Sunday, January 14, 2018

Twitter accounts to follow 2018

For many, using Twitter (or other social media sites...) is a quotidian experience. It helps them to keep informed about the world, and to make local and global connections.


I started using Twitter around 10 years ago, and have found it the most useful way to connect with thousands of other educators, source resources and ideas, and keep up to date with global events.
My account is @GeoBlogs - if you visit you won't be able to see my tweets unless you follow me. My account is protected.
This does however mean that because I have personally approved all the 4300+ people that follow me, I know that they are real people or organisations, and it is therefore a true follower figure, unlike most other accounts which are open and can therefore be followed by bots and have inflated reach.
It also means that people have wanted to follow me, and they tend to stay following once they have started.
For the last 4 or 5 years I've featured on the UKEdChat list of Twitter accounts worth following, which has grown in size over the years.
Checked earlier and good to say that I'm also on the 2018 version which can be seen embedded below or here.


Come over, follow me and let's start a conversation...

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Favourite books of 2017

I read a lot of great books in 2017, and here are a few of the ones that I enjoyed the most...

'Outskirts' - John Grindrod
'Here we are' - Oliver Jeffers
'Oak, Ash and Thorn' - Peter Fiennes
'Ghosts of the Tsunami' - Richard Lloyd Parry
'The Island' - Barry Smith
'Lots' - Marc Martin
'The Explorer' - Katherine Rundell
'Thin Air'and 'Dark Matter' - Michelle Paver
'The Cure for Catastrophe' - Robert Muir Wood
'Reflections on Primary Geography' - Simon Catling
'Snow' - Marcus Sedgwick
'Trace' - Lauret Savoy
Uniform Annual 2017
'Empire of Things' - Frank Trentmann
'21st Century Yokel' - Tom Cox
'Off the Map' - Alastair Bonnett
'Nomadland' - Jessica Bruden
'Vertical' - Stephen Graham
'Land of Plenty' - Charles Pye Smith
'Icebreaker' - Horatio Clare
'Curiocity' - Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose
'The Making of the British Landscape' - Nicholas Crane 

I have plenty piled up to read in 2018 too, starting with Jon McGregor's 'Reservoir 13'
After the last couple of years when I had lots of textbooks published that I'd co-written it was a fairly quiet year for writing. I had a chapter in 'Debates in Geography Education' - 2nd Edition edited by Mark Jones and David Lambert.
I also wrote a few articles for 'Primary Geography' one of which will appear in the next issue, and finished off the year with some work on answers for two revision guides for OCR GCSE Geography and a few other smaller pieces and resources, including my Ice Flows work, and Data Skills in Geography work for the RGS-IBG.
I've been working on some plans for 2018, and will be sharing it all here of course... 

For 400ish books for Geography teachers, check out my GeoLibrary blog of course...

Looking forward to this film...

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Shackleton Whisky

One of my favourite presents for Christmas was an engraved bottle of Shackleton whisky. This is a recreation of a whisky which was taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica in 1907.

Slainte...

What3Words - the photo app


what3words is a global grid of 3m x 3m squares where each square has been pre-allocated a fixed and unique 3 word address.
75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems.
This means that around 4 billion people are invisible; unable to report crime; unable to get deliveries or receive aid; and unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live.
It means that in remote locations water facilities can’t be found, monitored and fixed; and schools, refugee camps and informal settlements remain unaddressed. Even in countries with advanced systems, people get lost, packages aren’t delivered and businesses aren’t found.
Poor addressing is costly and annoying in developed countries, but limits growth and threatens lives in developing ones.
what3words means everyone and everywhere now has an address.

Source: What 3 Words website.

Over the Christmas period, they launched a new photo app.
This can be downloaded for iOS and Android.

It allows you to add the three word location to any image, which means that its location is shared and anyone with the address can find their way to the place where the photo was taken...
The new iPhone X can add GPS locations to images.

The Last Jedi

Recommended as a film to watch over the Christmas period...

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Dark is ... reading

Today is Midwinter's Eve: the 20th of December
It it today that the action starts in Susan Cooper's 'The Dark is Rising'.
This year, I will be re-reading the story in the company of thousands of others in a reading which has been orchestrated by Robert MacFarlane and Julia Bird. The hashtag #TheDarkisReading is trending on Twitter in the UK in the Top 5, so a lot of discussion around the book.

I've just read the action that takes place today, as Will Stanton prepares for his 11th birthday tomorrow, and the snow starts to fall, the rooks behave strangely, and "the Walker is abroad"...

If you have a copy, join the action, and if not then buy one or get it on Kindle Unlimited or some other way....

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Classroom Geographer Journals - memories from the 1970s and 1980s

Christmas holidays are a chance to catch up on the fun projects which have to be pushed to one side during term time. I've got quite a few lined up for the next few weeks to keep me active...

