Tuesday, October 19, 2010

...and there is more!

Left image: London outskirts from the air.
Right image: Early morning on the Somme, Amien, France.

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
Mick Laws Blog
Email contact

Where am I??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

Some more spatial and geography sites to wet the appetite to play and learn!!

Place spotting with Google Earth. Try to solve the google map quiz

Great teaching resources. This website from the UK contains Geography PowerPoint’s on a range of topics relevant to senior school studies

Mick Laws Contour Education’s Map blog –worth following

ElectroCity is an online computer game that lets players manage their own virtual towns and cities. It’s great fun to play and also teaches players all about energy, sustainability and environmental management in New Zealand.

Questions and answers from ESRI on a variety of topics. These were originally written in preparation for the ESRI User Conference in San Diego this year and shows the extent of ESRI’s efforts in software development, products, education, and support; future plans in these areas; as well as thoughts on GIS and the industry as a whole. The purpose of the Q&A’s is to for share the information to help teachers be successful in their use of GIS.

MapTube is a free resource for viewing, sharing, mixing and mashing maps online. Created by UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, users can select any number of maps to overlay and view

Arc lesson on mapping the recent Australian Federal election

A great site if anyone is looking at World Heritage sites. The map plots properties which have been approved by the World Heritage Committee to be included on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The map shows 911 different properties as of July, 2010

Time lapse for nuclear explosions. Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998.

A useful site on GIS resources, history and links.

Mapping with a difference: On this site just select a subject from the top menu and watch the countries on the map change their size. Instead of land mass, the size of each country will represent the data for that subject --both its share of the total and absolute value. Similar to Worldmapper but even better to show differences around the world.

NearMap is a great site to get current aerial images (last one taken on August 30th). NearMap offers high resolution PhotoMaps which are clear and current, which allows you to see change over time. You are also able to integrate NearMap with existing technologies. The resolution is also excellent and the images are also archived to show change over time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Workshops maketh a conference!

Left image: Amien Cathedral, France.
Right image: Sydney Opera House from the pavement.

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
Mick Laws Blog
Email contact

Where am I??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

AGTA 2011 in Adelaide

In our quest to clarify what is geography and what is important to geography teachers, it is often worthwhile looking at the workshops at a conference. As we know conference attendees vote with their feet and the 2011 AGTA conference in Adelaide is no different. We have already an unprecedented interest in the conference and the registrations are very strong 3 months out. This conference is looking as the biggest AGTA conference for a long time. The list of workshops provides a great summary of where geography is at in the year 2010. The workshops range from the use of technology (spatial and other), global perspectives, Australian curriculum engagement, geographical thinking and pedagogy, geography in a range of contexts and links to the world outside the classroom (employment and fieldwork).

Just have a look at this smorgasboard of geographical professional learning provided by the AGTA 2011 conference:
• Exploring Globes, Maps and Mapping in the Primary School
• The Australian Curriculum within a Minerals and Energy Context
• Using Thinking Routines in the field
• Using Web 2.0 Technology in the Geography Classroom
• Learning about the Olympics in the Geography classroom
• Building Global Awareness Twenty first century Australians are members of a global community, connected to the rest of the world by ties of culture
• Data sets and data visualisation tools:
• Finally, a teacher-friendly GIS!
• Forests- a global perspective
• Geography past present and future
• Australian Curriculum: Moving from content to engagement
• Injecting Thinking into classroom practice
• Teaching about other Countries
• Gaia, Evolution and the very Spirit of Geography.
• Goyder’s Line and beyond
• Bringing the Australian Geography curriculum into the classroom
• Geographical skills: inquiry and Geography Going National
• Creative, Collaborative, Mobile Technologies for the Geography Classroom
• Geography across the P-12 campus
• Geography Beyond Education
• Development Geography and Global Citizenship
• Where From? Where To? Where Now?
• Making Spatial Simple
• A new professional learning tool
• The future of the Geography textbook in the digital age
• A Picture's Worth a 1000 Lessons
• Carbon Kids – tackling climate change
• 20 Minute GIS Using Virtual Globes
• Big Game Small World – The Geography of Sport
• Building Global Awareness
• The Geographers' Toolbox for the National Curriculum
• myWorld Atlas - see your world in a whole new light
• The Asian Century
• More than Google Earth
• Population: The Essential Ingredients.
•Combining Geography and Surfing to develop better Global Citizens
• Cache in on Learning, Cache in on Fun!
• Being an active global citizen
• Injecting Thinking into classroom practice
•“Teacher vs. Wild"- exploring and surviving the world's environments via virtual field trip (VFT)

The workshops are being support by excellent fieldtrips to the Adelaide coastline, CBD and suburbs, the St Kilda wetlands and mangroves, the Lower Murray Lakes and Coorong and waste recovery sites around Adelaide. Again, a real mixture of physical, human and 'sustainability' geography.

Finally the context for the conference will be set by Dr Peter Hill (ACARA CEO) and Dr Rita Gardner (RGS UK Director) when they talk about the place of geography in the curriculum of any progressive, thinking and sustainable nation.

All those involved are really looking forward to the conference and encourage all Spatialworlds blog followers who have not registered to consider travelling to Scotch College in Adelaide on January 10th, 2011 to attend this seminal conference for geography in Australia.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Visualisation of the spatial!

Left image: The beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Right image: Mangroves in Moreton Bay, Brisbane Queensland.

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??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

Discerning the difference between visual and spatial literacy
The terms visual and spatial literacy are often intertwined in discussions. I have come across an attempt to discern the difference between the two by the The North East Regional Computing Program, Inc. (NERCOMP), New England Regional Computing Program, Inc.in Massachusetts Institute of Technology. NERCOMP defines itself as an association of information systems and technology users affiliated with colleges, universities and other educational and research institutions throughout New England. I have customised for this posting of what they say visual and spatial literacy is and what it adds to a student learning and capacity building as individuals.

