opportunities and outcomes for students: covering preparation, fieldwork, data gathering, presentation and analysis for successful portfolio submissions. Participants will receive a free CD with guidance to take away. Sponsored by the Advisory Unit

Lecture Plus 3
Learning 'live' online - the benefits
David Holmes, Education Consultant; John Lyon, Programme Director, Geographical Association; and Bob Digby, Consultant
Ths GA has launched a series of live online CPD sessions, run by expert tutors, bringing up-to-date interactive learning into your department meetings or home. Sdeveral people can share one terminal, bringing the costs of high-quality learning down. This session shows how you might experience it

Double Workshop (IT) 13
Investigating inequality using GIS
Bob Lang, Member, GA ICT Special Interest Group and Andy Newing, Member, GA ICT Special Interest Group
This workshop will use online GIS and visualisation packages to investigate inequality at a variety of scales.
Delegates will take ideas away to use in their teaching. No prior knowledge of GIS is required.
Presented by GA ICTSIG

Reporting Research
The uses of Twitter for geography teachers/students
Jennifer Watts, Postgraduate Researcher, University of Manchester
See separate Reporting Research document for full details

Lecture Plus 5
Geomedia in secondary education
Alan Parkinson, Consultant and John Lyon, Programme Director, Geographical Association and Dr Michael Solem, 
Educational Affairs Director, Association of American Geographers
This lecture will show the work of the project in promoting the use of geomedia, i.e. working with spatial information such as digital maps and photos, videos and texts. Geomedia plays a role in analysing and solving spatial problems so it is important that students become familiar with the technologies.
Sponsored by

Lecture 13
Five countries – all you need for IB Geography?
Richard Allaway, IB Geography Teacher, International School of Geneva
The IB Geography syllabus recommends that case studies should be 'chosen from a limited number of countries (between three and five) of contrasting levels of development'.  Can it be done? Should it be done? This lecture will outline how case studies from five countries could be used to teach the course, including three optional themes. Sponsored by International Baccalaureate Organisation

Pity this clashes with my lecture !

Workshop 18
Explore with guerrilla geography!
Ruth Potts, Geography and History Co-ordinator, Sacred Heart RC School, Blackburn  
Find out about practical ways to use the 'Mission Explore' books and see them come alive! Help your children
become involved with missions from the books or website in a fun and exciting way, and develop their
geography knowledge and team-building skills. Be prepared to join in!
In partnership with The Geography Collective

Pity this clashes with my lecture !

Workshop (IT) 20
Making the most of Digimap for Schools
Ken Lacey, Assistant Education Manager, and Darren Bailey, Assistant Education Manager, Ordnance Survey
This workshop will give you hands-on experience of using Digimaps for Schools and show you how to get the most from this award-winning online resource. With a wide range of Ordnance Survey maps at your fingertips, it will enrich learning experiences in geography and many other subjects. In partnership Ordnance Survey

Double Workshop 19
Anything I can do, you can do better
Emma Johns, Head of Geography, Hitchin Girls' School
If you've ever thought 'there's a better way of doing this' then this workshop is for you!  You'll take part in
competing lessons to explore different ways of teaching the same content. Delegates will leave with a range of ideas ready to use in the classroom. Presented by GA SPC

And amazingly these two as well - it's as if they're saving the best sessions for the end of the day :)

Workshop (IT) 22
Multimedia geography through Google Earth
Paul Cornish, Head of Geography, Coopers Company & Coborn School, Upminster
This practical workshop will show you simple ways to transform your use of Google Earth through the
embedding of video, photographic and other multimedia resources in order to display data from fieldwork,
produce interactive lessons or design virtual fieldtrips.

There's plenty more on the 14th as well, but that's my daughter's birthday....

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

VItal Teachshare: Google Earth Placemarks

My next VITAL Teachshare will be on Wednesday the 16th of November (that's tomorrow if you're reading this today) at 7pm.
It's on ways of customising Google Earth Placemarks...

Click THIS LINK just before 7 to join me. You'll need to allow the download of the plug-in to handle the Elluminate session, which will then allow you to see and hear me, and to take part.

Don't forget to check the KEYHOLE BULLETIN BOARD to get the full range of layers and files shared by  Google Earth users. Use the SEARCH function to unearth the goodness....

