Monday, 10 June 2013

300 up....

This blog was started in 2009 following an event which I ran as part of my work at the time for the Geographical Association. It was a meeting of a group of people to kick-start further support for Geography teachers.
We've reached the 300th post...

This will be the last post on this blog for the time being

If you want to continue to get ideas and support, subscribe to and visit LIVING GEOGRAPHY instead, or follow my return to the classroom in September 2013 over at GEOGRAPHY TEACHER 2.0
Thanks for reading...

Friday, 7 June 2013

Wind Farm lesson

For my new teaching job I had to teach a lesson on the theme of Wind Farm Development.

Fortunately, the department has been using my GA KS3 toolkit 'Look at it this Way'
This book is still available to buy from the GA Shop.

I decided in the time that I had to prepare for my interview lesson, which was very short and ended up being in the early hours of the morning of the day itself, that I would adapt a lesson from the book. Some of the students had apparently been doing some of the activities already, so had a flavour of what to expect.
Here's an image of a wind farm that I took while on my way between home and Sheffield.
I discovered that in terms of the definition of a wind farm, then as few as two wind turbines could be classed as a wind farm for planning purposes, although some local authorities classed it as three. There was no overall definition in terms of numbers.

Wind Farm, Lincolnshire Fens, as seen from the A17
Image by Alan Parkinson

As I had a bit of advance notice of the lesson topic, I was able to ask some of my friends to tell me some words to describe wind turbines, and I was able to create a word cloud.
Word cloud created using

Thanks to those people who helped with the lesson in this way.
And here is the lesson itself.
I uploaded it to Slideshare...

Wind lesson from GeoBlogs

And here's the lesson plan....

Note that this is an interview lesson, so is not necessarily representative of normal practice...
I over-prepared and adapted some of the activities (of which there were too many)

Back to the classroom...

Some news over on Living Geography

Monday, 3 June 2013

ArcGIS Online Story Maps

A useful blog post here to explain how to download the MAP STORY TOUR template and start to use it with ArcGIS Online.

It's not a straightforward procedure, but this post by Rupert Essinger takes you through it nice and clearly.
I'll perhaps give it a go, to check that it works before using it with colleagues at a course at the end of the week...

Friday, 31 May 2013

Support from Australia...

The new Australian Curriculum document for Geography was launched in the last few weeks.

The support site for the introduction of the new curriculum has now gone live too.

It's called GEOG SPACE.

There's quite an influence from some familiar UK names here, such as this diagram on the 'Child as Geographer' from the work of Simon Catling.

© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute
and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain
all copyright notices and acknowledgements.

There are also influences in the SUPPORT UNITS from a range of UK geographers including Fran Martin, Paula Owens, Stephen Scoffham and Liz Taylor.

The SUPPORT UNIT section, in fact, would make excellent reading for geographers around the globe. It's a really useful synthesis of key thinking around concepts, fieldwork, geographical enquiry, ICT and related areas of geographical thinking.
There are extracts from the GA Secondary Handbook, and useful links to other websites.

Delve into the CORE UNITS, and you will find a range of materials for teachers to use straight away and get the curriculum underway...
Here's an activity sheet for a unit on MUSIC FESTIVALS for example (PDF download) which provides a good starter, although I think the Woolvens did a better job here :)

I also liked the unit on E-Waste, and ideas for units about place, coastal management and

For example, here's the New South Wales About Fieldwork website, which was a new one for me.

Well worth spending some time looking through these sites, particularly for new teachers of geography.

And visit the site of AGTA, who were involved in creating these new resources. Plenty of additional ideas and resources on this site too.

So I wonder where the equivalent website is for UK teachers ?
We are getting one, right ??

