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Monday, December 29, 2008

Bought my wife “Dear Blue Peter”, which has some great letters which were sent to Blue Peter over the years.

One letter, from Ellen aged 15 said

“I am absolutely disgusted with your show set in Morocco... You state that most people earn per day what we in Britain would pay for a cup of coffee, then go on to bargain with one of the shop owners, The shopkeeper would, quite rightly, like the full price for the goods, but instead Mark offers just over half the price... Matt gives the shopkeeper a choice: either except the lower price or he will spend nothing in the shop. Haven’t any of the producers ever studied geography GCSE ??? Poverty-stricken countries are being taken advantages of by tourists who barter for goods they can easily afford to pay the full price for and the locals lose out.”

Also thanks to the 466 visitors to GeographyPages on Christmas Day: I'm sure you had your reasons...


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Coastal Earth

Rich Allaway's homage to Dan's Urban Earth...

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas to all my readers

Image by Ronald Lampitt

See you in 2009

New GEOGRAPHY GEEK resources
Thanks to Helen Young of Geography Geek for telling me about some great new resources on her site.

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Thanks to Simon Renshaw for telling me about the PIC LENS / COOL IRIS add on for POWERPOINT (as long as you have the 2007 version)
Turns your slides into a 'picture wall' which you can browse through and select just as you can with FLICKR images. Here's a screenshot of my BEDFORD GIS presentation being viewed with the plug in....

Noel Jenkins has also done a demo of another cool tool which Geographers would find useful: RICH CHART, which can be embedded into GOOGLE EARTH placemarks, and produces a range of charts from fieldwork data or other sources.
Some creative ideas for Christmas !

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Hitotoki — A narrative map of the world


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another map mash-up to accompany forthcoming Channel 4 programmes on Food.

Also hearing some rave reviews of this show: CIRQUE DE GLACE, which my wife and daughter went to today....

Image by Eric Schockmel under Wikimedia Commons

New film from Danny Boyle: "SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE"...

There's an associated feature in today's Observer, which looks at the area of Mumbai called Dharavi where the film was made...

There are some very useful descriptions of some of the inhabitants of the area, which could form the basis for classroom activities, and help to build up a picture for students.

Interesting detail on the financial surplus that Dharavi creates, which compares sharply with the huge debt that the UK has...

Other movies with associations with being filmed in 'slums':

City of God
Michael Jackson's video for "They don't care about us"- filmed in Rocinha
City of Men
Favela Rising
Line of Passage
The Constant Gardener
La Haine (?) - not quite slums...

Have I missed any ?
How do colleagues use these films ?

Check the GEOGRAPHY PAGES page on Favelas.
How accurate is the portrayal of favelas ? (Guardian article)

This would fit in nicely as well with the materials on NEW INDIA that are available on the Geography Teaching Today website...

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Thanks to Lucy Greenslade on the Edexcel NING for passing on details of this festive little song: THE NORTH POLE IS MELTING.

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Developing Enquiry Skills
Going to be leading a workshop, along with another well-known geography colleague, at a TIDE conference in March 2009 at the Millennium Point in Birmingham. The conference is called "Enabling a Connected Curriculum".
Enquiry starts at a young age:

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There were a series of events last year relating to the new Key Stage 3, which helped teachers plan and then implement the new programme of study. National Subject leads David Rayner and Ruth Totterdell led a series of conferences, which ended up reaching around 900 geography teachers from Kent to Cumbria.
Some additional funding has now been made available to put on a further 6 events, which are targeting 6 areas of the UK where the take-up of the original events was not as high. These one day events, which will be FREE, will take place as follows, all in 2009 of course...
30th of January at The Russell Hotel, Maidstone, Kent
9th of February at The Derbyshire Hotel, South Normanton, Derbyshire
12th of February at Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln
23rd of February at The Wessex Royale Hotel, Dorchester, Dorset
3rd of March at The Quality Hotel, St Albans, Hertfordshire
26th of March at The Radisson SAS Hotel, Durham
The largest of these events has space for 35 teachers, so book early if you are interested in taking part. We will be posting invitations to these free events to all Heads of Geography in these LAs. The events will be advertised on the GA web site www.geography.org/events/ks3conferences. A flyer for the KENT event, the first one to take place is shown below:

Book early...