This will be my little contribution to WORLD GIS DAY, which is taking place tomorrow, as part of GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS WEEK.

What are you doing for World GIS Day ? 
Why not add a touch of GIS to your teaching tomorrow...

Monday, 14 November 2011

UKEDCHAT Web tools...

Thursday night at 8pm is the regular UKEDCHAT slot.

Each week focuses on a different aspect of education.

A really useful set of tools has been developed as part of a recent discussion on web tools....
Visit and see what you can use...

GA NQT Conference

This Thursday I will be leading a day for NQT Geographers, organised by the Geographical Association.
The delegates and myself, will meet up at the MIC in London.

There are 3 sessions on the day, and a lot of ideas and discussions to get through... plus the usual fine lunch that the MIC provides.
And a pint afterwards at the Bree Louise if you have the time...

Don't forget to check this blog and LIVING GEOGRAPHY for plenty of ideas for NQTs and those more experienced colleagues...

GA members can still access the NQT Survival Pack that I wrote ready for the start of the last academic year.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Teachshare 3: Writing on the Map

The VITAL Teachshares are part of the VITAL Geography Portal which I am managing for the next few months.
The third of my Teachshare sessions is going to take place at 7pm on Tuesday the 8th of November.
Follow this link to access the room. You can sign in a few minutes before the session starts as there are a few bits of software that needs to be prepared before you can get access to the Elluminate session.
Also check the link to the PORTAL and sign up for a free 30 day trial, or pay five quid to access up to 3 subject-specific portals.

The session will look at ideas for literacy in Geography, and be a warm-up gig for Friday, when I will be doing a longer session at Earlston High School in the Scottish Borders for teachers from the region.

Writing the Earth is an area with great potential - there are plenty of cool tools to use....

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

VITAL: Geography Teachshare 1 - Tonight

I will be running my first VITAL Teachshare TONIGHT

It's on 'FREE GIS TOOLS for the Geography Classroom' and introduces the basics of GIS followed by 3 suggested websites which can be used to produce GIS-style work with students.

If you'd like to join me, you'll need to click this link just before 7pm

This will load up Elluminate on your machine which may take a few minutes....

For those who haven't been to an online session before, you'll be able to hear and see me going through a presentation and then have a chance to discuss things. You can ask question and I might ask you to click some icons to participate... You'll get the hang of it...

We should be finished by 7.45, but you can of course feel free to join later and leave earlier if you like: that's the 'benefit' of online sessions like this. Slides and links will be on Slideshare after the event.

If you haven't already done so, head over to VITAL and sign up for a free trial for the Geography portal too...

Check out the other subject portals too. For just five quid you can subscribe to 3 of them until March 2012 and access videos, forums, resources, Top Tips and other content.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

I'm excited to be starting a new part-time post working for the Open University's VITAL CPD programme next week. A series of subject specific portals have started to open, and next week sees the launch of the Geography Portal, which I shall be managing.

As part of the launch, I shall be leading a Teachshare next Wednesday at 7pm (there will be 2 of these each month, sometimes more)

The subject will be FREE GIS FOR THE GEOGRAPHY CLASSROOM and I will show 3 websites which can be used to carry out GIS type work in the geography department.

This will be held via the Elluminate service. The link to join the event is HERE.
It's a little like a FLASH meeting or ADOBE connect, for those who are familiar with those.

The cost of accessing up to 3 of the subject-specific portals between now and the end of March 2012 is just five pounds, which has to be a bargain considering the geography-specific support that the portal will offer....

I shall be doing the following each month:
- holding at least 2 Teachshare meetings
- posting Top Tips for Geography teachers, which will include resources and other tip-offs
- a moderated Geography forum, where you can join in discussions on pedagogy and curriculum topics
- producing 4 x 10 minute video guides to a particular website or technique that would be useful in the geography classroom
- keeping up to date with the geography news

There will also be other Geography features added over time...

Hope to see you there next week !

Wednesday, 5 October 2011 now LIVE !

I've just completed my first mission on the relaunched Mission which is now live in BETA
It's called the DEAD EASY MISSION
Come and login and find out what it involves...
It's worth it to go and see Tom Morgan Jones' latest wonderful illustrations...

Just going to do some missions at home...

Coincidentally my EARTH SANDWICH Mission Explore t-shirt arrived today - it's cool.

