Tuesday, December 16, 2014

See you in 2015

...for more culture and more geography...
Here's a classic Ronald Lampitt for you...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

John Hinde postcards...

An interesting set of postcards from the great era of the card.
My brother used to collect them and had hundreds of them. These days people tend to post pictures on social media instead, but we still try to send some to relatives when we go away.
John Hinde was one of the big names in postcards for some time.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Coming in a month's time....


"Woman reads map...."

You've been watching the Detectorists I hope...

Last night once again had Becky showing the power of a geography graduate....

 
Catch the series on iPlayer while you can...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Public Service Broadcasting

Ready for this... a local concert at last...


Monday, October 13, 2014

The power of place




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Remind me...

Not posted this for a while... an old classic


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Geography Review magazine

Geography Review magazine is one of the most useful resources that 6th form geographers (and GCSE students who want to push themselves) can have access to. It was started by my undergraduate tutor Tim Burt, his wife and colleagues back in 1986, just after I finished my degree, and just before I started teaching in 1988. I was a subscriber from the start, and have used articles and ideas in my teaching ever since.

I have paper copies of the first 15 volumes or so, and since then the school copies have taken over, and more recently, some electronic support materials to increase the usefulness of each issue.
For example, check the extras for the September 2014 issue here. Also the other recent issues.

The magazine has now moved to Manchester, from Durham University, and has a new editorial board.
There are the usual experienced authors writing for the magazine, and there's always something of interest in every issue. The first issue from the new team is now out. Details on subscribing here.

We have a subscription at school for our students.

You can follow the magazine's Twitter feed here: @GeogReview

Read the April 2014 issue here to get a flavour for the quality of articles that are included in a typical issue.

Best wishes for the next chapter in the journal's long history...

Mapping London

There is a new area of the updated RGS-IBG website which you may not have seen.
It is a project called Rediscovering London's Geography.
It is described as follows:

Rediscovering London’s Geography is a project funded by the GLA through the London Schools Excellence Fund.  It seeks to improve the quality of teaching and learning of geography in London’s schools, in addition to encouraging more pupils to study geography.
Its scope encompasses connection across primary and secondary schools involving academy, free, maintained and independent schools.
The project will:
  • Create subject knowledge online resource units, including online activities and pupil assessments; focusing upon new curriculum subjects and examinations
  • Improve subject knowledge via free CPD and training events in teacher networks across London and provide continuity to support the upcoming curriculum changes
  • Engage pupils via Geography Ambassador presentations (by London undergraduates) and Going Places with Geography career events – all focused upon the relevance and value of geography to further study and careers
Our aims are to:
  • Raise subject understanding by addressing knowledge gaps and connecting teachers with new geographical subject knowledge, thus building capacity to teach engaging and high quality lessons
  • Assist the new academic demand associated with the introduction of new curriculum and examinations
  • Increase teacher confidence of using specific geographical knowledge and the undertaking of London based fieldwork via a 12 month programme of professional support (to be reviewed, developed and embedded as knowledge into new schemes of work)
  • Promote Chartered Geographer (Teacher) to provide formal subject specific professional accreditation in recognition of the new knowledge, professional expertise and commitment to CPD
  • Promote London’s unique and changing geography via the study of the capital’s wider context of economic, social and environmental development
  • Make available to pupils resources to support highest level understanding of core geographical knowledge for better achievement with new curriculum and examinations 
  • Increase interest in geography amongst students whilst highlighting its relevance to further study and careers
One outcome has been the creation of teaching resources, with more to come.

The first two are now up on the website, and both would be useful to those teaching the new KS3 for the first time.

The first is a resource exploring Ice Ages and Geological Timescales, which has been written by Dr. David Anderson: Head of Geography at Eton College.

The second one is called Mapping London, and took me the first two weeks of my summer holidays to write and put together. There are 6 sessions which can be followed with KS3 students.



Thanks to the various colleagues who are mentioned along the way in the unit for their ideas which were adapted and used in various elements of the unit.
The ideas could be adapted for other cities too...

Let me know what you think...

Monday, August 25, 2014

50 states of Lego

Lego has grown in popularity massively over the last few years, and there have been lots of creative projects that have made use of it.
These include the Follow the Things lego recreations, which featured in the Ideas Zone at the recent GA Conference.

The BRICK FANTASTIC website has a new project which is a representation of the 50 states of the USA, and also a set of images of CANADA too.
And finally, I'll be going to the Bricks 2014 show at the ExCeL in November this year.

Any other Lego related projects I should be featuring here ?

