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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, September 30, 2007

feeds, tools and twittering..It's all getting a bit complex

Categories: Advanced Higher, Rural land Resources, Industry, Writing and Assessment
So, my AH class all registered for bloglines accounts on Friday. We looked at how to use feeds from Google News to track updates for Geographical Issues articles, and did a little session on searching the internet. It was interesting to notice that most were unaware of some of the shortcuts to searching the net that Ollie talked about, and I have a suspicion that many searches will still begin with a blanket google search, but hopefully you have taken somethin which will help you now and maybe later in your education.

I am a little worried about the pace of learning in some classes since the summer, and had forgotten how easy it is to become bogged down in Rural Land Resources with Higher. There is so much to remember from individual case studies that I really flogged these to death last year at the expense of keeping interest a little (something which my online surveys returned). I really want to move things on tomorrow, complete the Cairngorms, and be on to The Dales by Tuesday.Classes have been given work to complete, and I'll finish this off with a past paper homework fro return next week.

I missed all of my s4 classes last week, and again am a little worried that in that time we have been treading water a little. I plan to use classtools post-its if possible in groups:-
1) Factors affecting industrial location-Old and New Industries
2) Features of an old industrial landscape
3) Reasons for decline in old industries
4) Features of a modern industrial landscape
I'll need to source some images for this, or maybe I'll build this into the task. This exercise should give me an idea as to how much of the textbook work has sunk in while I was off.

Finally, I have recently registered for something called twitter. I've not done anything with it yet, and I am aware that this is yet another application to feed in to the old grey matter, but I was interested in some of the ideas in this post by a history teacher as to how he thinks it could be used with classes. This is something for the future.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cheddar Voyeurs, the UN and other more relevant things too

Categories: Advanced Higher: Rural Land Resources, Geography General
I sometimes feel a little perplexed at how much of my and others lives revolve around the internet. During holidays, I quite often have to put a self-imposed ban on switching on the laptop. I have become periodically addicted to a lot of the games found online and through social networking sites. When I feel guilty about this, I reflect that I haven't yet become this obsessed. This is a story that I kept hearing about on the radio on the way to work about an internet site which has received over half a million hits, as people log on to, well, watch a maturing cheese do very little really. After (admittedly not much) prompting from my Advanced Higher as I relayed the story, we put this on the whiteboard as we did some stats work, and got a little animated when a shadow passed across the cheese. Maybe I'm wrong, and it was just ecstacy at another spearman's rank test completed...

Why is this relevant? Well I can't think of a better example of how you can fill your online life with nothing but a mark in time. The internet can be a frustrating and time consuming tool, and the old adage about working smart over working hard can certainly apply here too. Ollie Bray has posted a brilliant online hand out that will save Advanced Higher in particular no amount of time and effort when completing the Geographical Issues and the Study. I have the double period tomorrow, and I aim to spend the first period talking about your fieldwork NAB, introducing the Issues essay with a look at exemplars and so on. With the second period, I think I'll look at some of Ollie's points with you as you embark on your research over the coming weeks.

Higher, I'm afraid, could be at any point in the RLR unit by now. I would like to think we'll be on to the Dales Case Study. If so, there's a really good video which highlights the role of public and voluntary bodies in land use management, and we can use that. As I haven't been in, I may come back to find you are behind on this, so we can use tomorrow to catch up (and maybe complete our podcast recordings-although I think most are finished now?).

Finally, one for the weekend. Which country are you? Here's me below. A little worried that most people see me as ineffective... :-s

You're the United Nations!

Most people think you're ineffective, but you are trying to
completely save the world from itself, so there's always going to be a long
way to go. You're always the one trying to get friends to talk to each
other, enemies to talk to each other, anyone who can to just talk instead of
beating each other about the head and torso. Sometimes it works and sometimes
it doesn't, and you get very schizophrenic as a result. But your heart
is in the right place, and sometimes also in New

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

Tell me a Story

Categories:s1 and s2
I have been off for a few days ill, and this has, along with other things, added to the infrequent posts this new session on the blog. I can imagine the situation being similar till roughly November with several school commitments and then hopefully normal service will be resumed. This one is for s1, who are doing Brazil.