Why not order your own MISSION EXPLORE shirt to wear while completing the MISSION EXPLORE missions ?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Subject Knowledge Update: Globalisation

The RGS-IBG hold regular subject updates for topics that are of relevance to 'A' level topics in particular.

I mentioned a previous one on water, and will actually be leading one in 2012 on the theme of the Polar regions (of which more to come later...)

There will be a subject update on the theme of Globalisation held in Manchester on the 5th of December 2011. This will be useful for those who would find it difficult travelling to London.

Subject Knowledge Updates are a series of evening sessions each focusing on a different theme, covering the basic information for teaching that topic and providing up to date case study material and resources. The next session in this series looks at Globalisation.
The DfE Schools White Paper 2010 The importance of Teaching highlights a need for subject knowledge to
be included in CPD: “It is also vital that we give teachers the opportunity to deepen their subject
knowledge and renew the passion which brought them into the classroom”.

This Globalisation Subject Knowledge Update will:
 Provide up to date and new case study material and information.
 Give an overview of the key facts and information that should be highlighted when teaching 
 Help teachers who have not taught globalisation for a while, or never studied it, to teach it 
effectively and confidently.
 Provide some resources and case studies for you to take away for use at KS3, KS4 and KS5.
 Encourage enthusiasm to teach globalisation and give ideas of how to link it with other topics and 

About the session
Globalisation is now a core element for some of the new geography A-level Specifications and the
International Baccalaureate diploma course. It is increasingly a highly popular A2 option for those boards
where it is not a compulsory topic. But thanks to the fast-changing nature of global interactions, it is
difficult for students and teachers to always keep up to date with their facts and case studies. Some new
course text books published in 2008 do not mention the Credit Crunch for instance, yet this is a crucial new development that some experts have even called ‘de-globalisation.’  Effective globalisation teaching for higher grades also requires that students can make good use of important concepts – such as networks, flows, interconnectedness – and that they also have a good understanding of the politics, and not just the economics, of globalisation. This session will provide experienced and newer geography teachers with an opportunity to up-date their globalisation knowledge. Specific themes covered will include TNCs updates, cultural globalisation (glocalisation), global politics, ICT and global interactions (mobiles, Facebook, BlackBerry, etc.), diaspora, global production networks and Credit Crunch geography.
About the presenter
Dr Simon Oakes is an A-level Principal Examiner and Chief Examiner for IB Diploma Programme geography.He currently teaches at Bancroft’s School in Essex and is an experienced undergraduate lecture. He has been the lead writer of the Royal Geographical Society’s ‘Geography in the News’ website since 2003, authoring more than 120 articles. Simon is an Associate Editor of Geography Review magazine and is the author of Phillip Allan’s new Globalisation text book and a co-author of several key A-level and GCSE course guides. His doctoral research examined the growth of information technology global networks viewed from a rural perspective. Post-doctoral research includes work on flood hazard management for the Environmental Agency / Defra and climate change curriculum development with DCSF.

Venue:  Xaverian Sixth Form College, Lower Park Road, Victoria Park, Manchester, M14 5RB
Time: 5pm – 7pm (registration from 4.30pm for a prompt start). Refreshments will be available.
Format: 90mins lecture style followed by 30mins of discussion and questions.
There are 20 places available on this course.
Please note: this course is for teachers only.
Members (School Members / Fellows / ECT Members / Young Geographers) £30 inc VAT
Non Members £40 inc VAT

Contact Claire Wheeler for more details

Monday, 3 October 2011

Innovative Geography Teaching Grants

As a geography teacher, I received quite a few Innovative Geography Teaching Grants: two as an individual, and two as part of a group project. The first one was the GeoBlogs project in 2003, which gave me my online persona and kick-started a whole range of other stuff...

