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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Images are essential in Geography: to provide a window on the world, a starter, an emotional trigger, a model, an example, an example of awe and wonder, a joke, a stimulus.
In addition to taking my own images, it's important to have other sources of images. There are numerous places to source images, but there are copyright issues.
GeographyPhotos, a website created by Ian Murray, has a huge collection of categorised and captioned images which can be accessed by subscription. There is currently a deal going in association with the Geographical Association to offer reduced rates for GA Members.
Check out the site at GEOGRAPHY PHOTOS or click the banner at the top of this post.

Special Christmas and New Year offer - all subscriptions
received from now on (until further notice) will be set to run
until the end of January 2009 ( yes, 2000 and NINE). This
offer will be automatically backdated to all subscriptions and
renewals since August 30th 2006. The sooner you join the
more time you’ll have to use the site…..until 31st January
2009. Sign up now by email or post in the subscription form.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Global Geographer

The Global Geographer is a new fortnightly paper for people who are interested in geographical issues. Edited to traverse the academic, the teacher, the student and the curious, Global Geographer aims to bind the Geography community in an accessible format. We want you to read this on the train and then give it to teenager to enjoy. Think of it as Casual (yet critical) Geography.

Have you got news?

The Global Geographer is interested in your news, views, research, photos and articles as and when they come up. It doesn't matter who or where you are. We love talk about place, space, connections, environments, people and all things geographical. The only condition is that what you serve up must be easy to read despite all the rigor of your preparation. Items of 100 - 500 words are ideal, but don't let us hold you back.

The Global Geographer is produced and edited by volunteers so for the foreseeable future so all contributions will be paid for in love. To contribute just email your item to Daniel at mygeographyteacher@googlemail.com . Global Geographer depends on Geographers sharing their work and ideas so please do join in.

Subscribe for Free!

Available by email and online, the Global Geographer is a free publication that will be available to download from www.passion4geography.co.uk from the first week in January 2007.
To subscribe for free just email Daniel at mygeographyteacher@googlemail.com with the word 'subscribe' in the subject box.

Watch out for some articles by me!
If you're a Geographer and you want to be read, send your articles to Dan!


Friday, November 24, 2006

Good news today for the RGS-IBG: the Discovering Antarctica website. It has been nominated for a BAFTA in the 'Learning Secondary' category - just one away from Spongebob Squarepants!

Congratulations to Simon Scoones and the project team, and all involved with the site. As I produced the Curriculum links for KS3, GCSE and Pilot GCSE for the site, does that mean I've been 1% nominated for a BAFTA ?

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Do you have wind ?

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is offering a free DVD: "Wind Power in the UK", which is designed for pupils aged 14-18.
All Heads of Geography in the UK have been offered the DVD, or you can go HERE to find out more.

The DVD contents aim to answer these questions:

How serious is climate change?

Why do we need wind farms?

How economic are wind farms?

Are wind farms a risk to birds?

Are wind farms noisy?

What do wind farm neighbours really think?

Can I also recommend that you check out WOOPHY. You'll be pleasantly surprised !

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Live Long and Prosper
National Statistics latest report says that we are now living longer than ever, but that for a lot of people those extra years are characterised by ill health. An example of how Quality of Life varies within countries. Graph above shows how long people can expect to live beyond the age of 65.

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Geography and ICT - are we "p*** poor" ?

Interesting article in the Education Guardian today by Philip Beadle: "Not OK Computer" investigates the use of ICT in schools today. I would say that a lot of what we do in the Geography community does not fall into the categories that he describes, being far more creative and having an impact, but some of you might disagree.
Worth reading the article, which can be seen HERE.
Here are a few brief extracts which could be seen as a challenge to some users of ICT:

"I am still stuck in that hinterland where I think ICT in schools is a great idea (and all that), but am still rendered shame-faced while caught in stock cupboards sniffing books with lascivious intent. The problem with ICT as a panacea, apart from the fact that the stuff it is replacing - books, human contact and language - was so well designed in the first place, is that it's been thrown at us with neither instruction manual nor time to read one if one existed.

