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Monday, October 27, 2008

Fudgie the Hamster
Heard the tale of Fudgie yesterday. 


GIS (ArcView) training

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


November 19, 2008 is ESRI’s international GIS day. To mark this, three innovative geography departments are offering training in their school, suitable for teachers at any level of experience with GIS. You will have a chance to see how they use ArcGIS software with pupils and to receive hands on training with GIS.


The day will run from 10am – 3.30pm and is free. To register for the event, please email the appropriate teacher.

Hertfordshire Dr Peter O’Connor, Bishop’s Stortford College peter.o'connor@bishopsstortfordcollege.org

Yorkshire Steve Dunn, The Grammar School at Leeds, sd@gsal.org.uk

Herefordshire Jenny Barlow, Lady Hawkins School, Herefordshire jbarlow@lhs.hereford.sch.uk


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Sunday, October 26, 2008

SAGT 2008: the REPORT

On Friday night, after setting up the GA stand, had a meal at the very nice, and very French Le Petit Paris restaurant on Queensferry Road.

A windy night followed, and in the morning it rained on and off most of the day.

For the second year, the conference was held at Edinburgh Academy. First thing was to grab a coffee and man the GA stand with the other publications, and to start handing out over 150 free satellite image maps of the earth from space, and also have conversations with the 290 odd delegates. The maps were donated by the GeoSphere project.
At 9.40 the publishers’ awards, presented by John Vannet, were announced. In the Book category, the GA picked up both the awards that were available. A ‘Commended’ award went to ‘Caring for our World’ by Fran Martin and Paula Owens, and the WINNER in the book award went to the Teacher’s Toolkit. Margaret Roberts collected the awards.
It was then across to the Hall for Malcolm McDonald’s Presidential Address, and the morning lecture by Dr Iain Stewart. I left during this to set up my seminar room, and meet a few familiar faces from south of the border, and heard the story of the night train from Euston, where one of the delegates who shall remain nameless realised that they had the word ‘seat’ on their ticket whereas the others had ‘berth’. The weather was now fairly miserable, with strong wind and rain. Into the science area, to deliver the first of my seminars. Seemed to be well received. My basic messages were related to the change from traditional to social media, and how that could be used in the classroom. There were references to the BECTa Web 2.0 report, and the possibilities of being gratuitously creative, but importantly to ‘teach’ students the importance of crediting sources of material sourced online. Some familiar faces in the room too, which is always nice.

Go to SLIDESHARE for the presentation (see below)

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: geography media)

If you have other questions, get in touch, particularly if you were unable to attend my seminar (there were lots of other excellent ones after all....)

Over to the dining hall for lunch, and a chat to some familiar faces, and another spot on the stall. Lots of interest in the material that we had, and fortunately most of the magazines and materials were taken so I didn’t have to lug them home in the car.
Back over for the second seminar, which again seemed to go well. One bonus here was the attendance of Kenny O’ Donnell, one of my blogging acquaintances, HIS BLOG HERE, who had very kindly brought me a bottle of ‘Avalanche’ beer from the Fyne Ales brewery, because he had read an earlier BLOG POST, where I said I liked the look of it. Cheers Kenny - that was very kind of you !

In the afternoon, it was back to the Hall for the Hodder Gibson lecture, which was given by Mark Beaumont, who I followed part of the way around the world on GEOBLOGGING WITH MARK, as he broke the Guinness World Record for solo circum-navigation of the globe. You can read more about Mark’s epic journey HERE.
He was announced by Val Vannet, who did an excellent introduction, which included the classic line “And the rest, as they say, is... GEOGRAPHY”.
He showed a few clips from ‘The Man who cycled the world’, which we heard has been nominated for a BAFTA, and talked through the planning, and used a series of slides that Val and I had used in fund raising assemblies earlier in the year.
Had a quick chat at the end with Mark, who is preparing for his next adventure to row across the North Atlantic.

The day wasn’t quite over, it was back to pack up the GA stall: the last one still standing in a lonely gymnasium, and take down the banner. It all packed into one box, which was handy, and
Meanwhile Dan was very kindly copying me his URBAN EARTH presentation - these movies are incredible pieces of work.

