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.

iDoceo – the teachers assistant for iPad – preparing for the new year

idoceoI am determined to try and reduce my generation of paperwork this year and I am looking at exploring the use of iDoceo. I have spent the afternoon setting up my classes, generating seating planners and setting up timetable schedules and I’m ready to go! iDoceo is marketed as a teachers assistant. It is a one-stop shop; a diary, planner, timetable, gradebook and even resource manager all in one. Resources can be attached to lesson plans within the app itself. It also fully integrates with ical so it is a fantastic way to keep yourself organised and I’m already really looking forward to using it. The app gets excellent reviews from those that are already using it and there are lots of resources to support people using the app. Whilst it has taken the investment of a few hours to set up it looks like it is going to be well worth it!

The iDoceo website has a full details of the app and an extensive ‘how to’ section. 

This short but useful video shows you how to set up iDoceo for the first time. 



QuickKeyContinued formative assessment is an integral part of the work in our classroom and with the continuous development of new technologies there are various excellent apps and sites which can support staff with different types of assessment. One of my favourite tools is the Quick Key app.

Assessment of pupil progress in Quick Key enables quick assessment by using your mobile or tablet as a scanner which instantly marks students answers saving you time grading the papers which can be used instead to provide feedback and support student progress by identifying and tackling areas of weakness in knowledge and understanding. This allows you to focus your time on the students and doesn’t require students to have access to technology as the answers are completed on paper!

The short video below demonstrates Quick Key in action:

So how does Quick Key work?

You simply need to sign up on the website for a free account. Once your account is set up you can start adding students. This can be done manually or by importing student lists, for example as a .csv file. Once you have imported students you can then create classes and allocate students to the relevant classes.

You are then ready to create a Quiz – this can be up to 30 questions. You can insert your question and make it clear on your quiz, which of the answers is the correct one (i.e. multiple choice).  In terms of running the quiz you can read the questions out to the students and the options or have them on powerpoint slides.

In our department I have opted to create a quiz format sheet which has the questions by the side and the possible answers by the questions (where I am not using all the possible multiple choice options boxes are blanked out). 

Quick Key ticketStudents simply fill the answers in on the ‘exit ticket’ which can be downloaded from the site. I have incorporated this into the base of our quiz sheets.

Each student is allocated an ID number which they must add to their exit ticket. Once students have completed their tests, you can use the QK app on your phone or tablet to quickly scan each paper and the marks will be allocated to the relevant student. I have marked a set of 30 students in less than 2 minutes before!

I am particularly using this at the moment for frequent assessment of Year 10 and 11 students. The answers are marked within seconds so I can give students feedback within minutes which makes the whole process more useful. I then either go through the questions with the students and their papers and the just highlight the answer to the questions they got wrong or if at the end of the lesson I do this for them as my ‘marking’.

Results are saved for each students for each task so you can easily build up a continuous record of assessment – useful for a quick snapshot of student progress in between more extended end of unit tests.

Quick Key Export ShotThere are various options for exporting your results and you can also analyse your results e.g. by sorting according to mark (highest to lowest etc.)

Quick Key Screen Shots 1


Once you have created your classes and quizzes they are located easily on the Quick Key dashboard. You can easily re-use and assign quizzes to different classes and in our department we are working together to build a bank of department Quick Key assessments.

A more detailed account of the stages can be found on the excellent Sandagogy site here

Support Screen Shot


One of the things I have been really impressed with this tool is the level of support and commitment from the developers who will help whenever they can and are consistently looking to maximise and develop the app further. One of the founders, Walter Duncan (@4_teachers), an ex-teacher (who has only recently left the classroom after 15 years, to concentrate on the app) is full of enthusiasm and with a background in teaching he knows exactly what teachers need and how we can best help our students. The website has a support centre to request support including FAQ and a new Help Centre. The founders are however also keen to build up a community of users and there is a growing Quick Key Forum. There are many educationalists on twitter who are also sharing resources and ideas on the use of Quick Key in the classroom context. Likewise there is also a dedicated Quick Key Support twitter feed 


A few of us in the Geography community have been sharing quizzes through Anthony Bennett’s “Internet Geography” site and the examples of these quizzes can be found here, including a copy of the template I designed for our department. QuickKey

A guide on how to create an assessment using Quick Key guide can be found here

Simon Renshaw has also done some very interesting work looking at the use of hinge questions and the QuickKey app and his findings are here      

There is a Quick key facebook page so you can share with other colleagues  you think might be interested and remember, you can download the quickkey app from the itunes app store – full details available here.  

Random Group Generator

Having talked about random name generators – a quick reminder that SMART notebook has a good tool for generating random groupings which can fit well into a SMART presentation. The SMART generator is available straight from the Lesson Activity Toolkit in the SMART notebook programme itself. Well worth looking at if you teach a subject in which you are often dividing students into groups. All groups can be set up at the begininng of the year (as with random name generators) and saved so you can bring them up at any time.Random Group

As with most of these things there are lots of other useful tools for this which are based online or are apps which can be downloaded.

Use of Random Generators – thoughts..

My last blog post was looking at the use of random name generators as a way of helping to engage students and elicit responses from all students rather than the simple use of hands-up. Having just participated in some discussion with colleagues, whilst it is recognised that random name generators can be very useful in many situations, one issue raised is that they don’t allow for differentiation if you ask a question first and then use the random generator to select a student. Just as using a random generator wont be appropriate in all situations anyway, the way you use the generator is important, depending on the desired outcome. Randomly generating the name and then ‘tailoring’ the question to differentiate as necessary is one way (in this instance one of the more discrete generators such as the “No Hands” student selector might be appropriate). You could also put key terms into a generator rather than names so the generator will randomly select a key term and you then ‘differentiate’ by who you might select in the class to define the key term (or answer a question related to it). This would still maintain engagement as all students would be more likely to consider the meaning of the term whilst waiting for you to select a student to answer the question.

Random Key Term