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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

For the last 3 or 4 years now, I have been involved in posting something on BLOG ACTION DAY on the particular theme of the year.

The theme this year is WATER. 
The Vimeo video sets the scene...

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

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Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all.

Our Goal

First and last, the purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a discussion. We ask bloggers to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue.
By doing so on the same day, the blogging community effectively changes the conversation on the web and focuses audiences around the globe on that issue.
Out of this discussion naturally flow ideas, advice, plans, and action. In 2007 with the theme of the environment, we saw bloggers running environmental experiments, detailing innovative ideas on creating sustainable practices, and focusing their audience's attention on organizations and companies promoting green agendas. In 2008 we covered the theme of poverty, and similarly focused the blogging community's energies around discussing the wide breadth of the issue from many perspectives and identifying innovative and unexpected solutions. Last year, the conversation around climate change brought our voices around the globe to discuss an issue that threatens us all and mobilized tens of thousands of people to get more involved in the movement for a more sustainable future. This year, with the theme of Water, we are eager to shed light on this often-overlooked topic.


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

You have a limited time to secure a place at the Microsoft UK Innovative Education Forum 2010

Following content is borrowed from David Rogers... (I could type it all out myself, but....)

The 7th Microsoft Innovative Education Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend and will look to address the theme of ‘Connecting Learners, Connecting Teachers.’
This forum aims to connect Teachers with Teachers, Educators with Educators. Allowing you to share expertise and learn from each other. Giving insights into how you can connect your students with technology and connect them with their learning.
This year the Forum is being held at the Hilton Deansgate Hotel in Manchester on the 30th Nov.
We have a packed agenda with Keynote speakers at the event will be the world renowned Prof. Sugata Mitra famous for his ‘Hole in the wall’ project and Michael Furdyk CEO of the young person’s online community , Taking IT Global.
In addition, Delegates will be able to choose from a range of practical workshops covering areas such as using free software and Web 2.0 technology, games based learning and managing innovation in schools.image
Workshop 1- TakingITGlobal - Mandeep Atwal, TIGed UK
Workshop 2- Outdoor learning & technology - David Rogers, The Geography Collective
Workshop 3- From the cloud to the classroom, making innovation stick! - Guy Shearer, Head Teacher, Lodge Park Technology College
Workshop 4- Creative use of technology in the classroom - Dan Roberts, saltash.net community school
Workshop 5- Office 2010 in the Classroom – Stuart Ball – Microsoft Partners in Learning
Workshop 6- Kodu Games based learning - Nicki Maddam, Hartsdown Technology College, Margate
Find out more details about each workshop here>>
What’s on your mind?
For the first time we are holding an Innovative Teacher Meet, 29 Nov. at 7:30pm
Join us for drinks, canapés and a series of TeachMeet style pitches from leading teachers at Hilton’s vibrant Cloud 23 bar, providing 360-degree views of Manchester.
Share with like-minded teachers in a series of 3-minute open pitches.
Also, find out who are Microsoft’s 2010 Award-Winning Innovative Educators. The awards will be presented at this event, to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to The European Education Forum being held in Moscow next year. These project will be on display at the event.
Don’t miss out, register todayhttp://uk.partnersinlearningnetwork.com


I shall be there at the Teachmeet and also the main event...
See you there...


Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Cape Farewell voyages aim to bring a cultural response to the issue of Climate Change.

Previous voyages involved Anthony Gormley, and Rachel Whiteread, who was inspired to fill the turbine hall at Tate Modern with white cubes.

When teaching the now sadly ex-Pilot GCSE Geography course a few years back, I used the Cape Farewell pack that the Geographical Association produced.
The blog posts that relate to my studies of this EXTREME ENVIRONMENT are available by following THIS LINK to the blog: you'll see student work and a range of other resources which I hope you might still find useful...

The latest Cape Farewell expedition is going to follow the route shown on the map above, and it has JUST SET OFF... you can follow if for the next few weeks by visiting the CAPE FAREWELL WEBSITE, or following CAPE FAREWELL on TWITTER.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Welcome back to the new academic year !
I hope the first day is going well. My daughter started secondary school today, and my son a new primary school, so my educational adventure continues over 40 years since I first passed through the doors of my own first school: Northfield Lane Infants School, Wickersley.
For those starting school as a teacher for the first time, the GA has produced a new resource: an NQT SURVIVAL KIT.

If you know an NQT, please direct them to this resource: a lot of it is not 100% geography specific: it's just solid advice...

This is not a 'completed resource'. We would really appreciate any updates for the resource - send us your experiences, thoughts, ideas and tips for fellow colleagues who are starting out on their professional journey.