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Virtual Africa
More virtual panoramas now been added to the site.
Virtual Kalahari for example, and a 360 degree panorama from Table mountain...
This led me to WE BLOG THE WORLD...

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Thanks to David Holmes for passing on details of a course which is being put on by the Field Studies Council in February, specifically for centres doing the Edexcel 'A' Level Specification.

Innovative approaches to fieldwork within the NEW Edxecel specification

In February 2009 FSC Slapton Ley is offering an exciting INSET opportunity for teachers following the new Edxecel A Level specifications.

The two day course will provide an insight into how to use innovative approaches to fieldwork to deliver the new specification, along with how to make the best use of ICT materials.

To find out more please download the course leaflet below or contact the centre directly on 01548 580466.

Flyer pictured below: visit the EDEXCEL NING page for more details.

If you're doing the spec, join the NING !!

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It's Christmastime....
Walk into any city centre shop and the usual Christmas music is playing on repeat...

A superb idea was added to the SLN Geography Forum earlier today by Andrew Boardman. It's to take the lyrics of Band Aid: Do they know it's Christmas ?, and to reappraise them, and assess their accuracy to what 'Africa' is actually like... Will there really be "no snow in Africa this Christmas" ? or "no water flowing" ?
The original single was released in 1984, with another version Band Aid 20 in 2004: 20 years on. Were the lyrics of the remake any better ?

The original video can be seen here, thanks to YouTube....

The World Development Movement have already criticised the lyrics (some years ago now) for their portrayal of African communities, and the apparent 'reasons' for poverty.

This is a nice way in to the portrayal of places in the media, and how the choice of images can influence opinion: something that OSOCIO is always challenging.

Other resources worth checking include a minute by minute reminder of the LIVE AID concert that followed the single, in 1985...
Any other song lyrics that could be examined in this way ?

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Discovered a new word today: to stravaig, which is Scottish vernacular for "to wander aimlessly"....
I recommend a little stravaiging now and again... Perhaps in life, perhaps of a weekend, perhaps online...

There are plenty of image sets on Flickr relating to the idea of Stravaiging...Check out this excellent image from Flickr user WORLD OF JAN (under Creative Commons)
It shows the lower slopes of Sgurr Dearg on the Isle of Skye, which I climbed a few years BC (before children), when I used to do a lot more climbing in the Scottish Highlands... Spectacular landscapes...

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Three new Flash interactives have now been added to 2 of the KS3 units on the GEOGRAPHY TEACHING TODAY website.
There are 3 in total.
The first is one which looks at FLOOD TYPES

The second is called PREPARING FOR FLOODING: mouse over the objects in the house for
some details on how to reduce the flood damage.

My favourite is the 3rd one, which is in the TEENAGE CONSUMERS activity. Which decade did these objects become popular...

Would fit nicely with my old Pilot GCSE CULTURAL OBJECTS lesson.... - in fact, just had a quick browse through some of the 600 odd posts on that Pilot GCSE blog and there's some cracking stuff there ! I'm sure a lot of it would be relevant to the new OCR 'A': something for the holiday will be to go through and extract the relevant posts and make a list....

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Monday, December 15, 2008

The BEST GOOGLE MAPS mash-ups of the year (part one)


BBC News has mapped the locations of the teenagers murdered in the UK this year: each one a tragedy for all concerned, and the victim's families and friends.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Following on from my earlier post on Christmas resources, Tony Cassidy has come up with another winner...
Head over to Tony Cassidy's RADICAL GEOGRAPHY for more Christmas resources, and to download this essential Christmas homework. Another quality Cassidy production....
Where's Christmas from ?

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An excellent audio-visual SLIDESHOW of a High Street, part of an excellent resource (try the tabs) on the BBC Magazine page.
Living Geography is happening on your High Street right now. Why not go down there and come back with a photostory: no more than 5 images, capture your High Street, before it disappears....

I've set up a FLICKR GROUP called "The Disappearing High Street", and kick started it with a few images from HUNSTANTON.

Add your pictures...

