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Showing posts from October, 2011

[de] Oceans Teacher Academy and why we should be teaching about our oceans.

'The more you learn about the oceans, the more you realise how important it is to know more about it' A week or so ago I was just getting back from the first Oceans Academy run by Digital Explorer .  The aim of this post is to share some reflections on the weekend and about the oceans in general. After the weekend, it became very clear to me that our team need to be teaching about oceans. In fact, they should be embedded throughout the curriculum. Firstly, a huge thank you to Jamie and Sarah at Digital Explorer for putting together such an inspirational weekend. Also a huge thanks to Helen, Ceri and Mark – real polar scientists who were enthusiastic about their subjects and, more importantly, willing to share and reach out. There should be more opportunities for teachers to meet and work with scientists. Many CPD events have me clock watching, ‘locked’ in a basement, talked to continually or wondering why.  This weekend balanced the need for training, a campaign mes

Microsoft Partners in Learning Forum 2011

I have a lot of time for Stuart Ball and those involved with Microsoft Partners in Learning.  Having been involved with them for the past two years, I love their philosophy and approach to providing recognition and training for teachers.  I like the way that they don’t pretend to be experts in learning, but defer to teachers that are active in the classroom.  Finally, I like the way that they encourage teachers to make the most of what they have. I’m also a great believer in using the best tool for the job, why is why I would recommend heading to the annual Forum in Reading.  Full details on the event are below: The 8th Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’ This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24 th

Mission:Explore reloaded–time for some naughty learning.

I’m a big fan of naughty learning and regular readers will remember my involvement with Mission:Explore.  Although I’m taking a back seat at the moment, I thought that I’s share how we are using the new look website. Firstly, we are one of the Challengers on the site: This allows us to create missions that are tailored for our pupils and location, although the missions can be completed anywhere.  For example, one of our missions is all about creating inspiring ceilings.  You can complete it by visiting our profile! (After registering with the site). We have had Mission:Explore missions embedded into our geography curriculum for a couple of years now, within mini-units called ‘Guerrilla Geography.’ However, the new site has added another dimension to our work.  For example, Using the site to create a special Open Evening mini-exploration mission. Setting homework – giving pupils a target of completing one or two missions in their local area. If you’re thinking of

Digital Explorer: Oceans Teacher weekend

I am very excited to be one of those attending the first Digital Explorer Oceans Teacher Training events this weekend down on the South Coast.  Stay tuned for details of what we got up to and the changes to our curriculum as a result.

Vital Geography Portal

It’s easy to get weary and lose track of the many sources of information that are available on the internet these days.  However, the new Geography Portal from the people at Vital promises to be a useful stop.  The layout makes it easy to see what’s useful, and Alan Parkinson’s video guides to useful geography web sites are a good addition. You’ll also find links to other useful resources and CPD events.  There is also the opportunity be get involved in the webchats – which I missed last week, but knowing Alan will be useful and informative. Well worth a look as there is a free trial on offer, although the full subscription rate of £5 certainly seems worth the gain in time spent looking for those links and websites elsewhere!

It’s time for Movember

Last year, November saw my son’s christening, Microsoft’s Innovative Education Forum and a number of other events.  At each one, I was sporting a moustache grown in support of Movember .  See my progress last year here: Movember supports: The Movember Effect: Awareness & Education, Survivorship, Research The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers - prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research. For more information on the programmes we are funding please visit the following: The Prostate Cancer Charity The Institute of Cancer Research Awareness

Coastal Fieldwork–some resources

A very hot day down on the coast yesterday.  We managed to create a few resources which may be of some use to others. 1. Photosynths Created using the Photosynth iPhone app. These are great when back in the classroom as the 360 degree images really do help our students remember what they saw. Chewton Bunny: Hurst Castle Spit: It’s still confusing to view them on Bing Maps as the two don’t seem to have a simple link between the two, however, both of these are Geotagged. 2. Flickr images   The pupils also created a series of 2 minute revision clips on location.  As these contain images of young people, they won’t be shared. The aim of the trip was to expose the class to a wide range of data collection techniques in preparation for their Controlled Assessment fieldtrip in April.  The visit is essential to orientate students to the area (for most of our pupils, these were the biggest waves they’d seen EVER!).  Also, as our main Controlled Assessment project is

Creating a mobile policy

Another resource designed to tell the story of how we created a mobile learning policy.  I say ‘we’ – the pupils themselves designed and implemented it!