Geography and all that Jazz
Random musings from the GeographyPages bloke... Visiting from outside the UK ? Add a comment please!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Just been watching "Whatever happened to the Likely Lads" on Gold
Classic TV from my youth.
Labels: Comic Relief
OS Stand: image by Alan Parkinson
Saturday at BETT.
Wandered down Hammersmith Road in the sunshine, and at half past nine, half an hour before the show started, there were queues forming outside, although not as large as earlier in the week. There were also several people sitting with their laptops outside the Wetherspoons pub - the pub may have been closed (or at least I think it was), but the WIFI was switched on ;)
Exhibitor entrance was calm. Wandered through the main halls with space station style announcements: "the time is now 9.40 - BETT 2009 will open in 20 minutes".I liked the software produced by iBoard. This is primary software which had some nice activities. Tried a few which had been made available during the show. I liked this GOODEY'S MODEL style activity.
TWITTER is getting a lot of attention at the moment, and rightly so. It's been responsible for most of my recent discoveries of web based resources.
At the Teachmeet, Drew Buddie suggested that "Twitter is my Google", but then he does have around 2000 people both following him, and that he is following. He has also made over 16,500 'tweets'.
The plane crash on the Hudson last week was covered in all the media. This Twitpic was posted by a Twitter user who was on one of the ferries that was used in the rescue operation...
Had a German visitor to the stand with a twin school in Blackburn. He particularly liked the GA city guides.
Had a chat to Diana Freeman of Aegis 3: GIS software which is used in a lot of schools. Diana kindly provided software for a session that I ran at the GA Conference in 2007.
This now has some additional features, which I shall blog about more later, but one key additional feature is the streaming of OS 1:10 000 or 1:50 000 maps of areas into the worksheets.
Missed David Roberts, who wandered past in one of the few busy periods of the day. Catch you later David !
Brainpop: spoke to the good folks at Brainpop, who also sponsored the Teachmeet
Showed them MISSION EXPLORE - still hopeful of an 'outcome' here...
I also picked up on a Digital Urban blogpost, which mentioned something that was available in the main hall: Pico Projectors
Thanks to Alf from the Historical Association for his company on the day. I presume you've finished your book now....
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I have been preparing resources for a joint SfE / GA conference which was being organised for the new GCSE specifications, but has unfortunately been cancelled.
Edexcel ‘A’: Avalanches and their management
a. The physical and human causes and effects of an avalanche in a named location.
b. Prediction and prevention of the effects of avalanches by forecasting, the design of buildings and defences, planning and education.
So let's choose a location first of all.
Where would be appropriate ?
The Alps are a popular ski destination, and have been for many decades. There are many ski resorts, and the area is also a possible case study for other elements of geography: it could be used to deliver work on climate change, impact of transport network enlargement with the tunnels beneath the mountains, glaciation, impact of tourist development.
Wikipedia page has useful maps....
Check out an old favourite: the VIRTUAL MONTANA site for more on the Alps.
Also something in this GOOGLE BOOK SEARCH result.
How about a starter video courtesy of YouTube
Location: The Alps
Friday, January 23, 2009
You can't escape ASSESSMENT... but you could e-Scape assess.....
Alastair explained how Louis Thurston had developed this theory of assessment in the 1920s, based on simply comparing one piece of work directly with another. Alastair argued that abstract assessment criteria did not help in the process of marking, as examiners inevitably convert the abstract into concrete exemplars, increasing variability and unreliability. So why not just compare work directly? If enough comparisons between two different pieces of work are made by enough judges, a very reliable rank order emerges (the one that always wins moves to the top, the one that always looses goes to the bottom and the others spread appropriately between). I understand that QCA use this system already to monitor inter-board comparability, basically to ensure an ‘A’ in maths from OCR is the same as an ‘A’ in maths from Edexcel.
The problem lies in the scale of the award. With twenty paper scripts and half a dozen judges it can be done round a table, but when there are thousands of scripts and dozens of judges it becomes a logistical impossibility. However, with the advent of web-based portfolios, like the e-scape set of portfolios, are available anywhere and anytime each assessor has an internet connection. Multiple copies can be viewed at anytime, making the paired process possible in a high-stake assessment for the first time.
iPhone in Geography Education
Could this just be the best new piece of technology that is available for geography teachers ?
A growing number of geography teachers are discovering the joys of the iPhone.
