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Showing posts from April, 2011

Iceland Days 3,4 and 5

We mainly got up to:Waterfalls:Glaciers:Beaches:Making sand angels:Popping by to see the President:Thank you to the awesome staff team of Jo Debens and Paula Withers!Iceland 2011 signing off.

Iceland Days 1 and 2

All is well – the pupils are fantastic and are coping very well with the very Icelandic weather!A few shots of what we’ve been up to so far:Floating in the Blue Lagoon after the long journey:Investigating the fissures between the North American and Eurasian tectonic platesGetting soaked by Geysers!Getting acquainted with geography in action:Scrambling around an extinct volcano:Roll on Day 3!

Have you seen the Partners in Learning YouTube channel?

Stuart Ball has many sayings.  One of my favourites is all about using existing tools in better ways rather than investing in new tools.  The Partners in Learning YouTube channel is rammed with short Innovids.  These are screencasts put together by teachers and show ways in which Microsoft software can be used by teachers to support learning. There are also a range of other videos there, including keynote sessions. I would fully recommend subscribing. Here are some examples:Find out how OneNote can automatically take notes from other programs: Sugatra Mitra’s Keynote at the Innovative Teachers Forum: How to create a simple game using Kodu: And this one if you want to see me with a moustache :

#gaconf11 Mission:Explore exploration

This year saw the second Mission:Explore field visit.  The aims of the session were to familiarise teachers with naughty, mission based learning and to have a bit of a giggle. The images in this post are a selection from those posted on Twitter during the session.I would like to thank the 40 or so participants for creating a really energetic session. We saw everything from the creation of accent sound maps to building bridges. The main learning points of the session were:Mission:Explore are not textbooks. They aren’t written for teachers and you should never start at Mission 1 and move forward.As mentioned before and by many others, Teachers are creative – use the missions to create schemes of work, lessons, learning points. Remember, it’s often the conversations afterward that the Geography comes out overtly. The rest of the time its covert, a little silly and a touch naughty.

#gaconf11 How can school grounds be used to explore space?

This early lecture on Saturday was presented with Jo Debens (@GeoDebs).  The subject was the multi award winning project that aimed to engage young people with school space. There were a number of overlapping themes, but the main messages were how to produce a creative curriculum, how simple and freely available tools can be used to develop young people’s understanding of geography while developing skills and how the profile of geography can be raised.The key message is that pupils can, and should, be involved in changing their school spaces, on any level.  Even micro or small changes can make a huge difference.Thank you to the 21st Century Learning Alliance, Royal Geographical Society, Microsoft Partners in Learning and The Geography Collective.The slides are embedded below, but please get in touch if you would like to see any more.How can school ground be used for fieldwork?View more presentations from David Rogers. The session concluded with some ideas for moving forward:What is you…

#gaconf11 SPC Session: Geography: it tick(les) the boxes others cannot reach.

This post is the first from the Geographical Association’s Annual Conference 2001 which is taking place in Guildford.  The slideshow embedded below. They will also be available on the Secondary Phase Committee pages and I’m sure the GA Conference pages soon also.The session had two aims:1. To help geography leaders see how geography can contribute to wider curriculum aims.  This can promote the subject within schools and, more importantly, contribute to the education of children.2. To help geography teachers put some of this into practice by sharing ideas.To us at the SPC, who are a community of people, networks and communities of teachers are vital, especially in the light of continuous curriculum change.  We should also add that we see all geographers as leaders of geography regardless of role.Geography: it tick(les) those boxes others cannot reach.View more presentations from David Rogers. These ideas were based upon discussions at SPC meetings and also our top ten tips for Geograph…

Geocaching. What? Why? How?

Short, rough around the edges video on geocaching aimed at teachers who may not know very much about it. Produced for Ian Addison and his Under 10 minutes site.