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas trees that is...
Just finished decorating our tree: went for a Nordmann this year as it had the better shape, and looks like a proper 'grown up' tree.
Helen Nurton has produced a perennial favourite mystery, which you can get from her 4SHARED folder: Artifical or Real tree ?


The Britglyph Project

Received an e-mail from Lawrence about the BRITGLYPH project.

· Guerrilla art is old news and the Turner Prize means nothing to the man on the street

· A new project is creating a unique piece of ‘user generated art’ that anyone across Britain can contribute to

· Using the gizmo we all have, a phone, the ‘Britglyph’ project records pictures taken at locations across the UK, forming an image on the map

· A digital dot-to-dot in simple terms

· There are 63 locations around the country that will make up the Britglyph

The project website is live.

It's a modern take on the idea of geoglyphs, such as the Cerne Abbas giant.

Check out the website for more details...


Friday, December 12, 2008

"You're lost without geography" the classroom display label says....

Today I deliberately went left instead of right after dropping the kids off at school.

The title of this post is also a good book by Rebecca Solnit. One newspaper report on this book includes the following interesting quote:

NOT long ago in the Adirondacks on the summit of Mount Marcy, New York's
highest mountain, a wilderne
ss ranger was taken aback when a hiker whipped out a cellular phone to call his office more than 300 miles away in Manhattan and report: "I'm not
feeling well. I can't make it in t
o work today."

Is it possible to get lost with today's available technology ?

It was a very frosty morning today, so I took my camera with me on the school run, and decided to take a different route home than the one I use 99% of the time. I took some pictures on the way home, and a few are added below: more for you to use on my FLICKR page.

Try it today - take a different route home and take 3 images of things that you've never noticed before. See the new in the familiar...

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Disgo CameraJust seen this on sale at PC World, half price and under £40 - perfect for fieldwork...


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Outstanding in your field(work)

The title of a session I'm leading for the Sheffield GA Branch at Meadowhead School, Sheffield tomorrow night. As part of the 'research' I've been browsing some hilarious YouTube videos made by students on their fieldtrips.
Quite liked this one, particularly the end-credits, where all the students quite rightly refer to themselves as 'GEOGRAPHERS'.

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Sad news about the death of Oliver Postgate. A big part of my childhood...Thanks for Noggin the Nog, Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, The Clangers, Pogles Wood etc...


Monday, December 08, 2008

It's a Travelodge night...
Keeping up the tradition of moving around the country in my ales, I'm starting tonight with a bottle of Barnsley Gold from the Acorn Brewery, which is rather delicious.
Earlier tonight, it was over to Sheffield University to see Doreen Massey's lecture as part of the Centenary series of Sheffield University's Geography Department. I was planning to send some Twitter messages and blog as well, but there was no mobile signal (drat) so below are the notes that I made during the lecture, which explored issues surrounding our concept of 'place'. They may make some sense to some of you - I'll do something more with them at some point.

Doreen Massey

Beyond critical: it is possible to make a difference

Voices of places: meanings of place – places as victims of globalisation – social fora: ‘fighting back’ ?

Place can be divisive – requires a boundary: an ‘inside’ & an ‘outside’ – parochialism, and ‘othering’

Identity defined as an antagonistic reaction to the ‘outside’.

Defining means ‘drawing a line’, but doesn’t mean all relations which define a place are antagonistic.

Places can have relations with other which challenge neo-liberalism.

Stories of interdependence: opportunities for radical politics.

3 places:

High North

Images often as ‘victim’ – expansion of Stansted – public enquiry – impacts – connect to Mystery resource

Travelling to develop solidarities against climate change e.g. Many Strong Voices

London: “World City” book

Positioning of London in relation to global forces not correct: responsibility as well as a ‘victim’... Involved in dissemination of neo-lib

Politics of responsibility

Ken Livingstone: discussion – we need to go beyond the place itself...


