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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The GA have relaunched their "Geography" journal with a new editorial collective (I was present at the launch at the GA Conference - there was free wine !) and the first of the new issues was Spring 2008.
Several of the articles in this issue (which was sent free to all GA subscribers) have obvious links to the new AS which am in the midst of preparing for, and have also been reading a few other sections in preparation for an event at the end of the week I'm involved in...

Summer 2008's issue promises several articles on Risk and the Lisbon Earthquake (World at Risk), Slope Failures, plus a look at Climate Change and the Summer 2007 floods (also World at Risk)
One to watch (and read)
Some sample articles are available for non-GA members

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Just updated my SmartBoard software to version 10

Has some excellent extra features.
Also got a free trial of something called MarketPlace. I have 60 days and 60Mb of downloads free of charge apparently, and there are apparently 1 million resources here.
If you're quick, there will still be some free trials left.

Will let you know what that involves later.Also came across this site, with a FORUM for SMARTBOARD users.

It had a post by Quentin d'Souza, who works in Canada. We exchanged some e-mails following my SAGT Google Earth session a while back. This provided a little file which allows you to view the internet inside smart notebook. Nice work.

Came across Danny Nicholson's WHITEBOARD BLOG, which has some details on the updates and, the more I've read, a host of great ideas for Whiteboards, plus details of how you can get a free ANIMOTO download as part of their educator program.

Led me in turn to Jim Hollis' TEACHERS LOVE SMARTBOARDS blog over in the USA which has some useful posts.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Another geography networking idea:

"Think Global at your Local"

Taking the idea of the TEACHMEET, which is a very successful one from Scotland.

Arrange to meet with other local colleagues in a room at a pub in a central location, hopefully with WIFI and arrange for people to bring short ideas to share with the others. The TEACHMEET model can be adapted in numerous ways...
A few freebies to hand out, and a good time will be had by all (including the designated drivers...)

"See the world through the bottom of a pint glass."

How about invites printed on beer mats ?

I think this idea is 'a goer', and you might see me in a pub near you sometime in the next year....

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Videos can now be exported to YOUTUBE and embedded into Blogger as well as being downloaded...


The cost of food is rising around the world

BBC report in PICTURES.


Just signed up to Twitter to see what the fuss is about. Could be another way of encouraging networking and wider access to conferences...

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Who is this man, and why is he in the news this weekend ?
Update: It's Lakshmi Mittal: the richest man in the UK, and also the richest man in Europe, worth around £28 BILLION !!
Wonder if he'd like to sponsor the GeographyPages website ?

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One way of setting up networks.
Thanks to Ollie Bray for the weblink to the COMMONCRAFT "how to"....

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Just been exploring the idea of network building and was reminded of a post on Russell Davies' blog (have mentioned Russell's excellent work before)
This linked to the idea of "social playfulness" and putting the "fun" into functional, and the work of Amy Jo Kim from ShuffleBrain.

The post also introduced me to PMOG which sounds like it has potential. Got an invite to the beta. Will let you know how I get on....
This unconventional massively multiplayer online game merges your web life with an alternate, hidden reality. The mundane takes on a layer of fantastic achievement. Player behavior generates characters and alliances, triggers interactions in the environment and earns the player points to spend online beefing up their inventory. Suddenly the Internet is not a series of untouchable exhibits, but rather a hackable, rewarding environment!

Tapping into the virtual is the way to build exciting new networks.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Over to Fakenham today on hottest day of year so far. Farmers' Market just packing up.
In to see Horton hears a Who...Some micro-geographical shenanigans...

The book is about belief in what you can't see, fidelity to a cause that others think is ridiculous, and community service to reach an improbable goal. We're all in this together, Seuss says; everyone's important. Or, as Horton puts it: "A person's a person, no matter how small."


Just had a sneak preview of the programme for the SAGT conference, which will be held at Edinburgh Academy on the 25th of October.
The keynote RSGS lecture will be given by Dr. Iain Stewart, and the Hodder Gibson lecture by record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont.
There will also be sessions by several friends, including Val Vannet, Dan Raven Ellison, David Rayner, Ollie Bray and Christine Lloyd Staples.
The theme is GEOGRAPHY AND THE MEDIA and my session (oh, did I mention that I'd be presenting for the 4th year running...) will be called TURN ON, TUNE IN, GEOGRAPHY...

I'll give details on how to register as a delegate (it's a great day's CPD) later in the year.
See you all there !


Friday, April 25, 2008

Made it to another weekend, and catching up on Listen Again to Radio 3's "Late Junction" from St. George's Day, and a piece of music I'd been wanting to hear: Chris Wood's "Listening to the River".
It's a piece which links people and landscape, and is very much a piece of geography. Catch it for a few more days if you can...