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

SW Geography Conference - 1st July

At the start of July I'm going to be in Newquay in Cornwall, working with colleagues in the South West for the first time.
I've been asked to lead a morning on the broad theme of Progression in Geography. 
This will include sessions on national developments, raising standards (some ideas), good practice in leadership and management of teaching and learning. My input will finish with some ideas for the use of new technologies, which is where I'll be on safer ground.
One issue with leadership and other aspects is the extent to which it is affected by the personality of the leader, but also the make-up of the whole departmental team. I've been fortunate to work with some great colleagues in my time, but recognise that it can be hard if you're working with uncooperative colleagues.
Here's the flyer for the event... looks good :)

If you're in the area, you're very welcome to join us. Further information can be obtained from Jo Bardell on 01872 322931. The event is free for SLA subscribers, and costs £175 for non SLA subscribers.

I may well be tweeting some questions over the next few weeks (I'll wait until the term restarts to ask them....) to prepare some provocations and elements of tasks for colleagues to engage with...

If anyone reading this has a particularly good reference / website / resource on progression and raising standards in geography, which is a bit of a 'thorny' and contested issue, I'd love to hear from you...

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Teachmeet East

Teaching in the East of England ?
Get yourself over to Norwich on the 22nd of June for TEACHMEET EAST 2013

Great work by Tim Handley once again...

Bluebell Primary School
Lovelace Road
(Near UEA)
NR4 7DS Norwich
United Kingdom

Sign up HERE

There are several stages to the event.
Two hours of hands on activities. I was asked to come and do a Mission:Explore activity as part of this stage, but couldn't make it as already 'taken' that day.
Then there's the TEACHMEET from 2 - 5.45....

Sadly I can't make that weekend, otherwise I would be there....
Get your ticket soon...
And say hello to my good friend Andy Knill who WILL be there...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

LocateStreet - a nice end of term activity...

You may have seen an earlier post on GeoGuessr,  but here's a big mention for LOCATESTREET 

This is a variation on GeoGuessr, with various points being offered for guidance, although the Elevation option doesn't offer that much help...

You can choose to play on a Global basis, or other scales.

You are presented with 4 options of location to choose from, and if you pick the correct option you can earn bonus points for clicking on the actual location on a map...
The site takes you to some fairly out of the way places... I seemed to end up on rural roads, and in cul-de-sacs on industrial estates quite often.

Hardcore players should choose the GLOBAL option... and discover that South America looks a lot like Australia in places...
Choose the COUNTRY option, and explore a range of countries from a list, which includes the UK. This offers potential for a CITY based search for example.
There are also some US based Thematic search options.

The game is addictive. Had to stop myself playing on it last night....
If you get one of the highest scores so far you can enter your e-mail to be added to the High Score table. May be an incentive for some to use additional 'support' to search for business names etc., but that wouldn't be in the spirit of the game...

Also, while playing, I've come across a few random sights.
This looks like some sort of hawk diving into a field to catch something ?

And what is this bloke doing standing in the road ?

The game was developed by Nick Burkhart of Chelonia Labs in California.

As with GeoGuessr, there are various clues that you can look for to help with locating yourself in fairly random housing estates.

Telephone dialling codes tend not to be blurred out. 020 will tell you that you're in London.
If on a main road, head for junctions where there'll be road signs.
Look at the vernacular building materials - some places have distinctive stone or house designs.
Become familiar with the basic geography of London, which features heavily in the UK option.

Be aware though, that they can be misleading. I spotted a Yorkshire registration on a motorbike, which ended up being up in the far north of Scotland, flipping tourists...

Sunday, 19 May 2013


A mention for a little variation on a site which I like a little more to be honest, called Mapcrunch.

It's become very popular in lots of places over the last week.

GeoGuessr is a 'game' which takes you to 5 'random' places and challenges you to identify where you are.
A map is provided so that you can add a pin at an appropriate place. This action in itself requires a little geographical knowledge...
There is a score provided for how close you are to the actual location.

There's a chance element involved of course, and there are perhaps more clues available in urban areas than there are in rural areas. These involve signs on buses and other vehicles.
For example, one image I was presented with was the Eden project, so I got within 2 kilometres of the actual location - another looked like Australia but was in fact in S. America so I was several thousand kilometres out...
Since the image is a StreetView image, you can also head off in a direction of your choice to look for clues, or you might decide that is cheating and not allow it...

