Monday, March 26, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Discover:Explore launching today...

As part of the Cultural Olympiad, the Geography Collective worked on a project called Discover:Explore. That project goes live today...

Are you ready to discover THE GREAT GLEN, with all its hidden places and extraordinary stories?
Discover Explore is an exciting new game that enables you to discover ‘fun’-tastic locations throughout the Great Glen, complete daredevil missions, reveal hidden stories and win super duper badges!
Would-be explorers begin online by searching for locations and missions set along the Great Glen in Scotland.  Location chosen, they download an explorer pack with all the missions and head off on an adventure to unlock the stories of that location and find the answer to the online questions.  On returning from the location, explorers must log back in to Discover Explore and upload their answers to the missions in order to win their badges!
More to come later, once the site is up and running.....

Image by Tom Morgan Jones

Friday, March 16, 2012


I like the look of this book, which is coming out in May. It relates to my current interest in the urban environment.

City is the ultimate handbook for the archetypal city and contains main sections on 'History', 'Customs and Language', 'Districts', 'Transport', 'Money', 'Work', 'Tourist Sites', 'Shops and markets', 'Nightlife', etc., and mini-essays on anything and everything from Babel, Tenochtitlan and Ellis Island to Beijing, Mumbai and New York, and from boulevards, suburbs, shanty towns and favelas, to skylines, urban legends and the sacred. Drawing on a wide range of examples from cities across the world and throughout history, it explores the reasons why people first built cities and why urban populations are growing larger every year. City is illustrated throughout with a range of photographs, maps and other illustrations.

A sampler here

Happy to review a copy if anyone from Bloomsbury is reading :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Badger GCSE Booster book - available for pre-order...

At the start of the year, I spent rather longer than anticipated putting together a book for Badger Publishing. It brought together some of the ideas I'd been working on for a while, along with a few more that were kindly  lent to me by colleagues (who are all acknowledged in the book, and will also be listed here once I have my hands on a physical copy of the book....)

The book will be useful to those who are preparing students for external assessments, but I would say that a lot of the ideas are transferrable - they are basically good geography....

The book is now available to pre-order (it will be out in April)

GCSE Grade Boosters: Geography Contents

  • Introduction – what does a C grade geographer look like, and how can students raise their grade to a C and beyond.
  • Memorable geography – a range of geography activities which can be re-versioned for other topics or particular pupils; includes thinking graphs, lucky lines, maps from memory, and ideas funnel to name just a few.
  • Students as experts – establishing students as experts and joint creators of resources.
  • Enquiries – how to introduce, explore and communicate the Big Geographical Questions.
  • Controlled assessment – how to approach controlled assessment, complete with examples to illustrate the support that can be provided.
  • Revision techniques – graphic organisers, memory techniques and the power of blogging.
  • Help from the examiners – exam specs and question types – where and how marks are gained and lost.
  • Memorable vocabulary – key vocabulary for exam success plus techniques for learning it.
  • Exciting new tools – word clouds, triptico, google docs and google earth.
  • Geography after the exam – why a good grade in geography can take you places.

Author: Alan Parkinson an experienced and award-winning teacher with an international reputation for creative and innovative teaching. He has worked with thousands of teachers at hundreds of CPD events in the UK and Europe. This title draws extensively from the experience of successful schools around the country.
  • A wide range of activities to make the topics covered memorable. Activities can be used for class, group, pair and homework tasks. They can be versioned by you for other topics or particular pupils
  • Support for exam preparation including a distillation of examiners reports to pinpoint common errors and show
  • how easily marks are lost and gained, as well as revision and memory techniques that have been shown to work
  • Help with controlled assessment and how to approach it to get the best results
  • The key vocabulary for exam success plus techniques for learning it
  • 80 page photocopiable book with re-versionable activities on accompanying CD-ROM. 
A perfect gift for Easter.... :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Today would have been Douglas Adams' 60th birthday....
When I was a lad at school, I gained a great deal of pleasure from 'The Hitch-Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy': having to wait a week between half hour episodes which I taped onto TDK cassette so that I could listen to them many times...
Later, as a teacher, I used to wear a bright orange 'Don't Panic' badge on days when I was invigilating exams, and also referred to Slartibartfast when teaching about glacial coastlines in Norway...
The HHGTTG must have been a little bit like an iPad - small, and handheld with information on its screen....

Just bought the five volumes of the Hitch Hiker's trilogy for Kindle, a special deal that's on Amazon today...
Don't forget the Geographical value in the 'Meaning of Liff' as well...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bradford and Britishness

When I was teaching the OCR Pilot GCSE course, there was a big focus on the idea of Britishness and citizenship, along with the multicultural nature of Britain. I made good use of Tony Cassidy's excellent resources (as well as some of my own) and enjoyed teaching it.
I was reminded of that earlier when directed by Anne Greaves to a short CITIZENSHIP TEST which has been added to the  Channel 4 website to coincide with a programme called MAKE BRADFORD BRITISH.

Head over to the website and TAKE THE TEST and see how you do.
I failed fairly badly...