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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Got fed up with the rubbishy print quality from my printer, so treated myself to a new Kodak printer/scanner/copier today which can do Bluetooth wireless printing and does photo quality copies, has XD, SD and CF card slots which match my digital camera, and also has a nice screen interface...
Impressed so far.Good value inks too. Only 7p to print a photo at lab quality...
Also the easiest peripheral I've set up for a while...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why not try this if you have a moment to spare

SAGT 2007Picture by Val Vannet

Just back from 2 days in Edinburgh for the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers' conference. I was presenting an adapted version of the Royal Geographical Society presentation I blogged about HERE.

Arrived by train, and up to my nice hotel, for which I got a good deal with "LastMinute.com". Very mild after the chill of Paris. Wandered over to the academy through the Royal Mile and down the cobbles.

The conference was held at Edinburgh Academy. A good venue. Picture by Flickr User Dave Fitch

John Vannet was setting up the Publishers. GA, RGS and GGiP amongst them. Also met up with "the boys from the OS" again and others... Then had a rather nice caprese Pizza and a bottle of Peroni with friends.

Also down to Princes St. to have a bit of a shop and met up with Rob Chambers, who was also presenting a session. He had been due to present at 2006's conference too, but fell ill on a trip to Kenya and was unable to attend. If you want to see his presentations, there is an ONLINE VERSION by clicking the link. As you will see, there is an impressive amount of information here, which could keep you going for a while....

Val Vannet was doing her session on BLOGGING.
She did some live blogging, with some pictures taken that morning. Check the link to see some more pictures of the conference. Good work Val !

Ollie Bray was very popular again and was in "the big theatre"... doing a back to basics session. He's created a little show which can be viewed below, and his ONLINE handout and other resources will be appearing HERE.

Create Your Own

Coming back was a bit of a 'mare. GNER train had to go via Carlisle, which is not the most direct route to Newcastle... People kept asking me loads of questions as the train pulled in, and all the seat reservations were mixed up, then realised they thought I worked for GNER as I had my suit on, blue shirt and tie with the london underground map on it... Quickly took my tie and jacket off.
Took over 5 hours with numerous loudmouthed intrusions to get back to Peterborough. The problem with public transport is that the public get on it... ;)

Other bits and pieces from SAGT:

  1. Thanks to Alan Doherty for passing on copies of his 2 GEOJUICE CDs. These contain hundreds of images and other animations. CD1 contains images of AFRICA (Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) and CD2 has images of USA (California, Hawaii and Oregon) - CD3 will cover JAPAN. Also has links to some FACEBOOK albums, such as this one on the LONDON DOCKLANDS.
  2. Thanks to Ollie Bray for giving me the DVD that he used in his BACK TO BASICS presentation, which included lots of demonstrations for physical processes. He nearly set fire to the lecture theatre at one point, which would have been funny to see, but our presentations were on at the same time.
  3. Some good GA stuff including a pen - thanks to Nicky Reckless, who was manning the stand.
  4. A 2 CD set of resources on the Gamekeepers' Role in Heather Moorland management (excellent for Ecosystems work)
  5. Lots of stuff on the Curriculum for Excellence.
  6. A good JUTE bag with a cow on it...
  7. Well done also to Judy Mansell and the RGS-IBG who won 2 SAGT awards for 2 websites: the YOUR CLIMATE YOUR LIFE site, and the PASSPORT TO THE POLES site.
  8. Signed up for the new GGiP scheme to produce the world's biggest world map.
  9. Met a lot of young enthusiastic Scottish geographers and had a nice lunch with a glass of red wine.

If you want to download the presentation I used, if you were (or weren't at the session), go to my SLIDESHARE page (be warned though - it's 12Mb)

And don't forget that I'd love to hear your ideas for helping your students with their studying

One slight bonus of the long rail journey was the chance to read the whole of Will Self and Ralph Steadman's "Psychogeography" which is studded with gems !

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Disneyland 1

Disney movies are one of the most familiar cultural references ever.
People around the world recognise the characters and the music.
Just back from Disneyland Paris, where I took hundreds of images of the place. Going to work this up into a tourism unit at some point...
In the meantime, "here are a few of my favourite things..." (I mean, images...)