Remember that Streetview doesn't cover the whole globe either, so if a picture looks like it might be in Africa, then it's probably South Africa or Botswana.
This map shows the current coverage.

This Slate article was closer to my thinking about the use of the site - as students use the site, they should be developing ideas for a guide for how to do well on GeoGuessr. These could be put together using an appropriate package (or a paper and pen)

There could be league tables for how well people do perhaps, or set group challenges. Perhaps a 'GeoGuessr' of the week ?
You could also provide options for support that could be used each game (in the vein of 'Who wants to be a Millionaire')
These could include:

  • A Google Search
  • 1 minute to explore beyond the area shown on the original photo
  • The chance to add an extra 1000 points to the final score if the guess proves to be in the wrong continent...
Any other ideas for 'jokers' ?

There could also be a rubric for assessing the clues that are provided in an image...

e.g. Urban or Rural, Weather conditions, presence of snow, upland landscape or lowland, coastal or inland, presence of a distinguishing feature such as a large building, flags, language / typography / alphabet used in signage, advertising billboards, company names on vehicles or stores
More often than not it's a 'feel' that you get - is it European or not ? is the vegetation tropical in appearance ? 

Any other thoughts for using with pupils ?

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Free Digimap for Schools webinar

Coming up in June is a chance to take part in a free webinar which will tell you about the OS Digimap for Schools service.
Remember that there is a full set of resources ready for those using the service, which I wrote at the end of last year.

Details below from the Digimap Blog

This will be the first of many that we aim to run.  The purpose of the webinar is mainly for schools already subscribed looking for hints and tips on how to use Digimap for Schools.  However the webinar is open to anyone interested in hearing more and seeing a demonstration of the service.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions either by text chat or by talking if you have a microphone.
Sign up HERE

Saturday, 11 May 2013

New Follow the Things resources coming soon....

For the last week or so, and for the next few weeks as well on and off, I'm going to be spending some time working to develop materials for the rather splendid Follow the Things website. 

The website is created in the form of a 'shopping experience', but follows the stories behind the products which sit on the 'shelves'. It explores themes related to trade justice, which are of course very raw and topical at the moment, with the rising death toll from the incident at Rana Plaza in Savar, near Dhaka.

We're working on a range of materials which will help you to engage with the website, as well as creating your own materials and stories. At the same time, there are some changes coming to the website, which will include a brand new area for teachers and students.

We'll also be creating:
- Reading lists of books that are linked to this theme, such as Kelsey Timmerman's 'Where am I wearing' and 'Where am I eating' and explorations such as Conor Woodman's 'Unfair Trade'
- Opportunities for you to get involved
- Some further missions on the special Follow the Things challenger area of the Mission:Explore website.
- Thinking on the people who manufacture items that you wear, or use - this will particularly link to the events in Bangladesh and beyond.

Go to the PRODUCTS OF SLAVERY website to find out more about this process.
You can also download a rather nice PDF of a poster (which can also be ordered as a hard copy) - donations are also welcome if you download the PDF

We'll be having one (or more) Google Hangouts later in May to give you the chance to see the updated site in action

We're covering social media too - we'll be adding links to:
- Twitter lists of relevant accounts relating to trade justice - you can also follow FOLLOW the THINGS on Twitter to get the latest relevant news retweeted out from a range of organisations
- Websites and ready made resources to extend your knowledge in this area
- Pinterest boards with relevant images from campaigns
- Case Studies of trade justice issues, and particular products which might resonate with students as young consumers:

These will focus on some of the more popular areas of the website, such as our LEGO re-enactments.
With LEGO now being the world's biggest toy brand apparently, this is perhaps a good time to focus on these, as well as the Lego School being built in Billund, Denmark.

And we'll also be developing ready-made materials for CPD sessions, so that you could spend a departmental meeting exploring the ideas on the site.