I am going to try a little collaborative story telling using the image above. I intend to help with the task by allowing each group to ask any five questions about the photos, which I'll answer yes or no to for the benefit of the whole class. This is not to say that I know the circumstances behind each photo in detail, but each group will be given the same starting point:-

'(name) sat watching the tribe elders lead the festival, but couldn't help thinking how different things were last year, and how they would be different again a year from now.....'

The reason I am answering questions is to eliminate some things,encourage others, but mainly for guidance as the rainforest and cities are parts of the unit we have not completed yet, but will be doing very soon. I will allow the story to go forward in time, or reflect on what has been. There is scope for the story to go in a number of directions, but basically, I'm trying to prompt thoughts on these topics for future lessons. Fingers crossed...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Can you tell what it is yet?

Categories: Coasts

We have nearly completed the Lithosphere part of the Higher course, and have perhaps spent a little longer than I would have thought, particularly on coasts. I'm hoping that you have a good understanding of processes and feature formation, but please comment on the wiki Q&A if you don't, and want me to revisit anything. Tomorrow, I'm going to look at coastal maps with you for a good part of the lesson, and thought I'd start off with the map above. I am only showing you part of the map extract and want you to think about the map evidence to speculate as to what feature this might be. I'll then do a little whiteboard exercise, and follow this up by an online homework on all of the lithosphere mapping.
Related item for coasts on Alan's blog, which should satisfy my time obsessed pupils regarding how long it would take for physical changes to take place on a coastline. I' m hoping to finish this off with an online homework on the other blog. I will post for s4 tomorrow hopefully, as I'm out tomorrow afternoon and will be leaving work to finish the rural topic.

Something in the Air

Categories: s1 and s2, Development and Health, Industry, Geography General
I haven't worked out how, where or if I'll use this link yet, but I thought I'd post it here to give myself the option. It shows the world's top ten polluted places (or you can explore the dirty thirty if you prefer), with an easy to navigate map. You just click on the map pins to see a picture, then the picture to find some more information. Top spot (if that could be given as an accolade) is a place in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, and you might notice that a lot of communist/former communist nations are represented in the list, bastions of secondary industry, a stage we passed a time ago in our development. I'll be talking to s4 about industry soon, and may be able to us esome of the images.

How does this compare to our Paris Models?

Categories: Urban
Click on the picture above to read the story. I found this on Ogle Earth and thought back to the Paris urban models which my class had a bit of fun creating last year. I would say that this maybe took a litlle longer...?

Monday, September 10, 2007

The future in the past

Categories: Urban, s1 and s2, Geography General, Writing and Assessment
I am really enjoying reading boingboing, which has loads of unusual stories often of vague relevance, but occassionally of some importance to themes you are studying in class. I really liked a couple of the items posted over the last two days. One is a 35 year time lapse video of the Shinjuku skyline in Tokyo. I think this is a fantastic way to show the rapid post-war urban change, not only in Japan but in many Western countries, a process now being repeated in many cities in ELDC's. The other is an excellent link to a video from 1967 showing a vision of the future and the part that computers would play in our lives. 40 years on, the accuracy is startling. The clip forecasts online shopping and finances, although it would be interesting to see if you could separate the truth from fiction regarding some of the relationships portrayed.
I particularly liked this idea of a dependence on computers as I have introduced my Higher class to a task where they are creating and assessing their own revision podcasts. I have toyed with the idea of podcasting before, but have now opened an account with switchpod for easy hosting and subscription (I hope), and we are going to work on these over the next couple of weeks, now that I've relocated audacity on the PC's.More on Higher in a minute.
I (think I) managed to show AH Spearman's rank today, and tomorrow, we'll do a little more practise along with scattergraphs. s1 will be using Google Earth on the Whiteboard for height on maps after some battleships last period, while I hope to wrap up coasts of erosion with Higher after a brief interlude to talk about an adapted homework task with weblinks. Maybe turn the sound down and get a discussion going round about this video from GATM as we move on. Finally got to use that 'Back to the Future' pic...