Friday, October 19, 2007

Image by Flickr user Tim Caynes, under Creative Commons
Over to University of East Anglia today to talk about developing a new KS3 Curriculum, and using some ICT tools to unlock creativity but avoid the pitfalls of "butterfly geography". Had a good day - nice lunch too - thanks Mr. Gee...

If you were there on the day and want any further details, please add a comment below...
Best of luck with your training !

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

New issue of GA Magazine out todayFeatures a first look at the tool kit series and some very useful articles plus 'Webwatch', which is a bit out of date.
World of Experience website was not available when I looked for it last month.
Also rather more than 70 presentations in Slideshare group.
GA Members can download from website.

Also features an "Early Bird" booking form for GA Conference 2008.
Good to see that Andrew Simms will be doing a session... Big fan of NEF as regular readers of blog will know.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Coastal Fieldwork Day

Well, what a busy day followed by an even busier evening of CD burning, photo uploading, website updating, NING additions, Animoto movies, batch resizing, FLICKR uploading etc. all so that the images and data can be available tomorrow and for half term when students will be working on their write ups for their exams...

Below are a few sample images of the day.

For more, check out the full glory of the 100+ images on the new FLICKR SET...

Also below are some images sent to me by Jon Wolton of my recent RGS-IBG day.
The presentations from the day, including a cut down version of mine are now available on the RGS website ON THIS PAGE.The stage ready for the second half - I'm sat at the end of the second row of seats, behind the bloke standing next to the lectern, who was the Chair for the day. The mighty Simon Oakes is stood in the doorway !Stuart Downward in action... Me and Simon O watching carefully in the background... Imagine my slides in full glory on that screen - unfortunately, no image of me in action exist... Unless of course some students took them on their cameraphones...

Also check the WEBSITE for the details on the coastal fieldwork (this page will be changed tomorrow to represent the latest trip...)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Just back from a family trip to see latest Disney Pixar animation in local cinema.
Superb film ! Get to see it - loved the first view of Paris across the rooftops....


If you have the chance to get to the RGS on Saturday 20th of October, there is what sounds like a fascinating day.

In a host of talks, workshops, music, film, art and games, Interdependence Day will explore what it means to live in an interdependent world. For anyone who cares about the earth and the people we share it with. The new and extraordinary challenges that lie before us at the start of the twenty-first century - creeping globalisation, climate change, seemingly unstoppable and impossible to fully comprehend - can appear beyond the control of any one person. Finding ways to take a fresh approach to the defining questions of our time are the inspiration for Interdependence Day 2007.

Mark Lynas, author of High Tide: the truth about our climate crisis, Anuradha Vittachi, co-founder of the Oneworld Network, Andrew Simms, policy director of nef and author of Tescopoly: How one shop came out on top and why it matters, Dr Joe Smith of the Open University and Director of the Interdependence Day project, Ann Pettifor, Co-founder of the Jubilee 2000 debt campaign and author of The coming first world debt crisis, Raj Patel, activist and author of Stuffed and Starved, Peter Chapman, author of Jungle Capitalists, Nick Robins, author of The Corporation that changed the world, James Marriott, founder of Arts Activist network PLATFORM, Heather Ackroyd, of Acrkoyd Harvey, the artists who this summer grassed over the national theatre, and Jon Plowman, BBC Head of Comedy.

Films: Mangetout, the Award-Winning and rarely viewed Modern Times Documentary, and q&a with the director, Mark Brozel, Cheatneutral, the film of the internet phenomenon which unmasked carbon offsetting and Revolutionary cycling cinema

Activities: Pick-up a prescription at the Doctor's Surgery - a drop-in workshop with experts to help diagnose and cure the world's problems; Play your part in crafting a new map of global Interdependence in the historic map room; Hear the latest thinking from key international figures who will offer their own Declarations of Interdependence; Soak up the mini-film festival in the Ondaatje Theatre and question top artists, film-makers, TV and web producers about new ways of looking at the world; Play Climatetalk and devise new ways of acting on climate change; Dive into the deep water through the 'Water Salon' from the Dirt Cafe; hear about the impact of globalisation on the production of local cheese from Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie; Get sticky with the Carbon Map - tracing the trail of the global oil and gas trade and its effects; Sew a subversive stitch with Guerrilla Craft; Meet artists, designers and authors who are working with environmental change; Join the 'participating in change' workshop to explore ways we can all engage with environmental issues; Get to the core of it by celebrating Apple Day with games, tastings, music and poetry; explore an installation highlighting global interdependence and ecological debt made from locally salvaged materials.