There's no shortage of interesting material and inspiration related to this issue..
For example, here's an interactive map which shows the places that supply Apple. Thanks to Karl Donert for the link here.

At a time when the world is increasingly globalised and interdependent, the work that is covered on Follow the Things is becoming more important than ever...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Primary resource for Geography teachers on Frozen Oceans

A Primary version of the Frozen Oceans pack, which I co-wrote, and which received a GA Silver Award this year, has now been released on the Digital Explorer website.

You will need to register for free to download the pack as a PDF

Top quality resources for Primary colleagues.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Global Learning Programme now underway

The Global Learning Programme, which involves the GA and a range of other organisations is now underway, and a new page has been added to the GA website.

The resources include two online courses on FOOD that I wrote while working for the GA.

A huge pity that this was delayed by the coalition government, as I would now be working on this... ah well..

Monday, 29 April 2013

Mission:Explore Summer Camp is coming....

At Mission:Explore, we're planning a range of activities through the summer, and the webpage for our SUMMER CAMP has just gone live.

The Mission:Explore online Summer Camp is going to be 100 days of warped adventures, wild activities and daring challenges. Join the Summer Camp community and from June 1st you will be sent daily missions to explore the great outdoors, no matter where in the world you are.
Carefully crafted by our camp challengers, you will be sent missions to attempt by National Geographic, National Parks, the RSPB, Scouts, John Muir and other exploration experts.
Complete the daring missions outdoors and you will develop your expertise in Mission:Exploring and discover new things about yourself and the world around you. You'll have some random fun and be able to pick up some rewards too.

Visit the page, and see our awesome countdown clock, and check out the Summer Camp challengers that have been confirmed so far...

It's going to be a summer to remember...

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Apps and Food

A nice idea to explore / discuss with relation to Geographies of Food

Food Fight - Fight against food waste from Christoffer Ahlen on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Digimap for Schools MapStream resources

At the start of the year I finished off a project with EDINA, who operate the Digimap for Schools MapStream service, in association with the Ordnance Survey.
This is a little like the Digimap for Schools tool, but without the tools...
Subscribers to MapStream will find that they have access to the Ordnance Survey's mapping at the same scale as Digimap, but the difference is that they stream them into their own GIS software using a WMS (web mapping service) - this works with open-source options such as Quantum GIS, but also ArcGIS and even Google Earth (I was amazed when I first saw this in action...)

One advantage of this option is that the maps are streamed to your GIS as an extra layer, so there is no data storage / installation issue. Having said that, you need a reliable and fairly fast internet connection if you want the maps of course. The cost is much cheaper than Digimap, but you need to use the tools in your GIS client, rather than the ones provided by Digimap. This may require extra time on training how to use your chosen GIS package.

If you head over to the site, you will now find that there are the first of what will be a series of educational materials for teachers, available for free download. These are particularly designed for subscribers to the MapStream service.
I wrote the materials, the cover of one is pictured to the right....
Check them out.
Subscription is just £35 a year for a primary school and £50 for a secondary school.

I will be referring to this, as well as other mapping options in my GA CPD days which will take place in Birmingham at the end of May and London at the start of June.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Secondary Phase Committee Twitter feed...

Back in 2004, I joined the GA's Secondary Phase Committee.

It was a big learning experience for me. At the time, I was one of the few members who was a teacher. I shared my website: Geography Pages at the first meeting, and slowly got a little more confident being a member of such a group. It led me to a few projects where I was able to develop confidence in the fact that I had something worth saying... I got involved in the production of a new atlas, and made lots of new friends.

When I joined the GA in 2008, I gave up my place on the committee, as there is always a waiting list.

You can now sign up to follow the SPC on Twitter. This will tell you about what we get up to, and also hear about our workshops that we led at the GA conference.

There were three workshops that we were involved in - one advantage of being a member is that you are guaranteed a spot on the conference programme.
Here's our recent 'team photo' in the august surroundings of the October Gallery in London.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Book on a Gapminder Webinar

I've just taken part in an excellent webinar led by Bob Lang to outline ideas for how to use the Gapminder tool in the geography classroom.

