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Nearest Wiki - 2

I try to get out with my son most days that I'm home. Yesterday, I tried out a few ideas with the Nearest Wiki App. I set out with a simple goal: discover something new about my local area. Having to push a 5 month old around simulated having a class of pupils! This activity would be suited to a group that had a ratio of 1 iPhone for a group of 3-4 young people. Of course, check that you follow your institutions off-site activity procedures.

Near to my house, Goring-by-Sea train station was the closest Wikipedia entry available.

However, when I arrived, I didn't find any worthwhile information! So, using Nearest Wiki again I looked for another location. The further away an entry is, the higher it will appear on the screen. This is handy when trying to plan how far to go. I decided to look at the entry for Goring-by-Sea village. On the way, I would pass other areas of interest and see if they were on the app. I found that many features did not appear. This may be a lim…

Looking forward to BETT 2010

I'm just looking at the January ahead and notice that BETT is coming.

This will be my second visit, and despite not having a plan, I seem to have ended up with one! I also have a rough plan of the stands that I want to visit - this is because last time I was there I ended up a little over awed with the scale of the event. This is roughly where I'll be / what I'll be up to. I hope to meet you for a coffee! I plan to Tweet and blog from all of the events.

Wednesday and Thursday - most of the day - Apple's Education Leadership Series
Wednesday evening - The TEDx event
Thursday morning - 21st Century Learning Alliance update meeting

This leaves most of Friday afternoon to wander around BETT, and of course Teachmeet (and eat!) BETT 2010. I intend to talk about a range of (what I think) are sustainable uses of social networks in education. This will include the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum project about Pirates. It's my first time at a Teachmeet, so I hope all will g…

2009 Review

As 2009 draws to a close, it's time to reflect on quite an eventful year. I turned 31 in March, became a Dad in July and got engaged in December. Personally and professionally, 2009 has been an exciting year.

Professional Highlights

I've never considered myself to be a great innovator, although the events of 2009 seem to go against this! Below are a number of highlights, in no particular order.

The Geography Department continues to develop and by the end of 2009 the light was clearly visible at the end of the deep, dark woods. I would like to publicly thank my team and Humanities faculty. GCSE numbers increased from 40 to just over 100 and the curriculum continued to develop. Priorities for 2010 include further improvement in standards and a greater range of extra curricular activities.

Whole school developments include the successful implementation of the Vivo rewards system which has attracted some press interest. Thsi year I have been asked to support Middle Leaders in dev…

Augmented Reality and Fieldwork

After watching an episode of Click on the BBC news Channel, I was alerted to the Nearest Wiki App.

This App has massive potential for Geography fieldtrips. By having an iPhone or available it would be possible to:

1. It is possible to find out a little more about your surroundings.

For example, by launching the Nearest Wiki App the camera, GPS and compass is used to calculate where you are are in which direction the camera is facing. This allows Wikipedia articles that are close to be displayed. Below is what I could see from my flat's balcony.


By clicking on one of the article summaries, the app displays the full wikipedia entry:
This has huge potential for use during pre-visits and even in setting activities and research

2. Pupils can create geolocated Wikipedia articles

Young people could create an augmented reality of their school, local area or street. They could create and write a Wikipedia article which could then be viewed by visitors

This has huge potential, especially if l…

Enterprise and Citizenship

Fairly soon, Year 7 will be looking at the environment. Throughout the topic students are challenged to make a difference to their impact on the world.

The assessment asks them to write to the Headteacher, proposing a change to the school. I'm thinking of modifying this. Instead, I am going to give each Year 7 class a real slice of the Geography budget and then get them to actually make a change.

I'm posting this here at this time so that I remember the idea.

Twitter in the classroom: formative feedback

I have been playing around with a new (to me) way to use a Personal Learning Network during lessons this week.

I wanted a quick way of providing some formative feedback to pupils that wasn't necessarily dependant on getting a response.

So, armed with the iPhone, I took photographs of work that I was pleased with. I then uploaded the photo using a Twitter App. My tweets and pics were then displayed to the class using a projector.

