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Showing posts from May, 2011

All of me in one place. Kind of….

I’ve been aware for a while now that my profiles are spread all over the internet. So here’s an attempt to rationalise them into one place:

Rambling recognised

In my professional life I am first and foremost a teacher.  I then perform the Curriculum Leader role and occasionally get involved in the odd whole school adventure.  In order to help me clarify thoughts and to share with the wider world, I started this blog. It provides me with a reflective platform and I always find it amazing, yet encouraging, that others read and take note.So, I must say a very humble thank you as I seem to have been awarded the Teacher Blog of the Year 2011 crown by the kind people over at the Education Blog Awards.  I’ve been lucky recently to be on the receiving end of a few awards recently, but this one means the most.  This is because this blog was nominated by readers in the first place and then judged by a panel of professionals that I admire and respect deeply.  I’m also humbled by finishing ahead (although only slightly I’d bet) of two other stunning teacher blogs.So thank you all.  I’m pleased to find that there is something of use in these pages And to…

Mission:Explore voted one of the National Trust’s outdoor books of the year.

We at the Geography Collective were very happy to find out that Mission:Explore has been voted one of the top Outdoor Books of the year.  This really is good news and we hope that many more people decide to get exploring as a result. This means a huge amount as the top eight books were voted for by the public.  If you’re a teacher and want to see how Mission:Explore can be used in schools, then I’ll be speaking this month at bMobLe and the Northern Grid for Learning conferences – come along and say hello!

The irony of winning the YouTube Dream Teachers Award

Today I had the honour of visiting Google’s UK HQ in London for the second time.  The first being for the Google Teacher Academy last year. I was there to pick up an award for the video embedded below.  Thank you to all of those who have used the video with young people and let me know.It’s been a funny day, having been interviewed by Julian Clegg on BBC Radio Solent’s breakfast show this morning.  You can listen to the interview here for the next 7 days (from 26th May). The interview starts around 57 minutes in. I’m left with a feeling of familiar frustration though.  The fact that these resources (let alone the thousands of others that are useful to learning) are blocked in around 85% of schools.  At the presentation, the MD of Google UK Matt Brittin, hinted that there may be a role for those gathered in tackling this issue.  I genuinely hope that this will turn in to a real opportunity.It was also great to meet and talk briefly to the other winners, and to view some of the other vid…

My learning on Leadership Pathways

Leadership Pathways is a programme run by the National College that aims to develop the skills needed for school leadership.  I am not going to comment on the programme itself, but am going to reflect upon the main lessons I have learned about leading a whole school change.Firstly, the change aimed to create co-constructed off-timetable enquiry days.  We wanted staff and pupils to learn together without the barriers normally associated with the curriculum. There are spin offs from the change, but this isn’t the appropriate place to announce them This wordle.net cloud summarises my learning.The diagram shows that people, learning, stakeholders and vision are at the heart of any whole school change.  My own learning can be summarised with two cartoons and two images.  I have used these before, and I have tried to note the original source.1.The first learning point is that most conversations need to be planned and that when events don’t follow their planned trajectory, it’s important to …

What makes an effective annotated map?

This post is one in a series aimed at Year 10 Priory Geographers.  Remember, all comments are moderated and no pupil comments will be published.Here are two resources to help you plan the two annotated maps that should accompany your introduction.  Download the first presentation to access a selected of photographs.  You can use these if you like, but remember to acknowledge the source.  It’s better if you use your own shots though! You’ll also find the criteria for what makes up a good annotated map. Also remember that a sketch map is worth more marks.What so I include on an annotated mapView more presentations from David Rogers. This second presentation is a partially completed annotated OS map.  Remember that your finished maps should have at least 5-6 detailed annotations.  You may want to plan at home what you will add onto your maps during the controlled conditions. What is vitally important is that you remember that once handed in, you will not be able to edit or change you work…

Year 10 Controlled Assessment Support

This post is aimed at Year 10 Priory Geographers to support their Controlled Assessment. Please note that all comments that appear to be made by students will not be published.1. The General Study areaHengistbury Head Location MapsView more presentations from David Rogers. 2. The follow up lessonHengistbury Head Follow up LessonView more presentations from David Rogers. Images by David Rogers, thanks to wordle.net for the word cloud.3. Introduction support – remember that examples are from last years work which was a different subjectIntroduction Materials for Fieldwork Focus IntroductionView more presentations from David Rogers. Also – remember to explore the views of other people by viewing the comments on this post.  You will explore these with your teacher in class.

Hengistbury Head Photosynth Resources

I have been playing around with the Photosynth App for iPhone while bimbling around Hengistbury Head with Year 10 on fieldwork.  The app allows the user to upload the photosynths to Bing Maps. You can view the ones created this week here. Hopefully the resource will be useful for others out there.This will be used to recap the visit with each class.  The geographers amongst you will notice some classic learning points such as the amount of beach material either side of groynes etc. The panoramas are not perfect, but good enough for the purpose.  Each took around 2-3 minutes to shoot, which isn’t a huge amount of time considering that the iPhone app then stitches the results automatically. These will be used as part of a lesson that I hope to share tomorrow, but so far I like the photosynth app as:It’s quick to use in the fieldProduces acceptable results – we don’t want to win prizes, just create teaching resourcesFree (if you already have access to an iPhone)You can still help Year 10…

Year 10 need your help! Can we get Twitter and Facebook in to a GCSE project?

