Sunday, 24 June 2012

Placing Place...

Preparing some materials for a course in a few week's time. It's being held at the HQ of travel company Discover the World.
The course is being run along with Simon Ross, who produced a number of books that I made heavy use of when teaching, particularly his mapskills book.
The theme is Developing a Global Sense of Place at KS3 and GCSE. I'm exploring KS3.

There are quite a few areas that I could focus on as PLACE is a key concept in geography, and the idea of visiting places is central to the work of Discover the World.

As always, once the germ of an idea comes to me, it's time to flesh it out with various resources and web tools. I have put together two sessions which will eventually be shared on Slideshare.
Interestingly, the OFSTED Subject Report on Geography, published in 2011, made a series of recommendations.
The first was that schools should:
  • focus strongly on developing pupils’ core knowledge in geography, particularly their sense of place
It's interesting that a sense of place is described as core knowledge ?

I'll be using a lot of my own images of distant places, and others by colleagues. Images of places can be obtained from COMPFIGHT
This enables searching for images which are copyright cleared through Creative Commons.

I shall be referring to the following books / resources, as well as some of the outcomes from the GA's National Curriculum Reform Working Group that I have been serving on. Some of the things that we've heard from Michael Gove this week have meant a fresh perspective on some of this work.

There'll also be lots of ideas to take away as always.

Some references
"The Power of Place" - Harm de Blij
"Teaching Geography 11-18" - David Lambert and John Morgan
"a different view" - Geographical Association manifesto
"How to be an explorer of the world" - Keri Smith
"Arctic Dreams" - Barry Lopez
"Journey Journal" - The Geography Collective
"Mission:Explore" - The Geography Collective
'Look at it this Way' - Alan Parkinson
'Learning through Enquiry' - Margaret Roberts
'Oops' - Hywel Roberts

Image: Alan Parkinson - Valle Blanche, below Mont Blanc

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Tour de France 2012

The greatest sporting event in the world starts at the end of the month and goes on until the end of July: The Tour de France.

Cycling the Alps has produced 3D tours of each of the stages of the race, which are rather nice.

The tours can also be embedded into a blog post as below - press the play button...

As with so many map related posts, I'm grateful to Keir Clarke for the original tip-off.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

New iGCSE Geography NING

Matt Podbury has started a new NING for those who are teaching (or about to start teaching) the iGCSE Geography
It's particularly aimed at those doing the Cambridge Specification 0460 although it would probably be useful for those using the Edexcel Specification as well.

As regular readers of the blog will know I was heavily involved in the Harper Collins project to produce a textbook and teacher guide for this specification, which is now available to buy from all good bookshops. This textbook series also supports the Cambridge Specification.

So, if you're teaching this spec or thinking of doing it, come and join us.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


If you're interested in fieldwork and technology and you've not already bookmarked this site you need to. I've blogged about it before...
Enhancing Fieldwork Learning has a range of useful posts on the value of mobile devices for fieldwork.
The latest additions relate to the use of iPads for education in fieldwork.

I am currently researching fieldwork apps too, for a book I am co-writing.

Earlier today I had a play with FIELD PAPERS. This site uses Open Street Maps for the base mapping. The idea is that you can choose an area, and print off a paper map at an appropriate scale.
These paper maps are taken out into the field and can be annotated, and then 'scanned' back in using a digital photograph.

Each page of the printout has a QR code. This helps the alignment of the annotated version which can then be uploaded.

They contain some marks for lining up and identifying the location, and matching it with the maps on the website.

Finally on the theme of fieldwork learning, I'm going to be exploring a local river valley at the end of the month in the company of Sarah Taigel (@_happymapper on Twitter) and some other volunteers. Sarah is doing some research at UEA on GIS work. The work is summarised on the Communicating Landscape Futures website.

We will be exploring the catchment of the Gaywood River, which I used to live within a hundred yards of for about ten years. For more on the Gaywood Valley, you should follow @Gaywood Valley

All of this will feed into my book, due out in 2013.

I am also grateful to Mark Howell for posting some ideas on COASTAL FIELDWORK on his blog. Some really useful ideas here too.

Remember: "geography without fieldwork is like science without experiments...."

Friday, 8 June 2012

New From the Field resource

Last year, I contributed two sets of resources to the RGS-IBG's FROM THE FIELD resource. The aim of the resource is to connect researchers in the field with teachers and teacher educators who translate their work into the classroom at an appropriate level.
I contributed a KS4 and a KS5 example.
The website won a GA Silver Award at the GA Conference in 2012.

The newest addition was added by Bob Lang, who worked to translate Jane Labous' work on the sand diggers of Mali into a unit on rapid urbanisation in the city of Bamako.
Splendid work.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Google GeoTeachers Institute

I organised my travel and accommodation earlier this week for the Dublin Google GeoTeachers Institute.

The site for the two events is now up and running here.
Some interesting speakers and a busy schedule. I'm looking forward to learning lots and also sharing what I've done with Google Earth over the years.

I wonder if we'll also hear about further plans for the Google World Wonders project, which I contributed some materials for.
Any one else going ? I'm looking forward to seeing Rob M and John H there.... plus Digital Explorer Jamie BD of course, and meeting Richard Treves again...