This had a number if effects:
Students' felt motivated and praised if a photograph of their work as used.Other young people in the class could see examples of good work, and use this information to modify or improve their own efforts.Some feedback was received 'live.' When this was communicated to pupils they became even more motivated to improve their work.What is important here is that there was no need for any live responses. Just the act of sharing the work during the lesson was enough for pupils' to feel praised and their work valued. I se…

Learning Event Generator and Copenhagen

To me, as geographers, we should all be teaching and covering what is going on at Copenhagen over the next two weeks and beyond. I'm long a believer in Floating Topicality, so all classes that I teach will be looking at what's going on. I also encourage my department to do the same. There are some ideas on the SLN thread. Here, I want to share my plans this week. I have to say that this lesson is all down to my attendance at the Innovative Teachers Forum last week. During his keynote, John Davitt pointed out that stress kills learning and that more planning should be done while walking to your next lesson. Coincidentally, the advice about planning mirrors one of my first teaching mentors whose words were 'if you need to do an in depth bit of planning, walk a bit slower between the staff room and the classroom.'

I'm not advocating never planning. Having said this, the results of this lesson were the result of a completely unplanned idea.

The idea went something …

Internet Radio and the Classroom

A few weeks ago, I was using Noel Jenkins' excellent Montserrat resources when, on a whim I thought I would try to find some radio from Montserrat. To my delight, the DJ started discussing the reconstruction process and the issues related to redeveloping the capital.

This got me thinking. What other radio stations are out there and how could they be used?

Over the past few weeks there have been a few ideas, including:
Exploring time zones by listening to a station based in New YorkUsing Radio Samoa when investigating the Pacific TsunamiExploring classes to different cultures, e.g. music, language, by listening to a radio station from FranceListening to these stations is low cost and very effective.Where else could we use Internet radio?

Why I've gone for CGeog (Teacher)

When I was in the Air Training Corps, I remember meeting the Admiral of the Fleet during the Inter-Cadet-Services Rifle Meeting at Bisley. It was the year that I managed to get myself into the Corps shooting team. I used to love shooting, maybe it was the smell of gun oil....
Anyway, I remember that the Admiral has about a million letters after his name. I had no idea what they meant, but new I wanted to get some. To my teenage self, the letters represented hard work, commitment and above all recognition.

There is a lively debate about the RGS (IBG) Chartered Geographer (Teacher) recognition. I highly respect all of those on both sides of the debate. This post doesn't aim to argue with them, just to set out my own views about the status. I was pleased to receive the letter confirming the status yesterday.

1. I don't mind paying for professional recognition. I support the work of the RGS(IBG) and so if any money supports this work, e.g. for Innovative Geography Teaching Gra…

TeachMeet BETT 2010

I've been wanting to get along to a TeachMeet event for a while now. I have no experience of them, so have thrown my hat in the ring for TeachMeet BETT 2010. I've put my name down for a 7 minute presentation. The title of which is 'It's not about invation but modelling: Social Space and Guerilla Action.' Now all I have to do is come up with what to say, although it will be around the theme of using Social Networks for good ;-) Hope to see you there!

Inovative Teachers Forum 2009

A return to the classroom today after a mega event: the Partners in Learning UK Innovative Teachers Forum.

The event brought together like minded teachers and other professionals who have a love of learning. I was also impressed to see some students in one of the workshops. I was there to talk about my Pirates and Social Networking. There was a lot of interest in the project. I wish to clarify though, that the project is not about invading the social network that learners inhabit. Instead, the project uses a teachers Personal Learning Network as a model and data collection tool.

The conference also had plenty of time to network. This is what a lot of similar events lack, instead relying on an almost relentless procession of keynotes and workshops. I really enjoyed having the time to reflect upon the workshops and conversations with others. This time to ponder means that it is more likely that ideas will be integrated into our Geography curriculum.

There is a real buzz back at school toda…

2009 Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum

About a fortnight ago I uploaded a Virtual Classroom Tour t the Innovative Teachers Forum Community. I was surprised and delighted to learn that it has been included in the top 10 entries. As a result I'm traveling to the Innovative Teachers Forum to share the idea with others.

