Monday, 24 November 2014

Geography rather than STEM...

You may remember I posted something that Nicky Morgan wrote about the STEM subjects last week...

This is Rita Gardner's response, which you may be interested in reading. With thanks to Steve Brace. Published in the TES.
In promoting the role of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects, education secretary Nicky Morgan suggests that other subjects – the humanities, arts and, by implication, social sciences – will not open up a wide range of careers for young people (“Nicky Morgan tells pupils: study Stem subjects to keep your options open”,).
This assertion is not supported by evidence on graduate employability, nor by the Russell Group’s Informed Choices report on preferred “facilitating subjects”, which include geography. This last subject experiences some of the lowest levels of graduate unemployment, and geographers include leading figures such as home secretary Theresa May.
Science and maths have rightly experienced significant rises in uptake in recent years, but it is time for greater balance in representing the contribution of many other facilitating subjects – including geography – to education and employability.
Dr Rita Gardner
Director, Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers


Spending another day today preparing for a meeting for this project which I'm currently involved with. It's later in the week in Brussels, which is a little way from home.... I'm helping with some of the outputs from the project with respect to teaching materials, through the Institute of Education.

It involves geography educators from across Europe, and the USA.

Geo-capabilities 2: teachers as curriculum leaders [“GeoCap2”]

Background: “in providing high quality teaching about complex issues in Europe, it is critically important for teachers to have sound content knowledge, pedagogic awareness, pedagogic content knowledge, curricular knowledge, and knowledge of learners to be effective in the classroom”.
[In short: the need for teachers to be effective ‘curriculum makers’]

Objective: “to create a teacher training course to develop teachers as curriculum leaders … through a ‘capabilities’ approach
Embracing: Diversity – culture, language; and Citizenship – democracy
Stressing: Innovation and performance, or ‘curriculum making’
[In short: how can the ‘capabilities approach’ help strengthen curriculum making?]

Outputs:to develop and pilot an online professional development communications platform for teacher preparation in geography.”
Resources (teaching materials and communications tools)
Trans-European collaborations
Online teacher exchanges
[NB: ‘powerful geographical knowledge’ is the baseline, the context and the content. 
We stress the ‘Geo’ in the Geo-Capabilities approach]

Impact: We will produce materials and a conceptual framework for curriculum thinking that will be complimentary to ‘competence-based’ curricula. The latter may stress learning outcomes rather than educational aims. We say both are important. Curriculum leadership is the key.

Check out the website, or follow on Twitter @geocapabilities

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Wild Weather

Richard Hammond ?
Order your free poster, and find information about the series, which starts next week on the BBC, on the Open University page for the series.

I like the look of the extra kitchen experiments that are provided on the site as well. A chance for some geography experimentation and practicals perhaps...

New Geography blog

Always good to see more Geography blogs, and the latest one to be started off is from Jodie Chambers.
Check out For the love of Geog 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Thought for the Day

“Good teaching depends on good subject knowledge and excellent pedagogical skills. You can’t do it without being in possession of both.”
Sir John Holman

From here

Gold disc....

Just caught up with episode 3 of Brian Cox's new series: 'Human Universe'.

It starts with a rather splendid analogy of the Earth's potential isolation in the Solar System using the example of Easter Island, which also showed the importance of the lifespan of any civilisation, and the fact that any contact needs to be within a timeframe when it is capable of responding and communicating.
It included a mention of the Voyager probe, which was launched into the Solar system as part of an effort to communicate with other civilisations, in the most 'likely' direction that we thought we would find other earth-like planets. Attached to the side of Voyager was a gold disc, part of which is shown on the image below:

One element of the golden disc was that it contained a range of images and sounds of the Earth.

I used this as the basis for an activity which I wrote during the summer for the GA's Global Learning Programme.

The full Global Learning Programme CPD course with this activity will be going 'live' on the GA website soon as part of the update to the whole site.

If you have chance to catch the programme before it disappears off iPlayer I would recommend it....
There is also a book of the series out... just in time for Christmas...

Rude place names...

If you're easily offended don't read on...




OK, it's safe to carry on.
Metro has featured a map which is for sale, which features the country's rudest place names.

Those of you who subscribe to Digimap for Schools will be able to access a gazetteer with thousands of place names within the UK... this enables searches for words related to any theme you want - how about a Christmas themed map, or one based on food ?

Here's a place I used to pass through every day for many years on the way to work...

Friday, 21 November 2014

Geographical Magazine

Reading the latest issue of the Geographical magazine, and it is a cracker.
It features articles on the Middle East and the search for Franklin's ships.
There is also a great article on the Information Capital book, and finally a nice piece by Felicity Aston on the Pole of Cold.
Available in print and digital format...

Discover the World Inspection Visit in April 2015

An excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to see the impact of a volcanic eruption close-up and also get a chance to see areas of Iceland which most tours don't visit.
Discover the World has put together a really impressive looking tour which explores parts of Iceland that tours with schools don't normally get to... it takes place in April 2015, and there are discounts for GA members.

