Monday, 17 July 2017

Happy 30th birthday to Erasmus+

Erasmus is 30 years old.

It's facilitated the meeting of millions of teachers and students from across Europe, and I've benefitted from it in many ways over the years. I first got involved with Erasmus through Karl Donert, the President of EuroGeo, and who has spent many years travelling Europe.
He asked me to take part in a project called digitalearth towards the end of my time with the Geographical Association. He was keen to get the GA to engage with this European network of teachers, and there was the first of a few opportunities to do that with this network. The digitalearth project has had a great legacy...

This took me to Salzburg, back in January 2011, for the first of many meetings and training courses. I found myself in a 3 day meeting with university professors, Headteachers and people with particular skillsets I'd not encountered before. It was a little scary, but also exciting, and we had some interesting cultural events as part of the meeting - a pattern that has been particularly important as my Erasmus participation has continued...


Image: Michaela Lindner-Fally

I've spent several months of my life since in various cities around Europe. I've worked at Salzburg University quite a few times, running courses with teachers from lots of different countries, learning from them as much as they learned from me.



Here's a picture from Simo Tolvanen, one of a large group of Finnish teachers I had the pleasure of working with at Z-GIS in Salzburg.
I've visited Stockholm - sailing there on a boat through the frozen Baltic and stopping in at Estonia en route. I've scaled snowy peaks, eaten fine foods, seen art and heard guggenmusic, baked in the heat of an Alentejan summer, swum in the Mediterranean, walked on a frozen lake, wandered unfamiliar cities in the early hours of the morning, and discovered a hidden bottle of Ardbeg whisky in the most unlikely of hotels. I've seen Romanian tower blocks, sung Finnish karaoke, navigated out of an underground car park in Ghent, and seen the Acropolis at sunset and two Olympics stadia...
I've been involved in 5 Erasmus Funded projects and a range of Erasmus funded courses... and several other failed bids for project funding...
I hope to be involved in a whole lot more adventures in the future....
My school is currently involved in an ERASMUS funded project called GI Learner 

I recommend you find out more about the scheme and try and get involved.. assuming UK partners will still be welcome after Brexit... 


In the upstairs room at Zum Eulenspiegel, Salzburg 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

TMGeographyIcons

There has been a History edition of this event for a few years, and the Geographers have now decided that it may be a good format to adopt... Save the date, and follow the Twitter feed and hashtag for more information as time passes... Will be hosted at the University of Birmingham.

Friday, 2 June 2017

UK County Wordle Project

If you have a few minutes, please enter details for one or two counties of your choice...

Monday, 1 May 2017

Send my friend to school 2017

I've been involved in this campaign every year since it first launched, and it's nearly time to start preparing for 2017.

World leaders have promised every child in the world a quality education.
But a key piece of the puzzle is missing - the money to pay for this education - leaving the global picture with 263 million children missing out on school, and many more in school not learning. Now is the time to act to solve this crisis. We have a window of opportunity - 2017 is the year that world leaders can translate their words into action and fund education for all.

As part of the campaign, thousands of children across the country are creating paper jigsaw pieces, to represent that financing is the missing piece of the education puzzle, and sending them to their newly elected or re-elected MPs following the results of the UK General Election. It is important that as many MPs as possible can hear about the campaign so that they can see the strength of support for education.

Last year around 400 000 young people got involved. Can we get more this year?

Teachers can request resources to help them get involved in the campaign.

Digimap - your views wanted

The service is run through the University of Edinburgh, and there is now a project underway to assess the overall impact of the mapping service across those schools which make use of it.

I'm going to be sharing my views, and there is an opportunity for you to share yours.

You can contact Michael Gallagher here if you'd like to be involved in adding your views to the review of the service.
There are now over 2700 schools using the service, which is a real success compared to the numbers when I first got involved, and was asked to write some of the resources for secondary teachers.
Here's Michael's request - you'll notice it is not just Geography teachers that he is interested in speaking to.