I'm particularly looking forward to hearing and seeing the other winning projects. All of this started because I followed a link from @innovativeteach, so another excellent example of how a Twitter PLN has developed me professionally.

I'm hoping that I can learn a huge amount at the event, especially about other Microsoft Tools that I have heard a lot about, but haven't had the time, or know how, to explore. I hope to share this with the Geography department and wider school on my return...

I have embedded a brief summary document of the idea below, but I would encourage you to visit and join the Innovative Teaching Forum community to see the full VCT, along with the other great entries. If you…

Portsmouth Uni Secondary Geography PGCE Sesison

Hello to those of you in the session today. Please remember that if you thought it was useful or rubbish, please let me know!

I have embedded the presentation below. Here are also some of the links I mentioned:

Geography Collective : want to do something different to support geography.
Learning Outside the Classroom: get pupils into the real world, safely
Geographical Association : become a member and get loads of support
Geography Teaching Today : full of advice and lesson ideas
Twitter : get yourself connected!
Google Reader : Follow this blog and others and get lots of ideas

Remember the words of Hugh Grant: 'no one is an island.' So stay in touch!

Pgce Enquiry Nov 09View more presentations from David Rogers.

Wikipedia and the classroom

I have been following an interesting discussion about the use of tools such as Wikipedia and YouTube in the classroom.

I've just finished listening to a BBC Scotland after Ollie Bray posted a link on Twitter. Interesting that the programme was biased (as most forms of media are) in that there was no right of reply for the mysterious 'Deputy Head.' This was mildly amusing to me, as the main thrust of the interview was to prove that other sources of information are biased and unreliable.

This bias is the very reason why teachers should be using wikipedia and co in the classroom. But, for the record:

Wikipedia is a tool. It is not the future of learning, nothing ever is. To my knowledge, no teaching is advicating the use of Wikipedia, or any other tool, as the 'Official Answer to Everything, ever'
A lot of the criticism assumes that Wikipedia is being used to source information. This is not necessarily true. For example, I use Wikipedia in order to introduce pupils …

Stormy pics from Worthing

BBC Box Day

The picture above shows the GPS tracker unit iside the BBC box. A group of pupils and myself headed to the BBC's Television Centre to welcome the box back home!

I'm not going to say much more than that, apart from it all started by getting the department involved in the School Report project. If you're going to get involved and need some tips - give me a shout!

Output from the pupils include:
Pirates and the High SeasWelcome homeThe young people were also interviewed live on BBC Breakfast and a number of the BBC's local radio stations. All in all, a good day!

Strict rules for the return of shipping containers.

Empty Shops and the Geography Collective

The empty shops project is coming along well. Thanks to Giles Babbage for the cheesy radio picture!

The plan is to cover the outside of shops above with some of the missions from the Geography Collective's Mission:Explore. Stay tuned for more details!

Sharing storm experiences

Considering the stormy nature of the SLN forum recently, I thought that a collaborative story sharing about the weekend's storms would be useful to refocus on the positive.

I started a thread for forum users to share their experiences. One member set up a wiki-map, so I also Tweeted the map details.



The slideshare below was used to support the lesson:

Portsmouth StormsView more presentations from David Rogers.

It should be noted, that the South Today images were used to compare this weekend's activity to March 2008.

This week, I am teaching this lesson to all of my Key Stage 3 classes. If we are to demonstrate how Geography is relevant to young people, this 'Floating Topicality' (Jeff Stanfied's term) is essential. We all had great fun sharing stories - remember, Geographical adventures and descriptions of places and experiences are all good geography!

This is a great example of collaboration - creating workable resources that can be used effectively across the country.…

Empty Shops Radio

As readers may be aware, I'm part of the Geography Collective. Over the past two weeks I've been developing a project that aims to reinvigorate some of Worthing's empty shops. Today I had teh pleasure of meeting @artistsmakers and @vobes at a former Allied Carpets showroom.

