Sunday, June 19, 2016

Slo-mo

Just because...
The original Mission:Explore book - now sadly out of print...

Mission Explore slo mo from Alan Parkinson on Vimeo.

Friday, June 17, 2016

10 years of the Edexcel Geography Ning

Over ten years ago, while working as a Head of Geography at a school in King's Lynn, I came across the Ning platform, short for Networking. It offered a free (at the time) platform which had the features of all sorts of other sites in one:
- bulletin board for discussions
- chat room
- hosting of image galleries
- hosting of videos, with embed codes
- numerous groups with membership
- profile pages

Documents could be attached to discussions and this allowed for a community to develop, which could chat, share ideas and join groups around sub-themes.
I built a Ning to support 6th form students and it worked well - in fact I did my first teachmeet presentation back in 2008 on Nings.

In June 2007, faced with the changes that were coming at 'A' level, we opted for Edexcel as the most forward thinking of the new specifications. They were introducing new ideas for the time, including ideas such as Rebranding Places, and a unit on Cultural Geography. We were teaching the OCR Pilot GCSE Geography at the time, and so the Edexcel spec was the best follow on for a forward thinking and creative department like the one I led at the time. I had a background in supporting teachers through my GeographyPages website, which was still getting many thousand of visitors a day. I didn't want to have to resource and prepare a whole new 'A' level course by myself over the summer, so I started a NING called New Edexcel Geog.

The NING is now, I've just realised, 10 years old!
It's been a decade of teachers helping other teachers.
Thanks to Jon Wolton for funding the NING for the last 6 years or so.
There are over 4300 members now.

And thanks to anyone who has ever shared a resource, or joined a discussion.

We're now preparing for the New New EdexcelGeog from September 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

26 years ago today

I am told that when men hear its voice, it stays in their ears, they cannot be rid of it. It has many different voices: some happy, but others sad. It roars like a baboon, murmurs like a child, drums like the blazing arms of one thousand drummers, rustles like water in a glass, sings like a lover and laments like a priest...


One of the greatest pieces of music ever was released.. apart from the final few minutes when Janet Brown appears...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Free 'A' level course

Geography teachers are invited to a one day workshop at the University of Manchester on 24th June, 2016 to support the launch of the new A-Level Geography Syllabus.

Parallel lectures run by Geography@Manchester researchers will deliver the core Geography of space and place theory, the carbon cycle and arid land Geography, the areas of the new syllabus which are perhaps less familiar to some teachers. 

In the afternoon, teachers are invited to a round-table discussion to consider how to translate the new learning to the classroom, in turn generating tangible lesson ideas.

The workshop will be opened by Professor Martin Evans who led the new A-Level consultancy on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society.

This workshop is FREE to attend.

Please book your place by 20th June and indicate which of the three workshops you would like to attend by choosing the relevant ticket.

Coffee will be served with registration from 9.30am in the Foyer of the Humanities Bridgeford Street Building.
WHEN
Friday, 24 June 2016 from 09:30 to 15:00 
WHERE
Humanities Bridgeford Street, Ground Floor Foyer, University of Manchester

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cultural Geography of Landscape

2nd edition of David Matless book on landscape...

Looks like being an essential book on cultural geography....

Friday, May 6, 2016

A spot of Fenland culture in July this year...

Are there similar events in your own home area?
What local culture is worth celebrating in your home region? What would you include in a festival for your locale?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mission:Explore National Parks

Out soon in English and Welsh, the latest of our Explorer HQ books under the Mission:Explore name.
This is Mission:Explore National Parks, and involves the usual shenanigans of creative ideas for kids of all ages.
The books will be available for £5 from all National Park shops in England, Scotland and Wales. Here's a pile fresh back from the printers.



As always it's been wrangled by myself, Dan Raven Ellison and Mark Pearce, and shaped by Helen Steer, who skilfully blended all of our words with some inkings from the mighty Tom Morgan Jones.

Very proud to have been involved with this, and we also have two other projects which are freshly brewed and about to launch. Will tell all when I'm allowed to…

Watch this space for plenty more exciting Explorer HQ news soon….

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An album for desert geomorphologists...

Dune on the cover, and named after the Shamal wind, which blows through Iraq and neighbouring areas…
40 years old now, and my soundtrack for tonight's writing… Featuring the late Pierre Moerlen, one of the best musicians I ever saw playing live…


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Locate that Landmark

Thanks to Rob Chambers for the link to this fun quiz.

Locate that Landmark would be useful for younger students to find well known places, which they could then investigate further.
Which of them are:
a) natural features
b) man-made
c) located in National Parks
d) World Heritage Sites
e) of specific Cultural interest
etc.

You could also do it as a competition, as speed is of the essence as well as accuracy.
On my first go on my phone I scored 10,750 on Level 1 - can you beat that?