You can see the connection with the 'Imagined Village', which I have blogged about before...

Also an excellent trio of pieces by a band called Kerfuffle which had some fab accordion playing and when I googled the band discovered their albums were recorded in Wickersley: the place I lived for the first 18 years of my life, and then Coope, Boyes and Simpson, who also have connections with the area with an excellent song "The River Flows", which is also about our impermanence in the landscape compared to rivers...

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Enjoying reading "Real England" by Paul Kingsnorth, which has an accompanying BLOG, which I'm of course very much in favour of...There are some very good sections in the book for geographers.
One I read last night is in Chapter 6 of the book, and features the Queen's Market in Upton Park, London

"Saving the market is not just about money, it's about our culture, and our culture is priceless"

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah on Queen's Market

This is a market which has been in operation for many decades, and has a remarkable cosmopolitan feel to it. The market apparently hasn't had a lot of investment in recent years, but has now been made available to a redevelopment firm called St. Modwen.
This has not gone down well with all of the traders, some of whom fear that the rents will be increased once the development has finished.
There is a website to help keep the market: FRIENDS OF QUEEN'S MARKET

Image by Adrian Arbib from http://www.friendsofqueensmarket.org.uk/

The website has a range of excellent resources which would help students to appreciate the issues.
There is an obvious connection with a certain other event which is happening in E. London in 2012...

Also check out the GAMES MONITOR website... (a new find...)

Plenty of information at the local COUNCIL SITE (including maps and plans)

A nice article in the LONDONPAPER.

Also check out this interesting INDYMEDIA article.

The website of the developer: ST MODWEN.

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GA Magazine Summer 2008 EditionNow available to download (by GA Members) from the GA WEBSITE.
Good report on conference, Webwatch, article by Nicole Lyons and Dan Raven Ellison, and plenty of information on what the GA are doing to support colleagues at all key stages.
Also some DOWNLOADS from the conference now available.


Who said this, and what are they referring to ?
Answers tomorrow...

“We’re preparing for a car bomb, not for 9/11,”

Update: Nick Mabey said it - as reported HERE

Thanks to Fred Martin for sending this link to Ben and Jerry's new ad, which covers a lot of geographical concepts in less than 30 seconds...


Good morning, fellow citizens of the Manche...

Food and Energy costs are still preoccupying the newspapers.

Here's the Daily Express for example...

Image copyright: Express newspapers

Perhaps we should move to Brazil: I like the way that things are constantly changing...

One other change was featured in the Telegraph today: an EU proposal.

Apparently, Norfolk is now in a new region called the MANCHE.
The new European plan splits England into three zones that are joined with areas in other countries.
The "Manche" region covers part of southern England and northern France while the Atlantic region includes western parts of England, Portugal, Spain and Wales.
The North Sea region includes eastern England, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and parts of Germany.
A copy of the map, which makes no reference to England or Britain, has even renamed the English Channel the "Channel Sea". Each zone will have a "transnational regional assembly", although they will not have extensive powers. However, the zones are regarded as symbolically important by other countries.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New geographical logo for YouTube....
Unfortunately, Blogger not wanting to upload images tonight - maybe tomorrow...


The new QCA SUPPORT WEBSITE is now open (thanks to Simon Renshaw for the tip-off on that)
You will have to register, which is a very quick process taking less than a minute. A confirmation e-mail is sent immediately and you can then log in.
This allows you to make use of a CURRICULUM PLANNING WIZARD, or viewing RESOURCES that are relevant to Geography (and the other subjects....)

The resources section includes some videos of 'COMPELLING LEARNING EXPERIENCES' and also RECOMMENDED WEBSITES, and it's good to see GeographyPages getting the QCA seal of approval again:

A vast array of good ideas, links and resources for KS3 work can be accessed from the GeographyPages website.

It includes all the details such as the IMPORTANCE STATEMENT. I have taken one sentence from this as our departmental 'statement of intent'...

Geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.

Could I also add my thanks to fellow GA SPC member Emma Johns for her excellent draft summary document for the new GCSE specifications. A very useful and timely document.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Some images from my weekend trip to the area of the Norfolk coast threatened with MANAGED REALIGNMENT.EDP Banner in a soggy WroxhamPotter Heigham SwanWinterton on Sea beach sign and village sign...
Bird sightings at Horsey Windpump. Never heard the Bittern...

Also discovered, while following up the Cambridge Fieldwork, an excellent CLONE TOWN resource that was used in a field visit during the GA Conference, and which has the good taste to link to my own growing clone town page to provide some comparative figures... Just downloaded the booklet to adapt, and also the powerpoint.

Also received my tickets today for an exciting event in June which I can't tell you about yet, but will tell you all about nearer the time... Keep reading !

