Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stamp Issue of Cultural Icons

The first Royal Mail postage stamp issue of 2009 will feature a number of DESIGN CLASSICS including the Tube Map.
Part of the Pilot Geography Cultural Geography unit is to identify icons of "Britishness"...

What do you think of the choice ?

Audio Slideshow of Liverpool's Year of Culture

On the BBC NEWS website...

Image by me...

100 Best Earth Science Blogs

Got an e-mail today to say that CULTCHA has been added to a list of 100 BEST BLOGS FOR EARTH SCIENCE SCHOLARS.
Some other familiar blogs in there too - worth exploring.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Media Literacy

Reading up on media literacy with regard to some forthcoming projects, but also following on from some

OFCOM definition:

As explained in our statement, there is no single agreed definition of media literacy.

We have defined media literacy as: ‘the ability to access, understand and create communications in a variety of contexts’.

Our focus is on electronic media, although we recognise that other stakeholders will be interested in the wider media landscape.

Media literacy has parallels with traditional literacy; the ability to read and write text. Media literacy is the ability to ‘read’ and ‘write’ audiovisual information rather than text. At its simplest level media literacy is the ability to use a range of media and be able to understand the information received.

At a more advanced level it moves from recognising and comprehending information to the higher order critical thinking skills such as questioning, analysing and evaluating that information. This aspect of media literacy is sometimes referred to as ‘critical viewing’ or ‘critical analysis’.

A media literate person should be able to, for instance, use an electronic programme guide to find the programme they want to watch. They may agree or not with the views of the programme maker, or just enjoy the programme. They may also recognise that the programme maker is trying to influence them in some way. They may interact with the programme using interactive features or by telephone. And they may respond to the programme by writing to or emailing the broadcaster with their point of view. People may also be able to use communications technology to create their own video and audio content.

Media literate people should be able to use the internet to find information and accept that sometimes what they find may represent a particular view rather than a statement of objective fact. They will be able to control what they and their children see to avoid being offended. They may also be confident enough to be able to order and pay for goods and services online and to create their own website and contribute to a chatroom discussion.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tilt-Shift Style Photography

Tilt-shift style photography.
Some examples here.
I love the effect of miniaturising vehicles and people, combined with the enhanced colours.
From top to bottom: Sheffield, Hastings, Dartmouth and the Albert Dock in Liverpool.

Thanks to Danny Nicholson via TWITTER for tipping me off to the TILT SHIFT MAKER site, which produces a 'tilt-shift style' effect on your own photos by giving you a simple interface for deciding which bit of the photograph to keep in focus.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas to all my readers

Image by Ronald Lampitt

See you in 2009

New way to view images and chart cultural data...

Thanks to Simon Renshaw for telling me about the PIC LENS / COOL IRIS add on for POWERPOINT (as long as you have the 2007 version)
Turns your slides into a 'picture wall' which you can browse through and select just as you can with FLICKR images. Here's a screenshot of my BEDFORD GIS presentation being viewed with the plug in....

Noel Jenkins has also done a demo of another cool tool which Geographers would find useful: RICH CHART, which can be embedded into GOOGLE EARTH placemarks, and produces a range of charts from fieldwork data or other sources.
Some creative ideas for Christmas !

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Image by Eric Schockmel under Wikimedia Commons

New film from Danny Boyle: "SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE"...

There's an associated feature in today's Observer, which looks at the area of Mumbai called Dharavi where the film was made...

There are some very useful descriptions of some of the inhabitants of the area, which could form the basis for classroom activities, and help to build up a picture for students.

Interesting detail on the financial surplus that Dharavi creates, which compares sharply with the huge debt that the UK has...

Other movies with associations with being filmed in 'slums':

City of God
Michael Jackson's video for "They don't care about us"- filmed in Rocinha
City of Men
Favela Rising
Line of Passage
The Constant Gardener
La Haine (?) - not quite slums...

Have I missed any ?
How do colleagues use these films ?

Check the GEOGRAPHY PAGES page on Favelas.
How accurate is the portrayal of favelas ? (Guardian article)

This would fit in nicely as well with the materials on NEW INDIA that are available on the Geography Teaching Today website...

Strange Overtones

Just been hitting HYPEM and getting some Christmas choons... Also got some iTunes vouchers to spend on downloads.

