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Monday, July 26, 2010

The Academies Bill is being debated. This could well affect hundreds of thousands of pupils and teachers... and look at the turn out of MPs....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I have said before (and also used it as part of my Chartered Geographer update evidence last year) my job is like having 365 days of CPD a year...

I learn things every day from the people I work with, and who get in touch with us. When I'm being asked questions all the time, or asked to present a session on something that I need to be authoritative about, it's a challenge. This requires a lot of reading, and an attempt to keep on top of a huge amount of new thinking on curriculum and pedagogy.

Here is a piece of imaginative writing by my colleague Ben Major, who works on our website, and other projects. It imagines a world where geography had not been "invented"...

The Invention of Geography

Let us know what you think of Ben's piece...

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Saturday, July 24, 2010


Have been following up something from earlier today about the sounds of Sheffield....

Steel, Peach and Tozers (or Steelos) as everyone called it, was the place where my dad started work in the mid 1950s...

He was a draughtsman before moving into engineering role, and moved to a number of other mills, including Hatfields (now Meadowhall) before finishing at Aldwarke Works, Parkgate almost 50 years later...

I remember doing a photography project on the area between Rotherham and Sheffield and its dereliction in the late 1980s, after the earlier industrial development, with its attendant environmental implications.

Came across an album called THE SONG OF STEEL. Listen to the album on SPOTIFY if you have access to this...

One of the things that also features on the disc is the mention of "beer notes". My dad used to be one of the people who handed out beer notes which could be exchanged at the Temple pub just outside the foundry (which is now a museum called Magna, and also a training centre where I've presented several times...)

BBC Radio Ballads is a sound portrait, complete with songs from artists including the wonderful timbre of Kate Rusby.
There are loads of interviews with people who remember what life was like back then.

This is a wonderful sound portait of a place, and a lost industrial landscape....

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One of the most frequent requests that I get at the GA is for a site that can produce simple outline maps of counties that you can then customise for your own use. That is now possible thanks to the appearance of Step Map.
Have spent part of today making a guide to using this website, and am discovering even more features as I work through it.
Has a whole host of weather symbols, so could make a weather map...

There are also options to choose a whole range of maps in different colours, with outlines, shading and backgrounds.
You can even choose to have an image as the background to the map: your face in the shape of a country of your choosing, or a map to show a person or item that is associated with a country.
Other symbols include sets of arrows in various directions and (like Google Earth) custom icons can also be used
Some example to follow perhaps...
Give it a go...

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Friday, July 16, 2010

There are apparently 93 different brown signs as shown on maps and roadsigns. They denote locations which are of tourist interest. I know this because I've been following the Brown Sign Way...

AMANDA HONE's BROWN SIGN BLOG is going to document visits to as many Brown sign locations as possible.

Why not explore the BROWN SIGNS in your local area - once you start noticing them, you'll find them everywhere (although I might have an advantage living in a tourist area of Norfolk...)

In the village where I used to live there was an interesting labelling. The brown sign used the generic "FARM PARK" to point to the attraction, which was actually called "PARK FARM": some locals assumed the sign had been made with the words the wrong way round...

One of my nearest brown signs.... picture by Alan Parkinson

Follow Amanda's progress on TWITTER and check out the blog.

And watch out for a forthcoming article in Ordnance Survey "Mapping News"...

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A very exciting new Google Earth layer was launched this week.
The layer has been produced in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and shows information about a possible 4 degree rise in temperature

A range of YOUTUBE videos are available for use with the layer.
The Tyndall Centre were involved in its creation...

Don't forget the Teachers TV programmes which I was involved in, which has a focus on a poem looking at various degrees of warming and the potential impact on the UK.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The GA is carrying out a CPD survey with regard to its CPD offerings for next year.
Please go along and spare a couple of minutes of your time to let us shape our courses and other materials for the year ahead. What are your priorities ? What do you want from us ?

Be careful what you wish for, you could end up spending the day with me...

I look forward to a whole range of new venues and events for 2010-11 !

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

New life pushing up through the ash deposits from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano: image by Val Vannet, taken last week

After many years of waiting, it seems like I will finally be going to Iceland later this year.
I will be accompanying teachers on an inspection visit to Iceland in October 2010.

The visit is organised by the Brighton based company TRAVELBOUND

Download an itinerary HERE (PDF download) and I might have the chance to spend a few days with you exploring and curriculum making...
Some of the places that are here are on the lists of places that must be seen when visiting Iceland...
  • Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik
  • Hekla
  • Solheimajokull Glacier trek
  • Kerid Crater and Thingvellir National Park
  • Reykjavik
  • Geysirs and waterfalls
  • Hellishollar
Why not request a copy of the brochure, or visit the Travelbound website to find out more.
If you'd like to come on the inspection visit, the price is £199, and you will need to do the following:

Contact James Walker on: 01273 265 266 for details.

I will be blogging the whole process of preparing for the visit, as well as creating an online home for a range of curriculum making resources. One outcome will be a unit for KS3 with the title (N)ICELAND ICELAND....
Currently exploring the workings of WORDPRESS to create the new blog, which is now available to view (although there's not much there yet) at (N)ICELAND ICELAND.

If you have been to Iceland and would like to contribute to the new blog in any way, please get in touch.
Special thanks to Val Vannet for the use of her excellent images....

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Urban Earth is a project developed by Dan Raven Ellison.
I have blogged about it on numerous occasions before as a way for young people to re-present the urban spaces that they inhabit.

Ben Major has put together a great resource called URBAN STORIES on the GA website.

This suggests some additional ideas for using Dan's original URBAN EARTH walks and images....

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Back from Glastonbury....

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