Monday, 21 June 2021

Arctic Dreams - on the radio

I've spoken and blogged about this book many times, and you can now listen to extracts from it on Radio 4 as it has been selected, around 35 years after its first UK publication as the 'Book of the Week'.

Barry Lopez is someone whose work has been important to me throughout my career.

Catch up with the episodes here.

In Episode One of Arctic Dreams Barry Lopez reflects on his first encounters with the surprisingly varied and resilient inhabitants of the polar north and on modern man’s vexed relationship with this beguiling continent. In his breath-taking natural, social and cultural history of the Arctic, Lopez reveals the essential mystery and beauty of a continent that has enchanted man's imagination and ambition since time immemorial. 
Written well over a quarter of a century ago, Lopez's visionary account of his journey across the polar caps is a celebration of the Arctic in all its guises. 
A hostile landscape of ice, freezing oceans and dazzling skyscapes, home to millions of diverse animals and people, it is also the backdrop to massive migrations by land, sea and air and the setting of epic exploratory voyages. 
In timeless, prophetic prose, as meditative and memorable as the land it describes, Arctic Dreams poses fundamental questions about how we should cherish our ever more vulnerable planet. 
Arctic Dreams was written by Barry Lopez. 
It is read by Kyle Soller and abridged by Richard Hamilton

I bought it from the Hull University bookshop in 1986.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

GeogLive - Fieldwork Edition

"Studying geography is so important for children, regardless of their age or stage of learning. Geography helps them to make sense of the world around them and piques their curiosity in places and people. Done well, it engages pupils in their world, often spurring them into action, and is fun!" 
(Ofsted, 2021)

The GeogLive! Team are busy planning the next GeogLive! event, which will be at 5-6pm on Wednesday 30th June. 

This is part of the activity of the GA's Early Years and Primary Phase Committee to support teachers who may or may not be GA members (but you need to be a GA member)

They have chosen to focus on fieldwork, prompted by Iain Freeland’s comments in the blog about geography in outstanding primary schools, and feedback from those who attended the first event. They will also, of course, be referring to the Research Report published by Ofsted yesterday. We will be using the same format as at our first GeogLive! event, as this worked well for us and provoked plenty of positive feedback from participants.

If you are able, and would like to join the event, then please do register through this link below.


A recording of the first event can be seen below:

Saturday, 12 June 2021

100 000 page views

A small milestone to pass. Started this blog back in Augut 2007, when I'd just finished work on a book for the Geographical Association's KS3 Toolkit series, all about landscapes. The book was called 'Look at it this Way'.


The book is still available to purchase, and this blog has shared relevant stories linked to the chapters and updates over the years. Some of the ideas have been adapted and used by others since, and they may not even know that the book was the first time they were shared in print.

Thanks for reading. There will continue to be occasional postings as the book is still available to purchase.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Geofolio - data about landscapes

Thanks to Geofolio for an opportunity to explore your area and generate loads of information automatically.

As it says on the website:

Define an area of interest anywhere in the world, and we'll automagically create thematic factsheets containing interactive maps, charts, written overviews, and statistical summaries – all based on open geodata.


I had a play of course. I went to North Norfolk, where colleagues took part in 2 days of coastal fieldwork earlier in the week. What would the site tell me about this location?


Here's the report that was generated... 

It was a tipoff via Richard Allaway.

This has great potential for generating secondary data about locations.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

A raindrop's journey to the sea

This is a rather fine map tool / experiment / visualisation.

It is called River Runner, and will allow you to follow the route taken by a rainfrop. 

Make your raindrop fall anywhere within the contiguous United States and the website will work out the route it will take to the sea and the tributaries and rivers it will flow through. It will then take you along that route.

It's really rather good visually, and I am assume is also accurate.


Check out Sam Learner's other map projects.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

OFQUAL - exams and fieldwork

As this piece in the TES reports, OFQUAL are proposing to remove the mandatory requirement for fieldwork for geography and related subjects.

We have just started doing fieldwork again at my school, with trips to Cambridge and the Norfolk Coast carried out, or taking place last week and this week.

If you have an opinion on this, OFQUAL are running a consultation on the issue, which started yesterday and runs through to the 28th of May. As the consultation page says:

This consultation focuses on the subjects for which preparation and work for non-exam assessment and fieldwork activities will be taking place this term for students who will be taking their exams in 2022. It covers
  • non-exam assessments in dance, design and technology, drama (and theatre), film studies, food preparation and nutrition, media studies, music, music technology, and physical education
  • fieldwork activities in geography, geology and environmental science
  • assessment of speaking skills in GCSE modern foreign language (MFL) qualifications
  • assessment of spoken language in GCSE English language
We are seeking views on our proposal that we largely carry forward to the next academic year the flexibilities and adaptations we put in place in these subjects. This consultation specifically focuses on subjects where preparation and work for non-exam assessment and fieldwork activities is taking place this term for students who will be taking their exams in 2022.