World map: “I asked for a map with Venezuela on”

Cultural exchange.. Caracas: oil production to London... – used for public transport / reduced fares for people on benefits – in exchange for advice: transport planning, waste disposal, environment - consultancy

Connection made – redistribution of the benefits: a politics of relations – bypasses the market – cooperation rather than competition – small scale: not challenge

Stands for a wider proposition: that there could be alternative forms of globalisation and relationships - had the potential to change the identities of the cities: as ‘equals’ – not the usual binary relationships of local/global – “the global is made in places” “the global is within the place itself” – similar to development of Fairtrade Towns

Can be made powerless and guilty for food we eat and what we wear. Recognition of interdependence as an opportunity.

Conflict in the 2 places: press reaction in Venezuela questioned why ‘poor’ country should give oil to a ‘rich’ city

Care and responsibility starts with the family and works ‘outwards’...

London: criticism in media – “third world” – disrupted identity of London & idea of multicultural city.

To be really ‘loyal’ to a place we need to challenge its current form and ‘renegotiate’ its place – a lot of negotiation because of the ‘thrown-togetherness’/ physical proximity: have established certain ‘rules’ – need to open them up to contest (politics)

Election: Boris Johnson – cancelled the agreement

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez – 1998

2006-7: “A socialism of the 21st Century” – importance of oil: nationalised industry since 1976 – different relation than to the power of finance in the UK – project work : polyclinics, education – also looking to develop links with Cuba, China etc. (Bolivarian revolution) – tried to give more recognition to indigenous people.

Politics beyond place

High north – Alaska – oil production important here too: different position in social conditions: oil companies take profits out of Alaska, and oil prices locally are high / low incomes

Chavez sends heating oil to Alaska: over 150 tribal communities get free heating oil, and 40% discount to everyone

Agreement signed in Kotzebue – George Bush opened up the area for oil exploitation (legislation passed before Obama takes office) – struggle in Sakhalin: oil project – biggest in the world, and contested

Indigenous solidarity or making a political point ? – debate increased awareness of Venezuela – only 4 from over 400 villages said “no”

Historically Venezuela has garage chain in USA – money donated to tribal groups within the USA - annually negotiated – 100 gallons of free oil, and “Citizen’s Energy corporation” – problems with identifying households in Alaska

Not a smooth flow of capital which is how globalisation is often viewed: effort taken to add one extra address to database...

Debate on relations between places: are market relations the only acceptable ones ? Alaska has always been dependent on grants – gifts reinforce a culture of dependency..

Battle against extraction - Map: CASIN, 2005 – NGOs

London: 25% of stock exchange connected with oil & gas – global connections with industry – social activism: Platform – reminding Londoners of relationship between London and other places – link with oil companies – challenging companies’ social license to operate

Wider awareness and “embeddedness” – local not the alternative – changing spaces

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Just spent a considerable amount of time sorting out some images for a forthcoming document, and was interested in Noel Jenkins' current DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION, where all the images were taken by Noel. Why not go along and vote for your favourite.
While you're at it, check out some of Noel's other excellent, and very geographical images HERE.
Jurassic Shipwreck: image by Noel Jenkins

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Friday, December 05, 2008

I love the internet.... 


Thanks to my father-in-law for sending me these images of lorries which are doing the rounds...

Twitter strikes again...
In the third useful tipoff from my 100 odd contacts today, I discovered that National Express East Coast are offering special £5 BIRTHDAY FARES.

Just been online and booked my tickets for the BETT Show for £10 return, thereby saving at least £50...

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BBC Scotland has carried on producing quality geography resources despite the dearth of BBC 'England' resources: their Rivers series springs to mind straight away (a programme which had Val Vannet and David Rayner involved as consultants)My Twitter network has just come up with the goods again, with a new BBC Scotland website called CHINA STORIES. It includes 8 short videos (about 10 minutes long), each with a different focus.
The stories include:
  • Xiao Di: the single child
  • Jiang Feng Dui: the farmer
  • Dr. Hao: the traditional doctor
  • Director Feng: the community leader
  • Liu Hong Liang: the factory worker
This would be a great resource for a range of key stages. I heard of the resource via a new TWITTER follower. The DID YOU KNOW / AKA "Shift Happens" presentation is one I hope not to have to sit through again, but makes the point about our need to connect with CHINA.

Here are all the details from Claire McCallum's LEARNING BLOG.

