Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Started a new Twitter stream yesterday to collate stories of the Big Freeze...

Follow @FrozenUK for the cold weather geographical digest... or add #FrozenUK to your tweets and I'll pick it up and add it when I get the chance...

There is more snow falling as I type this...


Started a new Twitter stream yesterday to collate stories of the Big Freeze...

Follow @FrozenUK for the cold weather geographical digest... or add #FrozenUK to your tweets and I'll pick it up and add it when I get the chance...

There is more snow falling as I type this...

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Ning's the thing...

Nings have developed nicely since I first saw them in 2006-7...
At the time, I was teaching geography and the 'A' level specifications were being reviewed.
I set up a NING to support my 'A' level teaching, and to share resources and discussions relating to the work that was being carried out. Another NING was made private to my students, so that work within school could be developed further. I also created other networks for colleagues.
That first main NING now has over 2200 members !

At the 2008 Scottish Learning Festival, I attended my first teachmeet, and presented on Nings in a short 7 minute presentation slot.

When I joined the GA, I took NINGs with me, and the GA's online professional network was born, as was the now thriving PRIMARY CHAMPIONS Ning, which is closing in on the round figure of 1000 members

Earlier this month, the pre-release materials for the January 2011 Edexcel exam was released, and there was an immediate response:

Over 20 new members joined the network
Over 100 members joined a group to discuss the new pre-release material and others joined related groups
There were over 100 contributions to discussions about the materials, particularly on the tectonics hazards question, which has now had almost 50 replies and contributions..

Plenty of helpful ideas and resources being shared for the benefit of all members...

So come and join a NING near you...

Friday, 19 November 2010

GA Conference Programme 2011

The programme for next April's conference is now available to view or download on the GA website, where you can also book a ticket, or from the link below...

Geographical Association Conference & Exhibition 2011 Programme

For those doing Edexcel 'A' level there are plenty of appropriate sessions, notably the keynote lecture by Hans Rosling, creator of Gapminder.
See you there...

Saturday, 2 October 2010

One for those doing Edexcel GCSE

2 great videos made by Dave Holmes.
The first is shot in London and provides some simple ideas for ethnographic fieldwork data collection.... "people watching"...

The second is particularly helpful.
It is a short video featuring Nick Blunsum: the Head of Geography at Kingsmead Community School

What's great is that Nick talks about the impact of going through the process of gaining the Geographical Association's Secondary Geography Quality Mark.

He talks about "evaluating what was good and developing areas that needed improvement" and also "giving back some of the control to students to stop the lessons being too teacher led..." - some good advice on controlled assessment too....

Thanks for sharing these Dave, and to @GeogAdviser for the tip off on Twitter....

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Hans Rosling at GA Conference 2011

There was some exciting news earlier this week !

Hans Rosling is the Director of the Gapminder Foundation, and produced one of the most exciting tools for geographers in recent times: GAPMINDER (now in a desktop version too)

Thanks in part to some work by our colleague Bob Lang earlier in the year, it is now confirmed that Hans will be doing the keynote lecture at the Geographical Association's conference at the University of Surrey in Guildford in April 2011.

One for your diaries: for the chance to see Hans in action - get a flavour of his presentations by watching this TED TALK.

Online booking for the conference is now available!

GA members get substantial discounts!
Full time and PGCE students get FREE registration!
Delegate fees have been frozen to 2009 levels !

Follow the GA on Twitter (@The_GA) with the hashtag: #gaconf11

This year, the conference will also be raising money for ACTION AID: the President's chosen charity.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Google Earth 4 Degrees

A very exciting new Google Earth layer was launched this week.
The layer has been produced in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and shows information about a possible 4 degree rise in temperature

A range of YOUTUBE videos are available for use with the layer.
The Tyndall Centre were involved in its creation...

Don't forget the Teachers TV programmes which I was involved in, which has a focus on a poem looking at various degrees of warming and the potential impact on the UK.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Flooding continues to be a major issue for many householders, despite the current hosepipe bans in some parts of the country.