As a result, much of ICT use in schools is piss poor, squared. All of us have witnessed some "imported for a twilight session" ICT whizz make the interactive whiteboard sing, clap its hands and perform a pelvis-breaking dance. A select few of us, however, will have translated that training into a single trick. A trick we desperately hope will fox Ofsted into believing that we are anything other than pasty incompetents wearing a none-too-convincing ICT-wizard mask."


One way to avoid falling into this category is to be suitably tooled up for the latest developments on the web.
I recommend the free PDF download below, full details of which are on a posting on PETER FORD's blog.


1. Preliminary Information
2. The Contributors: Quick Reference Guide
3. Introduction
4. Glossary Of Terms Used
5. Book Review: Redefining Literacy For The 2St Century
6. Effective E-Learning Through Collaboration
7. What Are Rss Feeds And Why Haven’T I Heard About It?(Rss Feeds From An Educator’S Perspective)
8. Blogging: Shift Of Control
9. Photo-Sharing And Clip-Art
10. Factoring Web Logs To Their Fundamentals
11. Virtual Support Via The Blogosphere
12. The International Edublog Awards
13. Blogs You Must Read!
14. Elgg And Blogging In Primary Education
15. Using Blogs In School
16. Thinking About Creativity, Thinking About Blogs!
17. Book Review: Classroom Blogging: A Teacher’S Guide To The Blogosphere
18. Book Review: New Tools For Learning
19. Diary Of A Potential Podcasting Junkie
20. Finding Good Podcasts
21. Podcasting Resources
22. Podcasting
23. Finding And Subscribing To A Podcast Via Itunes
24. Obtaining Information About A Podcast In Itunes
25. Giving Students A Second Listen
26. Podcasting: A Review Of Recording Devices
27. Other Useful Websites
28. Create An Rss Feed For Your Podcast
29. List Your Podcast And Find Others’
30. Podcasting And Wikis
31. Recording A Podcast On A Computer
32. Uses Of Podcasting In Schools
33. Video Blogging: Terry Freedman Interviews Paul Knight
34. Video Blogging In Schools
35. Wikis: An Introduction
36. Wikipedia Vs Britannica
37. Setting Up A Wiki
38. Wikiville: An Interview With John Bidder
39. Social Bookmarking
40. Forums, Instant Messaging And Other Ways To Participate

Now all you need to do is get sufficiently proficient to use these in an innovative and creative way...

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Spent the day in Leicester today at the launch of a project called Young People's Geographies. More on that later in the blog.
Also need to tell you the answer to the Michael Schumacher conundrum but that will have to wait too.
Also today, bought this book, which looks like being a useful resource for the theme of Futures, and ties in with the BBC series.
OK, pile of marking can wait no longer...

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Well done to Team Geography...

As announced a while ago, a team of Geographers were bidding to be the guest editors of the Today programme on 1st January 2007.
They were up against 3 other teams, but it was announced yesterday that the Geography team are the victorious team...
There is an announcement HERE (which may move...), but well done to David L, Dan R-E and Hannah B.
So it's a chance to Give Geography its Place on the radio. I presume there won't be a late night on New Years Eve for the team though.
A great Geographical start to the New Year!

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Free forecasts for King's Lynn and other locations at http://www.metcheck.com

Why not have a go at the GEOGRAPHYCUP ! Your country needs you ! (to do really well...)
UPDATE: UK now ahead of the USA (as of 20/11/06) - have a go and boost our score !

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Just waiting for QI to start (the only decent show on the telly these days, apart from "Planet Earth" (and any other geography-related show...)) and was reading Russell Davies, a regular blog stop...
His Egg Bacon Chips and Beans is one of my favourite sites. Great for desktop images which make you hungry all day....
Pick the geography out of that !
Picture of Egg Bacon Chips and Beans from Egg Bacon Chips and Beans by Egg... I mean Russell Davies

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Image of iPods from Apple Store website.
This image of iPod Nano is going to be joined by some ideas for using this product as an example of Globalisation, and how the supply chain works.
This would also be useful for the Pilot GCSE "People as Consumers" unit (check out the Pilot Geography blog)

The Mail on Sunday published an article recently which looked at the cost of production of this item, and the different countries which supplied the components. That will form the basis for this post.
To be continued....

