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Showing posts from May, 2012

Google World Wonders launches...

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Google World Wondersis a site which I contributed some Educational materials for a while ago, and have been waiting for it to launch - that wait ended today. Thanks to Keir Clarke for the tip-off once again. The site features a range of CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY locations....


The website offers the chance to explore a number of World Heritage sites. Here's the description from Google.

This new project from Google that allows you to take a virtual trip around 132 of the World's most famous historical and cultural sites. The sites includes historically important locations, such as Stonehenge and Pompeii and also natural wonders, such as the sandy dunes of Australia’s Shark Bay and the rock domes of Yosemite National Park.
Google World Wonders uses Google Maps, Google Street View and Google Earth 3d models to explore these 132 historical locations. Each location also includes YouTube videos and photographs from Getty Images.

Information about each location is also provided by the UNESCO Wor…

VITAL Teachshare tomorrow night

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Join Richard Allaway and myself tomorrow night (Tuesday the 29th of May) at 7pm for a VITAL Teachshare.
We shall talk about the development of Richard's Geography all the Way website, show some of the activities and how they developed, and share some plans for the future development of the site.

A chance to talk to the creator of one of the best geography websites out there... oh, and Richard too... ;)

You also have a few days left to order your very own GATW T-shirt or hoodie....

A Picture of London

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One of the projects that I have pencilled in for the summer is some major writing for IB Geography, including a unit on Urban Environments. As a result I've been collecting a whole range of resources to provide inspiration for some creative tasks...

Last night I had an hour out in the middle of Eurovision to catch this wonderful programme on BBC2.
It was A Picture of London told through the eyes of taxi drivers, crane operators, Big Issue sellers, street cleaners etc. Some wonderful stories and archive films, and the odd John Martin painting...
Also great visualisations of how London might have looked if some of the architects' plans had actually been built...

You should try to catch the programme on iPlayer before it disappears.



From its early years until the present day, London has provided powerful, emotional inspiration to artists. This documentary evokes the city as seen by painters, photographers, film-makers and writers through the ages; the perspectives of Dickens, Hogar…

Baku: to the future...

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This weekend sees an annual cultural event: the Eurovision Song Contest.
It is being held in Baku: the capital of Azerbaijan

Richard Allaway and I saw this poster in the back streets of Geneva a couple of weeks ago while heading for some fondue... The main image shows the famous 'flame towers'. There's some great architecture in the city, although there are some people who are concerned about certain issues regarding democracy in the country.



Here's the running order - looks like we kick things off !

UNITED KINGDOMHUNGARYALBANIALITHUANIABOSNIA and HERZEGOVINARUSSIAICELANDCYPRUSFRANCEITALYESTONIANORWAYAZERBAIJANROMANIADENMARKGREECESWEDENTURKEYSPAINGERMANYMALTAFYR MACEDONIAIRELANDSERBIAUKRAINEMOLDOVAPerhaps time to dust off and update Tony Cassidy's classic Eurovision resources...
Here's the HUMP in action....

 or perhaps you prefer someone older...

Mission:Explore at the Hay Festival

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Members of the Geography Collective will be present at the Hay Festival next weekend. This is one of the highlights of the annual cultural circuit. We're doing various missions and activities, and also spreading the word about Mission:Explore FOOD.

We have also created the map for the Hay Fever area - illustrated by Tom Morgan Jones. Click for biggery....
This means being on the same bill as Andy Stanton author of my son's favourite Mr. Gum books....

And, here we are in today's copy of 'The Sun' newspaper...


...leading lights of guerrilla geography... boom....


If you're going to Hay Festival next weekend, come and find the guerrilla geographers and say hi !

Launch of Teachit Geography

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One of the final jobs that I completed for the GA was to liaise with Katie and Chris at Teachit to prepare the materials for the launch of Teachit Geography.
It's great to see that the site is now LIVE and is ready for you to REGISTER or SUBSCRIBE to....

You can register to look at the FREE content.

There are currently over 450 pages of resources on the site, and that number grows daily...
I have worked with a list of wonderful people who have contributed resources so far, but you can join them by submitting your own resources.
Resources can be discovered using a simple search process with key words to help you find what you want quickly.

A year's personal subscription is just £15 (see later for a special GA offer...)

There are also some 'Whizzy things': interactives which can be used in the classroom, or in planning interesting resources with students. I particularly like the Decision Maker, which would help to visualise DME tasks.
An image bank, newsletter, a chance …

Say Cheese...

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...and you think of parmesan...
Now it seems that there may be a problem for some of the producers of this foodstuff, which is an important element of the role of food in defining the cultural identity of Italy.
The cheese has to be produced in a particular part of Italy to receive its PGI labelling.

It was specifically this area where the earthquake happened at the weekend.
Several large warehouses were damaged by the earthquake, with thousands of wheels of parmesan being affected.

Sky News report has details on the impacts...


The Scotsman had the best headline on this story.

I am wary of being too light hearted in tone, as sadly people lost their lives in the earthquake.

This should underpin the teaching of any natural hazard.

The Lake

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Just remembered today that Lac Leman in Geneva, pictured below was the Lake referred to in the title of one of my favourite pieces of music: Mike Oldfield's 1984 classic...
Image: Alan Parkinson I remember this being an important piece of music when I was in my final year of undergraduate studies, when you had to chase down music...
Picture taken a week last Thursday on the shores of the lake in glorious sunshine...
Listen to it now, turn the speakers up loud...