I learned several new things, even though I've been using Gapminder since it first appeared.

The new education materials, the first of a batch, have now been released. Try the population activities and download some useful lesson materials free of charge. These would be very timely for revision on population issues.
There are more chances to take part in the webinar next week - no charge:

Monday 15th April 4-5pm UK time
Wednesday 17th April at 4-5pm UK time
Wednesday 17th April at 10-11pm UK time 

Go HERE and use the CONTACT tab to book a place - well worth an hour of your evening.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Dan Raven Ellison's TEDx Talk

Dan Raven Ellison, my friend and Geography Collective / Mission:Explore / Explorer HQ colleague was in Switzerland last month doing a TEDx talk on the theme of exploring...

This is well worth watching... Several ideas to use straight away.... particularly the idea of 'polar exploration'.

Geography Awareness Week 2013 - Mission:Explore section...

The Geography Awareness Week, which is organised by the Geographical Association takes place in June 2013.
The materials have now been made available on the GA website as a PDF download (click the link to download the materials as a PDF)

There's a useful MISSION EXPLORE section at the end of the booklet which I wrote, and I've also written some Webwatch links for each of the other sections.

GA Conference 2013 - the reports....

There are 18 posts appearing over on the Living Geography blog...

This was a great conference...

Friday, 29 March 2013

GA Conference 2013

I'm preparing my contributions to the Geographical Association Conference today.

The conference will be held at the University of Derby, which is my favourite of the three venues. It runs from the 4th to the 6th of April.

The first day of the conference doesn't involve any of the usual workshops.
I will be heading over to the Association at Work session to grab a bite to eat, and chat to Ian Cook (who features in this month's 'Geographical' magazine coincidentally) to talk about a Follow the Things project I'm doing between now and the end of June.

Later that afternoon, it's the public lecture from Ellen MacArthur, followed by the GA Awards. I know that something I worked on has won an award, and there may be a few more in the offing too...
Then it's the wine reception, followed by a few drinks with esteemed geographer colleagues...

Friday is the main day of the conference, with sessions from early in the morning to late in the evening. My draft schedule is as follows:

Lecture 2
Oceans for the Geography Classroom from Jamie Buchanan Dunlop. I've worked with Jamie on three different projects this year for Digital Explorer.

Workshop 6
Ian Cook – Follow the Things 
A controversial choice as this clashes with Bob Digby's Presidential Lecture, but I'll be going along to get ideas and pointers for the work I'm doing with Ian. I'm sure there'll be a big turn out for Bob's lecture so I won't be missed...

Workshop 11 – SPC
I'll be going along to support SPC colleagues in their workshop.

Lunch, and a chance to network with colleagues. I'll also spend some time on the Discover the World stand to share ideas on the mission booklet which we've put together with them.

Lecture 7
David Lambert
My old boss talking about the thorny subject of progression in Geography - what's not to like.

Workshop 20
APPening Geography 
I'm up on this one. Katy Shipman and I will talk about apps, and their use in geography. We'll ask people about their favourite apps, and explore how they can support learning.

Workshop 26
I'm up on this one as well.. going to be a busy couple of hours !
Two Hundred Heads are better than one
I'm going to act as master of ceremonies, and introduce two sessions by Tony Cassidy and John Sayers. They are both on the theme of collaborative work, and the importance of sharing. 

Lecture 13
Urban Vignettes - Emma Rawlings-Smith and other colleagues who are involved in setting up a website with writing on urban areas. I'm hoping I can get across in time to join this one.

SPC Meal - down into Derby Centre for a pizza and a chat with colleagues...

GeoBeerMeet - over to the Brunswick Inn near the railway station for a gathering of teachers and some fine ale...

Sign up for the event on Google+ here

After the GeoBeerMeet I shall sleep soundly, knowing that my major contributions to the event have been concluded.
The second main day of the conference is on Saturday.