Continents Drift

New on Spotify...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Exploring the culture of the Scottish Highlands

In 1844, Hugh Miller: a geologist and preacher (amongst many other skills and abilities) embarked on a voyage through some of the islands of the Hebrides. 

He was a self-taught geologist, writer and editor of a key Edinburgh newspaper in the lead up to the tectonic changes in the Scottish church that culminated in the Disruption of 1843. Miller was one of Scotland’s outstanding geologists, one of the first of many Scottish ‘citizen scientists’ and stands beside the greats of Hutton, Lyell and Murchison.
The Cruise of the Betsey took place the year after the Disruption, when 450 ministers broke away from the Established Church. Miller joined his boyhood friend the Rev Swanson, a keen supporter of the Disruption, who had been removed from his Small Isles parish and his manse on Eigg. Swanson used the Betsey as his ‘floating manse’ so that he was still able to serve his parishioners. The cruise was to visit Tobermory, Eigg, Rum, Glenelg and Isle Ornsay on Skye. Miller’s accounts record much about the social circumstances they came across as well as detailed descriptions of the geology, palaeontology and landscapes encountered. During the Cruise of the Betsey, Miller made many ground-breaking scientific discoveries. He wrote about his journey on the Betsey, and other travels through Scotland.
I've been working with colleagues from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society on a website and other elements to accompany a range of teaching materials which will be developed and piloted through the next few months, and the website to support the journey has just gone live.


Here's the background to the project:

Follow our journey, and celebrate the life and achievements of a great Scot, a great scientist and a remarkable observer of the social history of the time. Hugh Miller, of Cromarty, recorded his voyage of discovery on the Betsey, around the Inner Hebrides, in the summer of 1844. Our journey will recreate this 170 years later with a crew of geologists, writers, musicians, geographers and other talented people. Join us on our journey!
6th – 12th September 2014

I was invited along on the voyage, but will be teaching at the time. I'm going to be involved in other ways. One of them is to produce mapping, such as the Story Map below:

  and the map of the voyage:
View larger map

Plenty more to come once the 'Leader' casts off...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Another for Mike Oldfield fans

This time, it's the man himself. He has been remixing his albums and releasing them with extra tracks and other bits, and as part of the process, he released this short mix of part of one of his classic songs: 'The Lake', from 1984's Discovery album.
One of the memories I have from that time is listening to this track while sitting by an amazing lake in the fjords of Norway as a student.
This mix reveals extra layers of beauty which aren't obvious in the final piece, which is a little full of Fairlight...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our Geography defines us...

An interesting read in the LA Times, about how our geography may shape the opinions we have on certain things...

"accidents of geography — in this case whether someone was born in a hilly or a flat region — can alter how a person thinks in all sorts of unexpected realms."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One for Mike Oldfield fans...

Enjoying this new Robert Reed album...


Friday, July 11, 2014

Global village Scheme of Work

I've been working on an online course that is going to be hosted on the Geographical Association's website. It will be arriving on the website for the Autumn term, as Curriculum 2014 gets underway, and is going to be suitable for KS3 Geography.
It is linked to the GA's involvement as a major partner in the Global Learning Programme.

A number of courses and conferences have taken place this year as part of the Global Learning Programme's first year, although not as many as expected. I attended an event for Primary colleagues at the Oval earlier this month.
My course explores some ideas for using web tools to develop global stories.

One element of the course is a draft outline scheme of work.

This draft outline for a Global Learning scheme of work, which will be fleshed out over the next few months, has been put onto Google Drive, so that it is collaborative in nature. If you'd like to get involved in the development of the scheme, please get in touch. I'd be keen to hear feedback on what I'm suggesting. You may have ideas for how to develop specific sessions.

Here are some details:

The scheme of work starts with Carl Sagan’s famous description of Earth as a ‘pale blue dot’. Students are asked to explore the idea of the ‘global village’ that is the Earth. Who lives in the village? What inequalities are there within the population of this village?
Having populated the village, there is then a need to explore the identity of its residents, using the notion of the ‘cultural iceberg’. The population of any village is not stable, and possible reasons for changes in the structure of the village are explored. These mirror the changes in the structure of the global population, and some of the challenges that it faces.

The final part of the scheme of work is a possible assessment piece, or final presentation. It takes its inspiration from the gold disc that was attached to the Voyager space probe that was launched. Students will be asked to choose images and text which represents our global community today, rather than those which were thought of as being representative back in 1977, when Voyager was launched.

Over to you :)



I shall let you know when the unit goes live on the GA website.