One tune I discovered also has this nice video based on mapping download locations:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There's no time to be afraid....

It's Christmastime....
Walk into any city centre shop and the usual Christmas music is playing on repeat...

A superb idea was added to the SLN Geography Forum earlier today by Andrew Boardman. It's to take the lyrics of Band Aid: Do they know it's Christmas ?, and to reappraise them, and assess their accuracy to what 'Africa' is actually like... Will there really be "no snow in Africa this Christmas" ? or "no water flowing" ?
The original single was released in 1984, with another version Band Aid 20 in 2004: 20 years on. Were the lyrics of the remake any better ?

The original video can be seen here, thanks to YouTube....

The World Development Movement have already criticised the lyrics (some years ago now) for their portrayal of African communities, and the apparent 'reasons' for poverty.

This is a nice way in to the portrayal of places in the media, and how the choice of images can influence opinion: something that OSOCIO is always challenging.

Other resources worth checking include a minute by minute reminder of the LIVE AID concert that followed the single, in 1985...
Any other song lyrics that could be examined in this way ?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New flash interactives....

....have now been added to 2 of the KS3 units on the GEOGRAPHY TEACHING TODAY website.
There are 3 in total.
The first is one which looks at FLOOD TYPES

The second is called PREPARING FOR FLOODING: mouse over the objects in the house for
some details on how to reduce the flood damage.

My favourite is the 3rd one, which is in the TEENAGE CONSUMERS activity. Which decade did these objects become popular...

Would fit nicely with my old Pilot GCSE CULTURAL OBJECTS lesson.... - in fact, just had a quick browse through some of the 600 odd posts on that Pilot GCSE blog and there's some cracking stuff there ! I'm sure a lot of it would be relevant to the new OCR 'A': something for the holiday will be to go through and extract the relevant posts and make a list....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Who gets your vote ?

The Independent on Sunday has a vote to choose from a list of "The 50 most Ludicrous Britons" - would be a useful cultural quiz: how many can you recognise ?
Who gets your vote ?

Where is Christmas from ?

Following on from my earlier post on Christmas resources, Tony Cassidy has come up with another winner...
Head over to Tony Cassidy's RADICAL GEOGRAPHY for more Christmas resources, and to download this essential Christmas homework. Another quality Cassidy production....
Where's Christmas from ?

And coincidentally, my visitor statistics list says I've just had a visitor from Snowflake, Arizona.

The Disappearing High Street

An excellent audio-visual SLIDESHOW of a High Street, part of an excellent resource (try the tabs) on the BBC Magazine page.
Living Geography is happening on your High Street right now. Why not go down there and come back with a photostory: no more than 5 images, capture your High Street, before it disappears....

I've set up a FLICKR GROUP called "The Disappearing High Street", and kick started it with a few images from HUNSTANTON.

Add your pictures...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Britglyph Project

Received an e-mail from Lawrence about the BRITGLYPH project.

· Guerrilla art is old news and the Turner Prize means nothing to the man on the street

· A new project is creating a unique piece of ‘user generated art’ that anyone across Britain can contribute to

· Using the gizmo we all have, a phone, the ‘Britglyph’ project records pictures taken at locations across the UK, forming an image on the map

· A digital dot-to-dot in simple terms

· There are 63 locations around the country that will make up the Britglyph

The project website is live.

It's a modern take on the idea of geoglyphs, such as the Cerne Abbas giant.

Check out the website for more details...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jean Michel Jarre

Have already seen 2 bands this year that were on my "must see before I die" list: The Decemberists and Sigur Ros, and next May I have a change to tick off another...Image by Flickr user LittleO2, Creative Commons

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Urban Earth... released...

One of the most creative geographers I've had the pleasure of working with over the last few years is Daniel Raven Ellison.
Earlier this year, he visited London, Mexico City and Mumbai and walked across them, taking an image very 8 paces to create these compelling movies for URBAN EARTH.
Below is the MUMBAI film....
A Newcastle Urban Earth event is planned for the 25th of January 2009 - more details later.

Thanks for the mention in the end-credits too Dan... Unless if was a different Alan P...

Credit Crunch Geographies...

Just putting this resource together at the weekend.
Has anyone else spotted any trends in the Credit Crunch that have been reported in the media relating to geography: these could relate to employment, consumer products, lifestyle changes, population change or other aspects...
Add comments below, particularly if there is an article which accompanies it, and provides some additional detail...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas is coming...