The RGS-IBG have just announced the recipients for 2011

Innovative Geography Teaching Grant recipients

  2011: Rachel Atkins (Bristol Grammar School). 'Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) Templates – Interactive Geographers'
The templates focus on interactive techniques to encourage pupil participation with the IWB. the creation of templates which illustrate easy and effective techniques in Smartboard, can be easily modified according to the aims of lessons, and therefore supply resources that are ready to go, needing minimal adoption
  2011: Samantha Coulson (William Farr CE School). 'Geography of Film – Scheme of Work'
The project developed Year 9 pupils’ ability to relate their experience of films to their knowledge of the real world, and in doing so opening their eyes to what film has to offer and giving context to reality. Pupils can investigate how film instils, a sense of place, culture and change over time
  2011: James Mutton (Featherstone High School). 'The whole world (wide web) in my hands'
The project used mobile technology to enhance the delivery of geography education.This enables faster access to data and personilising provision to individuals, demonstrating how relevant and cutting edge Geography education
can be
  2011: Jo Debens (Priory School Specialist Sports College). 'International link between Priory School, UK and the Cape Fear Centre for Enquiry, USA'
Pupils compare their personal geographies of their home areas and explore how living near the coast affects their lives.Using new technologies students are able to collaborate with others, therefore developing their communication skills.

Congratulations to all the recipients....

Friday, 30 September 2011

New GA resource on Polish migration

A new resource has gone up on the GA website.
It's a short unit with associated resources which explores the issue of Polish migration and the decisions that people make about where to live.

Download the FREE RESOURCE as a PDF

Coincidentally this resource has a link with Torun, where I shall be next week.
I'm going to see what the Polish delegates make of it :)

If we can get some additional Polish perspective I think that would make a useful resource for colleagues with Polish students in their geography class or form group...

Saturday, 24 September 2011


Thanks to Graeme Eyre for the tip-off that my article on LOCAL GEOGRAPHIES is in the TES this week (I was expecting it to be in  next week)
Also the image below...

Pleased with the way that it looks, but there were a few links that didn't quite go in as they were in the original article...

Weblink to Young People's Geographies project that was referenced with the photography of Jonathan JK Morris
Weblink to the full version of the National Geographic Education resource - we did come up with more than 3 ideas...
Weblink to the RGS-IBG Discovering Britain website was incorrect

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Geography Collective in USA

As I may have mentioned before on the blog, I did some work a few months ago for the Geography Collective on the theme of 'the local area'. This was for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC education in the USA, and Dan from the collective went over to Portland to speak to educators from all over the USA.

Now there have been some videos released from the National Council for Geographic Education for the session that Dan Raven Ellison did for the conference, and they are on the GEOGRAPHY COLLECTIVE blog.

Here's the first one and the other two are on the blog...
This is very fine work, and explains the origins of the Geography Collective and our recent work, ideas of geography and showcases projects that Dan and the Collective have been involved with....

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The new Geography Curriculum - the latest development...

I received an e-mail today from David Lambert about developments towards the new curriculum...

The Department for Education, through Nick Gibb has asked Alex Standish (some of you will be familiar with the name) to write a national curriculum for geography. The final draft has been made available to the GA, and shared on the website.

Alex Standish is an assistant professor of geography at Western Connecticut State University and author of "Global Perspectives in the Geography Curriculum: Reviewing the moral case for geography", published by Routledge.

The draft curriculum has been added to the GA Website Curriculum Consultation page as a 17 page PDF download. (Click to download)
Before you read the document, you should first read Alex's 'position statement' which sets out his thinking as he approached the task:

"This geography curriculum was compiled at the request of the Department for Education as a contribution to the national curriculum review. It has been written with input from teachers, department heads, and geography faculty. At secondary level it in part reflects the content of IGCSEs. Nevertheless, it remains my personal interpretation of what children should learn in geography at different key stages so that they become capable students of geography.
There are of course other ways of organising the geography curriculum, but one of my aims is to raise expectations of what pupils are capable of learning. If private schools are able to teach geography in the depth and breadth demanded by the IGCSE then so should everybody else. I believe that all children are capable to being educated to a high standard and it is time we started raising our expectations of how much children in the state sector can learn.
I also recognise that writing a curriculum and implementing it are two different things. To offer this curriculum would mean adding more geography in primary schools where there are fewer specialists. Nevertheless, there is nothing here that could not be taught by a primary teacher supported by suitable materials. At key stage one and two pupils should be using their local environment as a primary resource. Teaching about the UK in years 5 and 6 would require more work and ideally the production of some new teaching resources. But by age eleven, children should have learnt about the geography of their country, the physical and human environment and be capable of making and using maps. If this is not possible today, it is something we should work towards.
Another aim of this curriculum is to re-introduce regional geography to the English curriculum. This should be taught not by cataloguing facts about different regions, but rather to enable children to understand and interpret the range of cultures and landscapes that exist across the surface of the globe. Regional geography went out of fashion in the UK with the decline of Empire. It is high-time it was re-introduced to the curriculum so that children leave school having been introduced to all the major regions of the world. Surely this should be a primary aim of the geography curriculum?
In writing this curriculum, my objective has been to make a contribution to the conversation about what knowledge and skills children need to learn in geography. How this is taught in the classroom is the prerogative of teachers, as it always should be."

