Friday, 2 December 2011

Watching the Cricket

Watching the Cricket tonight and what can I say other than GEOGRAPHYYYYYYY!!!

The video links mapping of the situation of the cricket ground and then straight into the analysis of a classic wagon wheel of scoring shots. Students have a plethora of data to analyse! Does the batsman prefer singles, twos, threes, fours to score their runs? Do they prefer a certain scoring location via a compass rose analysis? From this can you plan a field of attack?

The next two photos analyse bar graph data. This allows students to analyse patterns and trends (does a batsman score a century over a regular period? Have they had a purple patch of their career? Did they have a lull? When was that? Get video footage? Was it their technique? Location when they played? Team they played so angle of delivery? How did they get out? Was it a specific way each time?)

The 2nd looks at the current innings. Did the team loose wickets at a set time? Why was that? Weather? Pitch? Ball condition? Bowler? How do they deliver the ball? How is the pitch responding? The type of soil cracks? Does this type of pitch appear a lot? Is it particular with this pitch? Does a certain batsman, bowler suit a certain pitch?

This sort of graphical data through sport opens up a multitude of open ended questions / interpretation / theories

I could go on and on! But time to enjoy geography in action.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Daily Reading

As a Teacher I feel that it is important that I read up on my subject area of geography. In order to get a grasp of current affairs in the changing nature of how humans live their lives (human geography) and how the physical and natural world (physical) evolve and shape our planet to recurring and new issues and how we impact upon it to damage or repair it (environmental). I can gain an appreciation for this with the ever developing GIS to help me visually see changes and current / past trends/anomalies.

BUT how many teachers like myself have wanted to open the lesson up to students for a discussion on a topic and got blank faces back?

How many have had students utter the words 'I couldn't / can't find anything?'

Well I've taken it upon myself to train students to do a daily dose of reading into the world we live in. This sounds a vast concept and my initial effort / got a little confusing after 2 weeks when students said

'Sir you said look on that site but there was loads of stuff we're not doing, so I couldn't find anything on our topic'

My response naturally wasn't oh that is ok but to challenge 'why wasn't the other topics relevant? Can they be related in anyway? Examine a word mat and see if any reoccurring geography terms appear that could link it to your topic. Categorise aspects - human, physical, environmental geography. Produce a ringed linking diagram to see if any overlap.. Etc

Anyway I evolved this to include twitter and added a hashtag to a tweet and add the blog link e.g #llobgeo7 indicating the tweet related to year 7 and when they clicked on the hyperlink they were taken to the correct page. This worked better BUT hashtags only last a week so via twitter that link would be lost and if a student missed it they would have to come back to me about it.

ANYWAY so to my current evolution. I've seized to add tweets or so many to my unofficial geography twitter account other than to link students to a specific topic of reading materials that focus students reading but actually allow overlap occasionally but also open up students to select additional interest reading into topics they might not be learning about currently but like I said have an interest in.
Another reason why I changed it to a single site for students is to limit them getting lost. More than 2 clicks and the student is struggling or capable of getting lost in their research.

The sites I've developed are as follows then i'll go into my reading technique each morning and night and which I expect students to do for 20 minutes each day and to eventually to take ownership of and to build up the extensive reading material as they home the technique to suit them for geography and other subjects to make them well oiled research learners.

The sites may look long to type in but they are quite obvious titles for the students and I haven't had snubbed come to me saying they couldn't find it.
The tnl one is there for tools as I find them that students should experiment with and other teachers as well.


Each morning I come downstairs with my iPad and I search the following sites to see if any obvious geography has occurred. I say that as geography is everything we do and get involved in and the future but for school curriculums and old fashioned core topics what current news would fit.

1. The BBC app. I search the headlines, world, uk, England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, science and nature, technology, health sections and then tweet to #geographyteacher so that I can come back to it and news blog later that day on. I also do this for other teachers of geography if they don't have time to read up in depth different sites so that they can have a quicker reading experience.

2. I go to sky news app and do the same

3. I go to google news and repeat the procedure. I love this site as it reviews lots of papers into a similar theme of story. This is a great site to get students to read in greater depth on a news story that crops up that is relevant for say a case study. Google news also creates a nice line graph which highlights stories that most journalists have covered on a particular search that you have conducted or around a similar theme to that written about on that day that has caught your eye. It can help give students a quick evaluation form as to what might be worth reading and what not Alternatively topsy turvy it and why is one article less popular? has it been written badly and so the message hasn't been portrayed well? How could the students make it stand out more? could it be the headline or the bulk of the story or the imagery used?