The LANDMARK group has just produced a resource which relates to the work of the NATIONAL FLOOD FORUM, and the very useful KNOW YOUR FLOOD RISK page.

I have mentioned the latter before, for their very useful Twitter stream of flood news, which is well worth FOLLOWING.

There is a useful video for higher secondary pupils here, relating to the risk of flooding, and the possible impact on businesses, and also the individual tasks that can be taken to mitigate the impacts of a possible flood.
This would be worth watching by GCSE or A level students....

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Glasto tickets...

Some tickets arrived this morning...
Now very excited..

See you in the Green Kids field for some Guerilla Geography...

I will be writing up a series of posts about the experience, and also producing some links and resources to supplement existing ideas relating to music festivals...

Just a reminder of the nice things people are saying about our Mission Explore book...

"Mission:Explore is a brilliant way to stimulate children's and young people's interest in their social and physical environment, their curiosity and their sense of the absurd. The case for risk as a necessary and exciting part of life, that needs handling intelligently, is acknowledged well. This is geography, and fieldwork, at its most creative, and has the potential to inspire a new generation of thoughtful, ethical and courageous geographers." Susan Buckingham, Professor of Geography

“it is very important for children to experience adventurous play and risk so they can learn to manage risk and keep themselves safe. Mission:Explore helps to do this in a fun and exciting way.” The Child Safety Education Coalition

"Should be compulsory reading for all university geography students" Professor Danny Dorling

Friday, 11 June 2010


I'm getting excited about my first visit to Glastonbury, to do missions with MISSION EXPLORE and members of the Geography Collective...
To get me in the mood, I've downloaded the wonderful MISSION EXPLORE festival guide from the wonderful GEOGRAPHY COLLECTIVE BLOG page...

Come and see us in the Green Kids Field...

I hope we won't be needing those...
Going to be working on some resources on music festivals of course too....

All images on this post by the wonderful Tom Morgan-Jones

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Google Street View goes nationwide

Images copyright Google

Google Street View has gone national
A huge update of Google's photography means that over 90% of the UK is now covered by the high resolution, 360 degree imagery along most roads in the UK
One of the first things that people would do perhaps would be to look at their own house, and the houses where they used to live....

Just done that myself, and you can see the house where I lived between 1977 and 1988 (ish) above, tho' it didn't look like that at the time...

There was a useful post on Simon Haughton's blog which suggested some geographical ideas for how the newly expanded Street View could be used in the classroom. Here are some (more):

1. Previewing a journey that is going to be made / risk assessments for fieldwork
2. Carrying out VIRTUAL FIELDWORK in an unfamiliar area
3. Investigate change over time in a local area
4. Clone Town / Land use surveys
5. Remodelling the models: transects from town centre outwards to test their validity
6. Comparing distant locations (Primary)
7. Taking a trip to the seaside
8. Play the "When were the images taken" game: look at clues in the state of buildings, traffic and people in the area, to see whether you can work out the time of year, or time of day, or day of the week when the cars must have taken the images...
My street was photographed in Summer, on a week-day judging by the images, but further towards the centre of the village the images turn to autumn...
9. Do a N, S, E and W, or 5 minutes in each direction from home etc.
10. Most URBAN fieldwork could be done in a slightly adapted way using the images, perhaps supported with some Flip video filming / audio files ? (remember that this is NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR REAL FIELDWORK which MUST continue....)

I have been updating a presentation I used last year, when Street View was limited to just a few major cities, which provided ideas for geography teachers on how they might use Street View in the classroom. Will share that here when it is complete....

Predictably, there has been a little kerfuffle in the Daily Mail...
Read the article and comments for a variety of views on the role of this sort of technology...

And just to show another feature: the maps can be embedded into blogs...

Drag the YELLOW PEGMAN onto the map in the appropriate place, and the Street View images will appear....

View Larger Map

Can also be viewed on my iPhone, which is remarkable really... The UK in your pocket....

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Poland Study Tour

For those colleagues who would like an in depth visit to a new European country for case study and research purposes...