I note the link with iGCSE. Having been involved with the development of a new iGCSE book which is due to be published at the start of 2012, I know that any content can become engaging with the right treatment.

Once you've read the document, it would be great if you could LOG IN to the GA website (this will ensure that you are logged as a member and your statement will have more impact), and HAVE YOUR SAY on the Curriculum Consultation Page.

This is NOT the final curriculum (YET), but we need as many opinions as possible. If you don't express your opinion in the right place, it may not make a difference. You may be thinking YES, Regional Geography is back ! Please go to the GA's page and add a comment...
It's important that you also read the GA's suggested documents so that you can compare the approaches...

I haven't had chance to read the document, but will post some thoughts about it in a day or so....

I'm off to find my notes on Benelux and Denmark that I used to teach back in the late 80s.... my Head of Department at the time said that they would come in useful some time as education goes round in circles....

Image: Thingvellir, Iceland - Alan Parkinson (where the USA meets Europe...)

Monday, 12 September 2011

VITAL: a new resource

A new update to the VITAL website has been launched recently...

It's the new website of VITAL: the Open University's CPD programme.
One of the main aspects of the website is access to a series of subject specific PORTALS.

The Geography Portal is yet to be launched, but it will be managed by me, and I am working on the content already. Expect there to be a range of useful content for geographers and geography teachers...
This will include:

  • short video guides to explain how to use key websites and web tools
  • suggested Top Tips
  • resource ideas
  • Twitter feed
  • details of events
  • fortnightly online meetings to discuss a particular topic
I'll let you know when the portal launches, so that you can pop along and see me...

Friday, 9 September 2011

Digital Explorer Oceans

A new website has launched for those interested in exploring the OCEANS.

From the press release:

Digital Explorer is very proud to announce the launch of [de] Oceans, sponsored by Catlin, an online channel bringing the oceans closer to all!

Whether you’re a teacher, a scientist, an adventurer or somebody who loves the sea, [de] Oceans – – provides a space to link together and encourage oceans learning across the UK. It’s all about sharing passion for the oceans and delivering an exciting and current educational programme based on robust and relevant science.
Catlin is proud to sponsor scientific research and educational programmes which explore how our planet’s oceans may be changing. Starting in 2009, Catlin has sponsored research into the changing Arctic environment through the Catlin Arctic Survey, a multi-faceted research programme through which scientists and explorers combined to study changes in the Arctic environment. 

The Channel combines:

Oceans Academy competition for teachers – win a training weekend on the south coast working with scientists, explorers and sailors! The weekend is full of unique activities with a sound scientific basis and aims to support teachers implement oceans learning in the classroom. What better way to begin or end your October half term! Apply now.

Oceans Ambassadors programme – bringing oceans knowledge direct to the classroom in the form of scientists and oceans experts.  Covering topics such as marine biology, polar science, marine pollution and the carbon cycle, browse the Ambassadors to book a visit to your school or their lab or workplace. Or, if you are involved in oceans work or research and would like to share your expertise as part of an outreach programme, register as an Ambassador.

Oceans Resources – launching fully on 22nd October, films, lesson plans, activity and fact sheets on Frozen Oceans will be available for free download. Topics relate to the National Curriculum and will work hand-in-hand with the above. More information here!

We hope to provide an authentic and lasting resource, encouraging upcoming generations to get out there into the real world and gain a deeper understanding, through direct experiences, of how the oceans sustain us.

There are also some RESOURCES that will be launching on the 22nd of October, as mentioned above.

There's also a competition to win a FREE teacher training weekend.

I am currently working on those - so I hope they meet the standard of the rest of the site, which is of a very high standard.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Google Earth Visualisations

Thanks to Matt Podbury via the SLN Geography Forum for the tip-off here...

The MERKADOR blog which I think is based in Belgium has shared some great work for geography of sport units.

