Monday, September 29, 2008

A spot of quiet reading...

One of the (many) good things about my new job is that next to my desk is a large bookcase, into which arrive preview / review copies of all the new books relating to Geography: ranging from textbooks, to academic texts, to software, to books for children.
Have just picked up 'The Cultural Geography reader', which is made up of a series of short articles from people such as Doreen Massey, Peter Jackson and Timothy Oakes, and browsed through several of them.
An excellent piece in particular by Peter Jackson.
If you are interested in going more deeply into this field, this would be a useful starting point.

Special Welcome... all those who have made their way here from Catholicgauze...
You're very welcome.
If you've liked this, why not try LIVINGGEOGRAPHY ?

This is London Calling...

Official video to start the changeover from Beijing 2008 to London 2012...

For a Global Action Conference next week....

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More SAGT Thinking

Just spent a bit of time reconfiguring my ideas for SAGT a little more towards "social media" rather than traditional "broadcast media" which will still feature, but not as strongly. Look at this image by Alec Couros (kindly shared under Creative Commons), borrowed from Neil Winton's SLF presentation (see earlier post on LIVING GEOGRAPHY) - how many of the media that are mentioned here do you engage with ?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ewan's Seminar @ SLF 2008

Ewan McIntosh

Channel 4

21st Century Professional Networking: 10.30 at SECC

Blogged as it happened by "the geek at the back who's the only one with a laptop open..." ;)

Any errors in the semantics of what Ewan said are entirely mine...

Referred to Richard Teese Keynote from yesterday: "If you're a teacher you need a personal and professional network."
Proving that it works is an issue: no data which actually supports the idea that it's "worth it"
If used, it changes practice for the better. The users "know" that it does.

Not too many tools mentioned.
3 tools included, and "6 weeks deadline" to do it or you'll never do it...
Trying to satisfy students with the same materials that had been used in the 1980's - need to move the curriculum / pedagogy on...
"Don't tell the dinosaurs the meteors are coming "

BECTa research on use of social media (interviewed hundreds of learners)
Co-ordinating activity (and firming up plans)
News Map: Worldmapper.... 90% of AV output from LA based media

School closure campaigns: Facebook

Showed connections relating to the media and the classroom....
Media literacy: can't edit the Internet: once up it stays up....
Teachers as gatekeepers can be negative: look at technology or new pedagogy
Writing a small aspect of the way that people communicate.
Gatekeepers can also OPEN the gate as well as CLOSE it.
Digital immigrants / natives nonsense - children didn't grow up with the internet as it exists now
Everyone STILL has to learn.
Number 1 factor is the teacher.
The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.
S. Korea / USA - recruitment of graduates into the teaching profession: action research - teachers need to be involved in their profession and pedagogy.

The only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction.

Delivering for every child
Concern about the middle band: "only got 3 colours of paper..."

1. Ordinary tools, extraordinary effects
Tanya Byron mentioned that the technology itself is not transformative
Clay Shirky: technologically boring tools create change...
Filtering: also mentioned at Teachmeet: breaking up words, spelling errors...
"Small passionate communities" - online communities of practice
GLOW: small 'villages'

Digital media
Tagging: the new 'filing'... Media literacy: not safety

Small passionate groups creating themselves...
Geography: different new geographies...

For more, check out the SLIDECAST on SLIDESHARE...

Friday, September 26, 2008

21st Century Learners

Interesting YouTube video...
How can media be used to engage students...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wake Up, Freak Out !!

...then get a grip....

That's the name of a rather nice animation...
The WEBSITE has a range of resources, including the script of the video...
One from OSOCIO again.

Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

World Album Cover Map

This is a super idea, and one that I will definitely be featuring at SAGT in my seminar !
Imagine this as a homework activity for a group of students: find an album cover with an image which you can geo-locate, and explain the geographical significance of it too. OK, it will probably have to be a CD cover, but take a few LPs into school so that the students can say "wow, they're huge !" The images could be of buildings or a landforms: off the top of my head I can think of the cover of 'Tubular Bells' (but which beach was that ?), Dave Lee Roth's 'Skyscraper' with him on a vertical wall (but which one ?)