The Geographical Association is organising a Study Tour to Poland for geography teachers in July - August 2010. The trip details are as follows:
Poles to Poles

28 July - 10 August 2010

The GA International Working Group will be leading a north to south journey through Poland from the Baltic to the Tatra Mountains, investigating the impact of EU membership on environment, economy and society.

The programme includes visits to Gdańsk, Toruń, Warsaw, Kraków, Oświęcim and the Tatra Mountains, providing a range of urban and rural environments full of contrasts.

Download: Full Itinerary

With Community Cohesion on every school's agenda and Polish children in our schools the length and breadth of the UK, this trip should be of interest to teachers of all phases, and, with the abundance of budget air services to Polish cities, within the budgets of most teachers.

Costs and Booking

Price: £825 (sharing twin). Single supplement: £295

The price includes all transport in Poland, accommodation (mostly in 3* hotels), breakfast and one main meal per day, plus entrance fees to main venues and geographical visit sites.

Please note that international flights are not included in the cost. Ryanair and Wizz Air operate flights to Gdańsk from Cork, Doncaster, Dublin, Glasgow, Liverpool, Luton and Standsted. Check their websites for further details.

Download: Booking Form

Bursary for new teachers

Two bursaries of up to £200 are available to new teachers within their first five years of teaching. Contact Adam Nichols for further information.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Fair Miles: Oxfam report...

A new report published by Oxfam and IIIED is now available from the Oxfam site.
It is available to purchase, or as a FREE PDF download. (link starts download of the resource)

The report is called FAIR MILES.

I have had a quick look and it is a useful document. Thanks to @primageographer for the tipoff to this resource, which will prove useful for preparation for my GA Conference 2010 workshop on this topic....

Here's a description, taken from the Oxfam website:

Today’s food is well travelled. A pack of green beans in a Northern supermarket may have journeyed 6000 miles, or 60. But while food miles loom large in our carbon-aware times, transporting it counts for less than you might think. And there is a far bigger picture. Food is more than a plateful of emissions.

It’s a social, political and economic issue that involves millions of small farmers in poor countries who export produce to the North. They have built lives and livelihoods around this trade. By buying what they grow, you’ve clocked up ‘fair miles’.

This pocketbook delves into the realities of the produce trade between Africa and the UK, examining both sides of the equation in search of a diet that is ethically, as well as nutritionally, balanced.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Mark Beaumont: one for 6th formers to see ?

Picture by Ollie Bray (I think...): Mark is the one on the right... :)

Mark Beaumont speaking tour.... Starts in March 2010, so let's hope Mark is finished by then... :)

Mark's CYCLING THE AMERICAS blog is here for all the latest on his current challenge, which is going incredibly well. He has summited Denali and Aconcagua, and is now cycling the final leg down to the end of his pan-American adventure. There are some spectacular images and video on the blog.

Mark's website is HERE.

He comes to King's Lynn on the 27th of March 2010

The other dates can be found here:

Tues 16th
DURHAM Gala Theatre 0191 3324041
Wed 17th
CHESTERFIELD The Winding Wheel 01246 345 334
Thur 18th
BOLTON Albert Halls 01204 334400
Fri 19th
HALIFAX Victoria Theatre 01422 351158
Sat 20th
MORECAMBE The Platform 01524 582803
Sun 21st
HAYES Beck Theatre 020 8561 8371
Tues 23rd
TUNBRIDGE WELLS Assembly Halls 01892 530613
Wed 24th
SOUTHSEA The King’s Theatre 02392 828282
Thur 25th
TAMWORTH Assembly Rooms 01827 709618
Sat 27th
KINGS LYNN Arts Centre 01553 764864
Sun 28th
LOWESTOFT Marina Theatre 01502 533200
Tues 30th
BARNSTAPLE Queen’s Theatre 01271 324242
Wed 31st
EASTBOURNE Congress Hall 01323 412000