Finally into the Presidents’ reception, to have a few beers and a chat with Dan about some forthcoming book ideas (possibly) which Abi from Folens promised to publish... ;)
Goodbyes all round - I will certainly be back next year - whether as presenter, or delegate, or exhibitor...
Out into the stormy Edinburgh night to pick my way back to Queensferry Road, as I had an appointment with an Oddbins, and a bottle of Ardbeg Blasda.
My Sat Nav then guided me to the middle of nowhere on a dark and stormy night: I took a left and found Ollie Bray's house. Time for haggis, neeps and tatties, and lots of whisky. Thanks to Caroline for the food, and the pavlova, and cheese that followed. Good to meet Ian and Mary too.

In the interests of completeness, the whiskies that we imbibed were:

Bruichladdich    18 year old - an experience rather than a drink...

Scapa 14 year old

Glenfiddich 15 year old

The Bass (Cask strength Caol Ila) from whisky shop in North Berwick which is CLOSED ON SUNDAYS.....

Ardbeg Blasda - new limited edition - very light, but unmistakeably Ardbeg...

Bruiccladich Valinch (cask strength – filled at distillery) - not many of those around... a great end to the evening.

Thanks to Ollie for telling me about GABCAST too - noticed that you can record via VOIP.

Out into the wind this morning, to North Berwick, and a few photos on the beach and a nice hot chocolate in Zanzibar, then it was down the east coast past Bass Rock, high tide at Holy Island again scuppering plans for a visit, and back to York.

Well done to all on SAGT organising committee for another great conference !

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Friday, October 24, 2008

A day of travelling today to get ready for the SAGT Conference.
Up early in York and checked inbox first. Some interesting continuing conversations relating to Singapore. YPG and KS4 ICT going live today, which is great news.
The weather was very sunny, but also the wind picked up through the morning, and by mid afternoon it was pouring with rain with a succession of rainbows.
First part was up the A19 to Thirsk, A1 through Scotch Corner, skirting Durham, and the first pause at a prominent man-made landmark, which I had to myself - can you tell which one ?

Shadow of the Angel

Then it was onwards, and into Northumberland: a pause at Barter Books in Alnwick (love it) and tide in, so Holy Island cut off. Berwick on Tweed for lunch, then onwards across the Border, and pootling up the single carriageway sections. A quick trip down the coastal route to Dunbar for fuel and a photo opportunity.


Within 20 minutes of this photo, the sky was pitch black, and it was pouring with rain through the outskirts of Edinburgh, and down through Leith to work round the tramworks in the centre of the city. Into Edinburgh Academy to set up the GA's stand...


Here's the proof that I was there... Thanks to John Vannet for his efficient organisation and for taking the photo below...

GA Stand at SAGT

Now in hotel about to go into Edinburgh for food and a drink.
Conference tomorrow.
Plenty of new fodder arrived in the last day (predictably) - may have to try to squeeze something else into my presentation...


Thursday, October 23, 2008


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just listening to Dan Ellison talk on US Public Radio from last night.

You can download an mp3 of the talk, which I strongly recommend that you do.

Dan starts by referring to Doreen Massey and her work on perceptions of urban spaces and also the representation of places. He started by walking across Salisbury and exploring its ecological footprint.

He also talked about the issue of surveillance, and the issues with photography, and how he worked out the route for the walks based on inequality.

Photograph taken every 8 paces, and then turned into stop-motion films.

Also explored school geography, and how the media over-represents certain areas of cities.

Online CPD.... I urge you to listen !

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

One Child remixed..

One Child
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: geography china)

By Slideshare user Jonesy2008


Friday, October 17, 2008

Hunstanton Promenade
Vid I shot this morning with my FLIP VIDEO camera... (my new favourite toy)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This post is for Blog Action Day on Poverty.
I spent the day today in Norfolk, just a couple of hundred yards from my old place of work, at the Students 4 Global Action conference. This was hosted by the Park High School, and organised by NEAD. It was good to work with Sandy Betlem again.

I ran 2 workshops exploring LOCAL CULTURAL DIVERSITY in the context of the local area. Below are a few of my slides, and the presentation will go up on Slideshare shortly.

