Using Technology in teaching KS4/KS5 Geography

I haven’t posted for a while due to the hectic nature of preparation for the new GCSE and A’level courses. Back in November however I gave a talk in London looking at Utilising Technology in Teaching KS4 and KS5 Geography and thought I would share the resources on here.

The handout can be downloaded here and has lots of direct weblinks and advice to support geography teachers in following up the ideas discussed.

The presentation given is below. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Free Online Earthquake Teaching Resource

natural-disastersNatural Disasters: Earthquakes

The British Red Cross, supported by the Geographical Association, has launched a new, free educational resource for geography teachers. Natural disasters: earthquakes is a curriculum-led geography teaching resource that draws on the recent experience of the  Red Cross during the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Using case studies, maps and eyewitness accounts, this latest British Red Cross teaching resource provides a unique perspective on how individuals and communities prepare for, respond to and recover from earthquakes.

The British Red Cross, which provides a range of educational resources for teachers to download online, created this resource in response to research that showed geography teachers were looking for case study content that brought human stories into the classroom.

With the unique perspective of the Red Cross the humanitarian impact of a natural disaster is explored alongside understanding how earthquakes happen. Resources start with activities for all students and then differentiate into activities for Key Stage 3, GCSE and A level, a curriculum mapping document shows how the resource can contribute to the curricula of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Natural disaster: earthquakes and can be downloaded for free from the British Red Cross website.

The resource will help students:

  • Learn about the physical geography, hazards and risks which can cause a natural disaster such as an earthquake.
  • Explain and analyse the varied impacts an earthquake may have on individuals and communities.
  • Gain insight into the role of the Red Cross in disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Explore the concept of resilience and what might make a community more able to cope in a crisis.

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.


LEGO® Education Brings Science and Computing to Life for Primary School Pupils with WeDo 2.0

New wireless, tablet-ready robot-based learning system for primary science and computing curricula teaches science and programming in a hands-on way

45300_ClassroomSolution_01 LEGO® Education has announced LEGO Education WeDo 2.0, a hands-on science and computing solution designed for primary schools. The unique solution combines the LEGO® brick, classroom-friendly software and engaging projects based on National Curriculum objectives to teach key stage 1 and key stage 2 pupils essential science and computing practices and skills.

With WeDo 2.0, pupils explore, create and share their scientific discoveries as they build, program and modify projects. Through a series of collaborative challenges, they deeply engage with science and computing, sparking a love for experimentation and investigation. Teachers receive support through training, curriculum and built-in assessment. The result, a resource that builds pupils’ confidence to ask questions, define problems, and design their own solutions by putting scientific discovery in their hands.

WeDo 2.0 includes 40 + hours of curriculum aligned lesson activities for example, the “Drop and Rescue” project, where pupils are challenged to design a device to reduce the impacts on humans, animals and the environment after an area has been damaged by a weather-related hazard. In all activities there is no single right answer, helping teach creativity and problem-solving skills. This also enables teachers to tailor lessons to meet all pupils’ needs, no matter their abilities.

Stuart Swann, vice chair of the National Association for Primary Education and LEGO Education certified trainer, says: “LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 represents a great leap forwards for delivering the Computing curriculum requirements at Key stage 2. The combination of LEGO bricks and engaging activities means that children will enjoy the learning experience while developing computational thinking skills through building and play.

“The projects are grounded within the science curriculum, drawing on concepts required throughout key stage 2. This means that teachers are able to cover the programming requirements of the Computing Curriculum within a contextualised science framework. Elements of Geography and Design and Technology are also present and identified in the teaching materials.”

The WeDo 2.0 Core Software is an essential and easy-to-use component that is colourful, age-appropriate and has a drag and drop interface that is graphical in nature. It also contains a documentation tool that enables pupils to document their problem-solving process and provides an assessment opportunity for teachers.

LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 is available today on iPad, Android, PC, and Macs. Chrome Books support will be available in the second half of 2016. For information on how to implement LEGO WeDo 2.0 in your school, or how to transition to WeDo 2.0 from WeDo, visit


Online Revision tools for Teachers and Students

revision-clipart-english-clipart_11-300x270With the revision season already underway and set to become particularly busy over the next few weeks I thought it would be useful to summarise some of the most useful online revision tools / apps available for both staff and students. Anymore you can recommend? Please let me know and I’ll add them to the list!

Revision Organisation

Revision Ace – a useful app for organising revision schedules, setting revision reminders and revision targets

PocketMod – create a pocket size revision planner – templates include monthly and weekly calendars and a task list really useful for revision.

RevisionWorlda tool for creating and printing revision schedule as well as lots of revision resources for students.

