Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Look at it this Way - face to face or online...

In early November (later this week in fact), I'm going to be heading down to Somerset for the Somerset Geography Conference. I'm doing a session on my KS3 Toolkit book on landscapes (with updates) and ideas about teaching about landscapes. This will include mentions of the White Cliffs of Dover, Ash dieback, Brave and other Pixar films, burger boxes, Google Earth and other things....

The conference has been developed with a lot of work from Noel Jenkins, who has put together a great line-up for the conference. Sadly, like the SAGT conference at the weekend (see separate blog post), Iain Stewart was unable to attend as he had been allowed permission to film in Turkmenistan, which apparently is rare, but had to be this week.

Don't forget that this award-winning Toolkit book has a blog to support it - as with many of my books, such as the Badger GCSE book which has its own blog HERE.

If you can't make that event, you now have the option to join me for a virtual Teachshare version of the same event, where I'll run through the event.

It's going to take place on the 6th of November: the day after the Somerset conference, and will be an online event starting at 6pm.

Come back at the weekend, and I'll post a link through to the event, or you can visit the VITAL PORTAL page to see details about how to subscribe to the Vital Geography portal (if you don't already) and access the content....

The cultural importance of landscape will be explored, along with the threats that it faces....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

'Geographical' magazine and Mission:Explore

The RGS-IBG's flagship journal 'Geographical' is now in its 84th volume....
The November issue has a touch of Mission Explore about it.
First of all, there's a rather good review of our Mission:Explore Food book, which suggests that 'every classroom should have a copy'.

There is also an excellent interview with Dan Raven Ellison.

Read an extra online bit that's not in the magazine here too for some interesting ideas about new geographies.

Available from all good newsagents...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Music and Landscape

Another trial with a Spotify Embed...
I love this piece of music...

Indian Study Visit - August 2013

Do you have plans for August 2013 ?

If not, you might consider a visit to INDIA, organised by Ben King and the folks at SANGAM.

Details are HERE.

(August 16th-28th 2013)
Teachers from all phases of education are invited to visit Southern India to:
 Increase their first-hand experience of a different country and culture, including visits to a variety of different schools
 Experience a wide range of environments, including the rapidly developing city of Bangalore and the surrounding rural landscape
 Enrich many curriculum subjects, particularly Geography, History, Art, RE, Music & Food Technology
 Strengthen the global dimension within their schools and gather resources to enrich teaching and learning.

What will this visit offer?
Our main objective is to enable a group of no more than 10 teachers to learn at first-hand about this  very different and rapidly developing country, with its range of cultural practices.  Unique professional development opportunities and a wide choice of activities will immerse participants in the local environment as they gather relevant learning and resources to enhance teaching and learning for years to come.
What would we do, exactly?
That depends on the group’s objectives.  The visits are carefully structured to suit the curriculum needs and particular interests of the group members; for example, some may choose to gather material for a case study of an Indian village, the rapidly changing city of Bangalore, or the environmental issue of water.  There will be opportunities to discover Indian music, art, dance, cookery and story.  We could visit temples to understand more about Hinduism and Indian village rituals.  We could visit a wide range of schools, local markets, farms, temples, and the ancient city of Mysore, plus study local wildlife; and most people choose to shop for artefacts and resources for their school.  Photographic opportunities abound in this region of India.
Where, in Southern India?
We will stay at “Sangam”, a small residential education centre on the edge of the village of Silvepura, 25 km north of Bangalore.
Find 13 06 55.00N, 77 30 09.75E in Google Earth/Maps.
Food and water is locally sourced and prepared on site.
Who will lead this visit?
The group leader will be Ben King, Head of Year 7, Head of Learning to Learn and Teacher of Geography at a school in Torbay, Devon.  He visited Sangam in February 2007 with 9 other teachers.  In India the visit will be hosted and led by Imogen and Kiran Sahi, both teachers, who live and work at Sangam.  Alongside founding and running Sangam, Imogen is an Education training consultant for the British Council, and Kiran is consultant design faculty at a local Institute of Art.
How much will it cost?
£600 will cover all costs in India (accommodation, food, study packs, travel, and admin.)  The airfare is currently around £550-£600.  You will also need a visa (£39), some vaccinations, and travel insurance.
What to do if you are interested.
 Please visit Look at “Next teacher study visits 2013” and read more.  See in particular the “further information” about this particular visit, and also read about previous visits.
 Download the document, “How to join the visit” which gives details of timings.
 Download an application form, and post to Ben King by Friday February 15th 2013 at the latest.
Applications will be reviewed as per received, and appropriate applications will be given places on a first-come basis.
 Attend the essential preparation session, where you will share objectives, and hear full information and advice about travel, health and cultural issues.

