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.

Dunbar

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...

Boxes...

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 !

Monday, October 20, 2008

Animoto Intro

Here is the Animoto intro for my presentation: a range of images that are included in the presentation, and also a demo of Animoto, which is free for educational use...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Local Cultural Identity

Another Wordle.
This time it's looking at the issue of local Cultural Identity: what could we do to celebrate Norfolk if given the 8 minutes that London had at the end of the Olympics ?
This is a summary of the student responses...
Thanks to the students involved, from Park, Litcham, Fakenham and Springwood High Schools.

Stephen Fry in America

Caught up with the first episode of this series tonight, and enjoyed it a lot.
One of the places that Stephen (who is one of my TWITTER friends)
Nice to see him using one of my favourite 'jokes', when driving past a cemetery: this is the dead centre of town...
Watch a VIDEO PREVIEW here.

What produces our Cultural identity ?

What factors influence the person that we become ?
Contributions made by students involved in workshop that I ran earlier this week in King's Lynn

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Psychogeography, Will Self, and descriptions of landscapes...



Will Self at Google on YouTube

If you watch Will, be prepared for the fact that he might use some 'fruity language'...

Just preparing my (rather rambling) presentation for next Saturday's SAGT conference. It's on the theme of the media and geography, and throws out a lot of ideas for using the media, related to the idea of Creativity.
I will be adding some previews of some of the sections during the week, and the material will also go on Slideshare, although I have demonstrated quite a few ideas which require images for which I don't have the copyright.

Will Self has produced a series of columns for 'The Independent'. Earlier this week, he produced a couple of articles on the Holderness coast, a common case study of coastal erosion. It offers a different geographical 'lens' on this area, and the problems that it has.

The Pyschogeography columns are illustrated by Ralph Steadman, who creates a wonderful new image for each column.
Why not check out the 2 columns:

Holderness 1

Holderness 2

Young Urbanites

At the Students 4 Global Action conference last week, I met Junior Johnson who is involved in the running of YOUNG URBANITES, who are based in Norwich.
Their website gives further details of the work that they carry out, and there is a strong link with the ideas of CITIZENSHIP and CULTURE.
Check them out if you are in East Anglia.

The High Street and the Credit Crunch

The BBC MAGAZINE has a very useful section exploring how the various credit related problems that seem to be all around us at the moment are affecting a range of businesses along a stretch of High Street. A lot of geography here...

Edward Burtynsky

Ollie reminded me of the work of Edward Burtynsky and his "Manufactured Landscapes" images...



Friday, October 17, 2008

My Maps

An example of how Google Maps can be used.
In the last few days, wildfires have been raging through areas of California.
Google Maps have been used to track where fires have occurred...

Thanks to LatLong Blog for the link...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty



This post is for Blog Action Day on Poverty.
I spent the day today in Norfolk, just a couple of hundred yards from my old place of work, at the Students 4 Global Action conference. This was hosted by the Park High School, and organised by NEAD. It was good to work with Sandy Betlem again.

I ran 2 workshops exploring LOCAL CULTURAL DIVERSITY in the context of the local area. Below are a few of my slides, and the presentation will go up on Slideshare shortly.

The material was a combination from the GA's Teachers' Toolkit: Jenny Brassington's BRITISH OR EUROPEAN and John Widdowson's MOVING STORIES, and explored the idea of IDENTITY...
What was their identity ?
What is Britain's identity ?
What is Norfolk's identity ?
There were some great, perceptive contributions from the students concerned, and there is a little more feedback to come when I get a moment.

It was also a chance to use my FLIP video camera...


I videoed some of the student work, and some of the Action Planning presentations that took place at the end of the day.

The link with Poverty is that some of the other workshops tackled this issue, and Christian Aid were presenting at the event.
More to come tomorrow, but it's late and still got a few other bits to do...

Global Dimension Conference

In Norfolk today for a conference organised by NEAD...

I ran 2 workshops exploring LOCAL CULTURAL DIVERSITY in the context of the local area, and the forthcoming Olympics. Below are a few of my slides, and the presentation will go up on Slideshare when it's been edited a little.The material was a combination from the GA's Teachers' Toolkit: Jenny Brassington's BRITISH OR EUROPEAN and John Widdowson's MOVING STORIES, and explored the idea of IDENTITY. Also a few slides from Tony Cassidy in there, and material from the WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE website.
What was their identity ?
What is Britain's identity ?
What is Norfolk's identity ?
There were some great, perceptive contributions from the students concerned, and there is a little more feedback to come when I get a moment.

