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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ooh just had new Twitter error picture...
Follow me: @GeoBlogs


My current reading...
and a picture I took this morning, which I quite like (though I need to clean my lens by the look...)


Thanks to Paul from SLN Forum for the tip-off...
A movie by Yann Arthus Bertrand: creator of 'The Earth from the Air"...

Film out on the 5th of June in a range of formats...

HOME : the website
Plenty of other related movies on YouTube as well....

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Firstly, again via Paul on SLN, there is a link to an online GIS style resource...


There is also a TORNADO CHASE GAME

If you're on Twitter, you can also sign up to follow the NETWEATHER forum team on their storm chase... Has a live stream to follow when the chase is on !

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

The sun shone today, and we hit the Norfolk coast...
I'm going to be doing a lot of travelling around Norfolk over the next year or so, as I've been asked to be the President of the Norfolk GA branch, and am preparing and collecting images and material for my lecture: "Very flat, Norfolk..." which looks at how the county is represented.
I already have quite a large folder of NORFOLK images on Flickr.

First up it was Burnham Market for some Gurney's fishcakes.
Then over to Lord Nelson to have lunch and a pint of Wherry: been going there for 20 years, and it's always a pleasure to walk in Nelson's footsteps.
Next up the back of the Holkham estate, the Norfolk Real Ale shop, and to Big Blue Sky in Wells.
Back along the coast road: Holkham, Titchwell and to Hunstanton for some shopping for sunday lunch tomorrow (something to go with the fishcakes)
Finally, to the beach hut for a read of the papers...

Image: Alan Parkinson


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The annual Frontiers of Geography event for secondary geography teachers is coming up again at Leeds University on the 20th of June.
The Leeds GA Branch has been reborn, with an exciting range of workshops and events.
They also have a new website area, which contains some downloads from previous events - always a bonus.
I attended the 2008 event, and only the summer flooding prevented me attending the 2007 one.

Topics for this year will include:
  • Antarctica's climate history
  • 21st century Citizenship
  • Wilderness environments
  • Geography, GIS and healthcare
  • Tropical rainforests and global change
  • Credit crunch, regeneration and sustainability...
Visit the website and register your interest to claim a place.

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Free Fieldwork courses: Teacher Master-class & AS Student Summer School

An opportunity for students and teachers alike...

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is providing fully funded opportunities for AS geography students and for geography teachers through our Learning and Leading programme.

They are offering fully funded places on two separate residential courses, based at the RGS-IBG in London led by experienced staff from the Society and other professionals. Full costs will be covered including accommodation, food and travel to and from RGS-IBG:

Teacher Fieldwork Masterclass: Monday 17th - Friday 21st August 2009
Teachers will visit a wide range of sites in London which provide opportunities for teaching and learning in geography – topics include the Olympics and sustainability. The course will cover a variety of fieldwork techniques, ideas for low cost and local fieldwork and safety management and ideas for easy to use ICT and GIS. There will be opportunities to share experiences with other teachers and plan and create resources to take back to school and share with others.

AS student Fieldwork Summer School: Monday 24th - Friday 28th August 2009
Students will visit a wide range of sites in London which provide opportunities for learning in geography. They will have the opportunity to develop investigative skills and use a variety of fieldwork techniques. They will find out about further study and career options in geography. The course will provide opportunities for personal development, working with other students from around the UK, building confidence and independence.

The aim of the programme is to increase the opportunities and motivation for self development among young people through the use of fieldwork, specifically supporting those who may not have been able to undertake such activities due to challenging circumstances or a lack of opportunity and who are keen to continue their geographical studies at university. In relation to teachers this supports the development of a department’s provision in geography.

We are requesting applications for both courses by Friday 8th May 2009. Further details and application forms can be downloaded from www.rgs.org/L&L or by contacting:

Amber Sorrell
Learning and Leading Project Coordinator
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
T: 020 7591 3180
E: landl@rgs.org

Added on behalf of Amber Sorrell

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New on Twitter are the Geography Collective at Mission Explore....
The book is now in pre-production...
Watch for more exciting multi-media Exploring ness from the Collective.
Visit the blog for some sample missions, including some BRAND NEW ONES !!

"Great news for the young, and the young at heart" Iain Hallahan

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Monday, April 20, 2009

GA Conference 2009
All the blogging from this year's conference can be found at LIVING GEOGRAPHY.

Below are links to the 2 main presentations that I delivered at the conference.
Other links etc. will appear on Living Geography too....



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National survey reveals most young people think not enough time is spent learning about the wider world in school. 


Geographical Association’s manifesto, A different view,

is launched today.


·         93% of young people think it is important to learn about issues affecting people’s lives in different parts of the world.

·         92% of young people think it is important to learn about where the things they use, such as food, energy and water, come from.

·         63% of young people think that not enough time is spent learning about the wider world in school.

·         Geography is the subject in which young people have most often learnt about important local and global issues, and the one in which they would most commonly expect to do so.


·         A different view re-affirms geography’s place in the curriculum.

·         It makes a forward looking and compelling case for geography in education.

·          It re-states the value of free-thinking, specialist secondary teachers who are passionate and engaged with the discipline and its potential to educate.


17 April 2009

A national survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI and published today by the Geographical Association, found that 93% of 11-14 year olds believe it is important to learn about issues affecting people’s lives in different parts of the world, yet nearly two-thirds of young people think that not enough time is spent learning about the wider world in school.


Over 90% of young people believe that it is important to learn about people, societies and cultures in other parts of the world, how and why changes to the world may occur in the future, and where resources such as food, energy and water come from.


The survey also shows that geography is the subject in which young people have most often learnt about or discussed the big issues they believe to be affecting their local area and the wider world today. These issues include crime and anti-social behaviour, the economy and jobs, war and terrorism, the environment and climate change and poverty and hunger. Furthermore, geography is the subject in which schoolchildren would expect to learn about these issues. 