Group leader: Ben King, Head of Year 7, Churston Ferrers Grammar School, Brixham, Devon  TQ5 0LN. E-mail:

Friday, October 19, 2012

50 best blogs for Geography-Geeks

Seems Cultcha is on this list... which is nice...

If you've followed the link from here, you're welcome. There's hundreds of posts here, but there are thousands of posts (over 4000) on my main Living Geography blog too....

One of the other blogs on the list: Edible Geography had a recent post about a Kickstarter project to fund a Food Atlas.

I've funded this project.

 The atlas is due to have a section produced by the Geography Collective, of which I am a founder member. We're the creators of Mission:Explore Food. This was also crowdfunded. I've written lots about food over the years....

Finally, while we're at it, my former colleague Anne Greaves directed me to World Tattoo, which is an interesting geographical story..

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Atlas by Collins

The Atlas by Collins is now available for download at a promotional price of £6.99
The app needs an iPhone 4 or above, and an iPad 2 or above (sadly my first generation iPad was unable to run the app)

This is a 'proper' app, by which I mean a lot of time and effort has gone into making it look and feel right on the devices it is designed for, as well as potentially replace a paper-based product. Collins are famous for producing the 'Times Atlas of the World' which is perhaps the definitive atlas, and so any new product has to retain that pedigree.
It's also a proper app in term of its size. You'll need over 600 Mb of space as well as processing power.

The app is designed to be used offline for maximum flexibility, but also has an option to go online and fetch further Google imagery if the user zooms-in past the maximum scale that the app already has pre-loaded. This makes it a useful resource to have on a library iPad for example, or as a suite/folder of apps for the Geography classroom.
A compass icon is used to identify specific locations - tapping information when this is located over a particular place brings up a range of detail for about 200 000 locations, which goes beyond what would be possible in a paper based product.

The seven thematic globes, which include Physical, Political and Satellite, will be added to in the future. Each globe has a range of layers which can be laid over the globe to visualise a data set e.g. population density or the location of a particular biome. Users can swipe between globes and layers to cross-reference data, or choose to display places according to particular indicators. This would enable enquiry tasks to be set up, although at present only one layer can be added at a time.

One major advantage is that amendments to the atlas - the world isn't a static place of course - can be added to future updates of the app. This is obviously something that would not be possible in a paper atlas, which can quickly go out of date. Geography matters.... Boundaries change.... New countries are created.

Display mirroring, or use of the Reflection app (which I have blogged about previously) would enable the atlas to be displayed, and to be used via an IWB or data projector. I actually found that the atlas was perhaps easier to use on the iPhone than on the iPad, although this is obviously a matter of personal preference. The globes certainly look impressive, floating in space and look as if they are sitting there waiting to be manipulated and used. They invite further exploration.
The navigation is intuitive and crisp, and a brief tutorial with labelled screenshots is available for first time users.

Check out this rather nice video which introduces the app...

The app is set to grow with further globes and functionality over time, so this is a resource with longevity built in. Further layers, perhaps with added granularity would be worthwhile, as would the ability to view more than one layer at a time and swipe between them.

There is also a range of supporting material on the website.

A range of How To videos shows the operation of the major features of the app. Some materials for education with ideas to support its introduction into the classroom would be useful perhaps. The app is designed for a range of users, but offers the potential to provide young learners with an atlas that they will enjoy exploring.

Disclaimer: as mentioned in a previous post, I have had a free evaluation copy of this app for the last month...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shall we be friends ?

A nice bit of Facebook 'friends' mapping...
Which countries are the most 'friendly' with others ?
Choose a country to see where the connections are made...
Can you guess who Brazil, Australia or the USA's 'friends' are before you click on them, for example ??

Thanks to Karl Donert for the tipoff...

Fieldwork teachshare

Thanks to the colleagues who joined me for last night's VITAL CPD Teachshare on fieldwork in Geography
The spine presentation I used is here...

There were some interesting discussions, and a few things to follow up on after the event, particularly an idea about teachers undertaking personal fieldwork in order to be able to communicate more effectively about places they are teaching about....