The plan was discussed and the wheels are in motion - so stay tuned for further developments. The project is linked to the Mission:Explore concept.

While there, I was interviewed for the Empty Shops Radio podcast. I'm on around 9 minutes in and discuss a few more details about the project.

Why teachers should have customer service training......

Not long ago a friend and I set off to complete the South Downs Way. The photo above shows my bike upended so I could fix a few punctures - flint is merciless when it comes to tyres and inner tubes! A little while later I departed company with my bike. At the time we were doing around 30 mph downhill. During this adventure, the seat post bent causing it to jam into the frame, my camera was smashed to bits and my shoulder has definitely seen better days. Still, we had a great time. Why?
My local bike shop spent a silly amount of time fixing my bike, and even improved my brakes for free;Jessops agreed to replace the camera for free, andThe B+B we stayed in allowed us to stay at short notice and locked our bikes in their garage, recommended a good pub for food and allowed us to order 6 sausages for breakfast.These are all examples of great customer service.

As a teacher I think that the young people and parents are customers. They deserve a better level of service. For example, we …

Collaboration, Google Spreadsheet Case Study - 2

I like to think that I am a fast learner. I used this youTube clip with Year 11 today:



The point was that in collaboration, a rugby team can perform well. Then this clip:




I made the point that when a team member upsets the apple cart, the whole team can suffer. Whether that is reputation, or task. Well, OK I really wanted to express my disappointment at blatant Kiwi cheating resulting in another Wales loss, however, the class did relate to the point I was trying to make. This worked well when applied to the GCSE case-study - if the group worked well together, everyone would benefit. For example, C/D border line pupils would be able to access work by more able pupils.

Macchu PicchuView more presentations from David Rogers.

The class were collaborating on a case-study about Machu Picchu in Peru. the blog post that supported the lesson can be found here.

The Google spreadsheet worked very well. This time, I labeled individual computers with a different aspect of the case study. These relat…

Google Docs in the Geography classroom

This post is aimed at teachers who are thinking of using Google Documents in the classroom.

I'm the first to admit, that I am sometimes a late adopter of new technology in the classroom. This is usually because I take some time to identify and plan how the tech in question can be used.

I have been using Google Docs for quite some time for collaboration with colleagues and other projects. Today I used the Google Spreadsheet for the first time.

I wanted a Year 10 class to revise their knowledge of coastal management techniques. This was in preparation for decision making essay they have to write for homework. I thought this would be an ideal opportunity and effective use of a Google Spreadsheet.

The result can be seen by clicking here. I'm fairly pleased with the result - and I hope to see an improvement in the essays compared to last year. The pupils seemed impressed by how quick the work was produced by working in collaboration.

I learnt a few lessons myself - I will be using G…

How do I find the time: Beyond the Google home page

This is a blog post aimed at supporting the Teacher Learning Communities session held today.

I introduced a two Google tools that improve productivity and, in my view, help improve learning. Both tools were aimed at teachers for improving continuous CPD.

1. Google Alerts

Great at keeping track of news events, especially if you teach a subject that relies covers lots of topical subjects. Also great for keeping track of your subject in the news.

2. Google Reader

Ollie Bray told me to start reading blogs in November 2006. Google Reader is a great tool for keeping a track of them. I introduced a number of blogs and have asked the group to keep am eye on them over the next half term. The blogs below were chosen as they are cross phase, cross curricular and have really challenged my thinking about LEARNING. They are also the blogs that have directed to to other blogs. I ignored Geography Blogs on purpose

Ollie Bray
Doug Belshaw
Tom Barrett (inb it's new home)
Dan Roberts

There are hundreds,…

Why it's all Ollie Bray's fault.

This is a picture of a meal I ate on the advice of a total stranger. This situation is all Ollie Bray's fault. Let me explain.

After the SAGT annual conference on Saturday, I was on my own in Edinburgh. I was hungry. So I asked my Twitter network for recommendations. @digitalmaverick came up with The Advocate just off the Royal Mile. There, I enjoyed a very tasty pint of ale and Scottish Game and Blackberry Bangers and Mash. To me, this is a great way of using a social network.