I’ve been told that social media has no place in the classroom.  Now, this post is not to battle that argument head on.  Let’s smash it.This week, Year 10 are visiting Hengistbury Head.  They are investigating whether this piece of coastline should be protected.  They are wondering what you think?You may know the location well, you may not know it at all.  But we’d like to hear from you all the same.  This will either result in some usable data and comments, or not.  Either way, we'll know and I’m sure that your comments will help spark discussion in class!What would Year 10 like me to do?Just simply comment on this post or tweet me, with an answer to this question:‘Should Hengistubury Head be protected from the Sea?Just answer Yes or No and give a brief reason.  It would also be useful if you could tell us whether you know the area or not.Many thanks in anticipation……Image – my own.

Are you an advocate of ‘Fat’ or ‘Thin’ GCSEs? Frederick Soddy Award to support fieldwork.

Geography without fieldwork is unthinkable.  Getting GCSE students out to collect primary fieldwork data is a minefield, but thanks to a Frederick Soddy Award, we were able to take our students a little further afield this year.  I’d recommend putting in a bid!So, over the next three days (starting this morning!) Year 10 headed to Hengistbury Head to collect data.  Getting out to an inspiring location and one that contrasts with their own, means that young people not only meet the conditions of the Specification, the also develop as people.  This is what I call the ‘fat GCSE’ that we try to give. Let me explain:‘Thin’ GCSEs do not develop independent learning or personal qualities (Like collaboration above). This could be caused by spoon feeding. ‘Thin’ GCSEs may allow lots of resists, (personally I’m not a fan of modular GCSEs) redrafts………‘Fat’ GCSEs develop independent learning and personal qualities. One way to do this is to get young people outside and working together on a common…

Geography @ Priory heads to the GA Conference

I recently attended the GA Conference in Guildford.  I love this event, so it was with pleasure that all of the department decided to join me this year.  You can read about our adventures in the latest copy of the GA Magazine, which is available from the website if you are a member for free!

Like Mission Explore? Then help it become a book of the year.

The National Trust and Hay Festival are asking you to vote on your favourite ‘outdoors’ books of the year… We are asking you to vote for Mission:Explore.Mission:Explore has been created to encourage more children and families to enjoy and learn from exploring outdoors. The books not only include lots of illustrated activities, but lots of advice on how to explore in sensitive, curious and (reasonably) safe ways.They are looking to name six books in total and we would love Mission:Explore to be one of them. If you think our books should be named please take 30 seconds and vote here.http://bit.ly/voteMissionExplore

Mission:Explore wins Geovation for a second year

Received some excellent and very exiting news today from The Geography Collective’s chief explorer Daniel Raven-Ellsion.  Geovation, organised by the Ordnance Survey, have decided to fund Mission:Explore’s idea to get more young people using the National Cycle Network. This is great news and watch this space for more developments.This means that The Geography Collective projects are growing!Head over the the Ordnance Survey Blog for more details.

Thank you.

A cryptic tweet from Alan Parkinson this evening alerted me to the exciting news that this blog has been shortlisted for the Education Blog Awards 2011A big thank you to all those who have voted for these ramblings.  Really quite humbling.  When I started publishing my thoughts and ideas, I did so to provide a reflective space and a filing cabinet for ideas.It still amazes me that people read and find useful what's on here, but it’s great that there is something of use amongst the many photographs of me on holiday! So, nice and smiley regardless of what happens next! Check out the other great blogs shortlisted and best of luck to all.

MemoryMap iPhone App

As an outdoor instructor, I am a big fan of paper maps and a compass. Recent news stories have highlighted the danger of relying on smartphones for navigation in the hills.  To me, nothing beats the ability to use a map and compass where ever you are.Having said this, I am also a sucker for gadgets.  There are many many pieces of mapping software available for the iPhone.  MemoryMap has been around for a while, and I’ve recently discovered their iPhone App.I recently had the chance to have a real play with the App in the field.  the main use I can think of at the moment is that the map can be easily annotated and place marks created while outside.  Although there are other appsthat allow this, there is something fitter about using a proper OS map! The screen size of an iPhone is too small for any proper navigation, but I liked the logging function, speed etc.  Top marks are available to anyone who spots which campsite we were using Another aspect that I like about this app is the abil…

Microsoft Photosynth iPhone App

I’ve always maintained that I don’t have a preference for WHO provides the technology that we use. Just that it works.  Photosynth is something that I cam across thanks to the Partners in Learning Network and my colleague Jo Debens demonstrated its power when exploring school spaces as part of her award winning project.I’ve always found the software a little limiting in that you have to take a shed load of photographs to make it work really well. I also wanted to be able to take it mobile. Step in the new Photosynth iPhone App.  This to me is the way forward for technology in education: everyone making great tools available on everyone’s devices. We can already see the potential with this for the Geography classroom and, more importantly, out in the field.  For example we could:Create digital panoramas with students showing the places they like to most and least, analysing them for common features and describing space. Capture a record of a change in places. Use panoramas in class whe…