Yeterday at the Suffolk conference, talked about the use of CHRISTMAS as a context for some geography work. In terms of
I recognise that not all faiths are represented in a unit like this: "winterval" anyone ?

Mark Cowan has kindly made available another one of his poems.

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: poem christmas)

Looking back over previous work, there are some links on my GEOGRAPHYPAGES website, including an old BLOG POST.

I also had quite a Christmas theme to my PEOPLE AS CONSUMERS unit on my PILOT GCSE blog: here are all the POSTS LABELLED CHRISTMAS.

What else is there ?

Emma Johns produced some work on using the huge AMAZON distribution warehouse near Milton Keynes as a context. Location of these warehouses is crucial. Good use of GIS as well in terms of routing of lorries for deliveries, and co-ordination of distribution network. I pass the Wilkinsons and
There's a big John Lewis warehouse on the way up to Hull as well on the M18

Helen Nurton produced an excellent CHRISTMAS TREE: real or artificial activity and a Christmas mind map, both of which are still available from 4SHARED HERE. They have both been downloaded almost 300 times, and I certainly made use of them last Christmas...

Tony Cassidy did a European Tour for Santa where he popped up in lots of locations.

Val Vannet produced a massive ADVENT CALENDAR quiz with a question behind each window.

Mary Cooch has made some very nice games on her GAMES4GEOG site (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the Christmas games)

Paula Richardson produced a set of resources on a CHRISTMAS THEME, which are still available on the GA WEBSITE.

On Christmas Eve each year, NORAD track Santa, and you can follow his progress on Google Earth.

Globalisation and interdependence: connections with China, and the BBC BOX.

Research Christmas presents and their global connections e.g. iPods, Barbies (some multicultural ones)

A trip to Christmas Island ?

Don't forget to recycle your Christmas cards.
Why not do a HOUSEBLINGERS homework - is the credit crunch and rising energy prices going to mean less of this sort of thing ?

Remember, a scheme of work is for life, not just for Christmas...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Took this image earlier this year.
Who is next ?

I used to go to Rotherham Woolies to buy my LPs when I was a young teenager...
Also the Pick and Mix... (although Rotherham market had cheaper white chocolate discs with hundreds and thousands stuck on them...)
My son was not happy "what do you mean Woolworth's is going to close ?"....

I BETT this will be good...

A nicely written piece in yesterday's Education Guardian: the annual supplement for the BETT show. I've written the Geography preview for the show for the last 3 years. The image of the Nintendo DS with Sim City being played is mine too.
The ONLINE VERSION is now available.
Check out the rest of the BETT Preview too.
I'll be at Teachmeet and will be manning the GEOGRAPHICAL ASSOCIATION's STAND in the SUBJECT ASSOCIATION area on Saturday the 17th of January.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

50 Geographical Films

With thanks to Chris Lloyd Staples for the original 'spade work'...
Ready for a session in Suffolk later this week.
Which one(s) have you used, and how did you use them ?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A new friend...

Forgot to mention that on Thursday I picked up a new friend.
Look at that intrepid hairy explorer.... and Barnaby...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Interdependence Day Seminar

Sheffield University Geography Department - 18th November - 4.15pm
Thanks to Dr. Tariq Jazeel for inviting me to yesterday's seminar by Dr. Renata Tyszczuk from the Architecture department of the University of Sheffield on the Interdependence Day project , which looks at the nature of global environmental change, as we enter the era that has come to be known as the Anthropocene : one of human landscape- alteration and environmental instability.
It explored interdependence as framework for discussion on human alteration of the world.
It also featured the Mappae Mundi project
This project is currently being developed with partners at the Open University and is a cross-disciplinary venture between Geography and Architecture, between `writing the earth´ and `making place´. Its ambition is to `put stories back into maps´.
Renata talked about 2 events at the Royal Geographical Society, and the publication “Do good lives have to cost the earth ?
Also passed out some broadsheets from the Interdependence Day meetings, including an excellent article: “London Inside Out” by Doreen Massey, which was familiar to me from her book “World City”.
Talked about 2 story-based pieces:
We don’t know when it’s coming in (PDF download)
Relating to clothing, and connections the British Antarctic Survey, and the charity clothing shop where items were sold.
We don’t have a survival kit (PDF download)
New maps for an island planet, and ideas of provisionality and uncertainty.Thanks to Dr. Jazeel for the invitation.