Visual literacies
The visually literate student can:
•Find images for a specific purpose
•Conduct close “readings” of images (VTS/Visual Thinking Strategies)
•Make evidence-based interpretations
•Construct narratives and/or arguments with images
•Articulate reasons for image choice/use
•Cite images
The visually literate student has: •A sense of themselves as creators, not just consumers
•Additional experience as analysts and rhetoricians (aligns with students’ work in first-year writing courses)
•An appreciation for ambiguity, competing/different interpretations of a work
•Familiarity with basic image licensing/intellectual property considerations

Compared with spatial literacy where;
The spatially literate student can:
•Recognize and interpret patterns in graphs, diagrams, maps, and other spatial representations of data.
•Comprehend basic spatial concepts such as scale, resolution, spatial interaction, and neighborhoods/zones.
•Use location as a basis for organizing and discovering information.
•Overlay different types of information to make an argument or solve a problem.
•Evaluate data quality.
The spatially literate student has:
•An appreciation for geography as more than just a list of places on the earth’s surface.
•An understanding of spatial concepts and principles(scale, distance, location, distribution, spatial association, movement, spatial interaction, region and spatial change over time (GTAV interpretation of spatial literacy concepts)
•The ability to capture and communicate knowledge in the form of a map, graph, or diagram.
•Familiarity with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and geospatial technology.

Food for thought and a discussion we need to have as geographers to clarify the difference between visual and spatial literacy. Is one a subset of the other or are they quite independent of each other?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spatial Genie!

Left image: A river somewhere in South Korea.
Right image: Australian countryside: Hurstbridge, Victoria.

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??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

Spatial resources: Getting it out of the bottle!

Last Friday I attended a ‘think-tank’ at the Education Services Australia (ESA) office in Melbourne on the development of a Spatial Genie for schools to use when developing spatial thinking for their students. Primarily the focus is on the use of web based activities and a spatial tool for geography. However, over time the Spatial Genie will also be applicable and very useable for learning areas such as history, science and mathematics. The discussion was led by Mark Sanders and Olivia Clarke from ESA. As a precursor to the Spatial Genie, ESA has already posted as “Data Genie’ site. The Data Genie uses tourism Australia data to visualise data in a variety of ways. As a pilot site the data Genie is a fantastic start in developing exciting visualisations of data for geography classes.
As for the Spatial Genie the idea is to develop a resource from K-10, incorporating a GIS capacity tool. The old Learning Federation has already developed some spatial thinking tools on Scootle which will be incorporated into the Spatial Genie.

Mark Sanders also compiled a list of sites which provide a really useful library of spatial thinking resources. As Mark says, these links “may be helpful in gaining and understanding of the context for the spatial tools project.”

The following links are to interesting content that has influenced current thinking on spatial thinking:
Haiti aid map
Example of open source technologies including Open Street Map being used in disaster relief efforts.

Google Earth and math
Great ideas for using Google Earth to engage students in Maths.

Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum is a report that can be read here and is the most significant influence on and encapsulation of our thinking so far. It is very compressive to the point of being exhaustive so you may prefer to listen to the following link which is about ten minutes long and gives a great overview of the thinking behind the report.

Spatial thinking podcast
This links to a ten minute mp3 which is a great summary of the thinking behind the report linked to above.

Geospatial revolution
An interesting site from a US public broadcaster which makes the Geospatial revolution mainstream. Also has supporting teacher resources.

Using Google Earth
25 interesting ways to use Google Earth in the classroom.

Dataset visulaisation
This report deals with Interactive collaboration with a dataset. View the video to get a good overview of the system.

Teaching spatial
teachspatial.org is a collaborative web site devoted to promoting applications of spatial concepts and spatial tools in teaching and learning.

Visualisation tool
This site is a neat data visualisation creation tool.

Free GIS
This website represents an attempt to build a complete index of Open Source / Free GIS related software projects

My World GIS is a Geographic Information System (GIS) designed specifically for use in educational settings. My World allows learners to explore and analyze geographic data about our world.

This work of ESA by Mark and Olivia is incredibly exciting and important for the development and resourcing of a technologically and spatially literate Australian Curriculum for geography.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Neogeography: Time to try to clarify and build on the term

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

Melbourne, Australia: S: 37º 47' E: 144º 58'

Left image: Mapping example using technology.
Right image: Fields of France in Spring.

In his abstract for the 2011 AGTA Conference Dr Peter Hill, ACARA CEO, says; "...geography as a discipline has undergone profound changes which in turn have impacted on the teaching of geography as a school subject. With the renewed focus on geography as a discrete subject within the Australian curriculum, there is an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that geography in schools reflects amazing developments in ‘neogeography’.”

In this blog posting I will attempt to define the contemporary version of neogeography and explore what the term means for geography in our schools and in turn the Australian Curriculum for geography.

The term neogeography has been used since at least 1922 (originally used in reference to ancient geology – palaeogeography!). However the meaning of the term has changed significantly over the decades. In the early 1950s in the U.S. it was a term used in the sociology of production & work. In 2010 the term has changed again to mean “new geography” and consists of a set of techniques and tools that fall outside the realm of traditional GIS (Geographic Information Systems).
Where historically a professional cartographer might use ArcGIS, a neogeographer uses a mapping applications like Google Maps, talks about GPX versus KML, and geotags their photos to make a map of their summer vacation. Increasingly there are spatial tools, frameworks, and resources available that make it easy to create maps and share the locations of an individual’s interests and history. Neogeography is about people using and creating their own maps using the “geospatial web” on their own terms and by combining elements of an existing toolset. Essentially, the advent of “do-it-yourself” mapping applications such as Google Maps has brought some of the capabilities of GIS into the hands of the laity. This trend was accelerated by the release in 2006 of Google Maps, Google Earth, and also with the decreased cost of geolocated mobile devices such as GPS units. The concept of Web 2.0 has also resulted in an increased public appeal of mapping and geospatial technologies. However neogeography is not limited to a specific technology and is not strictly web-based, so is not synonymous with web mapping though it is commonly conceived as such.
The contemporary use of the term, and the field in general, owes much of its inspiration to the locative media movement that sought to expand the use of location-based technologies to encompass personal expression and society. Neogeography combines the complex techniques of cartography and GIS and places them within reach of users and developers. The term is sufficiently abstract to serve as a broad category of un/non-professional geographic practices (walking mapping, tagging, etc.). Neogeography covers a broad field of activity, which includes urban exploration, site specific sculpture, land/earth art, geo-tagging, guided walks, ephemeral cities, imaginary urbanism, altered maps/radical cartography, travel writing, psychogeography, place based photo blogging, etc.
A number of geographers and geoinformatics scientists (such as Mike Goodchild) have expressed strong reservations about the term "neogeography". They say that geography is an established scientific discipline; uses such as mashups and tags in Google Earth are not scientific works, but are better described as Volunteered Geographic Information. Despite these reservations by geographers and GIS specialists, many say that the art of mapping using computers (electronic cartography) has democratized mapmaking and “spatial play”, making everyone an active geographer.