Jamie Oliver’s Dream Teachers

I received some very exciting news at the beginning of this week.  The longshore drift revision video  posted here last week was selected as the Geography winner of Jamie’s Dream Teachers.This is great, great news as it effectively trebles our department budget and will mean that we get to explore a whole world of possibilities that we had almost given up on.A huge thank you to all of those who have shared kind words before and after the announcement.It also means that I have some spare change to pay for our wedding this August

GA Conference 2011

Last year we launched Mission:Explore at the GA Conference. This year’s starts on Thursday.  I posted about some of the highlights that I’m looking forward to back in January.  This post acts as a shameless plug for some of the activities that the Secondary Phase Committee, Geography @ Priory and the Geography Collective are up to.  Hope to see you there.  For those not there, follow the event using #gaconf11.Friday 15th June11:40 Geography: It tick(les) the boxes others cannot reachOrganised by the SPC, this active workshop will see how Geography is not only essential to young people’s education but how the subject can be the cornerstone of delivering many cross-curricular dimensions and other initiatives.  The aim is to share a number of ideas as well as seeing examples of where Geography can lead the way on whole school projects.13:00 PGCE / NQT Survival toolkitThe excellent Lisa Whiting has been part of the geography team at Priory for just over a year now, joining us as a PGCE st…

GA Conference Beer Meet 2011

The Annual Geographical Association’s Conference begins on Thursday.  I always really enjoy the event – it’s always good to meet with fellow geography activists, teachers and like minded people.One of the highlights in the past two or so years has been the homage to hand pulled ale arranged for the Friday evening.  It’s an important event as our colleagues who work on the continent crave such staples of the UK!This is an informal opportunity to network with a great bunch of geographers, make contacts, swap ideas or just chat about geography related issues. Hand pulled Ale optional If you’d like to come along, Rich Allaway, Alan Parkinson and myself will be at The Albany pub from about 8:30 ish on Friday 15th April.  No doubt Rich will be sporting one of his bright geographyalltheway.com T-Shirts so we should be easy enough to spot…..Most of my Geography team will also be there, so if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work with me………

Iceland Final Preparations

An overseas residential trip with young people is always stressful.  In this post I aim to share the last minute thoughts and preparations that I go trough.  This post links to an early one about the pre-visit stage. The final preparations assume that all money and forms have been collected in.  This is not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the tips that I have found useful in the past:Create A5 booklets of medical forms and passport information and give one to each member of staff.Split the group in to smaller registration groups. So with 30 pupils and 3 staff there would be 3 groups of 10.  This is far easier and far far less faff than registering the whole group each time. Give staff laminated, colour coded, lists of pupils and take spares.Give out hoodies. These are great for identifying pupils in the airport that should be with you.Scan in and email to staff a PDF which contains all passport and medical information.  That way all we need is an internet connection if somet…

What am I?

An interesting day culminating in the chance to meet some candidates for the headship available at my school.  I may well take this post down later as being too pretentious.  A remark by someone about expecting questions about mobile technology (I asked about learning spaces) got me thinking about what people know about me.  I hadn’t met this person before and yet they made an assumption.Strange really, as the technology side of our department is only around 20% maximum of what we do. Taking inspiration from the gapingvoid manifesto I thought I’d make a crude attempt at summing up what I am about:Geography is my passion. I believe that it holds the key to creating individuals who not only understand their world but who are able to engage with it and, more importantly, to change it. However, the education of individuals (and not just children) is far more important to me.Sometimes the most innovative thing we can do involves a piece of paper and a pint of tea. Technology isn’t necessar…

Using a diagram explain the process of longshore drift. Revision video.

I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a video for Jamie’s Dream Teacher YouTube channel for a while.  It wasn’t until I needed a short revision video about longshore drift for my own classes that I got around to creating the video embedded below last night.  Tide was far far far out in Goring-be-Sea yesterday, so I had to improvise! Hopefully it will be of some use for teachers. I’m posting it here as I know that revision season will soon be upon us…..

It’s not about the tools, it’s about the box

On my way in to work this morning I had a revelation.  I’ve always believed that as a teacher I should have a large range of tools in my toolbox.What I’ve been missing is that it’s about the toolbox, not the tools.  If it were only about the tools, we wouldn’t need teachers as the tools would do the work for us.  A good teacher will select the appropriate tool and create the opportunity to use it in a way that transforms learning and outcomes.It’s not about new tools but using existing ones better.It’s about investing in teachers and their development, not in providing more tools.It makes sense to me ;-)