One of the other groups that attended the Interdependence Day project day was RED REDEMPTION.

They have produced an intriguing CLIMATE CHALLENGE GAME, which can be played online.

Remember that your students are 'all' playing games - everyday geographies...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

David Lambert Lecture

David Lambert, Chief Executive of the GA is delivering a lecture at Sheffield University tomorrow tonight.
It's part of the Centenary Lecture Series.

Department of Geography Centenary Lecture
Geography in schools: misheard or misplaced?
Professor David Lambert (Chief Executive of the Geographical Association)
5:30 pm Richard Roberts Auditorium

I shall be in the audience, and will be doing some live blogging and also posting updates to my TWITTER FEED.

If you want to JOIN IN, then JOIN TWITTER if you haven't already and CLICK TO FOLLOW ME on TWITTER.

Will also add BLOG POSTS HERE, and depending on my internet connection (which should be OK in central Sheffield) will also upload some PICTURES....

Coming up on the 8th of December is another rather fine lecture which I shall also attend:

Department of Geography Centenary Lecture
Beyond critical - some spaces of optimism in a globalised world
Professor Doreen Massey (Open University)
5:30 pm Students' Union Auditorium

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Urban Earth: Bristol

Dan Raven Ellison and his fellow walkers, are preparing for this Saturday's walk across BRISTOL.
Check out the URBAN EARTH NING for more details - it's not too late to sign up.
Don't forget that there will also be a walk as part of next April's GA Conference.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last night's cultural highlight

Quick image by Flickr user slint4587 taken at Wolves Civic Hall last night.
Superb concert...
Tired now...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just ordered this....

UPDATE: Arrived, and am half way through it. Engaging and entertaining.


One of the blogs I get quite a few referrals from is the SPACEHOPE blog, which seems to be about similar themes, judging by the pictures.
Thanks for the interest in Cultcha !

Hastings Images

Just catching up on what's been happening while I've been away for a few days... Lots as it happens.

Here are some images from my trip to Hastings. Plenty more on my FLICKR page.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

SAGT Phase 2

On Friday night, after setting up the GA stand, had a meal at the very nice, and very French Le Petit Paris restaurant on Queensferry Road.

A windy night followed, and in the morning it rained on and off most of the day.

For the second year, the conference was held at Edinburgh Academy. First thing was to grab a coffee and man the GA stand with the other publications, and to start handing out over 150 free satellite image maps of the earth from space, and also have conversations with the 290 odd delegates. The maps were donated by the GeoSphere project.
At 9.40 the publishers’ awards, presented by John Vannet, were announced. In the Book category, the GA picked up both the awards that were available. A ‘Commended’ award went to ‘Caring for our World’ by Fran Martin and Paula Owens, and the WINNER in the book award went to the Teacher’s Toolkit. Margaret Roberts collected the awards.
It was then across to the Hall for Malcolm McDonald’s Presidential Address, and the morning lecture by Dr Iain Stewart. I left during this to set up my seminar room, and meet a few familiar faces from south of the border, and heard the story of the night train from Euston, where one of the delegates who shall remain nameless realised that they had the word ‘seat’ on their ticket whereas the others had ‘berth’. The weather was now fairly miserable, with strong wind and rain. Into the science area, to deliver the first of my seminars. Seemed to be well received. My basic messages were related to the change from traditional to social media, and how that could be used in the classroom. There were references to the BECTa Web 2.0 report, and the possibilities of being gratuitously creative, but importantly to ‘teach’ students the importance of crediting sources of material sourced online. Some familiar faces in the room too, which is always nice.

Go to SLIDESHARE for the presentation (see below)

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: geography media)

If you have other questions, get in touch, particularly if you were unable to attend my seminar (there were lots of other excellent ones after all....)

Over to the dining hall for lunch, and a chat to some familiar faces, and another spot on the stall. Lots of interest in the material that we had, and fortunately most of the magazines and materials were taken so I didn’t have to lug them home in the car.
Back over for the second seminar, which again seemed to go well. One bonus here was the attendance of Kenny O’ Donnell, one of my blogging acquaintances, HIS BLOG HERE, who had very kindly brought me a bottle of ‘Avalanche’ beer from the Fyne Ales brewery, because he had read an earlier BLOG POST, where I said I liked the look of it. Cheers Kenny - that was very kind of you !