It was also a chance to use my FLIP video camera...


I videoed some of the student work, and some of the Action Planning presentations that took place at the end of the day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Urban Earth Ning

Urban Earth Ning has been launched by Dan Raven Ellison, a leading player in the field of participatory geographies.
The concept is to do a walk across an Urban Area and record it in some way. Dan uses a technique which involves him taking an image every 8 paces, and then using animation software to produce a continuous stream of stop-motion imagery.
Dan has already walked across London, Mumbai, Mexico City and Guadalajara, and the resulting videos are starting to emerge on the URBAN EARTH website. They were also featured in the Webwatch feature of the latest issue of GA MAGAZINE.

Join Dan in Bristol on the 15th of November.
Sign up to start your own walk.
Walk the walk...

Dan will be presenting seminars at the SAGT Conference later in October.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stephen Fry is following me...

...mind you, I'm also following him.
I know, for example, that today, he set off for a trip to Africa, and that he spent this morning drinking coffee and packing.
How do I know that ?
Because we both use TWITTER: a 'micro-blogging' tool which allows users to post to the web from the twitter website, or from their mobile devices, and share their response to the most basic of questions: what are you doing now ?

If you're already online, a quick TWEET is very easy to do.

To get the most out of TWITTER, you might want to download a free HANDBOOK.Tom Barrett, an avid user, and someone who I met at TEACHMEET08 has posted on the VALUE OF USING TWITTER, and there are lots of similar blog posts.

The COMMONCRAFT SHOW FOLK have produced this rather good YOU TUBE video:


It's also FREE of course ("my favourite price")

So what else could persuade you that this might be worth your valuable time ?
Well, Barack Obama is on Twitter...

and BBC Education team are on there....

Also check out TWITTERVISION: a 'mash-up' which displays TWITTER posts on a world map - compulsive for trivia lovers - can't guarantee that it'll all be 'suitable for work' as they say...

iPhone

Ollie Bray has just completed a series of 5 posts on the use of the iPhone in education.
Plenty of exciting ideas here, and the applications that he mentions are all cheap !
Of course, you first of all need an iPhone and they aren't cheap... You can get them free on certain tariffs, but I don't have £500 a year to spend on my phone.
Of course, they may well come down in price.

Ollie will be doing some seminars at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers conference in Edinburgh on the 25th of October, as will I. If you're coming along you'll also find me manning the GA stand in between times...

Samaritan's Purse

Just done the annual shoe boxes of toys and stuff for my children's school donations...

Shoebox Celebration

Thursday, October 9, 2008

YouTube

OK, so there are some millions of hours of questionable content, but also some quality material for teachers which they ignore at their peril. Save these as MPG or even as FLV and they are viewable in Smart Notebook, which will also do file conversion...
For example, here is a CNN reporter exploring the issue of Polish migration into the UK....



Also quick thought:
"ICESave accounts were recently frozen..."

GeoCube

Coming soon....

My World in 60 Seconds


The BBC have big screens in a number of major towns and cities.



You now have a chance to see your KS3 students' work up on one of them, by submitting it to the OUR WORLD IN 60 SECONDS project.
A new area on the GA WEBSITE

Download an application form and technical guide.

Entries submitted by the 1st of May 2009

"We need slaves to build monuments....."

The Guardian's G2 section yesterday had an excellent report on the inequalities that exist in Dubai between those who are financing and occupying the multi-billion pound developments, and those who are creating them.

DUBAI

A quote that almost echoes the construction of the Pyramids: "We need slaves to build monuments"

There is also a photo story that accompanies the piece on the Guardian's WORLD section (click MULTIMEDIA and then PICTURES). Would be very useful for the idea of INEQUALITY and UNEQUAL SPACES.

If you're reading this in Dubai, and would like some quality Geography CPD delivering, please get in touch !

Olivier Kugler


While looking for something on the use of levels (and even worse, sub-levels) in assessing pupil work, I was reminded of a project that I blogged about back in 2006!
It was a trip made by the artist and illustrator Olivier Kugler.

He made a journey from the SHETLAND ISLANDS to CUBA..