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Enjoying the new Colin Meloy Sings Live CD...Not enjoying writing a set of reports on my wedding anniversary...


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mark Beaumont speaking in Scotland earlier this year...


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A few stories related to food in the news today.
First was the announcement of Tesco's huge profits of £2.8 billion....
This article in the BBC NEWS reports further.

Just been reading in "Real England" (which I've mentioned before) about the planning battle in Sheringham that I have also reported elsewhere before... The Real England blog is worth reading as it is updated regularly with interesting stories and links, such as THIS ONE to the Daily Telegraph's lead article on the continued decline of RURAL ENGLAND, particularly useful for AS / A2...

The second story relates to an item to be on tonight's NEWSNIGHT about the shameful amount of food that we waste in the UK, despite all the issues related to food security and food costs...
This BBC ARTICLE has more details, and would be a good basis for debate.
"Is it wrong to leave your crusts ?"

Householders chuck out 6.7m tonnes of unwanted food every year at a cost to us of £8bn. That's the equivalent of chucking out one bag of food for every three that we buy.

Around 40% of that is fresh fruit and veg - nearly 4.5m apples, and more than 5m potatoes and 1.5m bananas.

Oh, and a final new BBC NEWS article is saying that SEA LEVEL will rise much faster than previously forecast... Anyone want to buy a house near the Norfolk coast ?

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Don't forget to catch Mark Beaumont on BBC2 Scotland tonight and tomorrow, or catch if for the next week on iPlayer: THE MAN WHO CYCLED THE WORLD....


Saturday night, it was over to Cambridge dodging April showers to catch Jethro Tull on their 40th Anniversary tour, and 25 years since I first saw them...
Highlight was "Heavy Horses", "Dharma for One" and extract from "Thick as a Brick"...Good to hear the early tracks and see Mick Abrahams...


Got a rather nice DVD today in the post, which I'm not sure whether I ordered at some stage, or whether all schools are receiving one. Called "The Promised Land ?", it is from the BFI.
It is subtitled: "Slums, social housing and suburban expansion. Housing issues explored on film.
As well as the classic "Charley in New Town" it also has a range of short films from the 1920s to the 1980s, looking at locations from Cumbernauld to Sheffield, and the changes in the suburbs. Will be very useful next year for the look at the changing image of the city.

To find out more visit the MEDIATHEQUE area of the BFI website.
While looking for more details, I discovered that in 2007, a DVD called "Essentially British" was sent to all History and Citizenship heads in secondary schools. This has a number of films which look like being perfect for the idea of Cultural Change.
There are some short clips and more details HERE.

Update: Many thanks to Poppy from the BFI for sending me a copy of ESSENTIALLY BRITISH on DVD very promptly....

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Coming soon: Some COMIC LIFE stuff...Thanks to Ollie Bray for the reminder of this wonderful little programme.



Corryvreckan is a whirlpool, which is located between the islands of Jura and Scarba in the Scottish Hebrides.
Image credit: http://www.hebridean-wild.co.uk/about.html

Extract from Wikipedia article:

The Corryvreckan is the third largest whirlpool in the world, and is on the northern side of the gulf, surrounding a pyramid-shaped basalt pinnacle that rises from depths of 70 m to 29 m at its rounded top. Flood tides and inflow from the Firth of Lorne to the west can drive the waters of Corryvreckan to waves of over 30 feet (9 m), and the roar of the resulting maelstrom can be heard ten miles (16 km) away.

Formerly classified by the Admiralty as unnavigable (the Admiralty's West Coast of Scotland Pilot guide to inshore waters still calls it "very violent and dangerous" and says "no vessel should then attempt this passage without local knowledge"), its treacherous waters are nevertheless still sailed and swum by a few hardy adventurers.

However, the image below is the Corryvreckan I'm most looking forward to seeing: a new limited edition Single Malt from Ardbeg, which I ordered yesterday.

Image credit: Ardbeg

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America Unchained
Read this over the Easter holiday and enjoyed it a lot.
Well done to Dave Gorman for putting over 700 wonderfully avocative images of his road trip on his FLICKR PAGE

Update: Documentary is being shown at 9pm this coming Wednesday on More 4, and an hour later on More 4+1


Thursday, April 10, 2008


After a day of 'stuff', needed a bit of a tangent...
Some interesting e-mails with some projects I'm involved in taking shape (more later in the year)

Was following a few links from the website of Paul Kingsnorth, who wrote "Real England" (a book I mentioned a few posts ago)
This led me to the site of COMMON GROUND, who produced the wonderful ENGLAND IN PARTICULAR.
Read the PRODUCING THE GOODS section, and was interested in the idea (which relates a little to my LANDSCAPES work) on LOCALLY DISTINCTIVE SOUVENIRS.
One of them was related to a local artist called Fran Crowe. She has packaged up detritus found on the beaches of East Anglia which is then sold in local galleries or online. Lots of interesting ideas for making a point about our impact on the marine environment and wider environment...