In the afternoon, it was back to the Hall for the Hodder Gibson lecture, which was given by Mark Beaumont, who I followed part of the way around the world on GEOBLOGGING WITH MARK, as he broke the Guinness World Record for solo circum-navigation of the globe. You can read more about Mark’s epic journey HERE.
He was announced by Val Vannet, who did an excellent introduction, which included the classic line “And the rest, as they say, is... GEOGRAPHY”.
He showed a few clips from ‘The Man who cycled the world’, which we heard has been nominated for a BAFTA, and talked through the planning, and used a series of slides that Val and I had used in fund raising assemblies earlier in the year.
Had a quick chat at the end with Mark, who is preparing for his next adventure to row across the North Atlantic.

The day wasn’t quite over, it was back to pack up the GA stall: the last one still standing in a lonely gymnasium, and take down the banner. It all packed into one box, which was handy, and
Meanwhile Dan was very kindly copying me his URBAN EARTH presentation - these movies are incredible pieces of work.

Finally into the Presidents’ reception, to have a few beers and a chat with Dan about some forthcoming book ideas (possibly) which Abi from Folens promised to publish... ;)
Goodbyes all round - I will certainly be back next year - whether as presenter, or delegate, or exhibitor...
Out into the stormy Edinburgh night to pick my way back to Queensferry Road, as I had an appointment with an Oddbins, and a bottle of Ardbeg Blasda.
My Sat Nav then guided me to the middle of nowhere on a dark and stormy night: I took a left and found Ollie Bray's house. Time for haggis, neeps and tatties, and lots of whisky....

Thanks to Ollie for telling me about GABCAST too - noticed that you can record via VOIP.

Out into the wind this morning, to North Berwick, and a few photos on the beach, then it was down the east coast past Bass Rock, high tide at Holy Island again scuppering plans for a visit, and back to York.

Well done to all on SAGT organising committee for another great conference !

Friday, October 24, 2008

SAGT Conference - the journey up...

A day of travelling today to get ready for the SAGT Conference.
Up early in York and checked inbox first. Some interesting continuing conversations relating to Singapore. YPG and KS4 ICT going live today, which is great news.
The weather was very sunny, but also the wind picked up through the morning, and by mid afternoon it was pouring with rain with a succession of rainbows.
First part was up the A19 to Thirsk, A1 through Scotch Corner, skirting Durham, and the first pause at a prominent man-made landmark, which I had to myself - can you tell which one ?

Shadow of the Angel

Then it was onwards, and into Northumberland: a pause at Barter Books in Alnwick (love it) and tide in, so Holy Island cut off. Berwick on Tweed for lunch, then onwards across the Border, and pootling up the single carriageway sections. A quick trip down the coastal route to Dunbar for fuel and a photo opportunity.


Within 20 minutes of this photo, the sky was pitch black, and it was pouring with rain through the outskirts of Edinburgh, and down through Leith to work round the tramworks in the centre of the city. Into Edinburgh Academy to set up the GA's stand...


Here's the proof that I was there... Thanks to John Vannet for his efficient organisation and for taking the photo below...

GA Stand at SAGT

Now in hotel about to go into Edinburgh for food and a drink.
Conference tomorrow.
Plenty of new fodder arrived in the last day (predictably) - may have to try to squeeze something else into my presentation...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tagging is the new filing....

One aspect of my forthcoming session at SAGT is the use of SOCIAL BOOKMARKING. A very clear COMMONCRAFT video here...

Urban Earth on US Public Radio

Just listening to Dan Ellison talk on US Public Radio from last night.

You can download an mp3 of the talk, which I strongly recommend that you do.

Dan starts by referring to Doreen Massey and her work on perceptions of urban spaces and also the representation of places. He started by walking across Salisbury and exploring its ecological footprint.

He also talked about the issue of surveillance, and the issues with photography, and how he worked out the route for the walks based on inequality.

Photograph taken every 8 paces, and then turned into stop-motion films.

Also explored school geography, and how the media over-represents certain areas of cities.

Online CPD.... I urge you to listen !