4. Personalised research news apps like Zite. This app is excellent as it allows you to custom the content to be of specific themes. You can even type a key term in and have that as a search for it to do and it will give you a back Catalogue of material on that theme.
I have found that this has really deepened my reading and made a lot of my teaching comments CURRENT. Through time I'll blog findings if students reading and see if it improves discussion lessons.

I love a comment by @anguswillson who I greatly admire for his wisdom that getting students to read their local media coverage will help get them to make connections with their own neighbourhood experiences as well as the global events as I'm sure many geography teachers have faced the question but why are we looking at this place!?!?! I', never going there I DONT CARE! How the local media portray global issues could assist students. Local concepts could open more doors for making the difference geography. Students could be more likely to get involved with assisting local issues and creating a difference than global.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Questions for Sian Welby

Questions for Sian Welby

1.     How did you find your current job?

2.     What was your favourite subject at school?

3.     Who inspired you when you were 11-18?

4.     Where do you get your clothes from as you have lovely style?

5.     What is a typical day for you?

6.     Where is your favourite place in the world?

7.     What do you fear the most?

8.     What do you love of life?

9.     What does your job involve?

10. What do you want to achieve?

11. How do you travel to work?

12. What type of house do you live in?

13. What type of car do you have?

14. What is your favourite programme on tv?

15. What music do you listen to that cheers you up?

16. What do you hate?

17. If you could visit one place where would it be?

18. Who do you most want to meet?

19. What jobs have you had?

20. Do you like sport if so what is your favourite?

21. What make up tip would you give any girl?

22. How do you tell the weather?

23. How do you monitor the weather?

24. What percentage of the time do you get the weather forecast right?

25. How many people work behind the scenes at channel 5 weather?

26. What jobs do the other people in the office do?

27. How long did it take you to learn how to read all the different parts to the weather?

28. How do you know if cloud cover from a satellite will cause rain?

29. Will we get snow this winter?

30. Do you believe in global warming?

31. Do you believe in climate change?

32. What do you think life will be like in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years?

33. Who will most likely cause WW3?

34. If you could make a law what would it be?

35. What is your favourite name?

36. Can you speak a foreign language?

37. What is your favouirte food?

38. What is your favourite drink?

39. Who is the fittest man in the world?

40. Who is the fittest woman in the world?

41. If money was no object what outfit would you buy?

42. Who is your favourite designer?

43. What is your favourite shop?

44. What supermarket do you shop at?

45. Do you recycle?

46. Do you play xbox?

47. Do you play PS3?

48. Which is best PS3/XBOX?

49.  What type of phone do you have?

50. Who is your favourite comedian?

51. What is your favourite song?

52. What is your favourite film?

53. What is your favourite colour?

54. If you were told you only had 1 meal left and it could be anything what would it be?

55. Would you ever visit our school?

56. How do you stay so slim?

57. What exercise do you do?

58. What shampoo and hair products do you use?

59.  How many pairs of shoes do you have?

60. What was your geography teacher called?

61. What was your best ever lesson that you remember?

62. How well did you do at school?

63. Which A-Levels did you study?

64. Which University did you attend?

65. How many houses have you lived in and where have they been?

66. Are you still friends with anyone from primary school?

67. Are you still friends with anyone from secondary school?

68. What was the naughtiest thing you did at school?

69. What makes a day at work bad?

70. What do you look forward to most each day?

71. What is your favourite day of the week?

72. If you could make an advert what would it be for?

73. What are your hobbies?

74. Do you have any pets?

75. Do you think what is taught in schools is worthwhile?

76. What would your dream job be?

77. What did you grow up wanting to be?

78. What is your favourite weather?

79. Will weather forecasting change?

80. If you could be on Dragons Den what would your product be?

81. What is your favourite computer game?

82. What was your favourite challenge?

83. Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

84. If you could be reincarnated as someone who would it be and why?

85. If you were in the Alan Partridge episode where he is fighting to get a second series and he has to think off the top of his head a TV show what would you say? What would it be about?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

#tmclv - Chair/space personalised learning and Inspiring outdoor learning

Personalised Chair


This post is created for #tmclv, which I will be attending tomorrow night.

The main theme of my presentation is dealing with a time issue I have found since I have joined a new school.

Last year I was use to 1 hour lessons now I'm down to dealing with learning taking place in 50 minutes.


My main issue was with a couple of my classes. My main classroom is on the 2nd floor, but for a couple of my lessons during the week I teach on the ground floor. By the time I finished a lesson on the ground floor and climbed the stairs (I had a knee op in the holidays) I had lost 3 minutes of the lesson with the students waiting. 

I tried giving them some bell work to get on with whilst they waited. I found that some times these were ok but not personalised and some struggled.


