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Odblog

A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Schools political map of Britain?

Categories Geography General
Every time there is a general election or Scottish Parliament elections, the Modern Studies department hold mock elections where candidates hold a debate for a live audience (sound familiar?). I am a political person and studied the discipline to honours level at University. One of the things that always fascinated me was Peter Snow on election night looking at the changing political map of Britain, bringing out the 'swingometer' to show the level of shift. I thought, from our departments perspective, a way to engage in the process would be to show the power of data. Imagine our Geography students had surveyed locals to see where the vote was going? They could ask all sorts of questions- gender, age, party voting for (and was it a change from last time), issues voting on etc. There is a huge potential for Maths involvement, depending on the volume/type of data collected. At the mock elections, the 'constituency' trends could be shared with the audience and used by the candidates in their arguments. I think it's also important that we don't just think of it as Modern Studies job to highlight the relevance of elections and democracy, and this is just another way of raising young peoples awareness.

From this, I started to think that it would be really valuable for my students to see how their collated results compared to other parts of the country. Imagine the argument you could create for the value of using social tools in schools if there was an entire political map of Britain before the election which had been sourced and edited by students? So, this is just an idea, but... Here is a wiki map. A map which anybody can edit. A small number of simple questions asked by students via face to face survey ro, if fieldwork opportunities are limited, a free online survey such as survey monkey. The detail that schools included could be as much or as little as they liked. Simple rules. every contributor must:
1) Clearly mark their school/the survey location on the map with a marker
2) In the marker, the minimum data included should be party support as a percentage of the surveyed group
3) It would be much easier to stop manipulations of the map if school name/teacher name or some other identifying labels were included in the marker too. Otherwise, I might have a lot of editing to do :)
I know this might come to nothing, but I would really appreciate anyone's help in filling this. Please share it with the relevant departments/people in your school and edit away! If you need help with the map, just leave me a comment, or contact me via twitter at @Kenny73

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