The following quote from Andrew Turner is a good summary of the origin and impact of neogreography:
“NeoGeography is the empowerment of the non-geographers, noncoders and folks who don't have access to "real" GIS. Many say that GIS has reached its saturation level (not in all regions of the world) and derivatives of this technology have been developed. The term "Neogeography" is one such derivative of GIS. Similar So, GIS and neogeography, both are here to stay as geography has survived along with GIS and other sciences. Neogeography has helped the GIS and mapping professionals being recognized by the masses (largely thanks to Google and their API) and new tools and application being developed which can be used by all and sundry and is not restricted to a closed and specialized.”

Most importantly, if neogeography as a phenomena is here to stay and is all-pervasive in our society, surely it should be an integral component of geography in schools. The neogeography literate are already incorporating the tools and applications of neogeography extremely effectively in their classroom. An example of this is the work of Rebecaa Nicholas in Melbourne who is doing amazing things with neogeography. Just check out Bec’s and her students blogs to see the impact of neogeography in her classroom.
Considering Peter Hill has highlighted the importance of neogeography, it is beholden upon geographers in Australia to ensure neogeography is well and truly integrated into the Australian Curriculum for geography.

Monday, August 9, 2010

21st Century Curriculum

Left image: Hazerbrouck Railway Station, France.
Right image: Rocks on Rouen beach, France.

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

Where am I??
Loxton, Australia: S: 34º 28' E: 140º 31'

The 21st Century curriculum needs to be written to ensure that ‘teachable moments’ happen to the maximum! To do so the curriculum should be written to incorporate:

o Flexibility• be flexible to meet the needs of the self-reliant and autonomous learner.

o Multiple literacies• recognise and consider as equally important the range of ‘non-traditional’ literacy’s i.e. visual, financial, health, media, environmental, spatial etc.
• develop cultural literacy and intercultural understanding.

o Orientation
• be thematic in nature, providing guidance via the provision of ‘big ideas’ and ‘essential questions’, instead of discreet content alone.
• view all topics studied though the lens of sustainability.

o Inquiry focus• build relationship with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally.
• be inquiry based and integrate research and inquiry into the development of knowledge and skills.

o Integration• integrate with other subjects in terms of knowledge and skills.

o Authenticity• relate to the community and interact in a meaningful way.
• have a focus on the citizenship capacity of the individual by treating civic and global issues.
• customise learning to student personal pathways.
• provide ample opportunities for students to be involved in project based activities.

o Global dimensions• be global in treatment- design and share information from global communities to meet a variety of purposes.

o Creativity• enable creativity in thought and action.

o Communication
• recognise a variety of ways to demonstrate knowledge and skills.
• encourage a variety of assessment strategies, including teacher, self and peer assessment.

o Challenging
• challenge students to inquire as to possible futures and explore the question of not only what?, why? and where? but also what if? and so what?
• stimulate student curiosity and inquisitiveness.
• reflect the intended outcomes for students by the development of clearly articulated and achievable standards.
• emphasis in course design and assessment on the skill of synthesis, critical analysis and evaluation.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The 21st Century learner

Picture descriptions:
Images: 21st Century students - are they any different?

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??
Port Lincoln, South Australia: S: 34º 42' E: 135º 52'

This posting explores the issue of where students as learners have changed. Is there such a thing as a 21st Century learner? The research indicates that there is! If we are on about developing a 21st Century curriculum then we must take into account that the learner has changed and think about how the currciulum may be different to accomodate these changes.

These changes may be categorised under the headings of what they require and expect and what they are interested in.

*They require and expect:• not to have to learn “by rote” knowledge. They recognize that knowledge is important but not to be expected to learn chunks of deep knowledge
• respect from their teachers. They consider respect needs to be ‘earnt’ by their teachers
• to learn the skills of knowledge acquisition, analysis and synthesis
• to develop a taste of the ethos and frameworks of disciplines.
• relevance of learning to their life. They ask how the curriculum delivered will prepare them for the real world whilst they are at school and when they leave. They expect real world competencies through their learning
• the freedom to personalise/customise their learning/tasks to meet their personal needs
• their learning to be flexible, self reliant and autonomous
• new technologies to be available to support their learning and collaborative work
• to work collaboratively in the real and virtual space
• be able to meet achievement standards if they work as required
• the opportunity to study in depth a topic/issue they find of interest
• connectivity with their life and their learning experiences.

* They are interested in:
• issues of social justice
• real stories
• connecting with others in the real and virtual space
• using current technology to learn – in particular to enhance connectivity
• being active citizens and make a difference
• embracing cross-cultural competencies – sensitivity to other cultures
• greenness and sustainability through real ecologically responsible acts
• being global in outlook – citizens of the world
• customising their education to their needs – personal pathways
• being a resourceful learner, curious, enquiring, community relevant and learning
beyond the school day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My favourite things!

Left image: Marine traffic site.
Right image: Mapping surnames site.

