Apr 272007

I’ve created a wikispace for a new project on Personal Geographies. The idea is that Year 8 students will plan, discuss and write up their local fieldwork projects on the wiki. All the projects are based on the student’s perceptions of the local area and they have come up with some very interesting ideas. I’m able to use the wiki to add suitable guidance materials and comments on the work in progress; hopefully other teachers and parents will be able to discuss the work as it develops.

wikispace Go to the wiki

The project is an attempt at teaching with a co-constructivist approach. I’m hoping that the use of the wiki and web 2.0 tools such as Flickr and Google My Maps will mean that students collaborate with each other and work on the project out of school hours. They are being encouraged to use their mobile phones to take pictures and video, and hopefully they’ll learn some valuable new ICT skills that they can apply to a real world context. I’m using wikispaces because of the level of support they offer teachers.

There is a little risk involved, partly in terms of how colleagues might percieve the “geography” of the work. I could not have predicted that a group of students would have chosen to investigate locations for a fashion photoshoot or that others would be identifying the site for a new theatre space. One group of boys are creating a Parkour map of the town. There are a few stipulations, the students have to produce a map and collect and process some primary data as part of the outcome.

Let me know if you’d like to join the wiki.

Jan 052007

I’ve been very slow off the mark in blogging for/with my own students, compared to many of my online teacher friends and colleagues. That’s set to change with a new blog:


I’m going to use the blog in three ways. Firstly to link to various online materials that could be interesting or useful to the students. Secondly, I’d like to host some examples of student work. Finally, I’m hoping that it will provide an opportunity for those dialogues that could/should take place outside the classroom but never actually materialize. For example the comments could be used to discuss matters arising from homework assignments, examinations or current affairs. I guess we shall see.

Peer vs Public assessment: Google Earth blogs and polls

 Google Earth, Google Earth lessons, Student work, Teaching resources  Comments Off on Peer vs Public assessment: Google Earth blogs and polls
Nov 252006

With peer assessment a currently popular trend, I decided to add a twist and get members of the public to vote and comment on some Year 8 work.


It occurred to me that a basic web poll and blog comments would serve to give students useful feedback on their work. The assignment was based around my Google Earth San Francisco lesson. I’ve mentioned before that the ease with which Google Earth placemarks can be created and shared, makes them ideal for assessing spatially located geographical work.

Go here to my new Google Earth blog to find the poll and the students work. Download the work as a Google Earth file, together with the teaching materials, and vote for your favourite. Leaving a comment would provide the students with additional feedback. We would be particularly keen to hear from any residents of San Francisco!

The students and I would be very grateful for all feedback.

Oct 072006

Microclimate data in Google Earth
I’m very grateful to Tom Biebrach of Pencoed School for sharing his microclimate study that employs Google Earth extremely effectively.

microclimate click to enlarge

Tom’s school is portrayed in high resolution, and his local study makes use of a variety of ICT techniques to plot microclimate data. GPS was used to fix positions for the measurements, the data was processed by GPS visualizer into Google Earth placemarks. The placemarks link to videos of the students involved in their fieldwork. The temperature data is charted using GE Graph and finally Tom created simple outlines of the school buildings by drawing polygons over the footprints in the image and then extruding them to appropriate heights (note that this requires Google Earth Plus or Pro.)

This is a brilliant demonstration of digital geography and the original file is available here for download.

Atlas Gloves proved extremely popular at our Open Evening this week as visitors raced to find landmarks such as Big Ben in Google Earth using nothing but a pair of illuminated ping pong balls.

atlas2  atlas1

Atlas Gloves is an alternative interface for Google Earth and well worth investigating. See my previous post. It is particularly effective on a whiteboard with the user standing some distance away from the webcam. I’m happy to provide further details of installation if required.

Wikimapia network link
Finally, as previously reported, Wikimapia is the quickest way of adding user generated data to Google Maps – a great idea for a local study and now a network link is available for Google Earth.
Thanks to Google Earth blog for this news!