So what's it got to do with Ollie? In 2006 I sat through his 50 Ideas in 50 minutes workshop at the SAGT conference. I was impressed by his energy and one of his ideas was to start reading blogs. So I did. This led me to starting this blog, which is now close to having 20,000 reads. In turn, this led me down the road of Twitter and all things innovation and madness.

Ok, so it's not all Ollie's fault. SLN, Alan Parkinson and Dan Raven-Ellison has lots to do with it also.

Today, I repeated th…

And time goes by so slowly....

And I'm not thinking about that dodgy Robson and Gerome version either!

At SAGT and over the past few years I have been asked one question above any other: where do you find the time? When I consider where I was 10 years ago and then think about what I've managed to do - time does go slowly. Time has taken on a totally different meaning since becoming a new dad.

This post is an attempt to share with readers where I find the time. First a story:

Here I am at the end of what would be considered a 'minor epic' in Scottish mountaineering circles. It was very dark. The air temperature was around -10 degrees. The ground was sheet ice caused by lots of rain saturating the ground and then a sudden drop in temperature. It was just a tad scary.

The place was Ben Nevis. The photo below was taken very close to the summit. I have been up 'The Ben' many times using a variety of routes. 9 times out of 10 there has been no view. We stopped and took in what we saw. We took …

Reflections on SAGT

Well, needless to say it's early. I'm sat at Edinburgh airport, waiting for my plane home. I've been able to reflect on the years SAGT experience.

As I was presenting for the first time this year, I only had the chance to see the two keynotes. First up was Ollie Bray from Learning and Teaching Scotland. I enjoyed his talk very much. It was great to have some of my own views and ideas confirmed by Ollie as well as gaining a few more nuggets to think about.

What a really liked about the keynotes was that Ollie invited criticism at the start, whether it was via Twitter, email or face to face. Everyone in a classroom should also be inviting this level of criticism from our learners. Needless to say, I obliged ;-)

Looking back at the #sagt09 feed, another key point was one of collaboration. I often talk about the futility of reinventing the wheel. The age of a lone practitioner in his or her classroom is long gone, and there are fewer and fewer excuses to be a lone ranger. …

SAGT conference presentation

Well, another SAGT is over. I was privileged this year to be asked to present a workshop on some of my Citizenship ideas in Geography. They seemed to go down well - and I would invite feedback either via email or as a comment.

The presentation is embedded below. To vuew the links and references, view the presentation on slideshare and click the 'Notes on slide #'. You will also find my notes for the session.

I will post more detailed thoughts and reflections later - I want to ensure this is up for delegates to view.

Citizenship Through Geography Sagt 2009View more presentations from David Rogers.

Journey Journal by the Geography Collective

It's been a good week for exciting parcels! The first publication from the Geography Collective in partnership with Can of Worms, landed on the doorstep yesterday.

The Journey Journal is a place for young people to keep a record of an adventure, trip, holiday, exploration or other journey.

The pocket sized book is a passport to adventure that will allow young people to engage with their surroundings. Ideal for school visits, family holidays or independent adventures.

Some comments about the Journey Journal:

"We think this is a fabulous initiative to get young people interested in the people, culture and traditions of the countries they visit." The Travel Foundation

"The ideal document for all aspiring geographers to keep alongside their passport - see a new place and write your own book about it." Dr Nick Middleton, University of Oxford, writer and presenter of the 'Extremes' series on Channel 4

"So many children today interact more with the screen in f…

Citizenship Through Geography

I think teaching about 'Citizenship' (still don't like that word) is vital. However, I don't believe that it should be a discrete subject. Geography is ideally placed to explore controversial issues and the develop the confidence to successfully engage in our democratic society.

Took delivery of these rather nice purple books this week. The project is aimed at teachers of geography and suggests 5 'blot-on' units to existing popular topics. I hope that the book will help teachers to make simple changes to teaching in order to help young people take informed action. Informed participation is in the National Curriculum Geography orders and mentioned in the Curriculum for Excellence.