The lava field is now the size of Manhattan apparently...

Details here

Experts say that the Holuhraun fissure eruption at Bardarbunga could last for several years or stop any moment. As no one knows for sure, we have developed a new suggested itinerary which could enable your students to experience first-hand one of the most geographically awe inspiring events on the planet – a volcanic eruption. By travelling with Discover the World we will do everything we can to get your students to see the eruption from a safe distance allowing them to relate what they have learned in the classroom to a live case study. However, in the event that the volcanic activity ceases, then your students will still be able to explore the magnificent North Iceland whilst learning about the affects the recent volcanic activity has had on the local area. The suggested itinerary also includes visits to Dettifoss, (Europe’s most powerful waterfall) the stunning volcanic region of Lake Myvatn, the Blue Lagoon of the North as well as many of South Iceland’s top attractions.

The trip includes a rather splendid chance to visit a brand new tourist attraction which opens the following month: a tunnel through a glacier....

More on Digimap for Colleges

I posted yesterday about the launch of Digimap for Colleges, which I'd worked on creating resources for.
There's a really useful post by Anne Robertson of Edina over on their blog.
It includes details of the launch of the service, and how it was designed to be as effective as possible for the target market.
There's a YouTube channel of how-to videos as well, which are very useful for new users.

Bought some of these a while back...

Crowdfunding already secured...
Now thinking of ways to use them :)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Digimap for Colleges goes live...

For the last few years, I have been working with Edina at the University of Edinburgh on resources to support their map streaming services in association with Ordnance Survey (and latterly Jisc).

Digimap for Colleges is now live, and the latest set of resources that I've written are live along with it. Details of the service are below...

How do I use Digimap for Colleges?

To use Digimap for Colleges, your FE institution must be subscribed to the service. A list of currently subscribed FE institutions can be viewed here. If your FE institution is not listed, then please speak to the elearning resource manager or librarian at your FE institution. The service is free, but someone responsible for subscribing to services via the Jisc Collections catalogue must request the subscription. Only those FE institutions on theJisc FE Banding list are eligible to subscribe. If your FE institution does not appear on the list please contact the Jisc Collections Helpdesk.
Digimap for Colleges authentication is IP based, which means if you are on campus you will be able to go directly to the service and start using it. If you are off campus (at home or elsewhere) you will need to remotely connect to your college network using something like EZProxy or a VPN. If your FE institution does not use a VPN or EZProxy, you will only be able to access Digimap for Colleges while on campus.
Web browser
Digimap for Colleges is designed to work on the most up date web browsers. Please ensure you are using the most up to date version of Internet Explorer, Chrome, FireFox or Safari. Digimap for Colleges is also touch enabled to work on Safari on iPads running the latest iOS.
Getting started
For help getting started with Digimap for Colleges, please watch our How to..... videos.

What can you do with Digimap for Colleges?

Digimap for Colleges can be used in a range of subjects and courses for any task that requires a map. You can use Digimap for Colleges to create land use surveys of your local high street. Use the Annotation Tools to add coloured areas to map to represent different types of land use and building type. Plot transport routes to work out the safest and most efficient way to travel to a venue, walk to college, plan sustainable transport networks or create an orienteering route. The range of maps can also be used to help decide where to locate a new business like a hairdressers, beauty salon or cake shop.
For more examples and ideas for using Digimap for Colleges, please take a look at the Resources page.
A range of Ordnance Survey digital maps are provided in Digimap for Colleges, covering the whole of GB. Included are the most detailed maps OS make which show building outlines. These maps are suited to being used for local area studies, studying land use on the high street, locating businesses or planning a new construction site. You will also find digital versions of traditional OS maps that are commonly used for hill walking and outdoor activities, as well as street-level, road-atlas style and regional maps.
The maps are complemented by a range of tools that allow you to enhance the maps.
Measurement tools – use the measurement tools to measure distances and areas. Distances can be measured in KM or Miles.
Annotation Tools – a comprehensive set of annotation tools that you can use to add points, lines, areas, text, photos and graphs to your map. The Buffer Tool allows you to show on the map areas that are a fixed distance from a point or a long a line. This is great for looking at the proximity of a new building, windfarm, road or investigating the impact of flooding.
Save – save any maps that you create to come back to later.
Print – create printable PDF or JPG maps. Printable maps can be printed to make hard copies, saved to a computer drive or dropped into a presentation or report.

Check out my other projects:
- Digimap for Schools resources - now with 2000 subscribers...
- MapStream resources

Further details on the Digimap for Colleges blog....

“This innovative online tool will bring mapping to life for FE students. Technology is set to transform education over the next decade and I am delighted to see Ordinance Survey and Jisc developing new online tools that will benefit learners of all ages.”
Skills Minister Nick Boles MP

Buffalo Snowstorm... epic snow...

Up to 9 feet of snow are going to fall in this area apparently - about 6 feet have already fallen...