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??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

These are a selection of the sites I used in my RSGQ talk. They tend to be my favourite geographical sites – only until I find more!

Worldmapper- cartograms of socio-economic criteria around the world
Flights around the world in 24 hours
If the world was a village of 100
Earthcam: cameras around the world
Globalis: Interactive maps
Geocaching around Australia
Google Maps and Streetview
Marine traffic in real time
Tracking flu outbreaks around the world
Calculating ecological footprints
Cities from above at night
If sea level rose
Water storage levels around Australia
Digging a hole through the earth
Google earth and all it has to offer.

Times are still changing!

Left image: Traffic in London
Right image: Pace of life, Derby, UK

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??
Brisbane, Australia: S: 28º 28' E: 153º 02'

Times are a changing: Part 2
I enjoyed the opportuntiy to talk at the RGSQ last night about 21st Century change and the implications for the geography curriculum and geography teahcing in the 21st Century. Had some great chats with the geography teachers attending about the future of geography in schools. Here are the rest of my thoughts on the nature of 21st Century change which was the basis of last nights talk.

* Technology pervasiveness and information access

The world is now one of:
•all pervasive technology. The use of technology impacts on every aspect of 21st Century life. For entertainment, navigation, information and work an individual is hooked up to technology. The implication of this to our understanding of the underlying principles governing many of these applications reduces our capacity to live without the technology. For example dependence on a GPS can spatially de-skill individuals who feel “quite lost” if the technology fails.

• visualisation and wanting to see what things look like. The ability of technology has drastically increased the ability to show individuals what something looks like, even on the other side of the world. The world of “seeing and knowing without going” is thriving though the virtual world of the Internet i.e. if you are interested in a holiday destination, virtual tours can give a taste; if you want to buy a house, you can view via walkthroughs. The visual coverage of every street and every house across the globe is growing day by day through the Streetview of Google Maps and the aerial view of Google Earth. Increasingly we are visiting places virtually before choosing to go there or not. No longer does one have to guess about what a thing or place looks like. The individual does not expect to be kept in the dark and only read about something!

• the instant expert. Linked to our access to information at the end of our fingertips is the birth of a population of instant experts. People feel prepared to comment and even criticise as a result of the knowledge they have attained electronically. This trend is evident by the Blogger and Twitter phenomena where individuals feel they can comment on complex issues with the same credence as an expert i.e. the demise of the film and literary critic in the media.

• cynicism and questioning. The pervasiveness of information and communication technology, combined with the power and penetration of the media has resulted in a world where people consider they are as informed as experts and those in power. Although a little cynicism or more politely the art of questioning by an individual is healthy in any society, the denial and constant challenging of expert knowledge and the motives of our leaders can become dysfunctional in a democracy.

• requiring critical analysis of issues and information. The bombardment of information and ideas an individual comes into contact with the media every day necessitates the ability to sift, customise and make sense. Such problem solving and critical analysis skills are becoming increasingly important citizenship skills for any functional individual in society. In the age of the instant expert such a skill within the general population is an imperative for an informed and considered society.

• media saturation. Individual outlay on media has grown astronomically. Whether the mobile phone, cable TV, Ipad or Internet connection people expect to be in the know. As a result the media has continued to grow as a social influence far outstripping more traditional influences, including schools.

* The phenomena of change

The world is now one of:

• constant change. Things are continually being updated and we strive for a better version. Whether computer upgrade or the latest digital TV, we expect the current version. Repair is a foreign concept, being easier to buy a new one for not much more. As well as material change we are also seeing significant societal change in terms of values and morals. What was taboo or socially unacceptable last year can soon be changed through our connectivity with the rest of the world via the power of the media. An individual in the 21st Century needs to be able to cope and adapt to change.

• fast pace. Communication technologies, information technologies and transport have resulted in the pace of life increasing. People expect and indeed demand speed of response. We are not prepared to wait for a letter to return but expect an email or answer asap. The mobile phone has contributed to the pace of life by making everyone contactable, anywhere, anytime.

• immediacy of life. If we want to find out something it is at our fingertips via Google. There is endless access to information and a huge potential for an individual to gain new knowledge immediately. This has significant implications for the need for an individual to have a bank of “known” knowledge in their brain. What is more important is how to access knowledge via the information technologies available and how to be discerning with the acquired knowledge (bias, reliability)

In summary, the world of the 21st Century a young person in our schools is presently living in and soon to be fully functional citizens of a globalised world which is highly interconnected and interdependent, media saturated, culturally diverse, technology driven, rapidly changing, information overloaded, cynical, environmentally degraded, mobile and increasingly homogeneous. How different is that to the world most 40+ teachers were born into? No Facebook, no computers, mono-cultural, only free to air TV, limited global inter-action, books the holders of knowledge etc. Our present education system was developed for the world of the 20th Century (some will argue that it is still 19th Century orientated). Can this “one size fits all” education system developed in the 20th century continue to educate effectively the 21st Century citizen. The literature says no because the needs of the 21st Century learner are vastly different in this changing world and that teachers and their pedagogy, curriculum, schools and systems need to change.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Times are a changing

Left image: CBD, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Right image: Arthur's Pass, New Zealand.

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??
Brisbane, Australia: S: 28º 28' E: 153º 02'

Times are a changing: Part 1
As mentioned in my last posting, things are changing rapidly in society and our world view. Such changes are not necessarily reflected in our education system and in turn reflected in curriculum and teaching. Before going into detail on the implications for geography curriculum and teaching in the 21st Century I have had a go at trying to delineate what the major changes are which have a socio-geographical basis.
Today I am in Brisbane and will be addressing the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland on 21st change and the challenge for geography educators to develop in the Australian Currciulum a world class, state of the art, contemporary and engaging geography for schools. Some of what I put in the next few blog entries are the basis of my talk. The changes and their nature are only my ideas and I would love to have any others add to my list and discuss the veracity of my discussion on the matter. Others may have a very different take on the changes we have lived through and face in the 21st Century.

