Friday, May 31, 2013

New Australian Geography curriculum... complete with support site...

The new Australian Curriculum document for Geography was launched in the last few weeks.

The support site for the introduction of the new curriculum has now gone live too.

It's called GEOG SPACE.

There's quite an influence from some familiar UK names here, such as this diagram on the 'Child as Geographer' from the work of Simon Catling.

© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute
and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain
all copyright notices and acknowledgements.

There are also influences in the SUPPORT UNITS from a range of UK geographers including Fran Martin, Paula Owens, Stephen Scoffham and Liz Taylor.

The SUPPORT UNIT section, in fact, would make excellent reading for geographers around the globe. It's a really useful synthesis of key thinking around concepts, fieldwork, geographical enquiry, ICT and related areas of geographical thinking.
There are extracts from the GA Secondary Handbook, and useful links to other websites.

Delve into the CORE UNITS, and you will find a range of materials for teachers to use straight away and get the curriculum underway...
Here's an activity sheet for a unit on MUSIC FESTIVALS for example (PDF download) which provides a good starter, although I think the Woolvens did a better job here :)

I also liked the unit on E-Waste, and ideas for units about place, coastal management and

For example, here's the New South Wales About Fieldwork website, which was a new one for me.

Well worth spending some time looking through these sites, particularly for new teachers of geography.

And visit the site of AGTA, who were involved in creating these new resources. Plenty of additional ideas and resources on this site too.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

40 years ago today....

40 years ago today, an LP was released which 'broke the rules'...
Tubular Bells was the work of teenage Mike Oldfield. He was backed by Richard Branson, who decided to create a record company called 'Virgin Records' so that he could release the album. Mike played all the instruments, and multi-tracked them. He created a continuous piece of music, rather than a lot of singles.

I first heard Tubular Bells when I was aged 10 or 11. My uncle Steven had a copy, and played it all the time when I went round to my nana's house. I loved it so much that I bought my own copy.

I have probably played this album well over a thousand times in my life. I have seen it performed live several times, and was also present at the world premiere of the 3rd version of the album - getting very wet on Horse Guards Parade.
Oldfield has also recorded other albums which together have formed the soundtrack to my life for the past 40 years.

Ommadawn is my 'train journey' album - 'Hergest Ridge' is my 'relaxation' album, and 'Crises' reminds me of my visit to Norway, and listening to 'The Lake' by the most wonderful glacial lake on a balmy evening...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


After GeoGuessr, here comes LOCATESTREET 

This is a variation on GeoGuessr, with various points being offered for guidance, although the Elevation option doesn't offer that much help...

You can choose to play on a Global basis, or other scales.

You are presented with 4 options of location to choose from, and if you pick the correct option you can earn bonus points for clicking on the actual location on a map...
The site takes you to some fairly out of the way places... I seemed to end up on rural roads, and in cul-de-sacs on industrial estates quite often.

Hardcore players should choose the GLOBAL option... and discover that South America looks a lot like Australia in places...
Choose the COUNTRY option, and explore a range of countries from a list, which includes the UK. This offers potential for a CITY based search for example.
There are also some US based Thematic search options.

The game is addictive. Had to stop myself playing on it last night....
If you get one of the highest scores so far you can enter your e-mail to be added to the High Score table. May be an incentive for some to use additional 'support' to search for business names etc., but that wouldn't be in the spirit of the game...

Also, while playing, I've come across a few random sights.
This looks like some sort of hawk diving into a field to catch something ?

And what is this bloke doing standing in the road ?

The game was developed by Nick Burkhart of Chelonia Labs in California.

As with GeoGuessr, there are various clues that you can look for to help with locating yourself in fairly random housing estates.

Telephone dialling codes tend not to be blurred out. 020 will tell you that you're in London.
If on a main road, head for junctions where there'll be road signs.
Look at the vernacular building materials - some places have distinctive stone or house designs.
Become familiar with the basic geography of London, which features heavily in the UK option.

Be aware though, that they can be misleading. I spotted a Yorkshire registration on a motorbike, which ended up being up in the far north of Scotland, flipping tourists...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Follow in the footsteps of Robert MacFarlane

If you have some free time this summer, you could follow in the footsteps of Robert MacFarlane, who has featured in this blog many times...
Visit the Wayfarer website for more details and to enter the competition....