There are 2 Google Earth related projects...
The first refers to the English Premiership.

This content overlay shows the origin of the first team players of the 4 biggest clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

You can see the geographical composition of the teams in 3 ways:
  • click on the team emblems to see a pie chart of the players nationalities
  • check out the lines connecting the team emblems to the players countries of origin. Broader lines mean more players come from that particular country. Enable and disable the clubs you want to visualize in the table of content
  • click on the flag icons of the countries to see what players originate from a particular country

The second one is more ambitious and targets all the clubs that were involved in the World Cup 2010

Every country is represented by the country border outline and an icon with the country flag. Clicking the country icon will open a balloon with the squad list of the country. For every player a link is provided to take you to the stadium of the club the player is affiliated with. Lines connecting the country to the clubs of the members of the countries national team are also provided.

The data comes from the GLOBAL FOOTBALL DATABASE which is a useful site for those teaching about global sport.


There's also - rather nicely timed this find - of HIV / AIDS PREVALENCE rates.

There's also a GOOGLE EARTH FEATURES QUIZ so that you can get to know Google Earth....

This is all excellent work !!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Some VITAL work coming up...

Later this month, the Open University and e-Skills UK's VITAL professional development programme is launching a range of subject specialist portals for a number of key subjects, including English and Literacy, History, Maths and Numeracy, Modern Foreign Languages, Music and eSafety.

I am delighted to announce that from later this month, I will be the manager of the Geography portal.

I shall provide more details of the URL and other aspects of the work later this month when they start to go live.
I'm delighted to be associated with VITAL, and will be serving up a rang of services for visitors to the portal.

For those who are unsure of Vital's role.

Delivered by the Open University and funded by DfE, Vital provides:

  • inspiring ideas to inspire your learners
  • materials you can use in your own classroom
  • opportunities to share expertise with your peers

What does Vital offer?

  • flexible, cost-effective courses that fit with your busy schedule
  • case studies of how other teachers are using ICT in their own lessons
  • collaborative spaces to share ideas, experiences and materials
  • guides to key technologies and ideas on how to use them in the classroom
  • interviews with leading practitioners
  • advice and support from ICT specialists
  • useful links
  • Information about opportunities using Vital learning activities as a basis for gaining academic awards and credit.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

One chapter closes... and a new one begins...

Today was my final day as a full-time employee of the Geographical Association. 

Tomorrow I move into the 3rd phase of my working life...
I will be moving on to new geography-related projects, and am grateful to those who have already offered me some work. Particular thanks to Steve Brace and Eleanor Coulber at the RGS-IBG, Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop and the Catlin Arctic Survey, Andrew Campbell and the team at Harper Collins, the SSAT Humanities team, Karl Donert, the Field Studies Council, Richard Allaway, Ruth Totterdell at the GA and Bob Lang & Paul Cornish, Dave Holmes and Philip Allan, Paul Baker, Katie and the TeachIt team, Jobina at TwigIt and a host of others, who have offered me work of some kind. Apologies if I have missed anyone out - don't worry you'll feature in future blog posts...
There's also a few other exciting things which are in the pipeline and will be announced later in the year...

I shall also still be 'affiliated to the GA':  leading CPD courses for the GA, notably the ESRI / GA GIS courses for beginners and advanced, and the NQT Conferences in November Keep an eye out for some new GA publications in 2012. I will also be spending more time on projects for the Geography Collective too: we have the re-launch of MISSION EXPLORE and the launch of DISCOVER:EXPLORE coming up as well as a host of other exciting things.
I shall also be completing some work in Poland, Austria, Scotland and various other locations, and I'm still keeping my eye out for a suitable teaching job in my home area.

Many thanks to all my GA colleagues for their tremendous support over the last three years.

Don't forget to JOIN THE GA. Also, please have your say in our KS3 consultation if you haven't already ! The results of this will matter !
I shall still be blogging here on Living Geography, so keep reading to find out what I get up to and elsewhere and tweeting on @GeoBlogs Thanks for reading, and best wishes to everyone for the new academic year. It's going to be interesting !

Friday, 26 August 2011

Discovering Britain - new from the RGS-IBG

Thanks to Jenny from the RGS-IBG for letting me know about the imminent launch of a new site which offers a fresh look at the UK.

The site is called DISCOVERING BRITAIN.