Lecture 13
Digital Earth - a lecture by Karl Donert, related to an EU project which I am involved in, and which has taken me to various European locations... which is nice :)

Keynote – the changing Arctic
Terry Callaghan lecture - an important element of the conference is the chance to develop knowledge and skills in new areas. This is an area that I've been focussing on with some reading, and will develop further for some writing I'm planning in 2013 and beyond.

Mission Explore fieldtrip - a quick trip out, with a trial of some of the missions in the book

Bringing knowledge back in
A range of contributors from the various UK nations...

If you're going along to the conference, come and say hello.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

John Muir Trust Mission Booklet

For the last few months we've been working with the amazing folks at the John Muir Trust to put together a booklet of missions which marries the Mission:Explore style of missions to the aims of the trust, which are to encourage young people to experience the landscape, and care for wild places.
John Muir was the father figure of nature conservation, and quotes from him have been included to connect the missions with some of the ideas that he had over a century ago.
The resource is part of the celebrations for the Year of Natural Scotland, 2013

You can get to see the missions on this GRAPHICLY page. It will be available in other locations shortly, and I'll add the links to those as they emerge.

Here's a slide that I've used in many of my presentations...
Get out and about this Easter... and don't forget to take the opportunity to Mission:Explore...

Saturday, 16 March 2013

GCSE Geography Request

I'm interested in the support strategies for GCSE Geography that seem to work the best for you.

I've also set this post up to show the potential for using GOOGLE FORMS for collecting data. This can be used for data collection for KS3 and GCSE/'A' level projects. It features in a new book on 'Fieldwork through Enquiry', which I wrote for the Geographical Association, and will be published later this year.

If you have a GMail account, you will already have a Google Drive available to you, which you can claim by visiting the site.
There is a HELP PAGE here.

If you had a minute or so to fill in the few questions that I've added below that would be much appreciated. As any entries are made, they will appear on a spreadsheet, and can then be analysed. There are also some immediate visualisation options....
Thanks in advance...

Friday, 15 March 2013

Google Earth Events

Richard Allaway is organising a special online event on the 6th of May.
It will take place at 8pm in the evening

This session will outline how Google Earth skills can be incorporated into the school curriculum and not just the Geography one!  This will lead to the discussion of a real, tested, classroom example of building a continuum of skill development leading towards a project planning the first commercial (1937) passenger flight from Southampton (UK) to Cape Town (South Africa) which happened to be on a boat-plane! (25 minutes)

I'm hoping to be in there to help out...
The official site where you can sign up to join in or find out more information is HERE....

Saturday, 9 March 2013

VITAL work coming to an end...

After 18 months working to manage the Geography portal for VITAL: the Open University's CPD service for teachers, I have another week left in that particular employment.
I am very grateful for the opportunity that this has given me to have a little financial security at a time when my job was made redundant, and also to support teachers by creating a range of resources, and also running a series of teachshares: virtual meetings. I am grateful also to all those who 'attended' these meetings, but also who joined me on the night as guest speakers, including David Riley of Triptico fame, Jamie Buchanan Dunlop, Richard Allaway and Paul Cornish...

This interview of Peter Twining by Bob Harrison also makes interesting reading about the impact of VITAL, and the legacy of the scheme. VITAL includes a range of strands, and it's worth finding out about them, and how they might be able to help you. I was also added to a list of IPD Partnership consultants for the East of England.

Later next week, my work for VITAL will finish, and the portals will then be transferred to JISC advance, who will take on the work of the portals. A reminder that these are free of charge, and all you need to do is register to access the resources.

Museum of Contemporary Commodities

At the start of the year, I was invited to an event at the University of Exeter, to explore ideas of trade justice, commodities and the stories behind things that are for sale in shops. The idea of MoCC starts by imagining shops as museums, and every product that is for sale as an exhibit in the museum. What would you write on the tag that goes with it to explain its story...
MoCC is the Museum of Contemporary Commodities.
Watch the video to find out more about the project.
This is something I am going to be involved in later this year, as I work on a project with Ian Cook of Follow the Things fame....