Monday, June 9, 2014

First Class Fish

A new set of stamps from the Royal Mail features 10 fish, to show some sustainable species, and others that are threatened. Lovely illustrations.
Did any of these species feature in your menu that was good for the planet ?
Which fish species would you put on stamps if you could choose...


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

IB course with Richard Allaway

A rare chance to work with Richard Allaway of Geography all the Way fameon an IB Geography course in the UK takes place in 3 weeks time.
The course is held at Heathrow Airport, and is on a Saturday so no cover needed (probably)

Details and booking information here.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

GA Worldwise Week

Worldwise Week (formerly Geography Awareness Week, is organised by the Geographical Association.
This year's resource pack is available, and would provide some good ideas for those wanting to continue the theme of this year's conference 'Crossing Boundaries' with some end-of-the-school-year extension work.

Head to the GA website to download the pack and join in from the 23rd to the 27th of June.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

LondonMapper

“Our aim is to provide unbiased information about London's social, environmental and economic issues.
“These maps are like fancy pie charts, and if something is twice the size of something else it is obvious. We just want to spark a debate about the differences in one big city.”
Professor Danny Dorling


London called me on Thursday this week, and I went down to the RGS to meet with Ben Hennig.

Ben and I are working on some educational materials for a project called LondonMapper - a website which officially launched today, funded by the Trust for London.
The educational materials are being funded by an Innovative Geography Teaching grant that we have been awarded by the Royal Geographical Society.


Ben's maps will be familiar to many from his work on WorldMapper with Danny Dorling and others from Sheffield University.
Ben now works at the University of Oxford, still with Danny Dorling, and LondonMapper is one of several exciting projects that he is working on.

The site got a lot of early publicity and was featured in quite a few of the newspapers today.
- the Guardian
- Daily Mail
- the Independent
for example...

Explore the data on this Guardian Datablog page, which includes the hedgehog map and peregrine falcon map created along with Daniel Raven Ellison as part of the Greater London National Park project

The site will be expanded in the next few weeks with a whole tranche of new maps.

By the end of the summer term, there will also be a teaching resource which I will have created. The bones of the resources already exist, and I will be working on that over half term.

Also keep an eye out for further London Mapping resources that I'll be creating in the Summer term.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Teaching Geography in a Digital World

I had a sneak preview of Paul Turner's new iBook a few days ago, and it's now out, and available on iTunes at 'my favourite price'.
This is a really nice summary of some of the best tools out there for teachers wanting to find out about technology that can help.

I particularly like p.54 :)

Well done Mr. Turner !

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Now listening...

GA Conference 2014

I've recently returned from a very successful GA Conference 2014 at the University of Surrey in Guildford, where I was involved in a number of workshops and meetings, which included a project called I-USE.

Want to know more about I-USE ?
Here's the project leaflet.

Here's a nice shot of me in action too.

Image copyright: Rose Ledgard / Geographical Association

For more posts on the conference, head over to LIVING GEOGRAPHY where there are over 20 posts describing the event...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Do it for Denmark

An interesting campaign to tackle low birth rates in Denmark, which could well have been an April Fool's joke given the date...
Called Do it for Denmark, it is being organised by a travel company in Denmark, and those who participate in the scheme have a chance to earn prizes if they can prove that they conceived a baby while on holiday with the firm.


An interesting one for pro-natal population policies.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Greater London National Park

A campaign is launched today which suggests an obvious move forward for our capital city: a designation as the country's newest National Park.



We see no reason why London shouldn't join the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Norfolk Broads as having a designation as a National Park.
The city has a breadth of habitats, and a diversity of wildlife that rival some of the existing parks. Check out the new WEBSITE to find out more.

From the press release...


The Greater London National Park* was launched today, celebrating the importance and diversity of London’s urban habitat. It may sound like an April fools joke, but it is not.

It is only a “notional park” for now, but geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison is calling for the public to back the idea.“There is this idea that a National Park has to be remote and rural, but cities are incredibly important habitats too. An amazing 13,000 species of wildlife can be found in London’s open spaces which together make up 60% of the Greater London National Park*. In London we have peregrine falcons, 13 species of amphibian and reptile, pigeons, over 8 million people and countless dogs and cats too. The Greater London National Park* celebrates all life.