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

This flag is in the news at the moment for a fictional character who apparently comes from the country.
What's the country and the character ?
What geographical knowledge do you have of this place ?
Reading this at the moment - by George Monbiot: an excellent (if rather worrying) opening. Here's a quote I'm going to add to my presentation for a forthcoming 6th form evening:
"By turning on the lights, filling the kettle, taking the children to school, driving to the shops, we are condemning other people to death. We never chose to do this. We do not see ourselves as killers. We perform these acts without passion or intent." A recommended read, and as it says on George's blog header:
Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it.
Tell them something new and they will hate you for it.

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GA Conference 2007

The Conference programme is now available to view via the GA WEBSITE.

This looks interesting...
Lots of other good workshops and lectures too. See you there !

Don't forget to vote for the G Team to edit Radio 4's TODAY programme either. Here's the pitch. BBC Radio Four ‘Today’ Programme - In Search of the G Spot

David Lambert, Dan Raven-Ellison and Hannah Bosher

We heard recently a prediction that the human race will need three planet Earths by the year 2050. This is impossible to contemplate. So we think we should focus more on the living space we have.

Our editorial line will focus on the ‘space’ in which we live, places and what makes them special and on understanding our interconnected lives. We are going to seek out and stimulate the G spot of issues and stories. G is for geography, and we are going to use geography as our main editorial ‘lens’.

We have an inter-generational editorial team of three geographers. The youngest member of the team, Hannah, brings the perspective of one who has a long future ahead of her. She is part of a generation which may see the world in radically new ways, via the internet. What is her space? Her teacher, Dan, has the task of making her lessons fun, useful, engaging and relevant. What does modern geography at school look like? David, who has been around for the longest time, thinks geography is the most significant subject to learn at school, and is vital for future thinking global citizens. Why is that claim not absurd?

What we will do is devise a programme - we already have some great ideas – that will satisfy the curiosity of listeners at the start of the New Year. These are the kinds of questions we will address with geography, beginning with the ‘living geography’ of young people:

Who am I? Where do I come from? Who is my family? What is my ‘geography’? Who are the people around me? Where do they come from? What is their ‘geography’? These kinds of questions concern identity. They link to further questions about …

… our place in the world: Where do I live? How does it look? How do I feel about it? How is it changing? How do I want it to change?

Living in the world has a cost, and we all have impact, which stimulate further questions about the Physical world: What is the world (and this place) made of? Why do things move? What becomes of things?

And of course, the Human world which we have made for ourselves is deeply political. Who decides on who gets what, where and why? What is fair? How do we handle differences of opinion?

A geographical perspective provides a fresh way of keeping all these questions in the frame, particularly the links between the physical and human worlds. Our editorial will try to demonstrate this. It will be worthwhile trying.

Why? Well, the Today Programme focuses on stories which frequently have a strong temporal narrative. Saturday 4th November was a good example. There were major items on:

  • The hold genealogy has over us in our search for our personal stories
  • The heritage industry and the ‘History Matters’ campaign from the National Trust
  • The US mid-term elections and the civil war – ‘history is everything’ was the phrase used.

The power of history to help explain the present is routinely acknowledged, but the significance of place and space, and geographical scale, far less so. And what about the future? In a crowded, risky world, geographical perspectives help us think intelligently about the future.

The extraordinary Stern Review, published at the end of October, provides an account of the changing global climate and speculates on some of the impacts:

“Such changes would transform the physical geography of the world. A radical change in the physical geography of the world must have powerful implications for the human geography – where people live, and how they lead their lives.”

(Stern Review, Executive Summary p IV)

Geography is the subject that crosses over the physical and human worlds. Geographical perspectives may help us understand the world more fully.

