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Inspirational learning starts with a blank page…


I am very fortunate to be able to work with trainee teachers and be involved with staff development from time to time.  One of the main points of our Microsoft Tools presentation at the recent Geographical Association Conference is that truly inspirational, creative, effective learning stems from starting with a blank page.  In my opinion, nothing great ever came from starting with a blank PowerPoint, Google presentation, Keynote or Prezi.  The image to the right shows some of my thinking behind Priory Geography’s first meeting in the start of this Academic year.

The main reason for this is that great learning experiences start with sound, contextualised learning objectives rather than resources.  Resource the learning rather than match learning objectives to resources.

This page, some of the planning behind the award winning volcano study pack. In fact they are the field study notes written while in Iceland.


I like using Moleskin notebooks and honestly prefer to think using them over anything electronic. The latest replacement is a rather nifty limited edition Star Wars design.


It has lots of blank pages.  Time to get creative, naughty, inspired, sorted.

photo (1)

Is it wrong that I have goose bumps thinking about it?


  1. I think it depends on the person and what motivates them. A recent colleague of mine would always prefer to work at a table with everything to hand, spread out, only using the computer when necessary. I, on the other hand, prefer to work with an iPad or computer (with appropriate tools) as I find myself organising my thoughts (and self) better this way. I worry that I may lose or destroy a physical notebook, but happier knowing that my electronic notebook (notability app) is backed up. I do now recognise that different people will work in different ways.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I think that we are in agreement that different approaches work for different people. This post is, as always, a personal reflection and opinion.

    However, I would say that I'd consider starting with a blank note taking or mondmapping app the same as starting with a physical peice of paper ;-) The main point I wished to achieve was that great learning experiences start with the tools for planning rather than the process of lesson resource creation.

    I guess I've seen too many lessons thr have activities with no clear link to learning objectives or outcomes.

    Best wishes

    David :-)


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