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Showing posts from May, 2017

UK County Word Cloud Project

I've made quite a few word clouds of places over the years... they are a nice way to capture the thoughts of a group of people on a place, or something else... There are plenty of ways of making them, including WordFoto (one of my favourites), Word Art, Wordle (of course) and Tagxedo... (and that's just a few from many...) Earlier today, I made a word cloud of Cornwall to go along with a writing project which I had started to develop. This was made with WordArt (formerly known as Tagul) and was based on the thoughts of around 40 people on Facebook and Twitter who shared about 250 words describing the county. It occurred to me that it would be good to construct the UK (each of the counties) and put them all together to make a huge word cloud construction of the UK. At first, I thought I might just work my way around the country, starting with Cornwall and moving onto Devon. I started this process, and have some words in hand for Devon already. I realised this would take

Coming soon: words by Robert MacFarlane

M&S Food Ads: Food and Landscapes

Marks and Spencers ads have been stylish for some time, and have also been remixed in the name of geography previously: "This is not just Geography, this is..." The latest / current ad at the time of writing is excellent, and creates landscapes both urban and rural through the use of food - I like the balsamic wave, and the spaghetti marine life particularly.

Inspirational Landscapes - translated thanks to an RGS grant award

Good news earlier this week, as I heard that Peter Knight of Keele University and I are the recipients of a Royal Geographical Society Innovative Geography Teaching Grant to fund a joint project exploring landscapes and Changing Places. Here's a bit of text from the application document that I put together. Title of project: Inspirational Places: Changing Places 'A’ level teachers are currently teaching new exam specifications for the first time. The addition of ‘new’ areas including Global Governance has caused some concern. One area frequently included in requests for support on online forums and Facebook support groups is the Changing Places topic. I worked on a chapter in the CUP ‘A’ level textbook on this topic, and enjoyed revisiting themes first introduced in the OCR Pilot GCSE course. For some years, Dr. Peter Knight teaches a unit called ‘Inspirational Landscapes’ as a third year undergraduate module (level 6) as part of the BA and BSc Hons Geography degree

New Google Earth

New Google Earth has been released, and there are some good (and not so good) elements. These are my initial thoughts on first look during this week. The tool is an essential one for exploring landscapes. It's now optimised for Chrome and also for DESKTOP machines , so won't work on my MacBook Air at the moment, which is a bit annoying... It also won't work on mobile devices. And it won't work on my classroom desktop machine which is an HP - just hangs and tells me it's loaded 0 of billions.... This is a little inconvenient, but at least you can still use older versions such as the Google Earth Pro I've been using for a few years. It looks good if you can get it to work, and there are plenty of new features - some of which aren't too useful... but some of which will speed up its use: the search function is much improved for example. The switch from 2D to 3D reveals (in many but not all locations) some interesting 3D renderings of aerial scenes. This

The Ice Man - Year 6 taster session

In the last few weeks of the Michaelmas Term , we welcomed some Year 6 students from outside of the school. They were asked to use some ideas from my Ice Man book which I wrote a few years ago now for Collins. I did an activity where we looked at the story of the Ice Man and they created their own Ice men using cut outs from Wilko. They were also interested in the story of the Ice Man's death. This resulted in a nice display of their own Ice Men. Otzi has been in the news again in the last few weeks because of new work by forensic police officers who have reopened this very 'cold case'.

The Old Ways

Another chance to hear a radio adaptation of Robert MacFarlane's 'The Old Ways' In case of interest, the five-part BBC radio adaptation of The Old Ways, read by @thatdanstevens , is available again — Robert Macfarlane (@RobGMacfarlane) May 9, 2017

Green Belts...

Green Belts have been in the news over the last few months because of suggestions that they might be built on in some situations as a result of a lack of affordable housing. and a 'broken' system for private rentals. John Grindrod has a forthcoming book on these areas of land on the edge of our urban areas. It looks like being another great read, following on from his earlier book 'Concretopia'. I'll let you know what it's like once it comes out and I have the chance to read it. Out a month today...