Increasingly, the ways that they use them in their geography lessons and fieldwork are also being added to blogs and other online materials, perhaps because teachers who own iPhones are more inclined to use technology in their teaching ?
Some examples of teachers who are using this include Ollie Bray, who has posted a series of useful tutorials on how he uses particular apps for the iPhone.
I would also recommend John Davitt's iPhone app: the RANDOM ACTIVITY GENERATOR, which is demonstrated here...
Do you have an iPhone ?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
A great geographically related song from the end credits of WALL-E: "Down to Earth"...
and finally another beautiful track from WALL-E with Peter Gabriel's touch on it. Used this as the mood music for an SAGT presentation:
Regular readers will be aware of my interest in fine single malt whisky.
Next week, I am spending 2 days in Stockport at the Geography Teacher Educators' (GTE) Conference.
RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
By the time we got through the door, there was hardly a seat to be had: so I stole someone else's. Ollie Bray had been throwing something together at the last minute, and with a minute to go he started copying a 180 mb video file from a memory stick and kept his fingers crossed that his name wouldn't come out first (as it happens, he was the last person up!)
Check out my FLICKR images of TEACHMEET.
Grabbed some free beer tokens, and a seat with John Davitt, who had a stuffed camel with him, for reasons that would become clear later.Image of camel by Flickr user cloudberrynine - Humph is sat on a pile of GA Magazines, which is nice...
Around 250 people had signed up, and there were also others following on the flashmeeting, and a large MONITTER display showed the Twitter 'tweets' that had the relevant hashtags #tmbeet09 etc
John showed us the LEARNING SCORE resource.
This is a very powerful resource, which visualises the planning of a lesson sequence by dragging and dropping elements which can then be seen in different formats. I saw this demonstrated the day after on the Heppell stand.
Ian Usher introduced the evening, and talked through the the way that things would work for those who were unsure. There were a few comfort breaks during the evening, which featured presentations lasting either 2 or 7 minutes. John Davitt kept time on his countdown timer, and anyone who over-ran had the stuffed camel thrown at them.
Ian Stuart joined the Teachmeet from Islay: speaking about the 2020 Unconference on the Isle of Islay.
John Davitt demonstrated his Random Activities Generator (RAG)This is a downloadable APP, to be used on the iPhone. Soon to be available from the iTunes APP store: check out the demo. What I loved was that when you shook the phone, another idea was displayed...
GeographyPages hosts a Geography Learning Event Generator, created by John which has been downloaded around 3000 times, and was featured at Teachmeet at SLF.
There was a great moment when one of the random combinations came up with:
"How Hitler was defeated as a Blues Song..."
Tom Barrett talked about the idea of linking Twitter and Google Earth. Twitter network - challenging the students to find them on Google Earth. Also using it to map weather data and temperature data which would come in 'live': this needs a particularly large twitter network for it to work. I'm going to try a live request tomorrow all being well. He also talked about the multi-touch Smart Table, which was demonstrated downstairs at BETT.
Greg Hodgson of Chalfonts Community College showed some Art activities from his college's VLE, which looked at Images, Movement and Interactivity. The college appointed an
Ollie told me about an excellent simulation that had been undertaken at the University of Aberdeen. Had a chat with Steve Sidaway from txt tools who had set up the simulation text system. Also possible to have RSS feed turned into a text message apparently, and an update sent when a website or blog is updated.
Russel Tarr's CLASSTOOLS slot machine spun for the last time with the clock ticking up to
Ollie Bray, who was the last person up. By then he'd had a few lagers, but completed what a lot of people said was one of the highlights of the evening with a mention for Graphic Novels and Google Earth.
Ollie said the day after that someone had come up to him, and said that they had really enjoyed his presentation, then said that they had no idea what he'd been talking about as they couldn't remember...
Down to Pizza Express in the basement for a v.nice pizza (was pretty hungry by 9.30) and a chat to Eylan from Brainpop.
Check out the FREE content, and then request a free trial...
Met up with Doug Belshaw finally after some years of Twitter following and other virtual exchanges.
Thanks to all involved in organising and sponsoring Teachmeet.
Will be at Teachmeet Midlands later in the year...
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Workshop on Learning outside the Classroom, due to take place on Tuesday 20th has unfortunately attracted little interest, and will not now take place.
If anyone wants to see the resources that were going to be used, they are available on MY SLIDESHARE SPACE (along with plenty of other resources), and are embedded below for your perusal...