Get Revising Study Planner – a useful online study planner – easy to set up (see video below)

Mind Mapping Tools:

Mindomo  – useful tool for both students and staff. Teachers can use this to produce mind maps to simplify / summarise more complex information – for example helping students to break down an exam specification into the various component parts to facilitate revision. You can create 3 maps for free with the free account but beyond that this is a paid resource with a pricing structure for education.

Xmind – a free download (open source) although a paid for pro version is available – a good mind mapping tool and results can also be saved to Evernote making access across devices easier.

Coggle – easily produce mindmaps to simply and present more complex information – can be shared with others.

Online Revision Tools:

Flashcards++  (app) – an app for iOS to help memorise from flash cards – you can create own flashcards and share with others. You can listen to cards (text to speech) or record your own audio.

Examtime (free) – has an excellent set of tools to support revision and studying, including tools for mind-mapping, flashcards, quizzes notes etc. There are also useful notes and resources on study tips. – free learning tool for staff and students. Create own study quizzes and flashcards – can be created by students and teachers and classes can be set up to share these with others. Can be used on iphones / iPads and android.

Flashcards to Go – online study tool (cross devices)

Memrise – useful tool for learning vocabulary (takes some setting up).

Tools for quick formative assessment during revision in class:

Socrative – quickly assess through realtime questioning with the use of smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.

QuickKey App – the fantastic Quickkey App can be used to quickly assess students. Teachers can use smartphones / iPads to scan answers and quickly assess students and identify correct and incorrect answers (see previous post on QuickKey app). I already use QuickKey on a regular basis for Year 10 and 11 to do quick formative assessments as part of each unit (to complement other assessment skills)

GoFormative – online student response system

Creating Revision materials for use in the classroom:

IWB – SMART Notebook – the only limit to this one is imagination! There are a number of inbuilt activities for creating interactive revision quizzes etc. for the IWB, including the Lesson Activity Toolkit. Many of these are ready created activities which can simply be edited. The activity builder allows you to be more flexible in creating your own resources. Simple drag and drop can be created easily and other tools on the IWB provide opportunities for interrogating exam questions / modelling answers as a whole class.  Using SMART notebook is also particularly useful for structuring revision session as you can use the paperclip function to organise all resources associated with the lesson together (e.g. word documents, powerpoints, audio and video clips etc..) – in the newer versions of SMART notebook you can even integrate weblinks directly into the pages to use with students as part of a presentation.

PowerPoint – great for creating summary presentations for revision and you can easily integrate hyperlinks to other resources or even hyperlink between pages to create question and answer quizzes for whole class use on the IWB. There are various templates for such quizzes available on the web.

Contentgenerator – create useful e-learning quizzes with no knowledge of coding required – simply input the questions. Students love these and they work very well on the IWB as well as being easily integrated in blogs and websites for students to use in revision. Pricing structure is available on the website. – lots of great tools for creating free quizzes and activities (well worth exploring – great for use on the IWB or again can be integrated into blogs).

Explain Everything – Great app for the iPad – many uses – but when it comes to revision it is great for projecting student answers on the board (e.g. using AirServer or Apple TV) and doing peer / whole class assessment to look at the development of exam technique / allocation of marks.


Wordwall – create interactive activities for the classroom

WordwallWordwall makes interactive activities and I like the look of this new tool for creating engaging content for the IWB. I particularly like the idea of the simplicity with which it seems resources can be created which would appeal to a wider number of staff who are sometimes put off by having to learn difficult new software. The promotional information says that teachers can choose from a variety of templates and with just a few words and a couple of clicks create something that wouldn’t have been possible traditional presentation software. There is a free personal licence for teachers to use on their personal computers and a variety of licensing options beyond that.

There is also an additional option for buying Wordpads to enable students to directly interact with the activities.

There is a software demonstration video here:


New Review Game – Connect Fours

ClasstoolsThe brilliant Russell Tarr from has created a great new review game called Connect Fours. As with all the fantastic tools on the website, they are free and can be hosted on blogs, websites etc. and require no password or signup. The game consists of a wall with 16 clues which then need sorting into 4 rows of connected items. A sample game can be tried out here.

ConnectFoursColdEnvironmentsThere are many good ways to put this to use as a little starter or plenary activity on the IWB to check understanding and to act as a stimulus for class discussion. I am going to try it out as a starter for a forthcoming Year 12 revision lesson to practise categorising landforms in cold environments.

Richard Byrne from Free Technology 4 Teachers has created a short youtube clip showing how to create a review game using Connect Fours. also has a fanpage on Facebook with frequent useful updates and is worth a follow!