So How could I make sure that this 1st 5 minutes to the lesson without me would be productive, and click the students into gear so that when I arrived we are cooking on gas and have a learning atmosphere straight away.

Enter the personalised chair.

This picture highlights my idea.

Each class have a 'personalised' section on each chair. I found that I had lots of strips of paper that was just going into the recycling bin after the paper cutter was unleashed on some paping sheets.

After a quick lesson it became apparent that the personalised learning sheets needed to be laminated. I to make sure they were stronger and also to make sure the strips could be reused, using a whiteboard pen. The strips are attached by velcro circle discs. During the lesson when the strips are reattached if a student messes with them I hear the rip very clear and the students dont even bother.

I did a survey of all the students who had a smart phone that could accept a QR code scan.

Those students were linked with students from other classes so they were seated on the QR code seats.

They would be sent to a page which would have a simple task for the students to focus on for 2 weeks.

This sounds a massive task I know but it took me an hour to set up and lasts for 2 weeks for ALL students I teach so 3 hours each half term for personalised bell work for ALL students.

He is the idea in a little video clip. 

IMG_1715.MOV Watch on Posterous

The students were asked what they liked about the personalised chair? They gave a wide array of answers from,

'It is different and I wanted to know what it was about'

'The work gave me a clue on what I was could improve with my descriptions and asked me to practice'

'It allowed me to be creative with misson explore'

'It brought on my handwriting as it was time to practice when sir wasn't here'

'My question was different from everyone else'

This is only 2 weeks in but it has made a real difference with all classes and means I don't feel AS pressured to glance at the clock and think AHHHHH!


Misson explore

As you saw in the personalised learning strip I used in the video. One passion that my students are really enjoying experimenting with and are stretching their creativity juices with I'll show this off at the Genius Bar as it is an outside learning resource my students are loving.

Concertina form information 

As a form tutor I find me asking the parental questions more and more. 'So what are you learning about in your subjects?'

PLTs is big in lots of schools so I thought why not create concertinas for the different aspects.

So now in form the students add to it how they have used each aspect during the week. From it I can evaluate as a school are we hammering a certain aspect of PLTs and as a result mission lots of it out or are we allowing students to practice and improve each aspect? Or do we do one PLTs one week and then forget about it for months?


Other learning that is getting my juices flowing ALL I'VE FOUND OUT ABOUT VIA TWITTER!!!

  • Tait Coles Punk Learning
  • SOLO Taxonomy
  • Researching tools for students - mashpedia, 
  • Skyfire App for ipad - enables flash and searches for videos which are related to your choice.
  • Stop animation - Jellycam
  • websites similar to ones you know -


I'll add others on my twitter page. 


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Students Find A Problem


Students find a Problem!

students find a problem!

make it geography and we'll discuss next week!

My latest Hodder Education post preview before it goes on the site

 So……… the majority of teaching staff have gone through their first two weeks of the new academic year.

For some this is the first rotation of a two week timetable, for others the chance to see classes a handful of times to create those key early learning hooks to engage classes and make an informed assessment of where their classes are after checking through books and discussions on a class and one to one level.

Many of you including me are tired (after reading that extended last paragraph) getting back into the routine… 

Alarm, tea, drive, turn computer on, check resources for the day, briefing, emails, meet and greet for class and then bang teaching…… turn computer off, mark books, drive home, turn kettle on, dinner, think of lessons for the next day, bed.

But I’m not writing this to fill you with dread but to perhaps give you a flicker of a light in the distance of does it have to be like this?

I’m watching / listening to the TED x London conference whilst I write this as I’ve found that listening to others and engaging with passionate people has helped me be creative and sit down at the drawing board and think as creatively as I can to try and create a table tennis environment of fire out an idea, get one back and give one back again. I get this from twitter on a daily basis and this is my connective to my last blog post. (I keep hearing you have to connect the learning from one lesson to the next).

“Georgia TED – This morning I’ve being on facebook, google maps found where Camden is, checked the roundhouse website found out how many it seats, downloaded the tedxlondon app so I’ve done loads of learning so far and I’m not anywhere near school. Why do we learn loads of irrelevant material?? That in our lives we will never use!?!?!?!?”


This blog post is going to focus on blogging. Because lots of small voices makes a loud noise and influence. I say this as it seems to be the buzz word surrounding new school learning activities. 


I’ve dabbled with blogging, creating my own blog of resources that I have made at PGCE level and beyond. I’ve used it to inform others of useful websites that I have found or been told about. I’m put videos that I have converted onto it that have inspired me. It has become a resource communication medium for me. I’ve been told by educators, peers, colleagues ‘Oh I looked at your blog, lots of good stuff on it’.