Images from FLY IN THE FACE.

Also saw this clever 'pointful' banner at the London Torch Relay at the weekend.
Picture by Flickr user acb under Creative Commons License

Finally, went over to Hunstanton tonight for the usual Thursday swim, and the light across the Wash was crystal clear. Could see the wind farm in Lincolnshire, and wondered how far away that was... On Google Earth discovered that the turbines were about 17 miles away...

Also thanks to Kenny O Donnell for the head's up on THE WORLD IS WITNESS, which has stories of migrants complete with the routes that they took during their migration in Google Earth.

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PowerLeague is a new and interesting approach to the investigation of a theme, put together by FUTURELAB. Head over to the website and check it out. I've started making my own league and will share it when it's ready... The basic idea is as explained below:
Power League is an educational tool designed to spark fun and constructive debate among students by creating leagues on topics such as climate change, politics and science. Each student chooses repeatedly from random pairs generated by a database created by themselves or their teachers. By repeatedly casting votes, the students create a league, ranked in order of the most powerful, important, popular or influential – and then it is time to discuss! Why do some pupils think a pop star should rule the world over a politician? Why do some believe that deforestation is the biggest cause of climate change over 4x4 cars?


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The third in the JETLAG TRAVEL GUIDE series (of which I have the first two) has been published.Very amusing...
The first was MOLVANIA, the second was PHAIC TAN.
Visit the SAN SOMBRERO site, and listen to LA BABABUMBA...
Good for cultural geography, or reimagining places...
Check out the map and the capital CUCARACHA CITY and the district of POLLUCION...
I like the "world's first decaffeinated cocaine", grown in the district of MARACCA...

It would be great to turn this into a unit of work somehow...

Also a story about BBC's SPRINGWATCH programme, which is going to be broadcast from Pensthorpe in Norfolk this year...


Just reading what looks to be an excellent book "Real England".
Lots of suitable themes for a range of geographical topics...


Rainforest Condoms

Interesting story on BBC News website

Lots in the news today about potential plans to abandon the Norfolk Broads to the sea.

Also, we're richer, but not necessarily HAPPIER.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Was very interested in this post on Ewan McIntosh's EDUBLOGS blog, while looking for something else as it goes.
The post is about BECTa's research on the use of WEB 2.0 technologies in education (and of course my interest is from the geographical angle.)
Charles Crook, one of the people behind the research has been trying to get in touch with me for a good few weeks now to ask me about my use of the technologies, but something has always conspired to keep us apart. I'll try again after Easter (if you're reading this Charles, that's a promise) to try to add my two pennorth...

There are plenty of interesting snippets of information in this posting.
This was interesting for my media presentation at SAGT: what media do students have access to ?

Access and opportunity
Their first main research area revealed extensive access and opportunity to digital media. In order, from 100% down to about 10%, young people have access to:

  1. TV
  2. Mobile phone with camera
  3. Digital camera
  4. MP3 player/recorder
  5. PC
  6. Desktop games console (Xbox, Wii)
  7. Handheld console (Nintendo DS, PSP)
  8. Wifi
  9. Laptop
  10. Wired internet
  11. Webcam
  12. Mobile (no camera)
  13. PDA
Will have a look at this in more detail when I get a moment...
Off to see the Terracotta Army tomorrow at British Museum so have to go and pack...

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Just back from a visit to Titchwell bird reserve, and picnic on the beach, where I was lucky enough to see this elusive bird...
Anyone know what it is ?
Anyone else seen one ?

Image Copyright RSPB

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Geography of Wishes and (Un)Acceptable Behaviour

Get your KS3 students to fill in this questionnaire by clicking THE LINK to the Google Spreadsheet.

How are peoples' wishes different?
Do they change depending on where you live in the country?
Does age or gender matter?
What do you want?
What would you change?
What is acceptable and what is unacceptable?

This research aims to find some basic patterns to show what
people dream for and where. It will also discover what you
think is most unacceptable in life and if some parts of the
country think that kissing in public is more acceptable
than others....

Another of Dan Raven Ellison's projects.
Give him your support !

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Recommend getting a copy of the latest GEOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE: April 2008, which has a focus on Mega City One: MEXICO CITY.


A busy day in London yesterday.
Down to see David Attenborough speak at the Royal Geographical Society as part of their monday night lecture series. He was talking about Alfred Russel Wallace and the Birds of Paradise. A great occasion to be involved in.

Popped into the V&A to see the CHINA DESIGN NOW exhibition

A new exhibition is due to open later this week at the Science Museum. Popped in to see the preparations for the SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL: 2050.

Click the image to play the game.

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