I will be talking about some of the principles and ideas behind Citizenship THROUGH Geography at the SAGT conference this weekend and at the GA Conference next year.

Themes covered:
1. What makes it so complicated to decide what's British?
2. Is food really glorious?
3. Everyone has ri…

GA Magazine

Received an email from the lovely people at the GA Office confirming my appointment to the GA Magazine's editorial collective. I will have some input into the Summer 2010 issue and am looking forward to getting stuck in!

The essential tools for elearning?

Back in September 2008 I posted about the basic tools I needed to survive the teaching week. We have new Teacher Learning Communities at school this year. It's a collection of teachers that have a common professional development need. I have been asked to facilitate the eLearning group. The first session can be found here. For the next session I want to share the top 5 eLearning tools that help to facilitate learning - this includes in the planning of lessons too. This is in part inspired by Tom Barrett's new e-newsletter, especially the 'Tom's Tech Tip' section.

This isn't settled yet but:

First - decide whether technology is the best way forward. Is there a better, more appropriate tool. For example, I love my Moleskin notebook as I still write (and spell) quicker with a pen - a product of my education that was not centered on technology. In addition, it is often more useful and productive to speak over the phone or face-to-face rather than via email or …

Citizenship through Geography

What an interesting week! Leaving the school day to one side, there has been a storm of media interest generated by Thursday's Question Time on BBC 1.

I wonder how many young people would have seen the broadcast? I wonder how that figure would compare to the number of young people who would be aware of the incident - whether it be through the internet or other forms of media? How many are aware of the BNP's views? How many are able to critically examine them?

Leaving aside my personal feelings on the issue - I didn't watch the broadcast as I didn;t feel there would be anything I didn't now already. My view about who to vote for was certainly not going to change.

But, how many of the BNP's supporters watch question time on a regular basis?

To me, these events have highlighted the need for robust teaching about 'Citizenship' (for want of a better word). I think that Geography is at the core of helping young people to understand and become more informed about …

The sustainable use of Twitter in the classroom

Twitter is a great resource to use in the classroom. However, it's very difficult to create a sustainable use of Twitter. By sustainable, I mean that a lesson could be used for each of our 10 classes across each year group in a secondary school with 1,250 pupils. That's a lot of good will from my Personal Learning Network. So how can we ensure that the use of Twitter becomes embedded in our curriculum?

As a curriculum leader it is vital that any teaching initiative can be applied across the whole age and ability range. As an eLearner it is important that other curriculum leaders and staff see that any initiative can easily and effectively embedded into the curriculum.

'What do you mean sir, you're still learning?'

Of course, using Twitter as a CPD tool for teachers is great, and I'm enjoying talking to pupils about how I use Twitter to develop my own learning. This role modeling should rub off as a model of professional behaviour and lifelong learning.

There …

Getting to grips with Guerilla Geography

Tried an experiment today that went well. Inspired by this landing on my doorstep and the work of Dan and others.

I tasked a Year 9 group to explore one of the school's buildings. They had to scout out possible locations for some Guerilla Geography Art. They then created notices to put around the school.

Guerilla Art GeograpyView more presentations from David Rogers.

The results were fantastic, I've shared some below.

The main outcome of the day was that the class felt like they were challenged to think about the space and place that they learn. What's your favorite?





Reflections on Subject Leadership

I started my current post in January 2008. It's been a long journey since then. I have tried to start collecting my thoughts, values and ideas about subject leadership and I am going to share these here. Many are ideas from others, and I have tried to acknowledge these people. This isn't the right way, just the way I have tried to do things and the lessons I have learnt. I wonder how many of these can apply to leadership in general. One of my goals this year is to read more widely about leadership.

I find it easier to structure my thoughts as images in a presentation. If people read the following then great. If not - it's a nice way to get my thoughts together. The following presentation was used in a recent Brighton and Hove Geography Subject Leaders event focused on raising achievement.


Reflections on leadership - a geography subject leader perspectiveView more presentations from geogrocks.

The following thoughts are very organic, and a bit messy. I've shared th…