The changes to the way of life and perceptions in the world of the 21st Century can be discussed under the broad headings of global perspective and globalization, environmental change, cultural interaction, technology pervasiveness and information access and the phenomena of change.

For this entry I will only explore the first three; changes in global perspectives, environmental challenges and cultural interaction.

* Changing global perspective and globalisation

The world is now one of:
• high connectivity due to communication technology and the ease of travel. Distance is no longer one of friction but ease. One can have a friend / business associate anywhere in the world and interact with them upon demand.
• homogeneity. The mobility of individuals, global markets and communication technologies has resulted in the world becoming more homogenous. The influence of multinational companies such as MacDonalds and US TV networks have resulted in a phenomenon called “Cultural Imperialism”. No matter where you are in the world, a little bit of home is available.
• places around the world are of ever increasing interdependence in terms of information, people, ideas, trade and exchange. Again, made possible by the reduction of the friction of distance and the growth of global markets. Australia’s increasing engagement with Asia is an outcome of this phenomena.
• increasing reliance on international markets. People need to be ready to move and interact with other nations. No country is an island with the products and materials we use coming from every corner of the globe. In turn our industry is dependent on overseas markets for their survival.
• diminishing size and power over the tyranny of distance. The power of technology not only shows you what something looks like but where exactly it is. In the 21st Century over 80% of data is attached to place. Such spatial awareness of where things are on the globe has changed individual’s perception of distance and accessibility. No longer is any place really out of our virtual reach. For example with the capacities of GPS we also expect to be taken somewhere with minimal spatial thinking. What is the impact of such technology having on our spatial, global and community sense?

* Environmental change

The world is now one of:

• environmental challenges. Communities are aware of the degradation of our land, air and biosphere. As a result there is an ever increasing awareness of the need to act and change aspects of our lifestyle. An aspect of this awareness is the knowledge that degradation does not respect national borders. For example China’s loss of bio-diversity is also other countries. Such awareness will result in increasing global co-operation and in turn connectivity and interdependencies. These events/phenomena are challenging societies, livelihoods locally and globally in the 21st Century. These issues range from climate change to migration, from energy resources to environmental hazards, from food production to water resources, and from the future of the countryside to the impact of globalisation on developing countries

* Cultural interaction

The world is now one of:

• increasing cultural diversity. The movement of people around the world for a range of reasons has resulted in most countries of the western world having highly multi-cultural populations. The need for inter-cultural understanding and cultural literacy has become an important component of citizenship and cultural competency.

• awareness of injustices and inequities. The society of the 21st Century is more aware of the minorities and their plight. Issues related to the indigenous community, the disabled, refugees and the homeless are highlighted by the media and socially there is a sensitivity to actions and remarks which may be deemed as racist or elitist. Recent outrage about racism in football codes around Australia indicates that attitudes do change and are changing. Although not a minority the increasing influence of women in Australia in the 21st Century cannot be denied. Although not universal, the issues of social justice and equity is a concept that has resonance in the 21st Century.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How different is it?

Picture descriptions:
Images:Arthur's Pass, South Island, New Zealand.

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??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

Is 21st Century change real?

Further to my April blog entry on 21st Century skills, over recent months I have been exploring the nature of the social, political and economic changes in our society over the past 20 years (or rather the turn of the century changes heading into the century we are already 10 years into). If this change is real and significant, as it undoubtedly is, then there are huge implications to schools in terms of curriculum, teaching/pedagogy and classroom environment. Such changes are very necessary because the most significant impact of the 21st Century changes is the distinct change to the nature of the student as a learner. In the next few blog postings I am going to explore various aspects of these changes. Sorry to the spatial education followers of Spatialworlds for this deviation into the world of educational theory but in fact such identification of the changes and their implications for schooling provides a sound argument as to why we need to use spatial technology and develop spatial literacy skills in schools. With so much data attached to place and the mobility of humanity in the 21st Century, spatial skills and technology are the skills of the 21t Century. However they continue to be ignored and not understood by the education community. Hence the reason for my paper which forms the basis of these blog entries on 21st Century change. I will be interested to read your responses.

Here it goes! Part 1.

Much is written about what is a 21st Century curriculum. As we are immersed in the writing of the Australian Curriculum it is important that we review and assess the curriculum developed through the lens of the copious literature which has been written on the nature of 21st Century change and the need for a distinct educational response. Since the early 1990’s educationalists have been thinking and surmising about how the changing world of the 21st Century will impact on education and in turn what are the implications for the learners, teachers, schools, classrooms and curriculum. This paper challenges the notion that we can continue maintaining the education status quo and just ignore the societal, environmental and economic changes that are upon us in the 21st Century. It is becoming increasingly obvious to many that the “factory style” of education which was developed in the 19th Century for the requirements of the Industrial Age is not suited to the information rich interconnected globalised world of the 21st Century. Although we have grown up with and feel comfortable with the system as it now exists, we may need to consider significant educational change to meet the requirements of the 21st Century citizen. What does this new world look like? Some would argue that a paradigm shift is not required but just some tweaking of what we presently do. The danger that this tweaking may simply mean technology is added but we continue to do much the same in philosophy and practice. The next few blog entries will ultimately focus on the impact of 21st Century changes on geography in schools but initially we need to look at the nature of 21st change and the likely impact of the changing 21st Century world on educational practice overall. In the next blog I will try to identify the most significant socio-economic changes which have occurred over the past few decades.

Monday, July 5, 2010

IAG Conference in Christchurch

Left image: What a setting to live in!
Right image: Rocks, snow and ice, perfect!

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?

