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Showing posts from October, 2010

What’s the point of a pre-visit?

Looking over Reykjavik watching the sun go down. (Photo – D Rogers) This post aims to describe some of the activities involved in a pre-visit.  There are two main purposes of a pre-visit to a destination: To check that learning activities are appropriate to the location To check that young people and staff will have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience.  This includes checking value for money. Over the past two weeks I have been involved in two pre-visits (or inspection trips) to the Dorset Coast and Iceland.  I intend to focus on the Iceland visit, which is both residential and hazardous. During any per-visit, I tend to take notes using Evernote on the iPhone as it allows me to take images (for example of safety notices) and use text.Over the course of the visit I need to satisfy the following questions: 1. What sort of trip will it be and do the locations allow the learning objectives to be met? In the case of Iceland, the trip is an enrichment, no cl

Live to Cape Fear!

This was a quick snap taken during the excellent Skype call between my school and Cape Fear Centre of Inquiry in the USA.  The link was made possible by Atlantic Rising , a project that I have mentioned before. After some technical gremlins, the students shared a selection of photographs and information about their locations. I have embedded these below.  It would be great if you could comment on their choice of images. They were restricted to using five slides and needed to select images that represented their local area. The first thing to strike our students was that there were very many contrasts, but even more similarities! We are now looking to see how this project could be moved on. We very much hope that this will turn in to a sustainable link, and look forward to the possibility of Atlantic Rising visiting our school. If you haven’t heard about Atlantic Rising before, it’s well worth looking at what they do – lots of useful resources for Geography teaching there (

Scottish Association of Geography Teachers Annual Conference

A journey to Glasgow with the family to deliver two seminars at the annual SAGT Conference.  I really enjoy this event, and it was great to see so many familiar faces.  At one point, myself, Alan Parkinson, Noel Jenkins and Dan Raven Ellison were using all of the Geography department classrooms – just think what a department that would be! My talks focused on Doorstep Geography . The main part of the session involved delegates getting out and about to try some of the activities. My feelings are that fieldwork is so important to geography and (more importantly) the wider development of children, that fieldwork (whether on the school night or not) should be happening for every class, in every year group at least once per half term. I also firmly believe that teacher need to take unplanned risks every now and again by not knowing exactly what they are going to do. Doorstep Geography is a concept that was developed by the GA’s Secondary Phase Committee . My presentation slides ar

Chair of the Geographical Association’s Secondary Phase Committee

I have been involved with the Geographical Association’s Secondary Phase Committee for for a few years now.  Last week I was delighted to be asked by the committee to act as the Chair of the group. The Geographical Association is a subject association that supports primary and secondary geography teachers through a range of CPD, publications, advice and events.  The Secondary Phase Committee is a diverse mix of geography experts who take part in a wide range of activities. Our common features are our passion for learning, geography and sense of humour. Delivering workshops at the Association’s Annual Conference. In 2010 these included: The Geography Swap Shop and Putting Geography Back on the Map . Putting Geography back on the map View more presentations from David Rogers . Creating simple and accessible ‘Top Tips’ for a range of geography teaching issues.  These can be downloaded for free here . Monitor the views, interests, concerns and issues faci

Portsmouth Area Geography Network

  Yesterday marked the first meeting of the Portsmouth Area Geography Network.  The network, which is supported by the Royal Geographical Society, aims to provide an informal forum in which geography educators can support each other. Yesterday’s gathering focussed on the use of Google Earth and Bing Maps in the classroom using three principles: Google Earth is freely available Google Earth is Free Google Erath is simple to use For those of you that are fans of the Apprentice, Google Earth and Bing Maps are ‘JFDI.’ First meeting 12 oct 2010 View more presentations from David Rogers . The session was split into three sections: Built in features For example the timeline, distance ruler and sightseeing tours Internet Available features How to download KML, KMZ and map overlays. Features that teachers create Such as placemarks, tours and how to use the programme in order to support GCSE Controlled Assessment.   The group intends to meet once e

Learning doesn’t always need ‘new’ tech

Last weekend was spent in the New Forest National Park training teachers and other adults how to train young people for their Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition. The weekend is quite demanding consisting of: Classroom based activities on risk assessment, route planning, training programme design, teaching techniques and stove safety. A 5 hour day walk in which each candidate gets to lead one or two legs. A 3 hour night navigation exercise – I usually get the group to act collectively, and ensure that they get ‘lost.’ This allows them to empathise with how young people feel during the day.  Candidates then get an individual leg to lead. All of this while camping on a school field and cooking as a team.  It struck me that technology took a very back seat and that I still encourage groups to only carry a ‘group emergency phone.’ It’s an example of where ‘new’ technology, rather than enhancing the learning experience, takes something away.

Will you be ready to Mission:Explore at #ukief10 ?

Next month it's the UK leg of the Innovative Education Forum . I’ll be leading one of the workshops: Technology and Outdoor Learning: the best of friends? I’m very much looking forward to sharing how Mission:Explore can help develop learning and how technology can be used to transform the learning, collaborating and sharing process. Participants in the workshop will get the chance to get hands on with some of the missions – not much sitting down is planned! This will enable each group to consider how Mission Based Learning can fit in to your establishment. I also plan to talk about some other uses of technology when supporting outdoor learning. So, the only question is whether I will see you there?