”National Parks are currently funded by central government to conserve and enhance natural beauty, wildlife and their cultural heritage; and promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public. These objectives could be applied to a city like London as well the countryside.
Raven-Ellison makes clear that he is not proposing any changes to planning policy in the capital, or that the Greater London National Park* would have the planning powers that so many residents in current National Parks dislike.
“I am proposing a new kind of National Park – an ‘urban’ National Park that would aim to conserve and promote London’s awesome ability to be dynamic, innovate and evolve. The Park’s role would be to inform and inspire best practice, while helping to better co-ordinate and promote London’s biodiversity and recreational opportunities, especially those in outer London.”
Raven-Ellison, a geographer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, argues that the park would create a new way to see and think about London.
“How would being a National Park change the way we live, work and play in the city? How would we educate children, design buildings, plan health services or create new leisure activities differently if we started thinking of London as a National Park?”
“It’s a bit of an outside-of-the box curve ball, but sleep on it and you will realise what a great idea it is. Being the world’s first National Park city would celebrate and consolidate London’s position in the world as a leading, green world city that invests in the health and wellbeing of its people, which is great for both new and mature business and employees. Besides, wouldn’t you like to live in London and a National Park at the same time? I know I would!”
Raven-Ellison is asking the public to support his idea by adding their name to www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk (GLNP).
*Officially just a Notional Park.


Click to enlarge

You can HELP SPREAD THE WORD in a number of ways.

The project has already featured on the National Geographic website.


Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind



Ralph McTell

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cultural Geography



Music for Earth Hour...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Extreme Environments e-book

One of the things about being a prolific blogger is that things you write disappear off the main section of the blog quite quickly.
I thought it was worth reminding you of something that I created a while back with the guy on the left here...

A couple of years ago, Richard Allaway and I created an eBook on Extreme Environments.

It is perfect for revision, and as we come closer to REVISION SEASON you may want to download it, as thousands of other people have already done.

Now available in over 50 countries...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

DISTANCE... we've come a long way...

Distance stands for:
Demonstrating the Internet of School Things: a National collaborative experience

It's a project that I've been involved with along with a group of partners including INTEL, Sciencescope, CASA at UCL and the Open University.
Helen and Tom from Explorer HQ have worked with me to produce some exciting ideas, supported by Mark, Dan, Paul and other colleagues from Explorer HQ on the technical side.

We've been working to create educational materials for the schools involved in the Pilot, and ultimately schools all over the country.
Click the Resources tab on the website, and you will find that you can see some of these...
They would be useful to adapt even without access to the kit that the schools had.

The website has developed tremendously since the start of the project...

Follow Apps > Dashboard to see some of the live data feeds from the project.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Museum of British Folklore

Reclaim the Forgotten
Cherish the Neglected
Treasure the Abandoned
Encourage the Overlooked
Adore the Unfashionable
Re-invent the Unwanted
Champion the Unloved
Value the Rejected

If this museum gets the go-ahead I'd be pleased to work as the Education Officer :)


Museum of British Folklore from Tom Chick on Vimeo.

Innovative Geography Teaching Grants

Delighted to say that I've been awarded one of just two of these awards handed out this year, given out by the Royal Geographical Society, to work on a collaboration jointly with Dr. Benjamin Hennig from the University of Oxford on a project related to the Census of 2011.

Ben is the genius who created the Worldmapper cartograms, and creates maps at Views of the World.
He is now working at one of the finest Geography departments in the world, and it is a real privilege to get the chance to work with him.
Our project is called LondonMapper: exploring a World city through Census Data

The Census 2011 produced billions of pieces of data, and by focussing on London past, present and future we will explore ideas related to London and its place in the world, and guide students on an exploration through the Census data and present them with some decisions that need to be made, which will shape London's future...

Our work will connect with, and expand on the nascent LondonMapper project.

Look out for more new maps like this one



Some more interesting London-based news coming in the next month or so too....

Sailing in the wake of Hugh Miller

I've been reading quite a bit about a man called Hugh Miller in the last few weeks.
He was a geologist and storyteller and had a fascinating life.

Now you have a chance to sail through the Scottish Highlands on a voyage of discovery...

The voyage is being organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

The Geological Societies of Glasgow and Edinburgh are offering unique opportunity for young Earth scientists to follow the journey of Hugh Miller in "The Cruise of the Betsey".