The China Stories website includes eight short films (about 10 minutes each in length), as well as a production diary, which describes how our production team went about making the films. Sounds simple? We hope it's accessible to as many people as possible – the programmes themselves feature strong stories; like the happy but lonely little boy who is a product of China's single-child policy and the farmer who now grows designer trees for hotel lobbies rather than food crops. They can be used across the curriculum and across a wide age-range. The choice is put in the teacher's hands, and this can only help teachers deliver exciting and creative lessons. The production diary, a new approach for us to our content, allows media studies students a unique insight into the 'real' work of a production crew, but also complements the films for other subjects by showing the crew's often very Western perspective on Chinese culture. Creative teaching could use China as a hub for all kinds of interdisciplinary work – art, drama, dance, languages, politics, cooking, design – amongst others. I think that the China Stories films provide an excellent base for all different kinds of activities – truly taking on the challenge of cross-curricular breadth of learning.

Why China? Many believe the 2008 Olympics was the reason for this flurry of interest in Chinese culture – and there's no doubt that the spectacular show the Chinese people put on for the world inspired many people. There's more to it than that, however – China is not only one of the largest countries in the world, it's fast becoming a major economic power. To function in the 21st century, our young people must engage with China.

Next week, we will launch My China, which will enable learners to build their own site about China using video content, images and text. A great way to showcase that project, which for early primary learners could be about pandas, and for secondary classes could be about media freedoms – all aspects of China can be incorporated. Look out too for 'Changing China' which will include interviews and commentary from people about what China means to them.

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If you are going to be attending the BETT show at Olympia, there is a SEMINAR being delivered by Judith Mansell, Education Officer at the Royal Geographical Society.
It's on the 16th of January, and starts at 3.45 pm

Here are the details:
Seminar Details
The geography national curriculum at KS3 and subject criteria for A Level and GCSE now state that students should use new technologies including geographical information systems (GIS) to obtain, present and analyse data. The national curriculum and A Level were first taught from September 2008 so this seminar is timely. It will demonstrate to practitioners the innovative ways in which freely available online resources can easily be used to enhance the curriculum and provide relevant learning experiences and skills for 21st century.

The seminar uses the GIS features of Google Earth to show how the application can enhance the three stages of fieldwork; preparation before the visit, during the visit and in the follow up analysis. The different types of maps used in GIS will be explained and demonstrated using other free GIS demonstrators and opportunities for their use to enhance the curriculum discussed. For many practitioners the thought of incorporating GIS in the curriculum is daunting, this seminar will make it easier.

If you're going to be at BETT on Saturday, come along and say hello on the Geographical Association stand in the Subject Association area...

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pricing up Eurostar tickets, and noticed this CARBON NEUTRAL message when it was processing. Still flipping expensive though...

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The BBC BOX is now in Los Angeles.
Very useful accompanying report by Rajesh Mirchandani and Matt Frei.
Living Geography !

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Urban Earth - visit website for bigger versions...

One of the most creative geographers I've had the pleasure of working with over the last few years is Daniel Raven Ellison.
Earlier this year, he visited London, Mexico City and Mumbai and walked across them, taking an image very 8 paces to create these compelling movies for URBAN EARTH.
Below is the MUMBAI film....
A Newcastle Urban Earth event is planned for the 25th of January 2009 - more details later.

Thanks for the mention in the end-credits too Dan... Unless if was a different Alan P...

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Just putting this resource together at the weekend.
Has anyone else spotted any trends in the Credit Crunch that have been reported in the media relating to geography: these could relate to employment, consumer products, lifestyle changes, population change or other aspects...
Add comments below, particularly if there is an article which accompanies it, and provides some additional detail...


In a meeting yesterday, and my colleague Wendy made a very interesting comment that when it came to CPD sessions, it was important that teachers brought some of their work with them: that she wanted teachers to "SHOW ME, DON'T TELL ME". This fits in nicely with the idea of 'Teachmeet' style or participatory CPD....
Reminded me of a track from Rush's "PRESTO" album - check the bass solo half way through...

and that led me to another Rush classic... 30 years ago !
Still remember listening to it about then for the first time...

OK, rock music break over.... back to the geography...

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