"We are developing an exciting series of geographically-themed walks across the UK that aim to bring these stories alive and to inspire everyone to explore and learn about our different landscapes."

Look forward to seeing the full site when it appears in just over a month's time....


Thanks to Rob Chambers for the tipoff to a great free set of tools.
TRIPTICO is a free download, which produces a desktop widget.
It has been developed by David Riley, as a way of offering tools that teachers can customise to their particular subject and year group.
I like a few of the tools in particular, and could see them being of particular use. One of them is a FIND TEN generator, which allows you to create a list of items, with 10 of them being the correct answers. I created one below - e-mail if you'd like a copy - you'll need the TRIPTICO tools in order to use the file...

A list of the current tools - more are in development....

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

National Geographic : Geography Awareness resource

Earlier this year, I was involved in an exciting project with National Geographic Education in the USA as part of the Geography Collective. This led to my friend and colleague Daniel Raven Ellison spending a week at the National Council for Geographic Education conference in Portland, Oregon, and working with educators from across the USA.

This project has been an exciting one to be involved with. It offers a range of activities which can be carried out in your neighbourhood, and earn points for completing them. Would be good for exploring local areas, local wildlife and ideas of community. These will be used across the USA for their Geography Awareness Week later in the year.

You will need to have registered with TES Connect, which is free and takes a few moments.
You can then DOWNLOAD THE BOOKLET as a 34 page, 13 Mb PDF and check it out.

Please take a look and let me know what you think...

Monday, 8 August 2011

Geography Collective at NCGE

The National Council for Geographic Education event has been taking place in Portland, Oregon.

My Geography Collective colleague Dan Ellison is there, and led an Urban Earth walk as well as two workshops in the Guerrilla geography approach of the Geography Collective and Mission:Explore.

One resource that Dan put me on to was this excellent collection of Google Earth related work.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Catlin Arctic Survey

Earlier this year, I followed the progress of the latest expedition of the Catlin Arctic Survey.
The team were exploring the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, and then drilling down through the ice to carry out a range of experiments aimed at exploring aspects of the ocean waters, which are at the heart of the Earth's oceanic circulation.

Digital Explorer's Jamie Buchanan Dunlop was involved in the expedition, which involved camping on the ice.

Now, I've been asked to get involved with the project by producing some teaching materials related to the work that the good folks were up to while camped out on the ice.

The explorer Pen Hadow was involved, as were a number of scientists and colleagues with a range of useful skills and experiences. They were also using some interesting equipment, including Niskin bottles and sensors called "peepers". While they were on the ice they also had a Twitter chat with my friend and colleague Kenny O' Donnell and his students.

Image: Catlin Arctic Survey

Watch out for some resources for KS3 and KS4 which will emerge on the website before too long...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

MOVE: first minute of the new school year sorted...

Via Al Humphreys and Victoria Ellis

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Watch full screen...

First minute of the new school year SORTED....

Also follow the links to LEARN and EAT...

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Town - new BBC series

Nick Crane series just started.

Some interesting content, if nothing new to a seasoned geographer...
The supporting website, in association with the OU has links to a range of useful additional detail.


Also check out the opportunity to RUN YOUR OWN TOWN. This is a decision making interactive where you get to run a town and make important choices...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Topical Tropical Rainforests

A long overdue post....

A day last week working with Fay, Caitlin, Calum, Agnes, Sophie and Jamie in Priory School, Southsea.

It was a student leader co-contruction day, with the focus being a unit on Tropical Rainforests.

There was a lot of interesting discussion which I tried to capture and build into some new activities.

One area that we discussed was Palm Oil, and its use in processed food.
We thought about the issue of the Future of the forest and the different possible futures that it might have
We used the Human Planet clip of Tete climbing the tree to get honey
We also added an extra activity that was inspired by the recent story of the numbers of tribes that are still un-contacted, and the pros and cons of contacting them against leaving them. One of the main issues here of course is the size of the forest and the various groups that want to use the forest in different ways.
We mentioned the idea of sustainability a lot.

One additional topical link which I will be following for the next 5 weeks is that my niece is heading off for a 5 week Amazonian adventure to Peru today with BSES (British Schools Exploring Society), and I will add something inspired by that trip to the website / scheme of work as well...
You can follow the blog of the Amazon adventure by visiting the BSES website
There is also a FLICKR set which will presumably be added to.
There are some images of the training weekend so far, which would make useful resources.
Also got a copy of Bruce Parry's 'Amazon' next to me, and am going to fillet that too to see what's useful...