The Inter-Regional Editorial ‘G’ Team

  • Hannah Bosher, Geography GCSE student at Langtree School, Reading

  • Dan Raven-Ellison, Geography teacher, Langtree School, Reading; co-leader of the Give Geography its Place Campaign




Some initial programme ideas

My Space – will explore the relationship between online communities and ‘real world’ communities. The feature could explore nuisance spaces, distant friends and near foreigners, young people making sense of the world through the internet, how collaboration vs. mediation is changing learning and/or other issues the news raises.

Butterfly News – will explore news stories through ‘knock-on’ effects. The line of enquiry would investigate several stages of cause and effect to make connections between people, places and issues that the news does not often address.

Today, Now – what is happening ‘now’ across a wide range of countries. This could also be what are you doing ‘now’. This would act as a snap-shot of events and experiences from across the world to mark the start of the New Year. Possibly the focus can be on aspirations, hopes and longings.

Risky Thinking – why don’t people tend to ask ‘what is the geography’ of this place or issue? Why could this absence of geographical thinking be ‘risky thinking’ especially when it comes to ‘risk’ topics? In this feature a range of top geographers would be invited to explore how thinking geographically can help us understand Global climate change, conflict in the Middle East, the spread and control of disease and nuisance spaces within our communities.

Living Geographies – in two parts this feature will look at how local and international geographies might be changing in 2007. Part One will enquire into local spaces in the UK (transport, housing, health and education provision, shopping, change and ‘sustainable development’ such as in Sheffield-Rotherham). Part Two will enquire in to how distant localities are also experiencing rapid change and what might happen in 2007. These might include new oil wealth in Sao Tome and Principe or another current news story.

Mywalk – introducing the concept of ‘mywalk’ (originated by Duncan Fuller and colleagues at Northumbria University). This is for all, young and old, to reconnect with urban environments and the often by-passed or ignored parts of it. Mywalk is about making us think about our emotional attachments to, and feelings created by, our day-to-day surroundings, the feelings invoked by inanimate things, unexpected encounters or taken for granted spaces. Mywalk will link to perceptions of tranquility – what enhances or detracts from people’s sense of tranquility:

  • What flicks our switches?
  • What turns us on?
  • What tickles us?
  • What disgusts us?
  • What makes us smiles
  • What makes us feel warm?
  • What makes us take the long way round?
  • What do we love?
  • What do we hate?

In the end, mywalk is about how best we engage and enthuse the public in exploring these geographies – that is, ‘our local environment/community’. This is of great interest to those interested in communities and local government

Good news – focusing on achievement as a result of holistic thinking – strengthening communities, improving economic and environmental circumstances – from around the world, but especially from Africa

News without boundaries - where divisions in the mind, or physically on the ground, have been overcome.


The programme will feature at least one major interview from a leading geographer. We may also explore why geography in the curriculum is so under threat despite the subject being popular, enjoyable, relevant and very important. This may involve interviews with prominent education thinkers and/or policy makers.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Another Geo Conundrum

When Michael Schumacher retired as a F1 motor racing driver in October 2006, he was presented with a piece of the World, which was worth a great deal of money.
What did he get ? Where is it ? Why is it Geographical ?
Answers in a few days...

Also decided to award myself one of Peter Ford's Blogging Awards...Why not start a Geographical blog and give yourself an award !
An Inconvenient Truth is finally coming to a cinema near me (just 2 weeks before it comes out on DVD - hmmm...)
Also vote for the best caption for the image below, taken at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers' annual conference over at the Passion4Geography site.
That's me on the left...
And some music news. Not Jazz, although Phil Collins did play with Brand X and Bill Bruford made a few live appearances for them, but a band I first saw live over 25 years ago: Genesis have announced a reunion tour in 2007, except Peter Gabriel won't be joining them, or Steve Hackett. Have to admit I'm tempted to go and listen to Banks' keyboards on 'Afterglow' one more time, but they're big outdoor enormo-gigs and will probably cost loads of cash. Oh well, I'll get the vinyl out of the loft instead...