One project which has been staring at me for months now is the box of Classroom Geographer journals kindly donated by Neil Sealey.
This journal was the first to really offer a chance for teachers to read what other teachers were doing in their classrooms, as there were few opportunities to network in the 1970s and 1980s.
There was much talk of the 'New' Geography, and of traditional topics and approaches being replaced by the quantitative ideas of Central Place Theory, statistical models and early simulation games. It was published through the 1970s and 1980s, starting out at 20p per issue (including postage), with around 5 issues a year. It's been a good few hours now spent reading through the journals in date order, and finding interesting perspectives on Geography (so far from quite a male dominated perspective, and with more contributions from Geography masters, or university lecturers than classroom teachers...)
There have been a few familiar names cropping up so far, and I'm tweeting some things that appeal to me on my Twitter feed @GeoBlogs

I'd love to hear from anyone who has memories of this journal. I'm grateful to those people who have already shared their memories on how it influenced their practice, and introduced them to the work of other teachers at a time when few got to see what other teachers were doing beyond their own school.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

#TheDarkisReading

This is starting in just over a week's time...
I shall be taking part.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

TMGeographyIcons

For the last couple of years, there has been a teacher-led CPD event called Teachmeet HistoryIcons. It was developed by a group of history teachers, and runs very successfully with some sponsorship and support from companies and individuals, which mean the event is free to delegates. The next event is taking place in March 2018.

A group of geography teachers has been working on developing a Geography-related event which, with the backing of our History colleagues has now been organised by a rather fine group of  teachers, with a similar logo, and which will be hosted by the lovely folks at the University of Birmingham.
It will take place in June 2018.

You can sign up to join the Waiting List for a ticket from the Eventbrite page.
Tickets are FREE, but SOLD OUT.

The event has a keynote from a teacher and an academic, although Teachmeets don't traditionally have a keynote, this one does... and for some reason the very lovely and generous Mrs. Humanities, who is on the organising team, asked me to do the teacher highlight talk, and I was delighted to say yes.... There have been some very kind comments on Twitter as a result of this news going out yesterday...






To follow the developments as the event gets closer, particularly any possibility of further tickets, you'd be best to follow @TMGeogIcons on Twitter.
And of course you can follow me. There has been a flurry of new followers over the last 24 hours.

I look forward to seeing some of you in June. I'm starting to think about how I can make my talk memorable, useful and profoundly geographical... I've got a few ideas...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

#125geotips to come...

As a member of the Geographical Association's Secondary Phase Committee for the last 13 years (with a short break while I worked for the GA), I've presented many times at the GA Conference since, and also been involved in national curriculum change discussions, awarding body consultations for new GCSEs, consultative groups, book reviewing and many other contributions to the work of the GA.
Follow us on Twitter too please @GA_SPC

This year we are tweeting out 125 Top Tips.
We've produced a series of Top Tips before, and you can access or download them all from our SPC page on the GA website.

Here's the Advent Calendar that I put together to get the project off to a good start too...
Keep following for the next 125 days, which are also a countdown (or count up) to the GA Conference in Sheffield.
2018 marks the 125th anniversary of the GA, hence the 125 tips

Follow us on #125geotips and please feel free to send us any suggestions of your own to get involved in the project please. We'll happily RT your own geographical toptips with the hashtag...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Whatever happened to me...

Although I'd never been to Newcastle when I was in my teens, I knew about it, and the areas that had been cleared for new development, and the working class life which was giving way to those who were 'improving their lives', the growth in home ownership, urban redevelopment and other issues.
This was via the lives of Bob and Terry, and Bob's fiancee Thelma, and Bob's sister Audrey.

I 'knew' about Newcastle via 'Whatever happened to the Likely Lads'...

These are some of the most memorable characters and episodes of TV comedy that have been broadcast. Remember Bob and Terry trying to avoid Brian Glover telling them the result of the England match, the Fancy Dress party and Bob in the dock for fighting.

Sad news from a few days ago with the death of Rodney Bewes.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lost ice and lost meaning

A New York Times article which has a relevance for the work I am doing on Polar regions at the moment, but also a tremendous resonance about the connection between people and ice.
I will be adding this to some articles from the 'Earth' magazine, which explore the changing lives of Inuit hunters, and the changing landscapes they now need to navigate.

“Inuit are people of the sea ice. If there is no more sea ice, how can we be people of the sea ice?”

Friday, November 17, 2017

Landscapes of Detectorists

Detectorists is one of the best things that has been on the telly over the last few years.
Now there is an opportunity to prepare a paper connected with it for the RGS-IBG Annual Conference in 2018.

The focus is on Landscapes, and there is no shortage of recent reading I've done that would connect with that, such as David Matless's book 'Landscape and Englishness' and recent work by Rebecca Solnit and Lauret Savoy.

I'm almost tempted to put something together as a contribution, but haven't much experience in academic conferences, other than the GTE.

The conference strand is described as follows by Innes Keighren:

Where “Detectorists” is distinct from most situation comedies is that much of the action takes place outdoors, in the fields and meadows where the programme’s protagonists pursue their hobby. Both aesthetically and thematically, landscape dominates “Detectorists”. Filmed on location in Framlingham, Suffolk—standing in for Essex, and the fictional town of Danebury—the visual palate of the programme enfolds a non-human supporting cast of insects, birds, plants, and trees, and variously echoes the landscape paintings of Thomas Gainsborough and George Shaw, and the cinematic vision of Peter Hall’s “Akenfield” (1974). 
Landscape is, also, the focus of the protagonists’ preoccupations; it is variously walked, surveyed, sensed, gazed upon, read, and dug. 
Landscape is where the programme’s characters seek solitude, find companionship, and navigate the sometimes dramatic intrusions from ‘the rude world’. 
Landscape reveals the past while concealing the prospect of future discovery.