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Just caught up with the publication of a piece by Professor David Lambert in the TES, published on the 27th of August, while I was away on holiday. I saw the original piece, and haven't checked yet for any possible editing of the piece for publication. It was titled "Crack curriculum's core and open a world of opportunity"

If politicians want more focus on knowledge, subject teachers should decide what is crucial
The Government appears determined to reform the school curriculum again. This is something that some teachers may resist - it will appear as yet more change, when not enough time has been allowed for the last alterations to settle. And because of the return to "knowledge" as opposed to "skills", changes could be accompanied by much Gradgrind-sounding rhetoric about facts and old-fashioned subjects.
It could sound like a rush to restore a golden age of subjects past, and undo the curriculum reforms of the last government. However, if we can just stop dodging the imagined swinging pendulum for one minute, perhaps we can see a more progressive future, which is in teachers' hands. Teachers should seize this chance to get stuck into the knowledge question rather than collectively avoid it, which has in some ways been the story of recent times.
The professional language invented over the past 10 years is the language of pedagogy. This is no bad thing in itself, of course, but pedagogy has become so dominant that it is now confused with its apparently weaker cousin: curriculum. But it is the curriculum that teachers need to engage with.
At present, the subject curriculum is often referred to as the vehicle to "deliver" transferrable skills. This is wrong. It is pedagogy - the skills of doing and thinking - that is the vehicle. The curriculum is about the destination, the aims and goals, and is therefore a matter of serious moral deliberation.
Skills, on the other hand, are said to be value-free. But what shall we teach and how do we justify this? These are the important questions and they ought to be informed by what we think young people need to know.
The curriculum, like pedagogy, is about choices. It is, therefore, a part of what we have come to know as "professional judgment".
In the case of curriculum, the choices concern the selections of knowledge we try to teach. We make these selections according to principles we value, governed by our sense of educational purpose.
A curriculum shaped by whim, the topics in the news and contemporary themes of "relevance" - or, worse still, policy imperatives laid down by the Government - is likely to be incoherent, shallow and like junk food: deeply unsatisfying after the initial fat and sugar rush.
So this is why the subject disciplines matter. Geography is a good case in point. It is an ancient human fascination: its big idea is to try to make sense of ourselves at home on planet Earth. Mapping the world was, and is, fundamental. Today the project is augmented by all kinds of technologies including geographical information systems. But it is useful to consider for one moment what it means to know a bit of geography.
This is particularly important because these days, thanks to the internet and Google Earth, sat-nav and mobile phones, everyone knows some geography. Furthermore, we all have a geographical existence: we live somewhere, shop somewhere and have relatives and friends dotted around the globe.
This realisation has encouraged a lot of interest in "everyday geographies" - but again, let us pause for thought. Is our interest in everyday geographies curriculum-based or is it more a matter of pedagogy? Every teacher knows the strengths of working from the known and what is familiar to children - this is sound pedagogy. But in curriculum terms it is a betrayal not to move to the unknown and unfamiliar. Curriculum goals must be in the driving seat.
Part of the unknown for most young people consists of what is sometimes called "core knowledge", a component of our cultural literacy. This includes locational knowledge - also known as geographical facts, or what the Geographical Association's manifesto refers to as the subject's "vocabulary".
It is important to embrace this in school because this knowledge is not easily developed in everyday life. And yet, it is knowledge that helps make sense of information encountered in everyday life. It helps us function in society. If there is a move to identify subject essentials, or core knowledge, let us engage with it at face value. Instead of shrinking from the curriculum debate, it is time for teachers to take back intellectual responsibility for their work.
- The Geographical Association manifesto is at: www.geography.org.uk/adifferentview
The good news is that absolutely necessary core knowledge is not a large component of the geography curriculum. It can be taught via the regular use of atlases, occasional quizzes and other enjoyable and simple devices that form part of the repertoire of careful teaching.
It can be thought of as the extensive knowledge base upon which more intensive geographical case studies and inquiries can acquire deeper contextual meaning. To illustrate: can we really expect to be able to engage with global climate change meaningfully, without a mental framework that would include naming the oceans and some of the world's ocean currents? Without such knowledge, we are literally disabled to some degree.
We can incorporate it, as many careful geography teachers already do, into the broader geography curriculum. Geographical vocabulary is powerful, but so, too, is its grammar or syntax captured by its key ideas such as place, space and environment.
A person growing up in the 21st century as a global citizen (and all that implies) is at a disadvantage without geographical knowledge - economically, culturally and politically. How can we make any of the personal decisions that already confront us every day about energy, food and water security without geographical knowledge?
Understanding geographical perspectives contributes to our capabilities as educated individuals and members of society.
Professor David Lambert, Chief executive of the Geographical Association

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