I would love to speak to any and all teachers in the UK interested in ICT use as part of their teaching. Not a geography teacher? Not a problem. I want to speak to teachers across the curriculum. History, literature, science, math, and geography. This evaluation is not only about Digimap, but also about ICT use broadly. Not confident in your ICT use? Not a problem. Never used Digimap? Truly not a problem. I want to learn more about your teaching and how ICT enters into that (or not, depending). I want to learn about your teaching approaches, want to know what you think are barriers to attainment and satisfaction, what you see are some of the larger issues surrounding incorporating these types of applications into your teaching.

Remember that the service is updated with new features regularly.
Most recently, there is the chance to view GeoGraph photos through the Digimap service.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

ArcGIS Online now free to all UK schools

We have been using ArcGIS Online in school for several years now, and ESRI UK have kindly given us a free subscription for the last few years so that we can share our work.

At the end of the Awards presentation at this week's GA Conference Stuart Bonthrone, the MD of Esri UK stood up and made an announcement which was in some ways inevitable after events previously in the USA, and also very welcome.


Stuart announced that from immediate effect, ArcGIS Online will be free to all UK schools.

Under the heading of "The Science of Where", Stuart then played a short video featuring the inspirational work of Thierry Torres and colleagues at Dover Grammar School.


If you want to know more, and sign up your school, head for the ESRI UK Schools page.



I also had the chance to meet Steve Richardson, who is being employed to produce new resources and materials for teachers to encourage more use of the tool in classes.
There are already over 60 resources available, with plenty more to come.



Finally, check out the GeoMentors programme, which pairs up schools with GIS professionals.

Sign up your school now

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Vouchercloud: top tourist destinations

Vouchercloud has produced a map to show the top tourist destination in each country in the world.

This is a large map - click on the map following the link to see the whole thing and download it if you want a copy.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

GA Conference Teachmeet - April 2017

The GA Teachmeet is on again.  It's part of the GA Conference 2017
As in previous years, it's being co-ordinated by David Rogers, along with Lucy Oxley.



We are particularly keen to have some younger teachers (nobody wants to see ANOTHER 50-something bloke on stage), and those from Primary as well as Secondary, and in particular, people who have never presented at a Teachmeet before.... so they can feel the sheer terror and then exhilaration of sharing ideas with peers when they've had a few free beers first... so sign up here.

If you just want to come along and watch, you'll need a ticket from the Eventbrite page, but the event is even more enjoyable if your name is in the old slot machine too...

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Place Based Research

One of the sessions at the recent GTE Conference that I most wanted to see was Emma Rawlings-Smith's presentation on her research so far into how place is represented in textbooks. I was interviewed by Emma last year as part of this research, with respect to how we wrote the AQA 'A' Level textbook for CUP and the OCR 'A' and 'B' books for Hodder.

Emma has a blog which is used to show her progress in her research.

The blog is called GeoPlaces and is on the Weebly platform.

The blog is connected with her PhD research. It's also very useful to connect the academic ideas on place with the teaching that is involved in the new 'A' level Changing Places topic. Emma interviewed me on my decision-making process when writing and editing the draft of this chapter in the Cambridge University Press textbook.
There is a useful set of resources here.

Finally on Changing Places, you may want to see an article by Richard Phillips in the latest Geography Review magazine, which looks at Changing Places in the context of Hackney. You can follow him on Twitter too.

You could also usefully watch Alan Smith's TED talk below:

Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Plastic Ocean

Now available to stream (fee required) on Vimeo...

A Plastic Ocean from Brainstorm Media on Vimeo.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Costa for Schools resources

A few years ago now (about 4 I think), I wrote three sets of resources for Costa Coffee, based on the work of the Costa Foundation.

They asked me earlier in the year to produce another set of 3 resources, based around the experience of buying a coffee. I was interested to see that in the end, quite a lot of the Costa specific references were taken out, so this is very much about the 'value' that is generated by our love for coffee. There are of course lots of independent coffee shops as well as the chain names.

You'll need to register (for free) with an e-mail and password to download the resources.

They have been really nicely designed up, and I'm going to make use of them in the coming term as part of a multi-choice curriculum section that I'm currently working on, as part of our unit on consumption and 'stuff' for Year 8.

Thanks to Jennifer Ferreira for her help with some of the links here, and those other colleagues who shared ideas or gave permission to use their ideas. Thanks to Hannah at EdComs for liaison...

The use of textbooks

Two seminar presentations that are worth watching, particularly David Gardner....