MoCC Thinkering Day from Simon Moreton on Vimeo.

Friday, 22 February 2013

What is the future of Local ?

Here's Dan Raven Ellison looking moody and magnificent, and buying some bread, in a short film made in association with TED Conversations. Dan will be speaking at a TEDX event in Lausanne in March.
He asks a question about the impact of globalisation on our lives, and what the future of LOCAL is...


What do you think local means ?

For example, how local is the meat in this ad ?
70 miles ! That's not local for me....
What about your local regional TV news at 6pm in the evening ? I get news about Northampton and Southend... not really interested in that to be honest...

There are some  interesting responses already on the TED page

Why not check out the INTERDEPENDENCE mapper on National Geographic...
Or order your MESHU, which is an interesting idea.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Geography all the Way

Richard Allaway is doing another order of Geography all the Way clothing.
The clothing has a logo designed by Tom Morgan Jones, who illustrates Mission:Explore. There are t-shirts, hoodies and junior T-shirts in various sizes and colours.
Ordering details are available by following the link...

Order by March the 15th...

Special Geographical Conference Prices:

Adult t-shirts: £8
Adult hoodies: £17
Junior t-shirts: £5

Global Learning Project vacancies...

I blogged earlier about the signing of a Global Learning Project involving DfID, Pearson and a number of organisations, including the Geographical Association. Had this gone ahead when it was originally planned, around 2010, I would still have a job, but sadly it was delayed and then its scale was altered slightly. The project as it now stands is described HERE on the GA website.

Some job opportunities were announced at the weekend for people to work on the project for a fixed period of time.
These range from national project leader to more regional and school based project co-ordinators. Worth a look if you fancy a change in role, and a few years focussed on global learning.

The vacancies will also appear on the Guardian jobs site soon and will be linked back to the Pearson’s website so that all applicants will be able to view them in one place. The jobs will be on the sites for two weeks.

While we're at it, there's also a job going working with Richard Allaway at the International School of Geneva. Worth a look if you fancy some time abroad...

If anyone else has a teaching vacancy they want me to advertise my rates are very reasonable... :)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

RGS-IBG Young Geographer of the Year

Each year, the RGS-IBG run a competition in association with Geographical Magazine.
It's called the Young Geographer of the Year Award.

The details have just been announced of this year's competition.

The competition began in 2000 and has become a regular feature in many schools' calendars.
The question for Young Geographer of the Year 2013, run jointly with Geographical, is:

How does either the human or physical geography of your local area compare to the rest of the UK? 

Pupils should use different sources of geographical information and data to research their local area and compare it to the national picture in the UK. This might include using census or climate data, and examining urban change or flood risk. However, the choice is open to you to explore relevant data to your local area.
The competition has categories for Key Stage 2 (KS2), KS3, GCSE and A Level students. 

The Society encourages schools to run their own in-school competition before sending their top entries into the national competition.
We particularly welcome entries which:
  • Can demonstrate a good use of different and relevant data
  • Focus on and explain a small number of geographical features and information about them. We do not need to know everything about your local area and would prefer you to select some key data
  • May also involve first-hand observation in the local area
Entries for the Young Geographer of the Year competition must be received by 5.00pm on the 11 October 2013.

Rex Walford Award 2013 – for student teachers or teaching colleagues new to the classroom

The same question will also form the basis of the accompanying Rex Walford Award, which is for teachers in either their student training year (for example: PGCE, Schools Direct) or who have just started in the classroom (for example: NTQ, Teach First). Entries should include lesson notes or a scheme of work to cover two or three lessons exploring this issue and we particularly welcome entries which include opportunities for data handling and fieldwork. 
Entries for the Rex Walford Award must be received by 5.00pm on the 11 October 2013.

Go to the RGS-IBG website for further information and entry forms...