Tues 20th
BUXTON Buxton Opera House 0845 127 2190
Wed 21st
BARROW The Forum 01229 82 00 00
Thu 22nd
MALVERN Malvern Theatres 01684 892277
Fri 23rd
BRECON Theatr Brycheiniog 01874 611622
Sat 24th
CARDIGAN Theatr Mwldan 01239 621200
Sun 25th
LOUGHBOROUGH Town Hall 01509 231 914
Tues 27th
MIDDLESBROUGH Middlesbrough Theatre 01642 81 51 81
Wed 28th
WAKEFIELD Theatre Royal 01924 211 311
Fri 30th
STIRLING Albert Halls 01786 473544

Sat 1st
ABERDEEN The Lemon Tree 01224 641122
Sun 2nd
INVERNESS Eden Court 01463 234234
Tues 4th
SOUTH SHIELDS The Customs House 0191 454 1234
Wed 5th
LEAMINGTON SPA Royal Spa Centre 01926 334418
Thu 6th
EPSOM Epsom Playhouse 01372 742555
Fri 7th
TELFORD The Place 01952 382 382
Sat 8th
FELIXSTOWE Spa Pavilion 01394 282126
Sun 9th
CAMBERLEY Camberley Theatre 01276 707 644
Tues 11th
SKEGNESS Embassay Theatre 0845 674 0505
Wed 12th
BURNLEY Burnley Mechanics Theatre 01282 664 400
Thur 13th
RHYL Pavilion Theatre 01745 33 00 00
Fri 14th
DERBY Assembly Rooms 01332 255800
Sat 15th
STAFFORD The Gatehouse Theatre 01785 254653
Sun 16th
RADLETT The Radlett Centre 01923 859291
Tue 18th
HIGH WYCOMBE Wycombe Swan 01494 512 000
Wed 19th
WESTON SUPER MARE The Playhouse 01934 645 544

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Opportunity for 6th form students (and you...)

Image by Alan Parkinson - Creative Commons

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is offering funded courses to geography teachers and AS geographers through its Learning & Leading programme:

Funded weekend fieldwork master classes for geography teachers
Funded places are offered on weekend fieldwork master-classes for 16 A level geography teachers experiencing challenges in delivering fieldwork. The next course is:

Dates: Friday 7 (evening) to Sunday 9 May 2010
• Course Location: FSC Rhyd-y-creuau centre, Snowdonia

Course Activities: Planning A level fieldwork, using & evaluating a variety of fieldwork techniques, field visits & case studies of glaciation, a tourist honeypot & rivers, low cost & local activity ideas, sharing ideas & adapting for use in own school

Course fees, accommodation and meal costs are all covered by the project. All you need to pay for is your travel to the course.

To apply for a place: Complete & submit the application form to by Friday 5 March 2010

Funded fieldwork summer-schools for AS/Higher geography students
16 fully funded places are offered on a fieldwork summer school for AS/Higher geography students. The course is aimed to give students who would not normally have such opportunities, a chance to experience high quality residential fieldwork.

Dates: Monday 23 to Friday 27 August 2010
• Course Location: FSC Rhyd-y-creuau centre, Snowdonia

Course Activities: Students will investigate and build-up case-studies of glaciation, flooding and issues relating to rural settlements, use ICT and a variety of fieldwork techniques, plan and carry out independent fieldwork investigations and team building and personal development activities.

All costs of the course are covered including travel, accommodation and meals.

To apply for a place: Student completes application form and their teacher completes a nomination form. Both forms to be emailed to by Friday 23 April 2010

Further details & application forms:
Contact Amber Sorrell, Learning & Leading Project Coordinator:
T: 020 7591 3180

New Year, New Members

Image by Alan Parkinson - Creative Commons

Welcome to a new year of blogging to support the now-not-so-new Edexcel Geography specification.

The first run through is reaching its final stages now, as A2 units have been examined in the January series, and the final exams in May/June are not too far away.

The EDEXCEL NING has continued to grow at a really remarkable rate, and a growing core of members are now posting their work: documents, resources, mock exams, images, tipoffs for TV programmes etc. to support colleagues.

If you have come to this blog, but not joined the NING, it's not too late to tap in to this remarkable collaborative resource.