Also got the BSES Expedition Checklist which has potential as a resource to be used...

Been exploring a few links and found the Twitter feed of the BSES, which led me to James Borrell: one of the scientists who's going along to the rainforest, so there'll be some interesting options to follow for the next 5 weeks.

More to come on this shortly...

Saturday, 16 July 2011

GA Curriculum Consultation - make your voice heard.

The Geographical Association has added a major consultation to the website on the theme of "what makes a better school geography"....
It appeared yesterday.
It's a chance for you to get involved in a consultation on the changes to the Geography curriculum. There are several elements to the consultation, which can be viewed HERE.

There is a paper which describes a suggested 'national' curriculum, although the realities are that the curriculum document will be influenced by each school's particular circumstances and characteristics. The document suggests particular significant places that might be included, but there is a recognition that these will include those that are 'significant' for students too: very much influenced by the idea of 'living geography'.

There is also a presentation which suggests some of the geographical 'core knowledge' that will enable and open up other aspects of the curriculum. This has been put together by the GA's strategic partner ESRI UK, and works using the ArcGIS online tool. This is well worth a look as it consists of a series of maps containing specific information. Is the balance here correct ? are there places missing ? are there too many places named ?

When you've read the documents and the other materials that are presented here, please visit the FEEDBACK PAGE and provide your views. This is really important.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Philip Allan Course

Just had confirmation of a course that is going to run on the 5th of March 2012, organised by Philip Allan Updates.
The course is not on their website yet, but will be shortly.
The title is:
"Developing a personalised geography learning network".

Famous image: Alec Couros - CC licensed

It will be presented by David Holmes and myself...
It will be held at a venue in London (to be confirmed)

Draft schedule for the day
9.45am Registration and coffee 
10.00am Grasping the ideas: an open forum looking at the role of technology and learning, plus the role of networks 
Cultivating an active social network - what can it achieve? 
11.00am Coffee 
11.20am Evaluating the Google 'suite' for education - what's on offer?
Pros and cons and examples of success
12.20pm Lunch 
1.15pm Q&A + session: a chance to consolidate 
1.45pm There's an 'app' for that! - Smartphone technology, including use for fieldwork
2.30pm Tea break 
2.45 pm "The dog ate my homework" . Looking at school VLEs 
Building communities within the classroom for learning and participation
3.30 pm Review and moving forward
3.45pm  Day ends            

I shall keep you up to date with the details once the booking etc is finalised... don't worry - it's not the last time you'll see this...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Geography of Disease

This is another one of those blog posts aimed at uncovering a 'hidden' resource on the GA website that is freely available to anyone....

Geography of Disease was a project that was led by John Lyon, and was funded by the Wellcome Trust

Wycombe High School shared the resources that they produced as a result of their participation on their excellent website (on the Moodle platform...)

The resources are excellent ! You need to check them out if you are proposing to teach something about disease.
There are resources on Disease in Society - with a focus on Myxomatosis, the Black Death, HIV/AIDS, Cholera, Malaria, Bilharzia and Avian Influenza.

Check out Durham University's disease spread simulations too...

Great resources if you are teaching IB Geography, particularly the FOOD and HEALTH module of which more to come later in the year !

NQT Conferences in November 2011

The flyers for the latest GA CPD events have been published on Scribd.

I am leading two NQT Conferences in November 2011

NQT Conference: Making a difference in the classroom

If you are going to be an NQT Geographer or you are going to have an NQT in your department, and you'd like to book a place, contact Lucy Oxley on 01142960088

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

National Geographic Education

I have just finished working on a resource for the National Geographic Education team which is related to the work of the Geography Collective.
National Geographic Education has just had a big update, which is currently in BETA.
There is plenty of interest, including some examples of REAL WORLD GEOGRAPHY: people whose job relies on Geography to work...

I also liked the activities which connected FOOD with multiculturalism.
The metaphors are well known and were certainly part of our work on cultural globalisation on the Pilot GCSE, but worth exploring again...
Also a multimedia resource asking: "What is Geography ?"

This is certainly worth visiting and exploring....