Christchurch, New Zealand: S: 43º 32' E: 172º 37'

Growing the link between school and university geographers
Today I am in Christchurch, New Zealand to attend the Council meeting for the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG). The IAG has been an important player with AGTA and the RGSQ in the work of the ‘Towards a National Geography Curriculum’ project and in turn the work of ACARA in developing an Australian Curriculum for geography. Several of the IAG Executive have been closely involved in the ACARA process. The IAG Secretary, Associate Professor Alaric Maude is the ACARA Lead Writer for geography and Professor Lesley Head (IAG Vice President) and Iain Hay (IAG President) have both been on the ACARA Advisory Panel. Their input is greatly valued by geography teachers in Australia and the involvement of the academic geography community in the development of a world class geography curriculum is extremely important.
The IAG conference is an interesting mix, with an amazing diversity of papers presented. Again it makes one ask the question; What is geography? As I did with the IAG Conference last year, here are some of what I consider the most interesting papers when considering the development of an energetic, diverse and creative geography curriculum for schools. In terms of topic, nothing is out of bounds, as long as the lens is spatial and the context geographical. Here are just a few examples:
* Urban regeneration, drinking and young citizens: Paradoxical tensions in the governance of inner-city night time spaces.
* Degrees of responsibility: How far will tourism corporates go to assist the poor and disadvantaged?
* A landscape of well-being – towards a theory of the landscape and human well-being.
* Environmental correlates of young people’s happiness.
* Young Australians in multigenerational household: trends, drivers and implications.
* Working holidays an experience or a path to migration?
* Utilising GIS in education.
* Senses of place and identity in contemporary rural Australia: Views from Ballarat.
* Beyond greenwash, creating sustainable communities.
* The changing landscape of cemeteries in Perth, WA
* Power and politics of water governance and development.
* (Dis)located bodies: Women and class in a changing rural Australia.
* Still getting away with it: revealing geographies of the super-rich.
* Cross-cultural boundary riding – Utilising Indigenous knowledge for environmental management.
* Urban homebodies: Spatiality of masculinity and domesticity in inner Sydney.

These are just a few of the workshops to show the diversity of what is seen as geography. Naturally the conference also had plenty of the more traditional geomorphologic, climatological and economic geographies presented but the list above shows the social and cultural richness and contemporary nature of the study of geography in our universities (and applicable to the study of geography in schools).
Unfortunately I cannot stay for the week to experience this wonderful geography with the 472 geographers attending the conference. My work here is to present to the IAG Council the development of the ACARA geography curriculum for Australia. More directly my attendance at the Council meeting was to garner the IAG’s support to ensure that ACARA and the Ministers of Education in Australia are aware of the importance of geography being a compulsory subject to Year 10. To this end the IAG Council is drafting a letter to both ACARA and the Ministers in each state requesting meetings to discuss their concerns if geography is relegated to an elective in Years 9 and 10.
My attendance at the meeting also gave me the opportunity to advertise the January 2011 AGTA conference and invite the participation of academic geographers in the event. I consider the time is perfect to get more academic geographers involved in AGTA’s activities promoting the professional learning for the Australian Curriculum: geography.

Whilst talking about the conference, it is worth reporting the nature of the keynote presented on Monday night by US academic Professor Lisa Parks. The focus of her talk was that the advent of Google Earth has made the earth a target to be destroyed as a result of the widespread availability of satellite imagery. Professor Parks considers that Google Earth has “shifted the focus from caring for the world to viewing it as a target”.
“Increasingly, states have used these images, which are so freely available to help destroy a societies and people’s lives through conflict, and these are the very same states that are benefiting from the rebuilding.”
Professor Parks raised the issues of who has the power to produce these images and the implications of the “knowledge acquired from these images”. She challenged the right of a companies such a Google to produce and censor the images – “that should be the responsibility of decisions made by state departments and diplomats”. In fact some imaging firms were selling photos of conflict zones “like digital real estate. Do such transactions represent the public interest or rather military and corporate interests?” I found this take on the power and implications of spatial technologies an interesting adjunct to one of my previous blog entries on the pervasiveness of spatial technology and its implications for good and evil in the world.
It certainly would have been a great conference to stay for – quite different to some of the more linear and conservative discipline perceptions we often have when teaching geography in schools. It is time to think laterally on the relevance of geography to young people. More on that in future blogs on 21st Century geography in our schools,

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Spatial Industry link

Left image: National Geographic Channel Australian Geography Competition finals in Foxtel studios, June 2010.
Right image: Timber ready to be loaded at Lyttelton, New Zealand

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?

Canberra: S: 35º 15' E: 149º 08'

The Spatial Industry and Geography link - an imperative!
I am in Canberra today to attend the Surveying and Spatial Science Institutes (SSSI) Spatial Education Committee (SEAC). I have been a member of SEAC representing the Australian Geography Teacher Association (AGTA) since 2004. The SEAC is a sub –committee of the SSSI and has been established to coordinate and promote spatial education in Australian schools, TAFE and Universities.
The SSSI offers people working across the diverse nature of the surveying and spatial sciences industry a professional home i.e. remote sensing, photogrammetrists, cartographers, GIS technicians/consultants, hydrographic, land or engineering surveyors.
At today’s meeting Mark Sanders from ‘The Learning Federation’(TLF) outlined the TLF’s proposal for the development of a cutdown on-line GIS application. If given the go-ahead the application will be supported with on-line data. Other members of SEAC, PSMA and ANZLIC are interested in participating in the venture and exploring the options of partnership with TLF (now known as Education Services Australia - ESA). A decision on the proposal is expected soon. In the meantime the TLF is ready to launch its ‘Data Visualisation Genie’ on June 30th.
The meeting was also an opportunity for me to present information on the recently released (June 30th) draft Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) shape paper for geography. The paper is open for consultation until August 27th 2010. Naturally we are keen to have the spatial industry involved in the feedback and consultation on the paper to ensure that the curriculum reflects 21st Century technology as represented by the spatial industry and world class spatial analysis as required for the development of high quality spatial literacy in schools. SEAC considers it has a role in informing ACARA of the linkage between its industry and the world of geography in schools. To this end SEAC and it members have promised to provide feedback on the paper and write a letter to ACARA stating the importance of geography to the spatial industry and the need for the teaching of geography to be compulsory to Year 10. In particular SEAC and the bodies involved such as ANZLIC, Skills Councill of Australia and PSMA intend to highlight the shortage of qualified spatial scientists and technicians in Australia. In this fast growing industry there is a crisis in supply which seems to be ignored by the community and the eduction systems. There is an urgent need to develop skills and awareness in schools of the opportunities available in the spatial industry.
I hope this day in Canberra and the support garnered from the spatial industry will inform ACARA of the industrial and employment component of a comprehensive and quality delivery of an Australian curriculum for geography. Most importantly there is a need when one views and analysis the geography shape paper during the consultation period that it is through the lens of the needs of the spatial industry as well as for general educational worth.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just sites!