However, we recognise there are other activities about which students, teachers and exam boards might have questions. We hope that, with further lifting of public health restrictions, it will be possible for students to complete work in other subjects as usual during the next academic year. We are keeping this under review and will provide more information about, and where necessary consult on, further arrangements for 2022 in due course.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Slow Ways - explore the UK landscape

Just over a year ago, I was part of a team which met in person or virtually to begin the process of creating the Slow Ways network, initiated by Dan Raven Ellison. As we approached lockdown, the idea of walking for exercise and exploring our local areas became increasingly attractive.

I worked on creating some walks in familiar locations: close to home, along the Norfolk coast and in and around Ely where I work.



Slow Ways is an initiative to create a national network of walking routes connecting all of Great Britain’s towns and cities as well as thousands of villages. The beta website is now live. Take a look.

Using existing paths, ways, trails and roads, people can use Slow Ways routes to walk or wheel between neighbouring settlements, and combine them to create longer distance trips. It’s designed to make it easier for people to imagine, plan and go on walking journeys.

There are currently over 7,000 Slow Ways stretching for over 100,000km. This network of routes was created by 700 volunteers during the Spring 2020 lockdown, creating a unique Slow Ways map in the process.

The next challenge in 2021 is to walk, review and verify them all - checking 100,000km of Slow Ways in the process.

Slow Ways aims to inspire and support more people to walk more often, further and for more purposes.

While there are thousands of miles of paths linking places across Great Britain, there isn't a comprehensive and trusted network designed to help people walk off-road between towns and cities. That’s what the Slow Ways initiative, with its distinctive geometric connections, is creating.


Monday, 12 April 2021

Alive

"Veer off the track

Take the path

That leads beyond the map

I'm a travelling man

Each day I walk the byways of this life..."


A track by the band 'Big Big Train'.
And there they are playing their instruments for real in an excellent live performance. I miss that feeling when the bass pedals can be felt in your stomach at a gig...

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

UK National Parks in 100 Seconds

 

The new film from Daniel Raven Ellison, with voice over from Cerys Matthews. Premiere was last night, followed by a panel discussion on the future of the UK's National Parks.

Watch the film below:

UK National Parks in 100 Seconds - Preview from Dan Raven-Ellison on Vimeo.

"What do the UK's National Parks really look like? To see what these landscapes are made-up of, let's go on a walk. Each second of the walk reveals 1% of our National Parks and how they appear from above. Are you ready for the UK's National Parks in 100 seconds"

Filmed from above and spoken by Cerys Matthews, this short film will likely change how you think about our National Parks forever.

What could we do to make the most of our National Parks? What do you think?

#UKNationalParksIn100Seconds

Friday, 29 January 2021

Worzel goes down to the sea...

And it was Cuckmere of course... another fantastic episode of Mackenzie Crook's interpretation of Barbara Euphan Todd's scarecrow was shown over the Christmas period.

A lovely road trip episode heading for the sea with Saucy Nancy and some great characters as always. Plenty of links to an imagined better England, and some suitable music from the Unthanks on a pub terrace by the beach.

Another highlight, with a coastal flavour was the Christmas edition of 'Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing' which saw the two friends staying in a pair of Fisherman's Cottages in Staithes. I've stayed in the village a few times and had a wonderful White Christmas there some years back.

15% sale on the Toolkit Books

At the moment, there is a 15% sale on a wide range of GA publications. 

This includes all the KS3 toolkit books, so you can pick up a copy of 'Look at it this Way' much cheaper than it is available elsewhere, such as Amazon, and revisit some of the earlier posts on this blog for extra thoughts on how to use the activities. Some of them will seem familiar to you, but when first published, these were brand new.

The Slabs - new from Danny MacAskill

 

We love Danny MacAskill videos at King's Ely Junior: to help introduce students to landscapes and ways of 'seeing' them in different ways. The mountains of Skye are volcanic in origin, and have been shaped by millennia of weathering... We can explain their formation and their slow breakdown, but Danny sees the chance to ride his bike in skilful and exciting ways.

His latest film 'The Slabs' is set on the Dubh slabs above Lock Coruisk, which also featured in his last film 'The Ridge'. He descends the slabs. I've climbed them the other way, and I didn't take my bike.

Thanks to Matt Podbury for spotting the new film and letting me know about it.