And yet, these findings come at a time when geography is being increasingly marginalized within the school curriculum at both primary and secondary levels. Thus:

·         although geography appears secure in the proposed new primary curriculum (under the Area of Learning called “historical, geographical and social understanding), new primary teachers can spend as little as four hours on geography during their entire initial teacher training

·         in secondary schools it is alarming to see geography in key stage 3 being lost in ‘generic skills’ or cut out altogether in curtailed two-year programmes designed to enhance league table positions.


The Geographical Association (GA) believes that there are few things more fundamental than learning about ‘the earth as our home’ and that geography is essential to the education of every child. To support this belief, the Geographical Association has produced A different view, a challenging manifesto for school geography.


A different view re-affirms geography’s place in the curriculum. It makes a forward looking and compelling case for geography in education. It re-states the value of free-thinking, specialist secondary teachers who are passionate and engaged with the discipline and its potential to educate.


A different view is launched today by Professor David Lambert at the Geographical Association’s Annual Conference at the University of Manchester. A different view is a two-year programme, delivering a wide range of materials to support geography teaching and touching every school in the UK. It is based around eight stunning visual ‘doorways’ and seven themes which cover the GA’s core beliefs and priorities.


It consists of:

·         a fully-illustrated and informative 32-page booklet containing the manifesto itself which will be sent to all secondary schools in April 2009

·         a leaflet detailing A different view which will be sent to all UK schools, also in April 2009

·          a poster which will be sent to all UK schools in September 2009 and

·         a whole suite of online supporting resources, including photographs for use in the classroom, supporting activities and ideas on ways to use the manifesto (www.geography.org.uk/adifferentview).



‘There is something dreadfully wrong with an education system that claims to be personalised and listen to young people, which aspires to be world class, seeking to nurture successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens, but which has allowed the curriculum to be so utterly distorted that learning about our place in the world (and its future) is considered to be marginal in comparison to the mundane “learning skills”. Let us lift our sights. We need to trust teachers again to engage with the discipline and young people to create a curriculum for the future: exciting, relevant and with a heart.’ Professor David Lambert, Chief Executive of the Geographical Association and Professor of Geography Education at the Institute of Education, University of London


‘From very early childhood we all experience the world directly. We get to know our local place. In addition we are bombarded through the media with information about our complex world. I think young people are entitled to an education that helps them make sense of these experiences and all this information. Geography can contribute to this: it helps young people make sense of the world and can enrich their experiences of it. It can inform the way they participate in the world as local and global citizens. I think it is has an essential role in the curriculum.’ Margaret Roberts, President of the Geographical Association


A different view will help schools to consider the contribution that geography can make to the wider curriculum. It is a succinct and attractively presented publication that provides a “punchy” read. It will be a useful tool for all people leading schools as well as geography teachers.’ Martin Shevill, Headteacher of Ossett School and Sixth Form College, Wakefield


‘Curriculum innovation, initiated through the curiosity of all learners within our schools, will be supported and extended through the new manifesto of the Geographical Association. It provides a vital focus for children, teachers and school leaders to discover their own personal, local and global geographies.’  Helen Martin, Headteacher of Graffham Infant and Duncton CE Junior Schools, West Sussex

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Just been writing some resources for the GA's website on the forthcoming PLASTIKI expedition.
The GA will be involved in tracking and reporting on the voyage and providing some curriculum materials for using the voyage in the classroom by UK geography teachers.
The PLASTIKI is a vessel made from recycled plastic bottles. It will set sail from San Francisco in 17 days and counting (there is a countdown on the main website page linked to from above) and visit various locations reporting back on major environmental themes.

It will complement the current voyage of the BBC Box, which is another useful maritime example. The Box is currently in the Indian Ocean.


I blogged about the death of Gary Gygax who created Dungeons and Dragons, which occupied many thousands of hours of my teenage years.
Today sadly, the death of Dave Arneson was reported on the BBC.
Dave Arneson co-created the game with Gygax.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

AR stands for 'Augmented Reality'


I first saw the idea of 'augmented reality' some 4 years ago, when working at the Royal Geographical Society, and there was a presentation by the Ordnance Survey, who showed the technique in action with some headsets and hand held devices.

Just been having a play with the AR SIGHTS website: a 'Twitter' tip-off....

The idea is that you install an application which connects with Google Earth. Located around the world are some iconic buildings such as the Eiffel Tower, Pyramids of Giza and Sydney Opera House. Once installed, a sheet with a special image is downloaded and printed off. This is then placed in front of a web-cam, and instead of the image, a 3D model of the building appears to 'sit' on the sheet of paper, and can be rotated and looked at from various angles.

Thanks to Ollie Bray for the useful demo video on BLIP TV which shows it in action...

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Finally, the RAG (Random Activity Generator) hits the iPhone APPS STORE....

For a purely GEOGRAPHICAL version of the events generator, from creator John Davitt check the 'world famous' GEOGRAPHYPAGES where you can get some ideas for livening up lessons.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

The SLN Geography Forum began almost 10 years ago on the 7th of September 1999, with a post from Chris Durbin.
Approximately 80 000 posts followed, almost 4 000 of which were mine (I really should get out more...)

If you haven't already visited the NEW HOME OF SLN GEOGRAPHY FORUM you need to go there now and register: a new measure to improve the security of the forum, and also allow some enhanced functionality for members.


David Rayner has been busy again, and has produced a very useful new VIDEO 'CHANNEL' called GeoTube, which is hosted on a site called FLIGGO.
This is not banned in schools (well, not yet anyway)
It has a collection of useful videos, and this will grow over time.

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