Time to get out the albums from my loft and see if I can geo-locate some of them.

Someone is already ahead of the game though. The WORD MAGAZINE ALBUM ATLAS is a great idea which has already got quite a large number of albums geo-located on GOOGLE MAPS. Here's an example from David Hepworth (THE David Hepworth ?) of the Pink Floyd album "A Momentary Lapse of Reason", the cover of which featured a load of beds on a beach, but which beach ?

One album that I knew I could find fairly easily was The Stranglers' album: "Norfolk Coast", the cover of which was shot on Hunstanton beach, 4 miles from home.

Here's an image I took during the Summer of the seaweed covered rocks the band stands on.

And here is the album: added to the ATLAS...
Why not add your own and get your students to add one of theirs.
Back up into the loft for more LPs....

Monday, September 22, 2008

SAGT 2008

Image from Sigur Ros Tour Diary

While in "conversation" with a delegate last night, I reflected on the fact that I needed to do rather a lot on my presentation for SAGT 2008. So decided to give it a quick half an hour...

Energised by an old tape of Andy Cutting that I got out of the loft earlier, here are some sketches of what I will present (SPOILER WARNING: if you're coming to my session, go and look at the kittens instead...)

The theme is GEOGRAPHY and the MEDIA.
Plan to include a range of POPULAR CULTURAL REFERENCES, and try and link in with the idea of LIVING GEOGRAPHY in its wider sense.

You will need some TOOLS to make use of the new Geography libraries that are out there...

a) AUDACITY: sound editing and allows you to save as MP3 with an additional LAME plugin
b) FLICKR: a free membership allows you to host 200 images
c) SNIPPY: allows the saving of sections of screenshots / webpages

Will be looking at the following MEDIA:
  • TV
  • FILM
  • NEWSPAPERS / MAGAZINES: including front pages...
A final angle will be a look at media literacy, and the new social media...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Breakfast... sorted ?

Might get some of these for those early drives up to Sheffield ;)Available from DINNER IN A BOTTLE...

Also available: "Fish and Chips"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sit Coms and Immigration...

The TV Sitcom...There have been some classics over the years...
For those who aren't sure what they are:

A sitcom ("sit-com", "sit com") or, to give it it's full name, situation comedy is a genre of comedy performance in which recurring characters take part in humorous story lines centred on a common environment, such as a family home or workplace. Sitcoms were originally devised for the radio but today are typically found on television.

Who can forget "Fawlty Towers". Well, actually, most students have probably never seen it, as it was made before they were born, and how many of us watch TV programmes that were made before we were born ?

The 'golden age' of sit coms was probably about my youth: the late 70s, early 80s - unless you think otherwise of course. What would be the classics ?

"Terry and June" (perhaps not)
"The Good Life"
"Only Fools and Horses"
"Rising Damp"

How do modern sit coms tackle modern "geographical" themes ?
Extended or changed family structures ?
Immigration ?

Would we see a modern remake of Mind your Language or Love they Neighbour, and a latter day Alf Garnett ?

It's possible with the modern trend for sharing to see clips of most of these programmes, and even entire episodes split into "YouTube friendly" 10 minute chunks...
My interest was started by an article in The Times - link to read it here....
It talked about a remake of the classic Rising Damp, which featured Don Warrington (interesting to see that he is now in this year's 'Strictly Come Dancing' line-up...)

It's set to be written by Simon Nye, who wrote "Men Behaving Badly".

The series coincides with “room for rent” websites recording a big rise in advertisements over the past year as homeowners seek to offset living costs and first-time buyers find themselves priced out of market. Rigsby’s unlucky tenants were often students. Today lodgers are more likely to be migrant workers or young professionals saving to get on the property ladder.