Country Jam

Categories: Rural
I had to see the irony today on my journey home from work. After teaching my s4 about rural change, mechanisation etc in the latter half of the twentieth century, I got stuck behind a huge combine harvester for ages as all the bales begin appearing round my semi-urban part of the world. The video link belowdoesn't have any commentary, but I really liked it. If you were unsure of how the rural landscape has changed, this should do the trick. I also like the fact that you don't directly see any people, only machines, and you can guage quite a bit about the farming system from this. OK, if truth be told, I thought the tune was quite catchy... :-0
As the video wouldn't embed, here's the direct link with thanks to blip user Pollas.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Night and Day

Categories: Geography General, Atmosphere
Just a very quick post to flag up two decent resources, one which I found through sln and the other through Google Earth Hacks. The first is something which might be useful when we do the atmosphere topic for showing the changing position of the sun in the Northern Hemsiphere throughout the year. I showed this briefly to Higher today, after getting into a discussion yesterday about why in some countries during the summer it never gets dark. The second is topical, and focuses on the huge forest fires which have been ripping through parts of Greece and other Southern European countries. You can download the kml to see the extent of the fires here. I've include a reuters new report above from youtube.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Newsflash:Woman found under WE forms on Mr O'D's desk

Categories: Advanced Higher, Coasts, Glaciation, s1 and s2
The blog has taken something of a backseat lately, as I have been dealing with Work Experience and e-mentoring among other things. I am looking forward to having a little more time to put resources etc onto the pages, and have made a promise to myself to update the student blog, as detailed last week. I put an example of a pupil generated quiz from classtools on it today, and have more of these coming in along with the cultural geog tasks waiting to be uploaded. Please be patient, I'll get there...
On a more pressing note, more statistics for AH tomorrow. I feel, and hope that you managed to grasp sampling yesterday from our discussion. I was pleased that by using our example of finding out the favourite subject of a year group we managed to cover most of the points, here in summary:-
1) You could sample all the pupils-It would be representative, but time consuming and gave us an awful lot of data to handle
2) You could sample one class-but would 30 from 300 be a big enough sample? What if the results were affected by a particular teacher being popular/unpopular with that specific class?
3) You could take one pupil per class-but the sample would be far too small
4) You could take say three boys and three girls from each class, ensuring both genders were equally represented-but what if the year group ahd a larger number of males to females etc
Whatever way we looked at the sample, there was problems, and we also agreed that it would be easy to even unintentionally create bias in a sample. Afterwards, we decided there were various ways to sample information:- random sampling, systematic sampling and stratified sampling being discussed in a little detail, and this sets us up for some inferential statistics-where our findings will allow us to come to conclusions about certain statements called Hypotheses. I chanced upon a decent powerpoint when searching slideshare for 'Spearmans rank' - Here is the presentation link, thanks to prioryman. (I tried embedding this, but blogger didn't want to know...)

Meanwhile, with Higher, I have had to retread some old ground, which is fine-I had a look at the work and there was a huge variation in the quality of your notes on Glacial deposition, so we have been ironing out the creases on this, which will result in a little Lithosphere interim test on Wednesday. When we finally get back to coasts tomorrow in the first part of the double period, I was reminded by Miss Green of the Bawdsey Coast submission, an excellent example of the speed at which coasts can be eroded. There are a few other bits and pieces from a SAGT cd-rom, which again, I have nabbed from a colleague. There are also some very handy links for Higher if you visit the SAGT pages I've just linked to.

s4 have been working on a newpaper style task looking at the impacts of the CAP, and will probably at some point use Old McDonald as a closer for this part of the course, an idea I think I saw first on Tony Cassidy's site, unfortunately still under construction otherwise I may have been able to use the excellent Henshaw farm audio resource.

Some nice bingo for s1 a couple of periods ago and rattled through scale today-Grid refs and battleships on Thursday if I haven't posted again by then. Hopefully, next post will be much shorter and easier to find your way around, only two or three posts away from 200, another little landmark for the blog.