Left image: Into the London Underground at Kensington Station
Right image: Waterloo Station, London

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'

I thought it time for a posting where I just listed a whole lot of great websites which have been unearthed over recent months. Many of these have been dug up (sorry) by the incredibly active South African group of teachers who are part of the South African Geography Teachers' Google Group. The amount of traffic this group creates is amazing and certainly something to be admired - seems to be some very energetic and thinking geographers in South Africa. If you are interested in joining this group (be prepared for plenty of emails on all things geographical)just go to http://groups.google.com/group/sageographyteachers?hl=en. Other websites have been gleaned from a variety of sources. I have tried to do a brief summary with each and these are only what I have found the most interesting for geography teaching.

* Great old maps; discover the secrets within historical maps.

* Website library

* Lots of great geography and GIS resources.

* Cartography 2.0 is a free online knowledge base and e-textbook for students and professionals interested in interactive and animated maps.

* This video titled, “Lost Generation”was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old. The contest was titled "u @ 50" by AARP. So simple and yet so brilliant.

* World clock of …… whatever!

* Free resources, ideas and lesson plans for teaching with technology This ‘Free technology for teacher’s’ website lists free interactive games and maps available on the Internet. These games can be good tools for students to use in developing their knowledge of geography. The ten websites listed on the site are places to find a variety of interactive geography games and interactive maps that will help students develop their knowledge of geography. The last item in the list is a resource for creating your own geography game.

* A useful resource providing 580 front pages from 55 countries. The Newseum displays these daily newspaper front pages in their original, unedited form. This Newspaper Map is great for current Geographical events. You just put your mouse on a city anywhere in the world and the newspaper front page pop up... The maps work according to regions. Double click and the page gets larger....apparently you can read the entire paper on some if you click on the right place.

* From Scotland (National Collection of Aerial Photography), some great aerial imagery for historical geography in particular (thanks to Bec Nicholas for passing this one on)

* Interactive images project from the UK

* It is worth looking at the exciting materials and buzz on the ‘Geography Teaching Today’ website in the UK.
There are sections on resources for:
* Early Years and Primary
* Middle Years
* Senior Years

* Preparing for the population explosion. In 2050, it is estimated that Australia's population will explode to 35 million, with the world's population set to top 90 billion.
But how are government organisations, businesses, scientists and environmentalists preparing to meet this demand?
Find out at how location intelligence is playing a key role in equipping our decision makers with comprehensive and accurate information to help better converse, sustain and manage the environmental challenges of a growing world.

* Pandemic planning
From swine flu and the SARS virus to localised legionnaires disease outbreaks, a year doesn't seem to pass without a serious epidemic. But how does the world react to control the spread? Get behind the scenes of how location intelligence is used for early detection, tracking, response and control of infectious disease outbreaks.

* Solve your complex vehicle routing problems. Did you know that you can dynamically model real road situations, including turn and height restrictions, speed limits and changing traffic conditions?

* The spatial round table forum Have your say on the hot topics in the spatial industry at . ESRI's Spatial Roundtable provides a great opportunity for you to share your points of view about concerns, trends, challenges, and technologies.

* This one is really just out there about motivation and purpose but worth a look - makes one think and apply to our own work situation if not classroom

* Something from National Geographic for the classroom activities.
Some really great online 'games' for a range of ages.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Putting Geography on the Map: The UK experience

Left image: April 2010 GA Conference in Derby UK
Right image:Stonehenge, Salisbury, UK.

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'

On April I was fortunate to travel to Derby in the UK to attend the Geography Associations (GA) annual conference. What a wonderful experience to meet such a wide range of geography teachers and to experience the magnitude of this annual event. In this posting I will just select some of the gems of quotes, websites and impression I gleaned from this two day event.
The conference was held at Derby University and was the home to over 300 teachers for the duration of the conference. The size and capacity of an organisation such as the GA means that the level of support they provide geography teachers in the UK is beyond anything we cold dream about in Australia. Having said that, organisations such as AGTA and it affiliates in each state do a wonderful job in supporting quality geography teaching and geography teachers. As you may know, the GA in association with the Royal Geographical Society in the UK have had a huge infusion of government funds over recent years via the Geography Action Plan. Components of this plan we should consider as we develop our own plan in Australia to support the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum in Geography. AGTA is presently lobbying the Australian Government with ideas and strategies to support professional learning for teachers in Australia. Most importantly the opportunity provided by attending the conference allowed me to talk to key players in the UK national curriculum such as Professor David Lambert and Dr Rita Gardner.
Over the course of the conference several quotes and references from people such as David and Rita resonated with me and I feel should be incorporated into our work on the Australian Curriculum: geography over the coming years. Here are some of my observations:

* The catch cry of geography promotion: “Putting Geography on the Map” . (David Lambert keynote title, Derby 2010). Corny but says it all! Here are some other quotes from David’s GA keynote April 2010
* “Geography is about stimulating a sense of wonder about places.”
* “Geography is one of humanities "BIG IDEAS”
* “Geographers are experts in global dimensions.”
* “ A key role of geographical education is to promote social and community cohesion through understanding of the human and physical world. Does this approach resonate better than talk of geography promoting citizenship?
* “Sell learning geographically and not just geography.”
* Geography is about what is where? Why is it there? what if? and so what?

