The image above was taken by a rather cool laser scanner just after the final picnic lunch of The Goldsmiths’ Company Science for Society course put together by the lovely people at Southampton University's Geography Department. The course is supported by Ordnance Survey and The Goldsmiths’ Company, one of the ‘old school’ livery companies within the City of London.
Rather than give you a full rundown of the content, you can head over to the Earth Surface Dynamics Blog here for a list of resources and links. I wonder how many geography departments could rebrand some of their Geography as ‘Earth Surface Dynamics’…..?
The week long course was an excellent opportunity given to me as a result of this. First, the week long course is well worth the effort, although those that are rather ‘out of touch’ with current developments in geography would benefit more than those either new to the profession or fairly active geographers. I went along to a similar course in 2007 (!!!) linked to sustainability. I enjoyed talking to geography academics and finding out about their research before reflecting ways in which we can link to Key Stage 3 and 4 geography.
In addition, it was great to have some ‘hands-on’ fieldwork to see how the fundamental skills of fieldwork link into the high tech versions using total stations and laser scanners.
The main message that I would like to give to geography teachers in the UK is that geography is a science. Therefore, it can be part of STEM. Furthermore, we are doing a disservice to the young people we come in to contact with if we don’t expose them to the maths and science (especially Physics for climatology and Biology) of geography. If you want to work at the Met Office or climate change, you need a firm grasp of maths and physics for example. Geography teachers, whilst banging the geography drum, often forget this.
So, get involved in the STEM activities that are available and I would recommend getting on to any future courses.