Wednesday, February 16, 2011

AGTA 2011 Conference

Keynote speakers at AGTA 2011

Left image: Dr Rita Gardner, Director of the Royal Geographical Society UK.
Right image: Rev.Tim Costello,CEO World Vision and newly appointed AGTA Patron.

Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
Spatialworlds website
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Email contact

Where am I?

Sydney: S: 34º 0' E: 151º 0'

Well the Australian Curriculum: geography shape paper has been released (January 2011) and presently I am attending in Sydney the induction week for the ACARA Advisory Panel for the next stage of the curriculum development of the geography curriculum. Since my last Spatialworlds blog posting way back in October last year much has been happening in the world of geography. Hence the reason for not posting!!
The AGTA conference in Adelaide went off well, with great keynotes, field trips and workshops (and social occasions). For Mark Manuel and me the conference was an especially rewarding time after several years of preparation and worry. To have over 240 Australian geographers all together for a week in one place to share our love and aspirations for geography was a great experience. Several of our keynotes in particular really hit the ‘nail on the head’ when they said:

“The world is amazing – observing it is a privilege, valuing and conserving it is essential, understanding it is fundamental. Geography’s status can only be helped by winning hearts and minds in the wider world
Dr Rita Gardner, Director of the Royal Geographical society of the UK

… and Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision and the new AGTA Patron

“The future is what we make it. Geographical understanding is the key to help students unlock the shape of their future and find ways to come to grips with the challengers of the future.”

The conference provided a great grounding for the work we have ahead of us this year in writing the Australian Curriculum for geography. I hope we can live up to the need to make this new geography curriculum for Australian students inspiring, relevant, challenging and fun. If ever we needed someone to inspire us it was one of our other keynotes at the conference, Duncan Chessell(adventurer of mountain climbing and Antarctic fame, geologist and businessman). Duncan’s address was truly inspirational to all the geographers gathered and really summed up why we are in the business of ‘turning on’ young people to geography and the world. At the end of the talk I had to wait several minutes for the gathered geographers to end their appreciation and applause for Duncan’s talk. Keep a eye on the AGTA site to watch an excerpt of Duncan’s talk.

In summary, Duncan said that he was inspired to find out about the world and challenge himself to do so when he was very young. It was a great line when he said he had asked for maps of undiscovered and unchartered areas of the world so that he could find out what needed to be discovered!! The undiscovered world (to students anyway) is what we want our students to discover and explore. Here is a quote from Duncan;

“Geography was my best subject in Year 12 and my geography teachers engaged and inspired me to find out about the world and think about things.”

For more information on the conference proceedings go to and download any of the presentations, talks etc which have and will continue to be posted over coming weeks.
A huge thanks to Mark, the Geography Teachers Association of South Australia and all attendees in making this one of the best weeks of my life in terms of learning, inspiration and companionship. Rob Berry has also created a Facebook page on the conference and all things geographical. It would be great to see people using this site to discuss the conference but also what is about to happen as we work on the Australian Curriculum for geography.

1 comment:

plu said...

Hi Mal,

Thanks for all the updates

When you post I push your blog out to Twitter - have you thought of using this avenue as well? - Geographers are interested. See these two links:!/geographile/status/37802141603069952


cheers MArtin