The material was a combination from the GA's Teachers' Toolkit: Jenny Brassington's BRITISH OR EUROPEAN and John Widdowson's MOVING STORIES, and explored the idea of IDENTITY...
What was their identity ?
What is Britain's identity ?
What is Norfolk's identity ?
There were some great, perceptive contributions from the students concerned, and there is a little more feedback to come when I get a moment.

It was also a chance to use my FLIP video camera...

I videoed some of the student work, and some of the Action Planning presentations that took place at the end of the day.

The link with Poverty is that some of the other workshops tackled this issue, and Christian Aid were presenting at the event.
More to come tomorrow, but it's late and still got a few other bits to do...

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Newly up on the GA website is a consultation relating to the new MANIFESTO: Teaching Geography is Fundamental.
There are 4 questions.
Please visit and add your thoughts..

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Last week, I had a very useful chance to discuss the various aspects of the 2nd phase of the Action Plan for Geography with a range of people from Primary Headteachers to OFSTED / HMI.
Some visitors to the blog may not be aware of the support that is available for all UK geography teachers through the Action Plan, which is a major additional level of support in addition to all the existing Geographical Association projects. Below are some of the slides that I used in my presentation on the Action Plan. If there's anything here that you would like more information on, please get in touch !


Just watching Bruce Parry's 'Amazon', on gold mining and drinking a glass of Glenmorangie.
Realised when looking at my dashboard while making some late-night blog posts to Living Geography that this is my 800th post on this blog. I started this back in 2006, just over 2 years ago. Hope you're finding it useful. As before, there will be a few posts to this blog each week, but more on the new ones...


This is a blog post for those reading the TES Geography special in October 2008.
All will be revealed nearer the time.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

A trip through history today: back in time millions of years to go walking with dinosaurs...

A perfect autumn day, with mist burning off to bright sunshine...

What do you call a one eyed dinosaur ?


Friday, October 10, 2008

Stephen Fry is following me...

...mind you, I'm also following him.
I know, for example, that today, he set off for a trip to Africa, and that he spent this morning drinking coffee and packing.
How do I know that ?
Because we both use TWITTER: a 'micro-blogging' tool which allows users to post to the web from the twitter website, or from their mobile devices, and share their response to the most basic of questions: what are you doing now ?

If you're already online, a quick TWEET is very easy to do.

To get the most out of TWITTER, you might want to download a free HANDBOOK.Tom Barrett, an avid user, and someone who I met at TEACHMEET08 has posted on the VALUE OF USING TWITTER, and there are lots of similar blog posts.

The COMMONCRAFT SHOW FOLK have produced this rather good YOU TUBE video:

It's also FREE of course ("my favourite price")

So what else could persuade you that this might be worth your valuable time ?
Well, Barack Obama is on Twitter...

and BBC Education team are on there....

Also check out TWITTERVISION: a 'mash-up' which displays TWITTER posts on a world map - compulsive for trivia lovers - can't guarantee that it'll all be 'suitable for work' as they say...


Ollie Bray has just completed a series of 5 posts on the use of the iPhone in education.
Plenty of exciting ideas here, and the applications that he mentions are all cheap !
Of course, you first of all need an iPhone and they aren't cheap... You can get them free on certain tariffs, but I don't have £500 a year to spend on my phone.
Of course, they may well come down in price.

Ollie will be doing some seminars at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers conference in Edinburgh on the 25th of October, as will I. If you're coming along you'll also find me manning the GA stand in between times...

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Just packed the annual Samaritans Purse shoe-boxes full of toys and stuff for my two children's school donations...

Watch Video


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Blogging as Professional Development (Self Evaluation)

If you've followed my various blogs you will know that I am convinced of the impact of these tools in professional development.

Drew Buddie at the DIGITAL MAVERICKS blog posted about the role of blogs as a self evaluative tool, one of a whole range of excellent posts on the issue of the social web and education.


Just had an e-mail from Rick Cope, who teaches at a school near Bristol, but also writes software for the company GeoPacks. The COASTAL MANAGER resource is worth exploring.
For the last couple of months, Rick has been making material available free of charge, and I have just downloaded his resources on the River Kent.
Visit THE WEBSITE, and click the ORANGE Free Resources button and provide your details..
Nice work Rick, and thanks for sharing..

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Coming soon....

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Coming up for 4000 views on Slideshare !

