Digimap for Schools – Primary Schools Competition – Win a visit from Steve Backshall

As of today, any primary school in GB is able to access the wonderful contemporary and historic Ordnance Survey mapping in University of Edinburgh’s award winning Digimap for Schools www.digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk service to take part in a wildlife mapping competition.

Any school in Great Britain with primary aged children is eligible to enter the competition with the winning school receiving a visit from Steve Backshall (www.stevebackshall.com), one of Ordnance Survey’s #GetOutside Champions https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/getoutside/os-champions/steve-backshall-life-outdoors/.

wildlifemap-adThe competition requires schools to use the annotation tools within Digimap for Schools to create a map annotated with photographs and text labels showing signs of wildlife around their school.  Each photograph will be accompanied on the map with a question the pupils would like to ask Steve relating to the wildlife they have photographed.  If a school wishes to enter the competition but is not a current subscriber to Digimap for Schools they can register for 30 days free access to the service.

The competition is being launched at this year’s Geographical Association conference and runs until 10th June.   Schools should visit www.digimapwildlife.ed.ac.uk  today to sign up.

This is an excellent opportunity for schools to realise maps are relevant to all areas of the curriculum (flora and fauna study, history and measurement to name a few) and to find out what their school and local environment looked like in the 1950s and 1890s.


Using new technologies in Geography

Back in January I ran part of a training session for a local network of Geography teachers. The main session was taken by Jason Swale from ESRI UK looking at the fantastic ArcGIS and the ways in which it can be used to successfully integrate GIS into the curriculum, particularly in light of the new GCSE and A’level specifications. Prior to this I did a short 30 minute session exploring some of the ways in which new technologies can be utilised in the teaching and learning of Geography, drawing particularly on some of our experiences in the ways we use it in my department at St Ivo School. Here is the presentation summarising the key ideas discussed during the session.

In case it is useful you can download the handout of links I gave out on the evening here to help explore some of the ideas covered in more detail.

Revision Strategies and Support – in and beyond the classroom – Version 3 – 2016!

Rev SupportLast year, whilst still in my previous role as Lead Practitioner I wrote / compiled a document called “Revision Strategies in and beyond the classroom”. The aim was to bring together ideas for teachers with regards to planning activities for both within the classroom as well as those which could be used to support students with revision outside of the classroom. Whilst my role in school has changed, Teaching and Learning remains a central responsibility and I wanted to return to this document as we enter the new exam/revision season.

The hope was that the document could continue to be a live one which could be updated with suggestions of strategies that have worked well for practising teachers which they would be happy to share with others.

Lots of people have kindly made suggestions for good ideas to add and please do send feedback or other ideas of good practice which could be added to share with the education community. Here is Version 3 of the document, updated for the 2016 exam/revision season. As well as new revision ideas in Part 1, other updates, amongst others, include the use of Kahoot as a interactive response system and the use of Schoology as a way of providing an online course with revision materials for students.

You can download Revision Strategies and Support – in and beyond the classroom – Version 3 – 2016! here.

As with previous versions I would like to thank those people that have contributed, both from St Ivo and from the Twittersphere!

Please do email any feedback or suggestions to me (contact at side of blog). Ideas can also be sent via twitter to @RobGeog.

Blippar for education

blipparThanks to a tweet from @ThatEdTechGuy from https://thatedtechguy.wordpress.com/ I was introduced to blippar for education (@blippar) this morning. As well as operating in business, the education section of this company  seeks to transform education settings such as schools into digitally interactive learning environments using Augmented Reality. I am still new to exploring augmented reality in the classroom but I know it has great potential for generating student interest and engagement which can only be a great thing! The idea is that it can be used to bring textbooks and other learning materials to life using smartphones or tablets.

For me one of the most exciting things about this mornings discovery of blippar was not just the volcano that came to life on my actual (not virtual) desktop (see photos!) but the fact that blippar are taking augmented reality one step further to ensure it is not just a novelty but an integral part of the learning process. They have done this by introducing a series of education posts (described here in their blog post). These make the AR integral to the classroom experience by enabling the teacher to lead the lesson by using the blipp (AR component) in explaining to the students what happens.

Volc003The volcano blipp (See photos below) involves students connecting to the teachers device by a special code – the teacher then gradually initiates the different parts of the blip, from the eruption through to opening the volcano up as a cross section. Taking this a step further, students then have a labelling activity which they undertake and the results go to the teachers device as a way of monitoring progress. Unfortunately we are not a 1:1 tablet school at the moment but I am really interested to try this with students that do have their own devices and I’m particularly keen to see where blippar take this next. For me this is the first step to really making the most of AR and one which I can see being of great use in the classroom. To have these embedded in textbooks and revision guides would also take experiential learning to the next level.

Volc004  Volc002