Olivier's website has a range of wonderful illustrations which give a real 'sense of place' for the locations that he visited, as well as reportage.
More media to use in the classroom...
Adapt for student use ?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Teachers TV this week...

Broadcast on the 8th of October

Synopsis

Krishnan Guru-Murthy presents a lively debate about what being British means, and the role of schools in teaching Britishness.

The panellists include the right-wing writer and academic Douglas Murray, and the author of the Government's report on citizenship and diversity in schools, Sir Keith Ajegbo.

Also on the panel are the first black President of the NUT, Baljeet Ghale; and British Paralympian Ade Adepitan MBE. The programme is recorded in front of a studio audience made up of teachers, experts, parents and children.


Programmes lasts 45 minutes, and is shown at 8am and 9pm, and 4pm on the 9th of October. Will be repeated, and will also be available on the TEACHERS TV WEBSITE.

Bio Fuel Song

This is a great resource for those augmenting an exploration of BIOFUELS.
Listen to the song, which is excellent, and then perhaps produce a lyric which provides the alternative viewpoint...

"Bio fuel, will only help the hungry !
Bio fuel, brilliant idea !", for example... (and not a very good example at that...)

Nice work by livebroadkast
Do you prefer the straight, or are you a sucker for the dubmix !

Making a difference...

Since I started all this blogging and social networking thing, various people have questioned its value, and although I knew that it made a difference it was hard to 'quantify' that difference...

A BECTa report into the value of these tools has now been published...

Becta has published major new research into the use of Web 2.0 technologies, such as wikis, blogs and social networking, by children between the ages of 11-16, both in and out of the school environment.

The reports found that young learners are prolific users of Web 2.0 technologies in their leisure time but that the use of Web 2.0 in the classroom was limited. However, schools and teachers who are innovating in this area have found benefits, such as:

  • Web 2.0 helps to encourage student engagement and increase participation – particularly among quieter pupils, who can use it to work collaboratively online, without the anxiety of having to raise questions in front of peers in class – or by enabling expression through less traditional media such as video.
  • Teachers have reported that the use of social networking technology can encourage online discussion amongst students outside school.
  • Web 2.0 can be available anytime, anywhere, which encourages some individuals to extend their learning through further investigation into topics that interest them.
  • Pupils feel a sense of ownership and engagement when they publish their work online and this can encourage attention to detail and an overall improved quality of work. Some teachers reported using publication of work to encourage peer assessment.

The research also found that over half of teachers surveyed believe that Web 2.0 resources should be used more often in the classroom. However, the majority of teachers questioned had never used Web 2.0 applications in lessons, despite being frequent users of technology in their personal and professional lives. Their main concerns involved a lack of time to familiarise themselves with the technology and worries about managing the use of the internet in class.

The reports recommended that teachers should be encouraged to help learners to develop more sophisticated use of Web 2.0 technology and to give them the skills to navigate this space.

Tony Richardson, Executive Director Strategy and Communications, said:

"Some schools and individual teachers have been very innovative in developing their use of Web 2.0 to support learning. However, clearly teachers need the support, time and space to develop skills and practices that will allow them to integrate Web 2.0 into lessons. The report shows that the impact that Web 2.0 can have on the motivation and engagement of pupils. We need to ensure that these benefits are extended to all learners."

All very encouraging, and in many Scottish schools, as was apparent at last week's Scottish Learning Festival, this was flourishing...
Down here in England, perhaps less so. There are some innovators out there...
I'd like to work with those innovative geographers and gather some examples of how people are making use of the social web tools to engage learners.
Please get in touch if you would like to showcase something that YOU do....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Geographical Association Network open...

Back in June, at my interview for the GA post, I suggested that social networking tools could be used to supplement existing networks of geography teachers, and the role of GA branches. One platform which seemed to offer a range of features in one easy to use, attractive package was that offered by NINGS, which I used last year with my 'A' level students, and then for preparations for the new 'A' LEVEL specifications: my EDEXCEL NING now has over 300 members and there is some real quality geography being discussed. To my mind, if teachers are sharing their ideas in this forum, that's CPD !

The Geographical Assocation has now opened up the NING that we have been testing for a while to everyone !

If you find the Edexcel NING useful, I'm sure the same will be the case for the GA Ning
http://geographical.ning.com

Hope to see you on the members list soon.


I have written a USERS GUIDE to take you through your first visit to the Ning. Look for it in the FORUM section on the left hand side of the screen.