Monday, January 12, 2009
Tune in to Teachers TV at 7am, 4pm or 8pm tomorrow for a programme which features Head of Geography and Chartered Geographer Sally Sumner talking about blogging, and inputs on other collaborative online tools from Tom Barrett. Will be well worth watching...
YOUNG GEOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR COMPETITION
Get your students in on this year's competition.
Your entry can take whatever form you think is most appropriate – be it a written report, a short video film, a photographic essay, an audio file or a mix of all of these. The most important thing is that you plan and research accordingly for your Arctic journey and most of all – make sure to be creative and have fun!
Prize: 16–18 years
WIN! A place on the month-long expedition Arctic Adventure to East Greenland in July 2009, courtesy of BSES Expeditions.
The winner will depart in mid-July and will begin with a complicated journey via Iceland and southern Greenland. The expedition will involve three phases in the field – the science phase will build on long-term work in the area, including geology, survey work, fluvial and glacial studies, ornithology and invertebrates; in the trekking phase, groups will explore the mountains and undertake challenging journeys along ridges and through valleys to explore rarely visited areas; and in the mountaineering phase, groups will be trained in snow and ice techniques such as crevasse rescue, in order to undertake multi-day journeys on the glaciers and explore these untouched glaciers and mountains.
This is a chance of a lifetime to go on one of BSES’s extraordinary expeditions and to visit an amazing place that most people just dream about! To find out more about this expedition, visit www.bses.org.uk
Terms and conditions of expedition
• You must be aged 16–18
• Must be available between mid-July and mid-August 2009
• Winner will be thoroughly interviewed by the expedition chief leader, and participation is strictly subject to his approval
• All participation is subject to a satisfactory medical check by the expedition chief medic
• The winner is responsible for their own travel and other associated costs to and from the UK point of departure/return for the expedition
• The prize does not include any personal kit, such as rucksack, sleeping bag, clothing and the like
• The winner must have a good understanding of the English language
Prize: 13–15 years and 12 years and under
WIN! A five-day Arctic Ice Adventure to Sweden, courtesy of Explore – the leading adventure holiday company
Based in the northern outpost of Kiruna, your adventure starts with a dogsled safari. With teams of huskies attached to each sled (along with a skilled local doing the driving!), we ‘mush off’ into the wilderness. There’s also the option of snowmobiling cross-country and over frozen lakes towards Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest peak. And every night, there’s the chance to enjoy that most traditional of Swedish activities: a sauna.
On a visit to Jukkasjarvi, we overnight at the world-famous Icehotel, where everything from the chandeliers to the glasses for your drinks is made of ice. We can also play Father Christmas and ride our own reindeer sled, and enjoy a range of optional activities – from snowshoeing and ice-fishing to cross-country skiing.
You’ll love: • Trying a Swedish sauna • The thrill of dog-sledding • Meeting Sami reindeer herdsmen
PRIZES FOR SCHOOLS
All winning schools will receive a library of books worth £100 each, courtesy of Dorling Kindersley.
The Advisory Unit: Computers in Education will provide the schools of the winners of the 13–15 year and 16–18 year categories with a full site licence of AEGIS 3 –
their award-winning education geographic information system. There will also be further prizes from Ordnance Survey.
All finalists and their teachers will be invited to an awards ceremony at the RGS-IBG on Tuesday, 26 May 2009.
For more information and to download an entry form, you must be registered on www.geographical.co.uk. Click here to do so. If you are already signed up to the site, simply log in and click on the tab 'Members area'.
Labels: Young Geographer of the Year
"I've got the whole WORDLE in my hands..."
Show me what you manage to produce with WORDLE...
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Just been adding some sections to the EDEXCEL GEOG NING which now has over 420 members. Come and join us if you haven't already....
Noticed that one of the options for the GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH topic (which is Unit 4) is:
Option 4: The World of CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY (Extract from Edexcel Document)
Culture is a complex concept, with multiple meanings but universal importance to human populations. In many parts of the world consumption is the dominant, but not the only, culture. Culture varies spatially and has a distinct geography, with some areas being relatively homogenous while others offer greater diversity. Large urban areas often produce diversity, which is reflected in the population, services and built environment of cities. Attitudes to cultural diversity differ, both personal and political/national.