If you do get there, let me know how it went...

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Monday, October 15, 2007

400 Posts...

Just noticed earlier that this is the 400th post on this weblog - cause for celebration.
Earlier today, end of postal strike brought a backlog of Amazon parcels, including this box set:It's a rather nice pair of books on the 2 polar regions: anthologies of writing. Some familiar pieces: Nansen, Cherry Garrard, Barry Lopez, Franklin, Peary, Wilson, Shackleton, Scott, Mawson, Jenny Diski and Sara Wheeler (I have a big Polar section on my bookshelves) but also some unfamiliar - had never made the HP Lovecraft connection before, and also an excellent piece by Elizabeth Kolbert (one of the editors) on melting permafrost in Shishmaref, Alaska.
Led me to do some searching and found some useful FLICKR sets (like the $14.00 potatoes picture - shows the extra expense of living in such remote locations)

Turns out that this place is one of the more extreme examples that are being used for the impacts of Global Warming. Check out THIS BBC NEWS article from 2004, this NOAA article (with images from the wonderfully named Nome Nugget...), and one of Bryan and Cherry Alexander's wonderful PHOTO STORIES.
I loved this other photo story of extreme TRUCKING IN SIBERIA. Fits in nicely with documentary on Ice Truckers which was on earlier in the week on (cough) the History Channel....

Finally, check out the OFFICIAL site of the Shismaref Erosion and Relocation Coalition (SERC) which has loads of details, photo galleries and videos...
This is going to be one of my new CASE STUDIES for new A level....

If anyone wants to buy me a Christmas present, I quite like the look of this... out at the weekend...
OK, time to celebrate the 400th post....

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Today is Blog Action Day
Theme is "the Environment"

Add a comment to the blog post which is on the theme of the ENVIRONMENT

Could be one of these formats, or one of your own choice...

a) What most worries you about the environment: local, national or global ?
b) Which environmental story has had most impact on you in the last year ?
c) What steps do you take to reduce your impact on the environment ?
d) Which environmental themes do you think should form part of the Geography or Citizenship or General Studies course ?
e) Tell us about an environmental story you have been involved in....

Or one of your choice.
Click the COMMENT button and write your comment - don't forget to include your name...
You will be one of over 12 million people involved in this Blog Action Day....


Friday, October 12, 2007

20 years ago, we had wind...
A mighty wind...

It was the Great Storm, the tail end of Hurricane Floyd, which roared across the SW and SE of England. I was in Yorkshire at the time and wasn't really affected that much...

Michael Fish mentioned that a lady had rung in and asked about the hurricane, and ended up looking a little foolish. This was apparently not the case though ? Read this interesting BBC story.

There are some interesting stories about the night on the BBC website:
HERE and HERE (with video clip)

We will offer the chance to go back in time in lessons this week...

St. Vincent college has some good links relating to the storm, and some satellite images.

MET OFFICE page on the storm.

55 images of the damage done in KENT: Sevenoaks was a major casualty too...

Dan, Dan the Weatherman
has some information too

Watch out for an ITV special on Tuesday night...
Also some clips on YouTube


Image by Flickr User Innes Keighren
My Big Day at the RGS

AS / A2 Study Day

Event was chaired by Andy Yarrow, Headteacher of Hornsey School for Girls.

The first part of the day was presented by Helen Young, who used to present the weather for the BBC Weather Centre and also worked for the Met Office in Exeter.

She talked through some of the ‘myths of climate change’ and explained some of the natural and forced (?) variability of climate over the last 400 000 years and the accuracy of computer models today compared with earlier models.

She was followed by Simon Oakes, a principal examiner for Edexcel , who delivered a high octane run through of impacts of globalisation using Armenian heavy metal and contemporary examples to produce a different angle on the well-worn topic which will form part of all new A level specifications.

A session on applying for Geography at university followed, with Dr. Alastair Owens from Queen Mary University.