The “guests” at the rundown North London establishment, the setting for In My Country, reflect Britain’s changing migration patterns. There are Polish workers on 18-hour shifts who fall asleep in a pile, a Kosovan refugee and an ex-Thai bride. Their “leader” is Navid, an Iranian immigrant down on his luck, played by the stand-up comedian Omid Djalili, who also contributed material to the series.

In My Country stars the comic Stephen K. Amos, playing Johnny, a Nigerian immigrant newly arrived in Britain, who wants to get ahead.

The executive producer of the show said:

We want to recreate a classic sitcom format but crucially as a take on 21st-century Britain. We are speaking to the immigration authorities to get real stories into the comedy.

What other geographical themes / connections can you think of ?

Friday, September 5, 2008


Ewan is one of many who are excited about the educational possibilities of this game, launched TODAY.
SPORE explores ideas of evolution and the creation of societies and communities.

I have a copy ordered, but not received it yet...

"Spore is bringing creativity to the masses where you as a consumer watch something on TV and say I can do something better than that, I can make a better space ship than that and you go on Spore and you can make something very compelling and even better in terms of design and scope."
Thomas Vu, Spore Producer

The key to the game surviving is suggested to be "narrative density", which is a good thing to aim for when producing an educational resource I would suggest, especially if it's evident in what the students produce as a consequence...

Here's the creator: Will Wright at Ted Talks over a year ago...
The planetary editing phase looks particularly great !

Aerial view of Britain...

Britain from Above from the BBCGot the hardback book of the series yesterday in my friendly local multinational supermarket at half price.
The website has some nice additional features now, such as some clips and additional resources.
A pity that the Google Earth layer comes up with a page error...

Interestingly, there is a link through to a series of vintage programmes which have an aerial photography theme.
Click the link HERE, or the image below to visit the website area.

For the first time, BBC Archive has gathered together more than 60 years of broadcasting from the air.

Watch as cities grow, motorways are introduced and the sea continues to batter the coast. The aerial recordings provide a glimpse into Britain's past and ever changing landscape.

The aerial story of the UK has been narrated by some of our most beloved personalities. In programmes taken from the famous series Bird's Eye View you can hear poet John Betjeman narrating a personal, idealised journey across Britain, and read never-before released correspondence from the great man himself.

This collection captures views of the landscape that in many cases no longer exist, such as the thousands of miles of countryside that were torn up to make way for new motorways.

There's a fascinating programme from 1969 which explores how the countryside was threatened by development. Nice jazzy music by John Dankworth... Forty years on, what has changed ?

And to finish off our BBC connection, why not head over to the BBC MOTION GALLERY, where there is a collection of ROYALTY FREE aerial clips to download.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Great Britain

If it's Wednesday it must be time for another book looking at the perceptions that people have of Great Britain...
This time it's John Gaunt's BEST OF BRITISH
It's Called Great Britain, Not Rubbish Britain

Here's the Synopsis, from Amazon

This is Great Britain not rubbish Britain and it's about time we started shouting about this fantastic land from the mountaintops of Wales and Scotland through to the White Cliffs of Dover. This is the country of Shakespeare, The Sex Pistols, Thatcher, the Specials and Ian Wright; the land and people that invented football, rugby, the TV and telephone and revolutionised music, culture and the arts; a small country that punches well above its weight with the greatest armed forces in the world, the home of democracy and defender of freedom; a tolerant country; and a fair country. It is time to rejoice in our culture, our history and our traditions and firmly put the Great back into Britain.Wrap yourself in our flag as Jon Gaunt embarks on a tour of the best bits of this green and pleasant land, celebrating all things British. His forthright tribute encompasses the country's favourite pastimes including cricket, foxhunting and the FA Cup, great inventions like the Spitfire, the Jaguar, the Mini and the miniskirt, and our unofficial national cuisine of fish and chips washed down with a cup of tea or a pint of real ale.