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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two new BBC series have useful websites with content which colleagues may well find helpful..

The Truth about Crime is filmed in Oxford.

The website includes an OXFORD-located GIS style activity which can be seen below.


Some useful animations on how crime can be explored are included. Thanks to Paul Cornish for the tipoff via SLN
Check out the full SITE.

Another useful area could be to explore the claim that Oxford was chosen for the series because:

it is as close as we could find to a typical British city. In terms of demographics, and particularly in terms of levels and types of crimes, it is typical of the national picture.

Think about how you could investigate this claim, and produce a brief response....

Another programme that has restarted with a new series is COAST.
This explores coasts outside of the UK, such as the Normandy coastline of France.

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A couple of blasts from the past....

The NASA Earth Observatory has 2 recent images and information pages that take me back to case studies I used to teach for years...

The first is the Gran Carajas mine in Brazil. One of those videos that I used to show every year, then the laminated A3 folded sheets with maps and more information...

The second is the return of El Nino....

Go to this NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY page to see the Cran Carajas image, and link to El Nino.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

After two years, the final proofs have been checked, and the book "Look at it this Way" is in the final stages and should be in stock for the start of the new Autumn term (early October at the latest: it has to come from China...)
Great news !

My LOOK AT LANDSCAPES blog will hold a range of additional ideas and resources to accompany the book. These will include:
  • further weblinks on the theme of landscapes
  • further images of landscapes for use in the classroom
  • some 'out-takes' that didn't make the final textbook
  • further ideas for developing the lesson ideas in the book
I will also add new 'labels' to the posts which will identify which lesson from the book is being supported. There will also be further materials and support on the GA website, as part of a recognition that a book should not 'end' with the actual physical product itself.

I will also be looking to showcase work that colleagues have prepared in response to the content of the book, and would be very pleased to see examples of student work. I already have some examples of that, but others can be sent to me at the GA.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

This annual event takes place this year on the 31st of October at the Edinburgh Academy in Edinburgh.

This year's SAGT keynote speakers include the mountaineer and author Andy Cave, and Ollie Bray. The theme is "Today's Geography , Tomorrow's World".

I will be doing Workshop 10: "A Different View : what's your view ?"

Go HERE to download your conference programme and book a place. (PDF download)

The conference costs £60 for non-SAGT members, and £35 for SAGT members

The description of my workshop is below:

A Different View”: what’s your view ?
Presenter Alan Parkinson
Secondary Curriculum Development Leader, Geographical Association
In April 2009, the Geographical Association published its ‘manifesto for geography’. Called ‘a different view’, it explores the nature of school geography, and suggests an approach to teaching the subject called ‘living geography’.
The manifesto takes the form of a booklet with stunning images and text, a poster and postcard set, and a website packed with resources including a range of multimedia content. It is entirely self-funded by the GA. As with the last four years at SAGT, I would appreciate some interactivity from delegates (whether or not you opt for my session). Please take the time to visit the manifesto website at: http://www.geography.org.uk/adifferentview and e-mail your ‘views’ to me at aparkinson AT geography.org.uk

The seminar is designed for all levels from S1 upwards: as the manifesto is applicable to all phases. Delegates attending the workshop will go away with a range of materials to use immediately, as well as some suggestions for encouraging students to develop their own ‘different view’ of the
world – the manifesto is intended to provoke debate, and support engaging teaching.

You can also catch David Rogers. Come along to the GA stand too, and meet John Halocha.

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The sister site to Discovering the Antarctic has now been launched, and is live.

Discovering the Arctic has a range of resources, images and activities which make it an essential visit for those using the Polar regions as a context for learning activities.
Developed by the RGS-IBG in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Scottish Association for Marine Science, and the British Antarctic Survey.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

The Diplomas are coming...

A diploma for Humanities and Social Sciences is due to be taught from 2011. I blogged about this a few weeks ago when I attended a consultation event...

Two other Diplomas with geographical content, which are already underway include



We would like to collect some examples of schools working with exciting geography, but in the spirit of the Diploma i.e. that could be:
  • in collaboration with employers and perhaps colleges and university,
  • perhaps some employer led work,
  • perhaps cross phase,
  • perhaps some off site working.
Does that sound like your department ?

Please contact Alan Parkinson or John Lyon at the GA, or leave a comment below and we'll get in touch.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sitting on my colleague's desk today at the GA was a copy of Carl Lee's intriguing new book, which I went out to get a copy of later that day. Called "Home: a personal geography of Sheffield"
Have also been invited along to a conference that Carl is organising in September on Inequality.

Article in the Sheffield Telegraph gives a flavour for the background

"I wanted to write a geography book for people who wouldn't normally read a geography book.

"I also wanted to try and get to the heart of why Sheffield was such a great place to live. I've thought the city is one of the best-kept secrets of Britain. I've had a go at exploring the ingredients that make up the city and contribute to it being such a great place to live.

"I hope that Sheffield can continue to be the radical city that shaped its creation, now more than ever we need to think about alternatives to the discredited status quo.

"Sheffield was one of the first industrial cities in the world, one of the first to de-industrialise, and hopefully the city which leads us into a greener, more equal and more sustainable future."

Another connection with the city came today when I was told that my old mate Pete Rawlinson is one of the directors of the new Sheffield Brewery. The names of the beers that they brew have plenty of geographical connections.

Brewing and distilling is an area that I have long meant to develop as the context for a teaching (or learning) resource - got a growing collection of materials now. Perhaps a trip to the brewery would be a good idea...

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Me on Crosby Beach, 2007
Antony Gormley is an artist whose work I have come across in numerous locations, from Crosby Beach to the O2 and even on a friend's wall (a long story).
His latest project ONE AND OTHER involves the vacant fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. The website has a live web feed of the activity.
Was considering applying to go on the plinth in October. There's still a chance to get an hour of Geography up there... Anyone else got a place ?

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Earlier this year, Michael Palin was introduced as the new President of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)
There's an interesting article in the Independent newspaper today, which can be read by clicking the link.

A few interesting quotes on what Michael thinks about geography can be found in the article.

"For some reason, geography is not seen as a popular subject in school. It's seen as very unglamorous. Yet when I was at school, I can remember geography offering me the chance to get out and go on field trips and go on walks, and I loved maps, I loved atlases, I loved learning about other countries and places where things were different from our own – and that's all covered by geography."

Good to hear the interest in 'the Boss' too....

Ben Saunders is an Honorary Vice President of the Geographical Association.

Ben Saunders from Ben Saunders on Vimeo.

Follow Ben on Twitter @polarben is his account

A recent tweet by Ben lead me to "The Wilderness of Childhood" by Michael Chabon: an article from the NY Review of Books...

This contains an interesting exploration of the importance of place and exploration in children's lives: a theme that was also picked up in the Michael Palin interview.

All of this fits in completely with many of the projects that are currently underway at the Geographical Association, investigating local area using mapping, GIS and technology. These are certainly "interesting times" for geography.

To finish, a quote from the Michael Chabon article:

"Childhood is a branch of cartography"

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