You can also watch and listen to the replay here. For some reason my presentation didn't display during the Teachshare itself...

A few things that I mentioned during the session:

Enhancing Fieldwork Learning project

Previous Teachshare with Paul Cornish and his Madagascar fieldtrip (link to PREZI)

We also mentioned the Coach's Eye and Comic Life apps for fieldwork.

Worth reminding you of Paul Turner's nice poster image too for more fieldwork apps....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

World Food Day

Food narratives....
Don't forget that it's WORLD FOOD DAY on the 16th of October 2012 (today, if you're reading this on the day it was posted...)

You can get free CC licensed versions of chapters from Mission:Explore Food here...

Hugh has done a lot to promote sustainable fishing with his FISH FIGHT website - don't forget the resource I produced with Digital Explorer on this topic. You need to download this booklet if you haven't already...

Other food resources I've written are on the GA website under Online CPD.

There are also plenty of food related resources and stories out there...
The Guardian talks about the growing number of children who arrive in school hungry, and there is also growing use of FOOD BANKS.
The Trussell Trust (who feature in the GA have reported that over 100 000 people have used them in the last six months).
The Guardian Datablog has data on the use of Food Banks
Check out CSI Food too on food fakery...

Finally, make sure that you have your copy of MISSION:EXPLORE FOOD - you can get it from Guardian Books, Eye Books or Amazon...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Robot Flaneur

A flaneur is a wanderer: the term is linked to the idea of psychogeography....
The ROBOT FLANEUR wanders randomly through a city of your choice and displays Street View images...
Made by James Bridle
Explore the following cities:
San Francisco
Sao Paulo
Tokyo City

Via Urban Photo Blog on Twitter

I can think of lots of ways of using this to explore urban geography and comparisons between cities in different parts of the world...
A sort of slighty redacted and randomised version of MAPCRUNCH, my session starter of choice...

Friday, October 12, 2012

In the TES

I've written a few things for the Times Educational Supplement.
One of them was published today, on the theme of Geographies of Food. It came with a nice punning title too, which is always a bonus.
The article can be read HERE if you don't have the paper...
There are links to GA Online CPD, Mission Explore Food chapters and Oxfam's GROW campaign.

There's also a link here, with thanks to Madeleine from the RGS-IBG to the Presidential Address by Michael Palin that I referred to in the piece.
Click the link for a PDF download of the speech.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Follow the Things - what did you do with your bag ?

At the GA Conference in April 2012 at the University of Manchester, all delegates were given the chance to pick up a Follow the Things bag.
Follow the Things is a project involving Ian Cook and colleagues at the University of Exeter.

The site explores the connections between consumers in the UK and elsewhere and the unseen others who manufacture their products. It looks at supply chains, transportation and globalisation.

As part of some proposed work that is going to take place in 2013, we'd like to know what you did with your bag.

In the most recent GA NEWSLETTER (be sure to subscribe to make sure that you received yours) there is a request for further information.

What did you do with your bag ? 
How are you using it ? 
Have you followed the weblink on the bag to visit the site ?
Please let me know by commenting here, tweeting me @GeoBlogs, or e-mailing me....

We'll let you know the results in a few months...

Mission:Explore Food Interdependence

You can now download a special PDF 'version' of the Mission:Explore Food book that we've produced for the National Geographic Education team's materials for Geography Awareness Week.

It focuses on the theme of Interdependence.

Link (PDF download - 5Mb)

It's really rather tasty....

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TWIG free for Scottish Schools

At the end of last year, and start of this year, I worked on a major writing project to create resources / teacher notes and activities to accompany TWIG Geography films. These films won a BETT Award at the start of the year

TWIG is now free on GLOW: the Scottish intranet.

Twig is an award winning multi-media comprehensive learning resource mapped to Curriculum for Excellence.
If you know a Scottish teacher let them know, and if you are a Scottish teacher... you now know....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Going bananas

While at Dusseldorf airport a few days ago,  I ate a banana.
I noticed that it had a sticker on it.
I visited the website that was mentioned and discovered a rather fine resource for geography teachers which could also make a good cross-curricular MFL project in schools where German is used as a language. Just remember to turn off the browser translation settings...

Dole Earth takes you to the farms where the bananas are grown.
My banana was grown on farm number 10265 so in the absence of a banana, use that code.

Visit the website and you'll find a rather nice farm tour with ambient sounds and plenty of useful information.

Image: Alan Parkinson