Tag Archives: Geography

Microsoft Maker Space at #BETT2017 [@BETT_Show @microsofteduk]⤴

from @ OllieBray.com


I was really impressed with the Microsoft Maker Space at BETT 2017.

It was packed full of practical and fun activities for both kids and adults to try out.

I think my favourite was the robotic hand (see the video below). But there was also some really nice stuff for geography teachers on Using Computational Thinking to Understand Earthquakes and Analysing Wind Speed with Anemometers.

All of the resources are free and a new lesson plan is being released each month.

You can view the current list of resources at aka.ms/hackingstem.


Microsoft Maker Space at #BETT2017 [@BETT_Show @microsofteduk]⤴

from @ OllieBray.com


I was really impressed with the Microsoft Maker Space at BETT 2017.

It was packed full of practical and fun activities for both kids and adults to try out.

I think my favourite was the robotic hand (see the video below). But there was also some really nice stuff for geography teachers on Using Computational Thinking to Understand Earthquakes and Analysing Wind Speed with Anemometers.

All of the resources are free and a new lesson plan is being released each month.

You can view the current list of resources at aka.ms/hackingstem.


Are we really there? Virtual Reality in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

So what is Virtual Reality or VR?

img_9516Virtual Reality, or VR, provides a means to have an experience of a location or object (whether real or imaginary) through a mobile device, often viewed through a headset, in such a way that when the viewer moves around they see the virtual view moving with them. So the images are usually 360 degree images and can be in 3D so that when viewed on a mobile device within a headset with twin lenses it appears to the viewer as being  as close to being there as possible. When you move forward, tilt your head, look up – it’s as if you are doing the same in the virtual reality experience.

What are the options for the classroom?

The least expensive option for using Virtual Reality in a classroom would be Google Expeditions using Google Cardboard viewers (while they can be viewed without a twin-lens 3D viewer the viewer will lose the feeling of 3D) which are held by the hand up to the eyes. More expensive options are available with a variety of VR viewer headsets (such as Microsoft HoloLens, Gear VR or Oculus Rift headsets) and accompanying sensors (often handheld) so that the experience can involve touching or interacting with objects within a VR experience – as you approach or touch something in virtual reality it will react in a way as it in real life.

Google Expeditions with Google Cardboard Viewers

img_9526Google Expeditions are virtual reality experiences designed with a classroom guided exploration in mind. The teacher downloads the choice of virtual reality location using the Google Expeditions app and starts the expedition. Then when the pupil on the same wi-fi connection starts the app on their device they will see the teacher-directed expedition awaiting them.

In Google Expeditions the teacher application provides suggestions for questions or directions to guide learners as they explore the virtual environment. The teacher can see on their mobile device app where the learners are exploring on their screens, and can make suggestions as the learners explore.

The video below is a promotional video for Google Expeditions in the classroom giving a brief overview of what it looks like in a classroom setting where a teacher with a tablet device guides pupils each holding a Google Cardboard headset viewer.

How do I get started using Google Expeditions?

The video below is a guided tutorial to using Google Expeditions

How do I use Google Expeditions with iPads or Android tablets?

The video below shows how Google Expeditions can be viewed on iPads rather than smartphones. Many school may already have iPads or Android tablets, and the Google Expeditions apps will work on these too. However the Google Cardboard viewer is designed with the size of a smartphone in mind. If you wish to use the app on an iPad or Android tablet then when running the setup at the point where you see the two images side by side there is a small icon at the top right which lets you change the twin view to single view. Having done that the view will no longer be 3D and will no longer be held up to the eyes of the viewer but simply handheld.

How to use Google Expeditions on iPads or tablet devices in the classroom

Where can I find Virtual Reality Experiences for my classroom?

Google Expeditions provides a superb source of Virtual Reality experiences ready to be downloaded for use on devices in the classroom.

discoveryvrDiscovery VR provides a wide range of downloadable virtual reality experiences in an educational context. Each is available for specific devices and come with notes for use by the educator with their class to guide their learners in the exploration of the experience.


Ideas for using Virtual Reality in the classroom

edtech4beginnersvr10ideas10 Simple Ways to Use Google Cardboard in the Classroom – a post by Neil Jarrett on the EdTech4 Beginners blog describing different ways in which the virtual reality app Google Cardboard can be used in the classroom.


Ideas for using Google Cardboard Virtual Reality in the classroom – a blogpost on the Whiteboard Blog by Danny Nicholson

What Virtual Reality experiences have you used with your class?

Please share how you have used virtual reality experiences with your class by adding a comment below


Millport Geography Weekend⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

IMG_6200There are still 10 places up for grabs at the Millport Geography Fieldwork weekend.

DATE: Friday 4th September (evening) to Sunday 6th September

Complete the Survey Monkey form to book a place. Attendance will be confirmed by email: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FFZC5ZY

Funded by Education Scotland, this FREE residential course is held at the Field Studies Council site on Millport. http://field-studies-council.org/centres/scotland/millport.aspx 

View a full programme of the weekend here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxVoIjf7S3-XblVuOFN3SnNmYVk/view?usp=sharing

This is an excellent oportunity for secondary geography teachers who wish to develop their skills and confidence keadng fieldwork activities.