Here are some other information/ideas/sites I gleaned from the conference:

* Beware of the “Death Geographies!” The geographies of the doomsdayers.
* “How does thinking geographies help us live?
* “To see that geography is beyond atlas’s, places and colouring-in!”
* The “Geography Teaching Today” is a website full of teaching ideas for primary and secondary.
* The concept of “curriculum making” instead of “curriculum taking”. Incredibly pertinent to the role out of the Australian curriculum I geography in 2012
* Making Geography happen: Making Geography Happen is an Action Plan funded project about good quality, innovative curriculum-making. It focuses on the work done by students in geography lessons and how this contributes to their wider understanding of the world.
* The UK Geography “Action Plan” – can we do a similar thing in Australia, albeit on a smaller scale.
* “The Action Plan emphasises ‘curriculum making’ as a creative professional process.“
* The “Geography Manifesto – “A Different View” is an interesting sitedeveloped by the GA which provides the blueprint for geography in the UK. A Different View is a manifesto from the Geographical Association. It makes a compelling case for geography's place in the curriculum. But the world changes, and so does the curriculum. A Different View, and the supporting materials on this website, are designed to be used in any context where geography is taught, explained, encouraged or promoted. Free accompanying resources and photographs can be downloaded from this site.
* Simon Catling’s Work are worthy of consideration. The children’s world is actually 10 worlds (Simon Catling 1992). In his book Simon indentifies 10 World of the child. They are:
• action world
• perceived world
• people world
• information world
• competence world
• valued world
• imaginary world
• source world
• future world
• commitment world.
Considering these worlds of a child, what do they mean to the way we select content, classroom pedagogy and the conceptualization of the curriculum for students. It can be argued to varying extents that these worlds apply to all students regardless of age.
* The big ideas of geography includes Place, Space and Scale.
* Think-talk-solve-act-global
An initiative to help to teach about some of the world's biggest poverty related challenges. In its pilot stage, the network includes teaching resources and a forum for you to meet and collaborate with other education professionals
* Thinking geographically:
Whether you are interested in primary, middle or secondary education, you will find something useful and enriching on this site.
* The GA is an independent charity with a core objective of furthering the learning and teaching of geography. The GA promoThe GA is an independent charity with a core objective of furthering the learning and teaching of geography. The GA promotes and supports geography teaching by producing acclaimed resources for teachers, holding quality CPD events and lobbying government. GA supports geography teaching by producing acclaimed resources for teachers, holding quality CPD events and lobbying government.
* Spatial literacy: an interesting PowerPoint to help clarify it’s role on geography
* The ABC of Spatial literacy – an interesting article
* Mission explore Misson Explore is a project to engage (young) people with geography through playful and thought provoking missions.
* Independent Thinking is one of UK's leading providers of people, knowledge, ideas and inspiration to help make a genuine and lasting difference to education.
* Spatial literacy in primary schools
* A quest for spatial literacy
* A bit of fun for geography classes: Mat dancing around the world Youtube. Where is Mat now –dancing where??

Finally I would like to thank the GA for their support facilitating the process for me to present a workshop at their great conference and to participate in the associated events. Great food for thought for us in Australia interested and involved in introducing an Australian Curriculum for geography.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On the way again! A 21st Century Curriculum

Images above: Geography classes in Australia and South Korea. Very different approaches and educational aspirations - which is 21st Century?

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?

Singapore: N: 1º 14' E: 103º 55'

I have been rather slack with the Spatialworlds blog over the past months. While busy at work I have also been putting my energy into keeping the ball rolling with the Australian curriculum: geography and not keeping my blog going. As part of this I have continued to update geographers around OZ via my Google Group titled, "21st Century Geography in Australian Schools". Much is happening with the development of the Australian curriculum: geography, with the first consultation forum taking place in Sydney on April 27th. The Initial Advice Paper is to be discussed at the forum - keep a look out on the ACARA site for the paper after the forum. If you sign up to the "21st Century Geography in Australian Schools" Google group I will notify you of this posting via group email.
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend because I am on my way to Europe for all of April (not really unfortunately). I am presently killing time in Changi Airport in Singapore doing my blog waiting for a flight to London at 11.30pm. In fact next week I will be in London visiting the Royal Geography Society to get more detail for AGTA on their Ambassadors program and generally talking to those involved in the UK Geography Action Plan and their National Geography development. On Thursday next week I travel to Derby to attend the Geography Association (GA) Conference in Derby. Should be great fun meeting all those UK geographers and having a chance to talk geography and learn what their views are on the success or otherwise of their national geography initiative. After the conference I return to London and spend a few days preparing for the South Australian "Premier's ANZAC Spirit School Prize" students to arrive on April 13th. I will then be tied up with conducting the history program for the tour though Northern France and Belgium during the rest of April(culminating on ANZAC Day at Villers Brettoneux). Should be a wonderful experience. During my days in London I will also be attending the Royal Geographical Society lecture at the RGS. The topic is "Out of Steppe: the lost peoples of Central Asia". Should be interesting and a topic for a blog entry!

Going back to the topic of 21st Century curriculum, I have been trying to clarify in my own mind what actually is a 21st Century curriculum. I am not just talking about the technology of the 21st century (that is the delivery of the curriculum) but what the actual curriculum should look like. This is imperative when you consider we are presently writing the Australian curriculum: geography for the 21st Century at ACARA. This new curriculum must reflect the needs and aspirations of young people living in Australia in the future and not just now. When in England at the GA conference and at the Royal Geographical Society I hope to explore this topic more and come back with a much clearer idea about how such a modern curriculum should look. In the meantime, I have found the "The Partnership for 21st Century Skills" site a great starting point to explore the area of a modern curriculum. Although American and locked into testing regimes I have found the site very useful as a thought starter.
Well I must go but I hope to find time on this trip to report/discuss via the blog what I find out whilst in England next week - in particular at the conference in Derby. They have already been through the national curriculum process and implementation in the UK, we would be mad to not learn from their mistakes and triumphs.