Here's a drone video which Angus Willson posted a link to...

Digimap for Schools reaches 2000 subscribers

This is great news...
There are some great free resources remember, that can be used with or without the tool... And coming soon is Digimap for Colleges... (also with some great free resources)

UK Airspace

This video has been getting a lot of mentions over the last few days...

UK 24 from NATS on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

New eBook for AQA Geographers

Written by Katharine Hutchinson from Chesterton College, Cambridge

EU in a box...

Always pleased to see what schools do with my 'Landscape in a Box' idea...

Here's some fantastic work from students at Malton School, shared by Helen Wilson, Head of Geography....

New from Public Service Broadcasting...

Out of this world...

World Toilet Day

This is a busy week geographically speaking...

Today is World GIS Day (we've done our bit at school by joining the World Record GIS attempt)

It's also World Toilet Day
As a school we've voted for Water Aid as our school charity for the coming year, and Water Aid are campaigning to have a specific Millennium Development Goal related to toilets.

There's a Guardian Quiz...

And this set of photos.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Mission:Explore Food - up for an award...

A few years ago, our Mission:Explore book was short-listed for the ALCS Educational Writer's Award. We were runners-up in a ceremony at the House of Commons.

ALCS and The Society of Authors are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2014 Educational Writers’ Award – the UK's only award for educational writing. This year, the award focused on non-fiction books aimed at readers aged between 11 and 18 years. 
Of the 4 short-listed awards.... we feature again... for 2014
This time for Mission:Explore Food
Second time lucky we hope...
Previous winners include Bill Bryson, so this is very exciting news...

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Music as Geography...

A topic I've explored at intervals for some years now...

Jan Garbarek talked about the way that he collaborated with the Hilliard Ensemble. I had the great fortune to see them last night on their farewell tour and it was fairly astonishing...

Radio 4: Front Row
Miles Davis and John Coltrane

"For me, music is very often a matter of space with an emotion in it... it can be a large space with a cold feeling or a small space ... I just listen to the sound in the room and try to blend in..."

What was particularly great was to watch Jan prowling around the Octagon with his sax, trying the acoustics in various locations as well as improvising over the Ensemble... The end of a musical era... and I was so pleased to have the chance to thank them in person as I left through the side door...

What Sundays are for

Out to the Anchor Inn at Morston today for Sunday lunch....
Fish caught and landed at Sheringham the same morning, Woodforde's Wherry from Woodbastwick near Norwich and there was also Norfolk Sirloin on the menu.
Then a wander along the causeway to Blakeney... to sit in front of a wood burner and eat chocolate and doze off...
Now that's a Sunday...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Thought for the Day

“The ultimate strength of cities is in their diversity. If you don’t support the diversity of people, places and industries you really are undermining the whole point of what makes cities great.”
Alicia Glen, New York Deputy Mayor

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Out to this later...

Seen Jan many times, but never in such fabulous and familiar surroundings...
Front row seat too :)

Ice Man feedback

Thanks to Matt Podbury for posting about the unit of work that he has been developing with Russel Tarr based on my Ice Man book.
Details of the unit are on Matt's GeographyPods website.

Also a reflection from Russel Tarr on Active History.

Also watch out for a Teaching Geography article in 2015 on this collaboration....

Band Aid 30

30 years ago, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure gathered some of the most popular musicians at the time to collaborate on a charity single to raise money to support those suffering from a famine in Ethiopia, and other anti-poverty projects.
This weekend, a new generation of musicians (and some of those from the original Band Aid single) gathered in the same studio to record a new version of the song, to fund efforts to support those affected by Ebola
The lyrics were released and variously tweeted out in advance of the recording.

This could make a task for students to rewrite the original lyrics, with the message of supporting those affected by the spread of the disease. Or perhaps another theme altogether...

Thursday, 13 November 2014

London National Park idea going down under...

Dan Raven Ellison's Greater London National Parks concept keeps gaining momentum...
Here's the latest news from this morning.

About to depart for Sydney to present @LondonNP at the @WPCSydney #WorldParksCongress #GLNP #NationalParks
— Daniel Raven-Ellison (@DanRavenEllison) November 13, 2014

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

New Ebola resources on the GA website

Following the release of Mt. Ontake resources a few weeks ago, the Geographical Association have now added a further section of topical resources and links for a global story: one with an even wider impact.
The new EBOLA resources, written by Stephen Schwab have now started to go live on the GA website.
They include additional materials for GA members to download.
The first unit is now up on the site, with more to come...

Palm Oil

A new Palm Oil interactive from the Guardian..
A series of videos and infographics relating to a substance which is found in half of what most people eat and use in the home. Its production results in habitat loss in other parts of the world from our own...
Palm oil is not always marked as 'Palm oil' on the ingredients list.

Everything is connected...

Carl Lee's new eBook is now available: download for free (get the whole book or separate chapters / sections) or buy (store coming soon...)
Over 200 pages of ideas and diagrams to savour... a real labour of love... and geography...