Also useful for UK Geography introduction - UK is important in GCSE Geography under the new specifications. Those taking the UK Citizenship test also need to be aware of many of these places too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Geography

Earlier this week, I received a preview copy of the latest book by Danny Dorling and Carl Lee.
The book is called ‘Geography’.
Published by Profile books, this is the latest in a series of books which explore topics, in a similar (but completely different) style to the successful ‘Very Short Introduction’ series, and have previously explored ‘Politics’ and ‘Social Theory’ for example.
Geography is of course impossible to pin down easily in one small book, as it has an ambition which is ‘absurdly vast’, as Alastair Bonnett said in his own book on the subject, but Danny and Carl give it a good go.
The introduction sets the scene for the story to come, exploring the rapidly changing world which geographers try to explore, and tell the story of through their work. In my teaching, I am always looking for the compelling narrative that will draw learners in, and provide opportunities for them to reach their own informed conclusions.
The first chapter in the book: ‘Tradition’ explores the development of geographical thinking, and introduces some of the key ideas that lie behind the subject, and provide the distinctive nature of what it means to use a ‘geographical lens’ to examine the world. It takes the reader on interesting diversions to Damascus, DNA trails, the contested introduction of the term ‘Anthropocene’, Potosí, Sir Joseph Banks and the sad decline of British coal mining.


Geographical questions are never stand-alone. All the questions we ask lead to other questions. Often the answers are elusive. Geography is about joining up the dots that help make up the big picture. Connections are everywhere. The distinction between human and physical geography is often a false schism: they are intimately connected, the unifying factor being the energy that flows through all that we do, see and know.

The book is structured around a series of chapters exploring some key geographical ideas which, when connected, help to explain a lot of the world’s functioning.
Globalisation, Equality and Sustainability are these three big ideas, and there are plenty of brief vignettes to help illustrate each of them in the chapters that follow. These provide food for thought, and prompts for investigations with students (this would be a perfect summer reading book for those about to embark on a course of geographical study – perhaps Year 11s who are about to start one of the new ‘A’ level specifications in September).


There are some similarities in themes to Carl’s previous book ‘Everything is connected to everything else’, which was arguably even more ambitious and sprawling, and is available online here. (I recommend you check out the website if you haven't already seen it)

The book ends with a chapter called ‘Mapping the future’, which connects with one of the other strengths of geography. It is a subject which connects with the future, as well the past and present. It explores themes of environmental protection, global population growth and other challenges (and opportunities) facing the planet.

The book has a few black and white images but, as with all Danny Dorling’s books there are plenty of supporting web resources. These include links to large versions of the new maps that Ben Hennig has produced for the books, including one which is very useful for those exploring globalization as it shows the route of ships from Dalian in China to the ports of Europe.

There's also a section of useful weblinks, which I'm pleased to say gives a mention to this very blog.... and puts me in esteemed company too...

Thanks to Carl for sending me a copy in advance. It was a swift and enjoyable read, which opened up some nice avenues to explore further, and I’ve passed it on to my colleague to enjoy. Definitely one for the geography library for your department, or for your shelves at home.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

TV location map

This map, created by Tim Ritz has been doing the rounds of social media this weekend, and now been picked up by a few newspapers too, who are sharing the map which shows where a large number of TV series have been filmed.
This is an area that I haven't yet developed, but has been on my list of 'units to develop at some point' for some time.
It would be interesting to try to work out which programmes have been filmed close to where you live. I live close to the Norfolk coast and also Swaffham, so we have 'Alan Partridge' connections, and also the Stephen Fry series 'Kingdom'.
Ely Cathedral is also regularly used for filming, recently the new version of 'Macbeth' was filmed there and the Cathedral can be seen in the film's trailer.
Act as a location scout and work out a suitable location to film a number of key scenes in a new movie, and provide the context and some requirements - a good way to use StreetView imagery and mapping perhaps...

Image: Copyright Tim Ritz - you can buy copies of it in different sizes here too.

Good to see the Detectorists getting a mention too...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Lizard King

This is helping me through the marking tonight…

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

English Dialects - cultural geography of linguistics...

While driving home yesterday I was listening to an interview on BBC Radio Norfolk with one of the people behind the English Dialects app. They were explaining the way that it works, by listening to particular words and how they are pronounced, and also the emphasis on vowels, along with local dialect words. There are a few of these in the quiz, such as the choice of word for a 'splinter' of wood that might get stuck under your skin... is that called a spell where you're from?
There's a Telegraph article on the app here.

I had a go and submitted my answers and location - it was not too accurate, but then I've spent half my life in Yorkshire and (just over) half in Norfolk - which are two quite different dialects... and have a sort of neither one nor the other accent...
Interesting to try with students perhaps if you have airplay...