Jelly Baby Population Game
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

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A slideshare presentation by my Primary colleague Wendy North. Designed for Primary teachers, but a lot of transferable ideas for KS3 too... Apart from anything else, it's a quality piece of work, and it has been shared. Two reasons to commend it to you...

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: global regional)

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Since I started all this blogging and social networking thing, various people have questioned its value, and although I knew that it made a difference it was hard to 'quantify' that difference...

A BECTa report into the value of these tools has now been published...

Becta has published major new research into the use of Web 2.0 technologies, such as wikis, blogs and social networking, by children between the ages of 11-16, both in and out of the school environment.

The reports found that young learners are prolific users of Web 2.0 technologies in their leisure time but that the use of Web 2.0 in the classroom was limited. However, schools and teachers who are innovating in this area have found benefits, such as:

  • Web 2.0 helps to encourage student engagement and increase participation – particularly among quieter pupils, who can use it to work collaboratively online, without the anxiety of having to raise questions in front of peers in class – or by enabling expression through less traditional media such as video.
  • Teachers have reported that the use of social networking technology can encourage online discussion amongst students outside school.
  • Web 2.0 can be available anytime, anywhere, which encourages some individuals to extend their learning through further investigation into topics that interest them.
  • Pupils feel a sense of ownership and engagement when they publish their work online and this can encourage attention to detail and an overall improved quality of work. Some teachers reported using publication of work to encourage peer assessment.

The research also found that over half of teachers surveyed believe that Web 2.0 resources should be used more often in the classroom. However, the majority of teachers questioned had never used Web 2.0 applications in lessons, despite being frequent users of technology in their personal and professional lives. Their main concerns involved a lack of time to familiarise themselves with the technology and worries about managing the use of the internet in class.

The reports recommended that teachers should be encouraged to help learners to develop more sophisticated use of Web 2.0 technology and to give them the skills to navigate this space.

Tony Richardson, Executive Director Strategy and Communications, said:

"Some schools and individual teachers have been very innovative in developing their use of Web 2.0 to support learning. However, clearly teachers need the support, time and space to develop skills and practices that will allow them to integrate Web 2.0 into lessons. The report shows that the impact that Web 2.0 can have on the motivation and engagement of pupils. We need to ensure that these benefits are extended to all learners."

All very encouraging, and in many Scottish schools, as was apparent at last week's Scottish Learning Festival, this was flourishing...
Down here in England, perhaps less so. There are some innovators out there...
I'd like to work with those innovative geographers and gather some examples of how people are making use of the social web tools to engage learners.
Please get in touch if you would like to showcase something that YOU do....

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Little social media quiz for an obscure reason...


Did the school run this morning, and the sea was very choppy !

YouTube is a great resource for geographers...

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Back in June, at my interview for the GA post, I suggested that social networking tools could be used to supplement existing networks of geography teachers, and the role of GA branches. One platform which seemed to offer a range of features in one easy to use, attractive package was that offered by NINGS, which I used last year with my 'A' level students, and then for preparations for the new 'A' LEVEL specifications: my EDEXCEL NING now has over 300 members and there is some real quality geography being discussed. To my mind, if teachers are sharing their ideas in this forum, that's CPD !

The Geographical Assocation has now opened up the NING that we have been testing for a while to everyone !

If you find the Edexcel NING useful, I'm sure the same will be the case for the GA Ning

Hope to see you on the members list soon.

I have written a USERS GUIDE to take you through your first visit to the Ning. Look for it in the FORUM section on the left hand side of the screen.

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Living Geography
The flyers should have reached your school by now, or if not they are on the way....

Also coming soon....Watch the GA website next week for details...

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Elonex: the only one in town ?Here's my little machine at Teachmeet08 picking up the free WIFI at the SECC 'Armadillo'.
I seemed to be the only one of several people who'd actually got their hands on their machine.
Anyone else had problems getting theirs ?

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Open Wide...Image under Creative Commons license by Flickr user ktpupp (actually taken while sitting in the dentist's chair...)

Not the best start to my day: an early morning appointment at the dentist to mend a broken tooth, or an "amalgam restoration".
Good news is that the rest are fine. Hurrah...
Hands up all those who wince when they look at that picture (my hand is raised....)
Any geographical potential in dentistry ?