Thursday, April 28, 2011

#ukcside - the British seaside...

Another great collaborative Twitter project response...

Yesterday, I asked colleagues who follow me to provide some descriptions of the British Seaside...
Words that appear larger were mentioned more frequently by the word cloud generator.

First of all a WORDLE - click the image below to be taken to the Wordle page...
Wordle: #ukcside

Here is a Tagxedo version of the Wordle...
Click for biggery...

Thanks for all the contributors.
What words would you choose ? 
How could you use this diagram as a resource in the classroom or for a homework task ?

Monday, April 25, 2011

GA News: your help needed please...

I would like to ask for your help if that's OK...

I find myself  in a rather strange position that I've never been in before..

The Action Plan for Geography 1 & 2 funding that the GA has had for the last 5 years comes to an end this month and the result of the myriad of current changes in education, school funding streams, closure of support organisations and general uncertainty means that project funding is not available to support the work of the subject associations in the way that it has been in the past.
In order to reduce costs in the short term, and ensure that the Geographical Association has a longer term future, staff time reductions have been made, and sadly I am affected by this. I was anticipating a reduction in time due to the financial situation facing schools, local authorities, and the majority of the country. I also know that there are many other colleagues in a similar situation...

However, the reduction in my time is rather more than I was hoping, or planning for. It is a reduction to zero, and from the end of May (or August as I have 3 months notice to work) I will be unemployed.

I would be very grateful if you could give some thought to any opportunities for me to work with you, or for other opportunities that you are aware of that you think might suit me.....

If you are reading this blog then I hope you are well aware of the substantial contribution to education (particularly of the geographical kind) that I have made over the last decade, which has included:

- Websites such as GeographyPages, which contains thousands of weblinks and freely shared resources and still attracts 50 000 visitors a month on average
- Weblogs such as Living Geography, GeoBlogs, Supporting Geography Teachers, Look at Landscapes etc.
- Innovative Geography teacher projects such as the Geography of Happiness Project, GeoBlogs project and the Google Earth Users Guide - thousands of blog posts with daily updates
- Creation of the GCSE and 'A' level NINGS for most of the new specifications - introduced the idea of Nings and sharing for new specification changes- thousands of members of these networks now benefit from the sharing of the core community
- Thousands of posts and moderation of the SLN Geography Forum since 2004
- Twitter stream with thousands of resources and other links at @GeoBlogs
- GA Magazine editorial, Webwatch columns, and other content and articles
- Articles for Teaching Geography, Geography, ApoGeo (Portugal), OS Mapping News, Education Guardian and other journals and newsletters
- The 'Language of Landscape' resource that accompanied the OS Free Maps for Schools in 2010
- Online CPD courses for the TLA and TDA
- The 'Functional Skills' National Strategy booklet and activities
- The KS3 Toolkit book "Look at it this Way"
- Secondary Geography Handbook extension project on EAL
- Developing GIS course which has been used around the country in association with Esri (UK), as well as plenty of free GIS stuff including Google Earth and other software such as Aegis, Many Eyes etc.
- Mission in Mission:Explore, Mission:Explore On the Road and Mission:Explore Camping, plus iPhone app
- Numerous short pieces, reviews and BETT reviews in 'Education Guardian'
- Authored numerous content for the GA website including a whole series of Online CPD units on the theme of Geographies of Food, Food Security, Geography and Careers
- Resources on events such as the Japanese Tsunami and the Eyjafjallajokull eruption which resulted in the highest daily visitor totals to GA website
- Forthcoming books to support KS3 and iGCSE teachers by a number of publishers
- Thousands of shared photos on Flickr account
- Over 170 events attended since September 2008 at numerous schools, Universities, Conference venues and GA branches with over 60 000 miles driven in my faithful black Citroen... and many late night train journeys and usage of my Travelodge "loyalty card"...
- CfBT Regional Subject Advisory role in the East of England for the last curriculum change
- Support for a large range of organisations in terms of consultation, ideas, support, publicity
- Numerous references and letters of support written for projects
- Plenty more that I could mention....

and of course thousands of phone calls, e-mails, blog comments, Twitter conversations and other professional support and development.
If there's an idea, resource, website or geographical thing out there, I've probably blogged it, tweeted it or came up with it in the first place. I am very grateful for the opportunity that I have had to work for the Geographical Association for the last three years.

I'd like to carry on doing that, or to return to the classroom (although I'm 'old' and expensive so that could be an issue for me too....) - have been checking the TES for the last few months and you might see me at an interview near you shortly...

I do have some events and projects already lined up, and some colleagues and contacts have already been in touch to offer me some work. I am VERY grateful to them for that, and will be telling you more about them over the next few months as I slowly adjust to the news. However, this will currently not bring in enough money on the regular monthly basis that I need...

As always, you can see where I am going to be by looking at the right hand column of the LivingGeography blog. If there's a date that I'm not already booked and you have something appropriate please get in touch. I do travel... :)
Have worked with teachers in Iceland and Austria (with Poland to come...)

I hope to carry on "living geography" for a good while yet....
Thanks for reading...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mass (Geographical) Observation

One of the things that I am quietly 'obsessed' (ish) with is the Mass Observation project, which dates back to the 1930s
I have a number of books which drew on the project: one by Simon Garfield, and several chunky ones by David Kynaston.

I keep checking on the recruitment criteria, but sadly they never seem to want people my age in my geographical area.

Elements of Mass Observation also creep into several other books that I own, and there are elements of cultural geography in the data patterns and other outcomes from the project.

Now everyone has the chance to be a Mass Observation person for the day, and the day is the 12th of May, which is coming up.

Details of how to participate are HERE

You'll need to keep a diary on the day in electronic form, and include a disclaimer that it can be used in the archive...

Write as much as you can about what you do, who you meet, what you talk about, what you eat and drink, what you buy or sell, what you are working on, the places you visit, the people you meet, the things you read, see and hear around you and of course what you yourself think.


I'll be taking part, and will be having a typically geographical day I'm sure...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GA Conference 2011 - University of Surrey, Guildford

A number of posts are appearing over at my LIVING GEOGRAPHY blog on the follow-up to the GA Conference 2011.

There were some wonderful sessions.... but enough about me...

Anne Greaves has started to post resources from the conference on the GA WEBSITE.

Image by Bryan Ledgard
Copyright Geographical Association

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

GA Conference 2011

If you are reading this blog you may well be heading to the GA conference at the University of Surrey in Guildford.
It's next week, which is a bit scary as I still have a lot to organise, but cracking through it today.
Just been circling the sessions that I'm planning to attend in my conference booklet, and there are plenty of them... the variety of sessions means that there is definitely something for everyone...
One additional event that isn't on the programme is the chance to meet myself, Richard Allaway of "Geography all the Way" fame, and David Rogers: author, teacher and chair of the GA's Secondary Committee... We will be in a pub near the centre of Guildford at around 8.30pm...
The drinks won't be free... but they'll be reasonably priced...

Full details, including maps and everything, are on Richard Allaway's GEOGALOT blog...


What are you most looking forward to at the GA Conference this year ?

Don't forget the hashtag... #gaconf11