Sunday, 22 April 2012

VITAL Portal Offers....

As regular readers will know, I have been managing the OU's VITAL CPD portal since October 2011, and am due to carry on through until 2013.
You can access an individual portal for just £10, which gives access to all the content, and associated support.

A SPECIAL OFFER is now available, aimed at schools rather than individuals / departments.

The more portals that are subscribed to, the bigger the saving...

At a time when CPD budgets are under pressure, this is a good way of keeping up to date in a wide range of curriculum subjects...

Your school can save a lot of money with bulk subscriptions. Why not pass details of this to your SLT or person in charge of staff development...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

TeachIt Geography

TeachIt have been in existence for some years producing resources for English teachers. They had a stand at the GA conference right next to the Mission:Explore stand.

One of the projects that I have been involved with is the preparations for the launch of TEACH IT GEOGRAPHY.

We have been sourcing, editing and approving hundreds of resources which subscribers to the site will be able to download. The idea is that most of them can be used immediately, as opposed to some of my other work which is aimed more at teachers producing their own resources. There is obviously a need for both methods of supporting teachers. What is nice about TeachIt is that the resources are all created and shared by practising teachers and educators, and come with supporting notes. There are also other features of the site, such as interactive tools for the classroom.

If you'd like to submit some of your own resources, then get in touch and I'll put you in touch with Chris and Katie at TeachIt, with whom I have been working for over 6 months now.

The site will launch in May, and I will tell you more nearer the time...

Friday, 20 April 2012

John Lyon running the London Marathon

The London Marathon is on Sunday.
Watch out for the athletic stride of John Lyon, the GA's Programme Director, who is running the marathon for the charity MapAction.

I've been involved with MapAction for some time and when they asked me at late notice to run the London Marathon on their behalf I must say I was deeply honoured. The work they do is so important in saving lives and minimising suffering in humanitarian emergencies. We often teach about disasters in geography and we mustn't forget that it is real people who are suffering - often in their thousands. Since 2002, MapAction’s highly-skilled volunteers have responded to 32 disasters worldwide, including earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, cyclones and conflict-related crises. As an immediate response, they help to get aid delivered quickly and effectively to those most in need, but as a long-term measure they also help to prepare vulnerable communities for the impact of disasters before they strike. So.. I'm running again. It's the least I can do and I hope you will sponsor me. If you do that's brilliant... Thanks on behalf of everyone who you help.

If you want to support John, go to his JUST GIVING page and let him have a donation...
Every little helps...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Word of the Week

Word of the Week is just one of the features of the VITAL Geography Portal which I manage.
You can check it out and subscribe for just £10....

Here are the entries so far (A-G), some of which will shortly be archived...
The locations are the locations of images of each feature which appear on the portal page.

Gryke - the name for the gap between the blocks (clints) on a limestone pavement
Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales
Fen - a tract of low-lying, marshy land, often drained by humans. Especially refers to the region around the Wash in Eastern England, with areas of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire
The Cambridgeshire Fens
Erg - In the Sahara, that part of the desert whose surface is covered in sand (as opposed to the Hammada or rocky uplands, which have been swept clear of sand by the wind
Erg Chebbi, Morocco
Dirt  cone - a conical accumulation of detritus on a glacier surface - may be up to 2m in height and is often ice cored
Solheimajokull Glacier, Iceland - the black ash is from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption
Crepuscular rays: Rays of sunlight which shine through breaks in heavy cloud, also sometimes called Jacob's ladder and often seen at dawn or dusk
Lincolnshire Fens

Beach cusp: an accumulation of shingle on a beach which leads to regular scallop shaped indentations at the front of the beach.
Runswick Bay, East Yorkshire

Aretefrom the French - a sharp mountain ridge, often formed by the erosion of two adjoining corrie glaciers. A peak with three aretes radiating from its summit is called a pyramidal peak or horn (the Matterhorn is one of the best examples)
Coir' a' Ghrunnda, Isle of Skye.

What would you have as your geographical  WORDS OF THE WEEK for the remaining letters of the alphabet ?
A chance for you to get your favourite geography phrase in there - if you have a picture that I could use then so much the better :)

Also, watch out for some new Teachshares coming soon for discussing some of the key themes of geography education as we enter the Summer term...

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Geography Awareness Week

The theme of this year's conference was Geographies of Difference and that was the theme of Fran Martin's Presidential Lecture.

Geographies of Difference is also the theme of the Geography Awareness Week for 2012. I became aware of the theme earlier in the year, as I was asked to write a section of the teacher booklet.
This is now available to download from the GA website (link goes to a PDF download - 6.1 Mb)

I wrote a section on differences in access to technology, which starts as below....

Don't forget the pack for the US version for 2011, which was written by Dan Raven Ellison and myself.

This year's UK event runs from the 25th to the 29th of June.... what are you planning ?

VITAL Triptico Teachshare

Don't forget that 7pm on Thursday the 19th is the date of my VITAL Teachshare with David Riley: the creator of Triptico. A teachshare is an online session. Log in and you will be able to see and hear (and contribute to) the session.
Follow the link above to join in on the day...

If you are going to join us David suggests that you have downloaded the TRIPTICO tool in advance, and perhaps had a quick look at what it has to offer. You will find that it downloads along with Adobe Air...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Google GeoTeachers Institute

I had a chat with Ed Parsons a year ago in Reading about doing something else for geography teachers with the tools that Google produce than their existing support.
I haven't heard anything else since, but just picked up on this opportunity for geography teachers.

Make sure that you apply using the online application form HERE

Events are taking place in Dublin and London in June.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

GA Conference 2012

Head over to LIVING GEOGRAPHY for all the latest from the GA Conference 12th-14th April 2012....

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Physical Geography course from the OS

An exciting opportunity for teachers who have been 'around' for a while...

A special 6 day course has been organised by the Ordnance Survey, along with the Goldsmith's company.

Science for Society Course: New Developments in Physical Geography 15th-20th July 2012

This course is designed for mid-career specialist geography teachers in secondary schools who are teaching GCSE / A level students.  The emphasis is on physical geography, providing an intensive immersion in new technology for data collection, analysis and modelling.  The course includes an introduction to new equipment for field and laboratory, and explores recent developments in remote sensing and GIS technologies, and their application to teaching. 

Full day visits to both Met Office and Ordnance Survey are included.

The course is provided by the Geography Department of the University of Southampton and Ordnance Survey in association with The Goldsmiths’ Company, under their Science for Society initiative. 

On Thursday 19th July delegates on this course will join all the teachers on the 2012 Science for Society courses for a Gala Dinner at Goldsmith’s Hall, London. 

Tuition, accommodation, food and travel during the course are all provided free of charge. Delegates must fund their own travel costs from home to Southampton University.

For more details, see the Ordnance Survey and Goldsmith's website, where you can download an application form.

This is certainly something which I would have applied for if I was teaching, and has the added bonus of being in the final week of term for most parts of the country, which means that it would be a reasonable time to take off school as a lot of schools would be running activity type days for part of that, so there would be less teaching time missed.

* (From the application form)

 You must be a teacher employed at a secondary school in Great Britain teaching GCSE/A level standard qualifications in geography. 
Mid-career teachers are expected to benefit most from this course, but there are no specific upper or lower age limits.