Sunday at six when they close both the gates
a windowed pair,
still sitting there,
Wonder if they're late for church
and its cold so they fasten their coats
and cross the grass, they're always last.

Passing by the padlocked swings,
the roundabout still turning,
ahead they see a small girl
on her way home with a pram.

Inside the archway
the priest greets them with a courteous nod.
He's close to god.
Looking back at days of four instead of two.
Years seem so few.
Heads bent in prayer
for friends not there.

Leaving twopence on the plate,
they hurry down the path and out the gate
and wait to board the bus
that ambles down the street.

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Geography on the Radio
"Today", the Radio 4 News programme is offering the chance for groups of people to be guest editors on the show.
Tomorrow, David Lambert will represent a GGiP team on the programme at 8.40am pitching their ideas.
For more on the ideas, see the latest posting on the GGiP blog. http://givegeographyitsplace.blogspot.com/
From tomorrow, you have a chance to vote for the G Team of David, Dan Ellison and Hannah one of Dan's students.
And if you miss the programme you can always 'Listen Again'...
The voting opens on Wednesday the 8th of November. Make sure you vote for the 'G' team to hit the 'G' spot.
Let's give Geography a place on Radio 4

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Geography and Fish...

Has Cod had its chips ?

England's favourite meal is fish and chips (or is it chicken tikka), but that may not be the case in the future. Fish stocks are declining alarmingly (they have been for ages...)
This BBC ARTICLE suggests there may only be 50 years to save ocean fishing.
Soylent Green could be on the menu sooner than we think...

Also got this via the GGiP blog:

The extraordinary Stern Review, published at the end of October, provides an account of the changing global climate and speculates on some of the impacts:

    “Such changes would transform the physical geography of the world. A radical change in the physical geography of the world must have powerful implications for the human geography – where people live, and how they lead their lives.”

(Stern Review, Executive Summary p iv)

Geography is the subject that crosses over the physical and human worlds. Geographical perspectives may help us understand the world more fully.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Geography and Jazz (Continued)
Here's a bit of jazz...
Jan Garbarek quartet doing Molde Canticle Part 1 via YouTube. Wonderful stuff!

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Geography and Flying
Thanks to Ian Murray for this - would make a good Travel and Tourism starter (except you won't get to see it at school...)

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While in Scotland recently, I bought this book (as well as the Islay book mentioned below). I particularly like it because it has the good taste to have a go at Chris Martin of Coldplay.
Also last night on BBC Scotland, 2 river programmes were broadcast which were produced in consultation with Val Vannet and David Rayner. The programmes featured 2 contrasting rivers: the River Devon in Scotland and the River Cuckmere in the South East of England - they are shown below: Devon at the top and Cuckmere at the bottom...
Teachers notes can be downloaded from the BBC Scotland site. Check them out if you're a teacher - they are fab programmes.

Went out to a very good fireworks do last night: thanks to Gen and James. Got through several hundred pounds worth of fireworks, had a good bonfire which didn't burn down the fence as some people thought, and excellent food and gluhwein. The only downside was the horror that is Inspector Gadget's Field Trip....

Over the next few days, bonfire parties will be held in thousands of gardens around the country. What effect do these have on the air quality of the UK ? Do they make a significant contribution to Global Warming ?
It's a question I've posed for some years now on the website.The National Society for Clean Air (not surprisingly) has something to say on the matter at their website.
They have several advice leaflets, which relate to the prevailing conditions. High pressure and still air would obviously encourage smoke and pollutants to increase.
http://environment.guardian.co.uk/waste/story/0,,1938969,00.html - give up fireworks and save the planet! - features a rugby club who had a VIRTUAL bonfire! - whatever next ?
An interesting story below relating to Dioxins: a particular pollutant which is apparently produced mostly over the next few weeks...

Pollution rockets on Bonfire Night
Source: www.edie.net

This site allows you to click on a map of the UK and see what the pollution levels are like in a particular region...
Stay safe!

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