Friday, 11 January 2013

OS MapFinder App

A new app was launched on the iOS store today which a lot of people are going to find useful.
It's produced by the Ordnance Survey, and called OS MapFinder.

The app comes with a basic high level map of the whole country preloaded, as well as a sample map tile around Exeter - so the folks of Exeter get lucky :)
Further tiles can then be downloaded (for either 69p for 1:50 000 or £2.49 for 1:25 000) as an in-app purchase.

Map tiles can be explored, and routes can be added on and plotted. The app will also store routes which have been walked or cycled.
Places can be found using a search by postcode, name or grid reference.

If you want to see more about the app, there's a YouTube video below which shows you a lot more.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Oxford Geography Teachers Day

I have attended this event several times in the past, and it has always been a splendid occasion.

This year's event is now available to book and there are some good options for GA members to have reduced price bookings. It's a fairly stellar list of presenters.... and me....
Open to state schools as well as Independent schools.

(Organised by the Oxford Branch of the Geographical Association and supported by the GA Independent Schools Special Interest Group)


10.00 Coffee/Tea/Refreshments on arrival

10.15 Introduction by Dr Garrett Nagle   President of the Oxford GA Branch

10.20   Opening Lecture
Bob Digby – President of the Geographical Association

‘Geographers and some Contemporary Health Issues’

 11.00 to 1pm
Choose TWO workshops to attend (each workshop will be 55 minutes) with exception of workshop 6 for Prep school and KS3 teachers which will last the whole 2 hours 

Seminar/ Workshop 1
Professor Sarah Harper - Oxford University
Population and Old Age updates – update for teaching GCSE and Post 16 Geography students

      Workshop 2
      Peter Price   Head of Geography from Charterhouse and Ewan Laurie
      Head of Geography, King’s School, Wimbledon
      Teaching the new Post 16 Exams – Practical Workshop linking Fieldwork    
      with the new A Levels, Pre  U and IB Curriculum .

      Workshop 3
      Lead by Dr Gareth Hughes – Head of Geography at Radley College with
      Rob Morris (Geography Teacher at Shrewsbury School)- Practical   
      Fieldwork Ideas for the new International GCSE
      (This hopefully will take place outside in the school Grounds –
       weather permitting!)

      Workshop 5 

      Alan Parkinson (Geography Consultant)

      Connecting teachers - connecting classrooms
A look at how social media and smartphone apps can help teachers to  

      connect with other colleagues, and open up possibilities for authentic  

      and collaborative learning, and prepare learners for the future workplace.

Workshop 6 for CE and KS 3 Teachers on next page
         Workshop 6   NB Double Workshop– lasts the whole 120 minutes-
for Prep School and KS 3 Teachers only
Gyles Morris  – CE/ KS3 Fieldwork ideas though ‘the Lens of a Camera
with support on how to use the skills in CE Fieldwork from Simon Lewis (ISEB Lead Setter) and Dr Andrew Lee (SATIPS Geography Broadsheet Editor)
This is aimed at giving you new ideas for inspiring your pupils to use photographs and small areas to produce excellent Fieldwork enquiry skills. 
Ideal for Prep School teachers wanting new ideas for the revised CE Fieldwork Enquiry.
(Will be outside along the Canal ) (Restricted to 12 teachers)

1.10 pm  A chance to talk with some Publishers  and look at resources over a glass of wine and a chance to browse all the latest publications.

1.45  A sit down Lunch followed by 10 minutes from Steve Brace of the Royal Geographical Society (with the IBG)

2.45 pm-  3.45pm:  Lecture and Question session
Alan Kinder (Chief Executive of the Geographical Association)
Geography and the GA in a time of curriculum change. Where are we, where are we going and how we can support you.’

A chance to hear what Alan Kinder has to say and to question him and to let him know what support you think the GA can give to teachers and the pupils you teach.

3.45 pm Finish

You can attend for £60 if a GA member (£160 if not) and two teachers can attend from the same GA member school for just £75

Let me know if you'd like a copy of the booking form sending to you....