Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FrozenUK

Started a new Twitter stream yesterday to collate stories of the Big Freeze...

Follow @FrozenUK for the cold weather geographical digest... or add #FrozenUK to your tweets and I'll pick it up and add it when I get the chance...

There is more snow falling as I type this...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thought for the Day

They've got Pepsi in the Andes
McDonalds in Tibet
Yosemite's been turned into
A golf course for the Japs
The Dead Sea is alive with rap
Between the Tigris and Euphrates
There's a leisure centre now
They've got all kinds of sports
They've got Bermuda shorts


Roger Water: "It's a Miracle" from "Amused to Death"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Time to eat the dogs...

I'm always on the lookout for map -related items, as I'm preparing for a few map-related things early in the New Year.
There was a really interesting post on the intriguingly named "Time to eat the dogs" blog earlier this week, that I found via Twitter and something else (as is often the way...)

The post is about the idea of 'terra incognita': this is a phrase that was once used on maps, but these days there are no unknown places... or are there ?
Gerald Zhang Schmidt suggests that the blank spaces are cultural rather than physical.

"...one can no longer go out to many places where no tourist has tread before. In fact, because of globalization, the traveler feels as if she has seen the world already, and while many places are still fun to visit (if exotic enough), there is nothing truly new."

Fits with the Taras Grescoe book "The End of Elsewhere", which I have blogged about before...

He goes on to explore the sort of thinking that led us at the Geography Collective to create Mission:Explore:

"How well do you know the people and paths in your community or the species that dwell in your own backyard?"

A final link from Gerald is his interest in the cultural significance of  chilli peppers... geography and food combined...

Maps as cultural objects



This looks very cool - thanks to Kenny for the tipoff...

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Ning's the thing...

Nings have developed nicely since I first saw them in 2006-7...
At the time, I was teaching geography and the 'A' level specifications were being reviewed.
I set up a NING to support my 'A' level teaching, and to share resources and discussions relating to the work that was being carried out. Another NING was made private to my students, so that work within school could be developed further. I also created other networks for colleagues.
That first main NING now has over 2200 members !

At the 2008 Scottish Learning Festival, I attended my first teachmeet, and presented on Nings in a short 7 minute presentation slot.

When I joined the GA, I took NINGs with me, and the GA's online professional network was born, as was the now thriving PRIMARY CHAMPIONS Ning, which is closing in on the round figure of 1000 members

Earlier this month, the pre-release materials for the January 2011 Edexcel exam was released, and there was an immediate response:

Over 20 new members joined the network
Over 100 members joined a group to discuss the new pre-release material and others joined related groups
There were over 100 contributions to discussions about the materials, particularly on the tectonics hazards question, which has now had almost 50 replies and contributions..

Plenty of helpful ideas and resources being shared for the benefit of all members...

So come and join a NING near you...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Points of View...

A new feature was added to the GA website yesterday, following discussions by the Website Editorial Board earlier in the year, and some great work by the web team.
You can now  JOIN THE CONVERSATION..
As a GA member, when you log in you will be able to add a comment to any page of the website and, if you have purchased an item from the GA shop, you can also add a STAR RATING and a comment. This will let us develop more of a community feel to the website (non GA members will have to wait for their comment to be moderated) and if you are logged in you can add an image to your profile.
I have added a comment to the page which contains my WINTER TEACHING IDEAS, so feel free to take a look at that and add your own thoughts...


The snow is falling again outside the window as I press PUBLISH POST...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Please help me with the answers to these questions...

A little experiment to crowd-source some answers for the Edexcel GCE Geography specification.
This examination, taken by students in the UK when they are doing their 'A' levels - age 16-18, has an optional unit called "The World of Cultural Diversity".

The unit has a focus on cultural geography, and is based on 4 key areas.
1.Defining culture and identifying its value
2.How and why does culture vary spatially?
3.The impact of globalisation on cultural diversity
4.Cultural attitudes to the environment

There is a very useful guide by the Chief examiner that can be downloaded from HERE.

The title for this year's exam has just been released, and is below - there are 2 parts to the question, one of which involves research.


Explore how external threats and internal vulnerability vary in their impacts on cultures and landscapes.


Research contrasting locations and examples to show why the impacts of these pressures vary in their severity and type


So if any of you lovely blog visitors have thoughts on resources, websites or other approaches to answering this question, please feel free to add them as a comment below, and we'll see what happens....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Infinite City

Another tip off via Twitter...

The INFINITE CITY is an article about a new book by Rebecca Solnit, who we like a lot at the Geography Collective.

It's an 'atlas of San Francisco', but not the usual type...

They are designed to make the reader think anew about the city of San Francisco—its history, natural habitat, economic function, political values—and, by extension, about the way we all imagine the places we live in. "A city," Solnit writes in her introduction, "is a particular kind of place, perhaps best described as many worlds in one place; it compounds many versions without reconciling them." 


Ordinary maps show only the physical infrastructure that these "many worlds" share—streets, rivers, monuments. 


The maps in Infinite City, on the other hand, treat the physical city as a blank slate, on which many different experiences can be overwritten, like texts on a palimpsest.


Exciting urban geography...
Sounds like a fascinating book !!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New IB Geography course from the GA...

The International Baccalaureate is being considered by a growing number of teachers as an alternative to more traditional courses.

IB Geography - Reflecting on the 'new' syllabus
This CPD course will help Post-16 teachers, both new and experienced, reflect upon the demands of the IB geography diploma programme.

The 'new' 2009–2017 syllabus will have completed its first cycle in the summer of 2011 and this one-day course will provide an excellent opportunity for teachers to reflect upon the first cycle and make plans for the next.

London - Friday 24 June 2011

Further details and online booking are available on the GA website

The course tutor is Richard Allaway, creator of the rather wonderful GEOGRAPHY ALL THE WAY website.

Google Earth 6

A new version of Google Earth was released recently: GOOGLE EARTH 6...
It includes millions of 3D trees, and other improvements, including better integration with Google Street View



Go to the AMAZON for example, and you can wander the jungle and explore some of the tree species in the rainforest... I'm sure we can come up with some ideas for using this in the geography classroom :)


And don't forget my Innovative Geography Teaching funded project from back in 2005...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Russia 2018

Anyone want to buy some second-hand England 2018 geography resources ? Hardly used ?

An interesting resource is this movie below: the short movie used as part of the England bid.
Would be good to look at it for cultural / global references... - the power of the brand of some Premiership teams... What are the messages coming across ?




Or how about this one for showing the scale of football in terms of its economic importance to the country, and our culture ?



You can also see the bid  movies from the other countries on YouTube... Could be good for comparative work.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

David Lambert at the SSAT Conference #nc10

David Lambert gave a keynote lecture to the 2010 SSAT annual conference on Friday 26 November. 
He addressed round 1500 school leaders on the question: are subjects in crisis? 
Obviously he focussed on geography and made some positive remarks about the recent White Paper The Importance of Teaching and its intention to recentre the school curriculum on 'knowledge'.

You can see a video of David's lecture on the SSAT website (take a look at Dylan Wiliam's session while you're there....)

The slides that David used (you might want to listen to the presentation while watching the slides, or put them side by side on the screen...) are available via SLIDESHARE... and have been embedded below...
November 2010 SSAT Presentation

View more presentations from GeoBlogs.

If you're snowbound today & your school is closed take a look...
Think of it as a little impromptu CPD