We’re looking for someone who doesn’t mind getting their boots dirty, can string a sentence or two together and can get creative about how they share their journey with the world. You should already know your way around social networks and be able to produce short videos on your own. The winner will become our Wayfarer and will get paid to travel around the UK throughout July and August (so please only enter if you’ll be available all summer). You’ll visit some of the Old Ways paths, but, even better, you’ll strike out on your own and make some new discoveries, on or off the beaten path. You will then report back on your adventures through blog posts, photos, videos and tweets.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Follow the Things

For the last week or so, and for the next few weeks as well on and off, I'm going to be spending some time working to develop materials for the rather splendid Follow the Things website. 

The website is created in the form of a 'shopping experience', but follows the stories behind the products which sit on the 'shelves'. It explores themes related to trade justice, which are of course very raw and topical at the moment, with the rising death toll from the incident at Rana Plaza in Savar, near Dhaka.

We're working on a range of materials which will help you to engage with the website, as well as creating your own materials and stories. At the same time, there are some changes coming to the website, which will include a brand new area for teachers and students.

We'll also be creating:
- Reading lists of books that are linked to this theme, such as Kelsey Timmerman's 'Where am I wearing' and 'Where am I eating' and explorations such as Conor Woodman's 'Unfair Trade'
- Opportunities for you to get involved
- Some further missions on the special Follow the Things challenger area of the Mission:Explore website.
- Thinking on the people who manufacture items that you wear, or use - this will particularly link to the events in Bangladesh and beyond.

Go to the PRODUCTS OF SLAVERY website to find out more about this process.
You can also download a rather nice PDF of a poster (which can also be ordered as a hard copy) - donations are also welcome if you download the PDF

We'll be having one (or more) Google Hangouts later in May to give you the chance to see the updated site in action

We're covering social media too - we'll be adding links to:
- Twitter lists of relevant accounts relating to trade justice - you can also follow FOLLOW the THINGS on Twitter to get the latest relevant news retweeted out from a range of organisations
- Websites and ready made resources to extend your knowledge in this area
- Pinterest boards with relevant images from campaigns
- Case Studies of trade justice issues, and particular products which might resonate with students as young consumers:

These will focus on some of the more popular areas of the website, such as our LEGO re-enactments.
With LEGO now being the world's biggest toy brand apparently, this is perhaps a good time to focus on these, as well as the Lego School being built in Billund, Denmark.

And we'll also be developing ready-made materials for CPD sessions, so that you could spend a departmental meeting exploring the ideas on the site.

There's no shortage of interesting material and inspiration related to this issue..
For example, here's an interactive map which shows the places that supply Apple. Thanks to Karl Donert for the link here.

At a time when the world is increasingly globalised and interdependent, the work that is covered on Follow the Things is becoming more important than ever...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Deserves to be widely seen....

Professor David Lambert - my old boss....

600 up...

There are now 600 posts on CULTCHA.
Thanks for reading / visiting / sharing....

Love the toad (warts and all)

A modern classic...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dan Raven Ellison on

A good interview with Dan Raven Ellison from Mission:Explore on Voice an American talk radio show. Part of an April Explorers series.

Go to the Voice America website to hear the show.

You can also download the mp3 to listen to on the go.... which would be appropriate.
Here's the trail information:

National Geographic Explorer Daniel Raven-Ellison is a geography teacher, but not in the traditional sense. 

Forget memorizing borders and rivers from maps- Daniel’s approach, sometimes called “guerrilla geography,” is all about getting out into the world, exploring anything and everything, and getting kids excited about non-textbook geography. He devises creative explorations, such as walking across the largest cities on Earth, taking photographs every eight steps to reframe how we think of them. Deeply committed to inspiring young people get off the computer and explore their surroundings, Daniel co-founded Mission:Explore to encourage children to embark on quirky and irreverent missions in their own neighborhoods. 

Daniel’s approach to geography asks, “How can we expect kids to grow up and change the world without exploring and understanding it firsthand?” 

Join Daniel and Host Kate Ebner for a fascinating conversation that will change your ideas about the meaning of exploration.