Globalisation is seen by some as a key process in driving culture towards a global model, and media TNCs and communications technology aid this process. However, the pattern is complex and localised cultures do survive and new cultures can still be generated. Culture, to some extent, determines our attitude to the wider environment in terms of consumption, conservation, exploitation and protection. Attitudes to the environment differ between cultures; however, the dominance of today's consumer capitalism is difficult to resolve with pressing environmental concerns.
1. Defining Culture and identifying its value
What is the nature and value of culture in terms of peoples and places ?
2. The Geography of Culture
How and why does culture vary spatially ?
3. The impact of Globalisation on cultural diversity ?
How is globalisation impacting on culture ?
4. Cultural attitudes to the environment
How do cultural values impact on our relationship with the environment ?
Some of this has a real overlap with the PILOT GCSE, which once again suggests that there are some links between this spec and the pilot making it a good 'follow on' course.
For some ideas, check the CULTURAL LABELLED posts on my PILOT BLOG (which has now been closed to new posts)
Labels: Cultural Geography
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
The latest edition of the GA Magazine is now available to download from the GA website (you need to log in first...)This is a particularly good issue, but then I have to declare an interest: I edited the issue, along with David Rayner.
In addition to the usual features, such as a particularly good Webwatch, there are some feature pieces on the concept of INTERDEPENDENCE.
The middle section was the bit I edited.
Highlights of the issue include:
- "Thinking inside the box": an article on the BBC 'box' project by me
- "Connecting Classrooms": an article by Graham Goldup on a project to develop a school link with Arusha, Tanzania & Brighton schools
- "Windwards Revisited": an article by Martin Crabbe on the ongoing links that he has maintained following a trip to the Windward Islands in 2005
- "Interdependence Day": a summary of the report by Joe Smith of the Open University
- "Food glorious food - but for how much longer ?": an article by me on a TDA CPD unit that I'm writing - contrary to what it says in the magazine it's not quite finished yet....
- "Cheap food and global interdependence" by Peter Jackson of the University of Sheffield
- "Into Africa" - Emma Cook talking about her toolkit book
- "A Thorny Issue" - Louise Ellis talking about her toolkit book
Monday, January 05, 2009
The European Union has produced a 'heat map': Global Accessibility
This is based on travel time to major world cities.
Image copyright: European Communities, 2008
The map comes from a WORLD DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography
This has a series of documentary clips called "GEOGRAPHY IN MOTION".
95% of people live on 10% of the land
OFSTED "cracking down on dull teaching..."
Extract from BBC NEWS article
Ofsted's most recent annual report, published in November, warned that secondary school pupils were too often set tasks that were not demanding enough and that teaching in primary schools could be "pedestrian".
Ms Gilbert said work that she had previously been involved in suggested there was a strong link between boredom and poor behaviour.
She added: "People divorce teaching from behaviour. I think they are really, really linked and I think students behave much better if the teaching is good, they are engaged in what they are doing and it's appropriate to them.
"Then they've not got lost five minutes into the lessons and therefore started mucking around."
She said behaviour in England's schools was generally very good, but that "low level disruption" occurred when children were not motivated, and that this could snowball.
Ms Gilbert said schools would be given more information on how to improve.
"We need to be much clearer in our recommendations of what to do in terms of their teaching and learning."
The GA can, of course, offer plenty of advice on exciting geography teaching.
Plenty of blog comments on this story already...
Sunday, January 04, 2009
A good friend of mine starts his new job at ACTION AID tomorrow...
To celebrate, here's an Action Aid video from their current campaign to encourage Tesco to pay the women who pick their apples in South Africa an extra 5p per hour.
Labels: Action Aid
A Christmas message from Kenya via the DFID site.
The tagging game: 7 facts about me
Millions of Christmas Cards will be coming down in the next day or so as we get to 12th night....
Thursday, January 01, 2009
A rather comprehensive slideshare presentation produced by Jo Blackmore: a DME basis for an investigation of Liverpool City Centre - a model that could be adapted for other cities: on the nature of City centres...
Just finished putting together my CGeog Log for 2008, and discovered a quote of mine on the CGeog section of the RGS-IBG website.
Why become a CGeog (Teacher)?
"The CGeog is a qualification which spurs you on to improve your own professional development, and maintain the curiosity about the subject. Teachers should also be learners, and the CGeog provides a framework for that process, as well as recognition when it is achieved."
Alan Parkinson, CGeog (Teacher)