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Showing posts from November, 2009

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. …