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...