Send my Friend to School 2012

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Thanks to Karen from Action Aid for getting in touch to tell me about the latest incarnation of Send my Friend to School.


The Global Campaign for Education are offering free resources as part of the Send My Friend to School campaign, which are suitable for pupils at KS2 & KS3. Every school that signs up will receive a free resource pack including a DVD, set of posters and stickers by post and more lesson plans, films, background information and resources on the website at   http://www.sendmyfriend.org/teach


There are already over 5600 schools signed up


To view the campaign DVD go to: http://www.sendmyfriend.org/teach/films

Each year the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) invites parents, teachers, children and young people from around the world to call on governments to work to keep their promise to provide education for all by 2015. Most years about 6,000 UK schools take part in the campaign. Time is running out to get universal primary education by 2015, so we hope more schools wil…

The Geography of Moshi

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One of my daughters interests is Moshi Monsters.
She has a fairly extensive range of merchandise, although there is far more than would fit into her bedroom if she had it all....
I read recently about the founder of the Moshi empire who, it turns out, is a geography graduate.

I wondered whether there was a chance to explore the geographical potential of this very popular creation. It could even be an opportunity to explore the geography of Moshi world, the particular ways that Moshi creatures deal with extremes of climate, the cities that they live in, the demographics of Moshi World etc...

Given the popularity of MOSHI MONSTERS (found at the weekend that they actually put the boxes in a special security box at a local shop as people were opening up the boxes in order to get the particular ones they wanted)

Saw a Moshi Monsters egg the other month in Covent Garden too - pictured....

There was also the fairly recent mention of MOSHI MONSTERS at a technology event in Edinburgh as report…

A month away...

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Dan Raven Ellison: Emerging Explorer

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I can finally share some news I heard about a few months ago, but which has now been made public...
Daniel Raven Ellison, friend and colleague at the Geography Collective has been named as one of National Geographic's 2012 Emerging Explorers.

The press release is here.
Dan is given the honour alongside other 'visionary young trailblazers' around the world.

The 2012 Emerging Explorers are U.S. cyborg anthropologist Amber Case; U.K. digital storyteller and zoologist Lucy Cooke; U.K. behavioral ecologist Iain Couzin; Mexican underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda; chemist Yu-Guo Guo of China; conservationist Osvel Hinojosa Huerta of Mexico; U.S. pilot and educator Barrington Irving; conservation biologist Krithi Karanth of India; Swiss crisis mapper Patrick Meier; U.S. archaeologist Sarah Parcak; U.S. data scientist Jake Porway; U.K. guerrilla geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison; U.S. archaeologist Jeffrey Rose; engineer and renewable energy advocate Ibrahim Togola of Mali; and…

Open University VITAL CPD Portal

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Just added the 101st TOP TIP to the VITAL Geography Portal that I manage.

Individual subscriptions are just £10 for the year...

Details about the Portal are here.

Details of the latestSUBSCRIPTION OFFERS for schools are here...

I also added the letters 'H' and 'I' to the Word of the Week column.

If you were choosing geographical terms to represent the letters 'J', 'K' and 'L' what would you choose - each word needs an image that you have taken to represent it too....


Quite a few ideas in the book started out life on the OU VITAL CPD portal... It's a good place to communicate ideas....


Watch out for an online Teachshare which will feature the book coming soon...

Londinium MMXII

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In the spirit of the forthcoming global sporting event that we are all anticipating, I have spent some time over the last few weeks putting together what might be said to be a more 'critical' look at some of the impacts of the event on a range of geographical themes. I visited the Olympics Park last month, and did a full circuit of the area around it in the company of a school group...

I then followed up a few thoughts on what might be the issues with holding this event in London. A lot of focus has been on the legacy of the games, and for me there are some issues with the way that the Olympics park will benefit the area that surrounds it, and the benefits for the Olympics to the country as a whole...

In the spirit of encouraging slightly more 'critical' geographers, here are some potential discussion points to follow up further....

If anyone has other suggestions, please comment or get in touch...



And just to show that it's not all anti-Olympics, here's my son…

Just ordered...

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Classic album...


I'm losing all control
I'm down to the center of the earth

Covered up with lava and I feel fine
It washes over me
Keeps me feeling warm at night



Hoover Dam

Robert MacFarlane

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There's an event in London in June where you can hear Robert MacFarlane talk about his new book 'The Old Ways'. I am due to be in London I think on that day and will try to go along if the timings work.....

How do the landscapes we love shape the people we are? Why do we walk? Join celebrated travel writer Robert Macfarlane for an evening exploring geography, memory, pilgrimage and adventure. For several years and more than a thousand miles, Macfarlane has been following the vast network of old paths and routes that criss-cross Britain and its waters, and connect them to countries and continents beyond. His journeys have taken him from the chalk downs of southern England to the remote bird-islands of the Scottish north-west, from the disputed territories of Palestine to the pilgrimage routes of Spain and the sacred landscapes of the eastern Himalayas. Along the way – along the ways – he has walked stride for stride with a 5,000-year-old man near Liverpool, followed the …