IMG_6194Field Studies Council Scotland delivers Environmental, Biology, Adventurous Activity and Geography courses for over 5000 students a year. This course builds on this expertise and aims to introduce participants to a range of different fieldwork activities which can be used with secondary school students. Attendees will consider how to structure ‘traditional’ observational fieldwork, geographical investigations and sensory fieldwork aiming to engage students more effectively with the places they are studying and interacting with. The course will also explore how to incorporate the effectiev use of formative assessment and technology into fieldwork.

year-of-fieldwork-logo-gradient_187x398September 2015 to August 2016 is the Year of Fieldwork. http://www.field-studies-council.org/outdoorclassroom/yearoffieldwork.aspx

The principal purposes of the Year of Fieldwork is to:

  • Highlight examples of good practice and the support that we, and others, provide to support schools to enhance the fieldwork that they provide.
  • Encourage more schools to undertake geographical fieldwork at all phase of the curriculum, and examination classes.
  • Raise awareness of the value of fieldwork to geographical education and the benefits that it provides to young people.
  • Promote the benefits of fieldwork as a valuable and transferable skill across a range of subject areas.

National Library of Scotland Historic Map Resource [#geographyteacher]⤴

from @ OllieBray.com

Kingussie Historical Map

Did you know that the National Library of Scotland our 'Map images' resource allows you to access and view over 120,000 maps as high-resolution, colour, zoomable images. The maps date between 1560 and 1964 and relate primarily to Scotland. But there are also maps from other parts of the UK and Europe.

Find by Place

The easiest way of finding material relating to any particular location is to find by place. Search using a map of Scotland, by place name, or by county and parish name. 

Browse by category

The easiest way of finding general groups of maps is to browse by category. The maps vary in the amount of detail they show:

Ordnance Survey maps

The site contains a comprehensive set of Ordnance Survey maps covering Scotland .

This includes: 

Definitely worth having a poke around the site if you teach social subjects?

Gaining Ground with Geocaching⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

Geocaching is a way to use mobile devices to engage learners with a geographical area – creating or finding hidden “caches” which can be found by solving clues to locate them.

OpenCaching is a free source of geocaches which can be downloaded to a mobile device (there are free apps for mobile devices). This site explains exactly what geocaching is all about, how it works, how learners can create geocaches or search for existing geocaches shared by others. The site details the etiquette of setting geocache challenges as well as providing guidelines for users who find geocaches, and links to the free downloadable apps for mobile devices.

Geocaching.com is a US site which provides a host of background information about geocaching, how to get started and how to create or find geocaches. There is a Geocaching 101 which provides answers to a series of frequently asked questions.

Ollie Bray has written about the use of geocaching by primary schools. This post sets out how geocaching can support various aspects of the curriculum, and also provides links to further resources for using geocaching in an educational setting.

Jen Deyenberg, in her Trails Optional blog, has written extensively about the use of geocaching in the primary classroom in particular. There are several blogposts in the geocaching category on this blog each either giving examples of how geocaching has been used to support specific curricular areas, or how to go about setting up geocaches. The helpful gudies as well as illustrations of what actually happened in the classroom makes these useful for primary teachers looking for inspiration.

Big History Course now available to all teachers and schools globally – [@BigHistoryPro #msftpil]⤴

from @ OllieBray.com

Big History Banner

Almost two years ago Ian Stuart (@islayian) and I sat in the audience of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Conference in Washington DC and listed to David Christian deliver a keynote presentation on Big History.

What I liked about David’s ideas the most is that in his own learning journey he has started to challenge what knowledge is important to teach. Like many teachers he started out teaching ‘depth’ but realised in the end that ‘breadth’ was just as important. Big History also challenges subject silos. In encourages people to take a more integrated look at science and humanities and realise that both have common ground and many parts of both curriculums are not very far apart.

Anyway the YouTube Video below explains Big History in a lot better way than I ever could:


After Washington Ian remained in contact with David and facilitated a conversation between him and Joe Wilson, Head of New Ventures at the SQA. Ian and Joe were keen to explore how we might get Scottish Schools involved in the pilot programme for 2012/2013 before the large scale worldwide rollout in 2013/2014. Joe and I also met with David when he visited Scotland in early 2012 and as a result of a lot of hard work from Joe (and others) combined with a personal recommendation from David. Scotland participated in the global Big History Pilot.

As we expected the pilot was a success and the Big History Course is now available for all schools and educators globally. There is also a public version of the course that will go live in September 2013.


The resources and learning tools built into the course (including the teachers dashboard) are really good and although it is currently only aligned to the US Common Core ELA standards for 9/10th grade, making links to CfE is not rocket science.  

Lets hope that lots of Scottish School’s make use of this fab resource – you can use it as a complete course or just the bits that interest you!

Access the course materials and register for the course at - https://course.bighistoryproject.com

Rubber Ducks Circumnavigate the Globe [Teaching Ocean Currents] #geographyteacher⤴

from @ OllieBray.com

Rubber Ducks

I have to admit to being a bit of a rubber duck fan – I mean who isn’t…?

Anyway, I came across this interesting map that shows some of the locations that 29, 000 rubber ducks ended up after they escaped (well fell off!) a cargo ship in January 1992.


What a fantastic context for teaching about ocean currents and also a good opportunity to create a geographical mystery. After a bit of Googleing I found out that the story of these little fellas is quite well documented over on rubaduck.com (there really is a website for everything!) and a 2007 article written for the Daily Mail Online.



Also, a children’s book, titled ‘Ten Little Rubber Ducks’ by Eric Carle (of the Very Hungry Caterpillar fame) has even been written based on the inspiration that Carle got from the story.


Anyone already developed a resource on this?

Also - talking of duck here is how a Chinese Farmer took 5000 of them (real ones this time!) for a walk! BBC News Article