On 6 September 2014 Leader, a wonderful old Brixham Trawler built in 1892 (www.trinitysailing.org/vessels/leader/), will set sail from Oban heading north for the Small Isles in a one-week voyage in homage to Hugh Miller and his Hebridean tours, described in his classic book "The Cruise of the Betsey". The boat sleeps 19 people including 4 crew members, and will be filled with an inter-generational mix of geologists, geographers, artists, writers, ecologists, storytellers and historians (including a Gaelic speaker). The voyage will take the form of a mobile conference during which each participant will apply their own talents and interests in celebration of the achievements of Hugh Miller, and the landscapes, seascapes and cultural history of the Hebrides. The reward for the successful applicants will be to broaden and deepen their appreciation of Hebridean geodiversity, but also to gain new and probably unexpected perspectives on the geology, landscape and people of this beautiful sea-bound realm.

The Geological Societies of Glasgow and Edinburgh will fund up to four berths on the boat for young people (aged 16-30) studying Earth science, who have a research interest in the area or in a subject related to Hugh Miller, and a passion for sharing and communicating geology, landscape and/or Hebridean culture to a diverse audience.

Dates: Saturday 6 to Friday 12 September 2014; you will need to be in Oban ready for embarkation on the morning of Saturday 6th.

Costs: £500 per berth (including all food during the voyage) plus travel costs to/from Oban. 


Grants from the two Geological Societies will meet most of these costs but you may be expected to make a modest contribution.

How to apply: Email Simon Cuthbert, Honorary Secretary, Geological Society of Glasgow for more details at simon.cuthbert@uws.ac.uk by 31 March 2014.


Now listening...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New book published...

Author copies of my new book for Collins have just arrived.
Aimed at KS2/3 boys to get them reading, but also readable by all age groups and girls too...


Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter is coming...

I'm about to head into a catch-up of the first three seasons of Game of Thrones, as the 4th season starts on Sky Atlantic. I don't have Sky, so this is my option for catching up with a lot of my colleagues...

I've got a large poster map for my classroom wall, and a proposed unit on mapping of fictional landscapes, which will also form part of my presentation at the SAGT conference later in the year.

There's also been a rise in tourism in Iceland and Northern Ireland: two of the key locations where the series is made.
(Thanks to Rebekah Chew for the tipoff here)


Iceland's tourist board says it's seen an increase in the number of people wanting to go on tours of locations where the show was shot.
While, the film industry in Northern Ireland says it's helped increase employment in the area. But it's also helped spread the country's cinematic reputation around the world.
Meanwhile I've got the first book on my Kindle, and am looking forward to reading ahead from where I stopped so that I didn't give away too much of what is to come...

"Winter is coming..."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Crafty Explorers now open...



The Geography Collective along with City Farmers and Explorer HQ have moved to the second stage of a Design Council competition for social enterprises called ‘Knee High’. The name refers to the age group which this project targets: pre-school children or those in Early Years.
The second phase of the competition has enabled the funding of a ‘pop-up shop’ or more accurately perhaps an activity centre which is located in the London Borough of Southwark, in an area called Nunhead, which is close to Peckham.

Nunhead Corner
26 Nunhead Lane
Southward
SE15 3QR

Dan Ellison and Helen Steer have worked amazingly hard to get the premises up and running in such a short time scale.

For five weeks, the shop is open the usual shop hours, and welcomes children of all ages, but particularly those who are young explorers and their parents.

The concept is really simple, and is beautifully executed.

The shop is decorated with the distinctive and rather wonderful art of Tom Morgan Jones, who also illustrated the Mission:Explore series of books, which are for sale.

Visitors to the shop are given a tray with a ‘workflow’ printed on it, and the crafty Fox logo of the Crafty Explorers. A lump of clay and some natural materials, which include senna pods, pine cones, feathers and other sculptural shapes can be added: some are free of charge and some are available for a cost, or appropriate donation.
There are also ‘boggly eyes’ which turn any piece of clay into a creature. 
Each crafty creation has its moment of glory as it is photographed, and added to the 'wall of fame'.

Once the creature has been named, parents and children are then given three challenges using a combination of stamps. The mat that was used to mould the clay on is folded to become a mission booklet, which is used to record the adventures.

At the rear of the shop, a huge map of the area drawn by Tom is used to show the visitors the open green spaces which are nearby. The site is ideal for this, as there are a number of parks, greens and other open spaces within easy walking distance of the ‘shop’. On returning, children are given a stamp and asked to put a sticker on the large map to show where they completed their missions.
Coffee and snacks are available to purchase at a very low cost, and you can enjoy the crafting or a hot drink, while sitting on the most awesome grass covered tables and chairs.

I visited on the first day of opening, and despite having had no real advertising, there was a steady stream of curious people through the doors.
For more details about what the Crafty Explorers get up to over the next five week, visit them at:



You can also follow what we get up to on Twitter @CraftyExplorers