Meanwhile I was enjoying the hospitality. Into the Ondaatje theatre with nice leather seats and had a quick technical run through: speak here, press here. Also a chance to speak with Judy and Jon from the RGS. Good to be back with the Shackleton statues, ancient floorboards and paintings and big floppy settees.

After lunch, Dr Stuart Downward presented a session on river management (and the specific tools that make geographers good managers) – this put me in mind of Tim Bradford’s book on the underground rivers of London which I have mentioned in an earlier posting.

There were plenty of signs that geography lectures travel the world which would perhaps have supplied some further incentive for applying to do a geography degree (or one related to World Development, Sustainability etc.)

Kate Amis went through some options for careers using Geography.

Then it was on with the radio mike and I was up, where Michael Palin had been just 3 days earlier. Huge presentation screen was very clear, and the sound was good too. Ran through my much rehearsed (well, I ran through it once with some teachers on Tuesday) presentation on Blogs, Casting and Nings complete with bad jokes…

Introduced a few people to the idea of a social learning network, which could be set up, as it was in my school, to support study. Also invited them to seek out the website. Gave away a few pens for audience participation, and

Had to leave before the end to get back for a Year 10 evening at school.

Spoke to Sarah Jordan before the start of the second half of the day. She explained how to tackle coursework and fieldwork write-ups.

Had lunch with Chris Martin, principal examiner from OCR, who then had ‘the graveyard shift’, talking about extended writing in exams – some very useful details for my 6th form groups, and made my escape back up to Norfolk just before the end of the day.

Update: E-mail on Monday from Programmes Officer at RGS-IBG:

We have analysed the feedback forms and your talk was very well received by the students and teachers, thank you!

Good to hear. If you were in the audience and have started a blog since, please let me know...


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Keeping Geography Dynamic
Just about to head off to Norfolk Geography conference, and wanted to add a link to a presentation produced by my SPC colleague David Rogers for the Hampshire Heads of Geography Conference. Some great ideas for keeping Geography dynamic...

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Don't forget next Monday October 15th - posting needed on the Environment....
My form group will be participating in this...


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Need some cool jazz to accompany your marking stints ?
Check out Manu Katche's new CD...
Great Trygve Seim sax and Mathias Eick trumpet, as well as Manu's drumming


Friday, October 05, 2007

RGS-IBG Study Day
Thursday of next week is another conference - this time for AS/A2 students at the RGS, and I will be speaking in the afternoon in the Ondaatje theatre, which is also the venue for Michael Palin just 3 days earlier.
See the rather nice picture of the theatre below taken by Flickr user
I will be speaking on using the Internet for Study Skills

Above are some of the slides from the presentation, an edited version of which is available on Slideshare.
See some of you there !!


Norfolk Geography Conference 2008

This will be held on Tuesday the 9th of October at Gressenhall Museum of Rural Life, Norfolk, as pictured above by Flickr user Tim Caynes, and below by Flickr user Steve K.The main speaker will be Alan Kinder, co-chair of the GA's Secondary Phase Committee, who will be looking at the new KS3 Curriculum, and also Self Evaluation of Departments using the Secondary Geography Quality Mark.

I will be involved in 2 sessions.
The first is "Recent Developments in ICT" which I will be running, although I didn't realise this until recently - I'd actually booked this session myself as I was quite keen to see what I'd been missing...
I will highlight some new ideas for using ICT, and places to get resources, and also mention some of the work that I am doing with the CfBT et al as a Regional Subject Adviser for the new Secondary Curriculum.

Delegates doing this session will receive a free GEOGRAPHYPAGES pen (of course...) and also a selection of resources... but not the usual CD that I have given out in the past. This is available on request after the session...

The second is "SEN in Geography".
I will be doing a few sections from this session, along with colleagues from a working group that has been meeting for over a year at the PDC in Norwich and Gressenhall itself, looking at SEN in Geography.
We are going to suggest some ways of teaching SEN and dealing with some of the issues that SEN throws up.

More to come on this over the weekend...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My son is getting very excited about seeing this...

In France, there's apparently a craze for owning a pet rat since the release of the film, in a repeat of the craze for clown fish following the release of "Finding Nemo": another Pixar film...