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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Microclimates and microblogging the urban

Categories: s1 and s2, Rural, Advanced Higher
I had my first negative experience of etherpad the other day, nothing too major and if I'm honest, nor a surprise. I suppose with something that is collaborative in real time there is always the likelihood that someone will misuse the tool, but I think it highlights the need to put clear parameters in place for its classroom use. I also think it reminded me that new is not always better, that I could have achieved better results from a more traditional approach - I think this is something a certain class will see tomorrow!
Judging by the forecast, I think my second s1 class, who are a period or two behind, will be able to go out and do some microclimate work. We are a bit short of equipment for this, but I also asked students to rate some aspects of sites subjectively the last time we were out. We'll begin with the weather overlay on Scotland:

This will give us an opportunity to go over the factors which we decided would influence the weather in a particular place. I'll then zoom slowly in to the school from this initial vantage point. We'll then talk about the idea of places having their own microclimate- we had a good discussion about this with the last class. From that, students were then asked to sketch a map of the school and pick 10 locations as a class that we thought might be a good place to site an outdoor seating area- this is adapted from another activity on the web. We will placemark these on GE and then go out and sample the sites to see which has the most favourable conditions

As a plenary, students can detail their placemarks with climate data and then give a reason why they have chosen a certain placemark as the best location.
I think with Higher we will try a photo zoom in reverse. I want students to think about the rural human landscapes they have studied-the farming system, the associated settlement patterns, field layout etc. We'll start off close in and gradually reveal more of the landscape to test our knowledge.
Advanced Higher will finally have handed in the two folio pieces for SQA and I am sure that we will all be breathing a collective sigh of relief. It has been hard work for all concerned, and I am hoping that what is going away is something which will leave the school with no regrets about what could have been done. Time for a bit of intensive exam revision now.
Finally, as an aside, I am just blogging about a great idea from urban earth to do a mass urban walk where people can connect to others experience of urban areas across the world through twitter. I am not sure whether I will be able to do the first week, as I think I may have a family commitment, but 2 weeks later there is another walk and I'd like to take part in some way here. The result will hopefully be a book of 140 character responses to the urban environments from the senses to the emotions. You can follow the day on twitter by searching #ueday.


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