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Showing posts from December, 2009

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…