This is where the trigger for me and many bloggers out there has hit home in our thinking that this resource is a gold mine for students.

Via twitter I have received links from my PLN (Personal Learning Network) for their class blog, which has a vast array of STUDENT created material. They have asked for comment on the posts created by their students. I think this is brilliant as you find what happens next is that the student creates more, purely due to being inspired as they’ve captive audience to write to that are positive and often from places far and wide or from friends. Some comments give advice but most positive messages from teachers are open-ended seeking more from the student. I’ve mainly seen this in primary where students write stories on their blogs.

Many teachers out their included me have spend hours and hours creating resources and jazzing things up like blogs. BUT what blogging appears to be doing is providing engagement. It appears to get students writing and writing A LOT! Therefore it seems to be bringing students writing on and at an accelerated rate! 


I’m sick and tired of seeing targets and looking at the projected target path for each of the students I teach. (In a robotic voice say the following - You are a level 4c you will reach a level 4a by the end of the year. Next year you will reach a 5b).  I’ve seen many students who once they hit that target stagnate ‘well I’ve reached my target’. Then it becomes an uphill battle trying to persuade them no no no this is just the beginning and you can go on from here and achieve more!

I remember seeing BBC breakfast and @DeputyMitchell and some students from his school blogging and he told the journalist correspondent how it had drive students achievement through the roof!

So blogging has great potential for primary. But what about Secondary?

Well David Mitchell has created an amazing concept called Quadblogging. It has the principle to set up multiple blogs from different schools who are similar age, or blog about similar things such as having a subject specific focus such as geography. I think this could be massive and get schools up and down the country working together to really bring each other on with their geography. It could also engage our students into seeing the importance of learning about far away places when they are blogging with students who live in those far away places!

For the new school that I have joined I am going to meet with all the A-Level students and get them to create a blog of their work as an e-portfolio. So that universities that they apply to can get a feeling about their potential before even meeting them in a more informed manner than relying purely on a UCAS application. Why limit their chances especially when we hear that competition is so fierce especially to get into the elite universities like Oxford and Cambridge.

However I have a problem! My school has blocked bloggingL So why am I so passionate about it still?!?!?!? Well lets engage students at home! Why ask them to do homework that they don’t want to do and see no value in? Why not give them the freedom to blog and learn about what they want to do! So if they want to blog about geography great. If they want to blog about maths great, if they want to blog about dancing and them performing great! We need to stop stifling and beating into kids do this, this, this, but be creative with what they want their life journey to explore. Blogging allows students to link up with other like minded students from around the world and also different minded students to create intriguing and open ended dialogue of constructive differences. Sounds odd but students looking at a problem or blog post from a different perspective have really opened up students minds to a different way of doing something other than their own way or their teachers way of doing something. As a teacher is my way the best for all the student that I teach always?

What about other benefits of blogging? Blogging allows students to peer and peer assess by leaving comments on each others blog, it allows staff to easily mark, find what students have created by the date entry and leave a mark / comment. It allows parents to see what their child has done and whether their teacher is commenting on their learning blogs. 

Blogging can be done via a computer so in the classroom and at home via a computer. BUT it can be opened up as it is mobile. I use posterous in this way. I have live blogged a week residential student camp for parents to find out what activities their child is up to. It has then created a great memory board for when students get home they can look at it and comment on it to keep that memory forever.

So what about geography blogging? What should it look like?

A big question! 

Should it be about sharing pictures of locations staff, students have visited around the world? Or be more focused on where they live and their every day lives and linking this to students around the world and how they live their lives? Isn’t that HUMAN GEOGRAPHY? This might give students a clear insight into where might suit them in the future as a location to flourish at what they are passionate about.

Should it be about the use of technology and posting clear demonstrations of creating a landform diagram and explaining it using voicethread? 

Should it be about students putting essays on it? 


@ewanmcintosh at TED x London and his problem finding education why not set up a geography blog where we set up problems for STUDENTS to try and come up with solutions for? Possibly as an ENVIRONMENTAL GEOGRAPHY approach.

This is where it is over to you and your thoughts on the matter as I think it is an area as geographers that we should sit down and have a debate about blogging and our subject as it is clearly a medium on the rise.

My next post will be about setting up a geography club.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

A Twitter e-safety set of points and an example feed

Please see the attachment as an example of a series of e-safety points I'm proposing to my school. 

Too strict?


Please comment so I can take to my school with a solid policy to implement twitter as a learning tool.

E_safety_points_for_Twitter_LLOBGEO.docx Download this file


Saturday, 27 August 2011

Ideas for an F1 unit.

This is a collection of ideas from Me, Alan Parkinson that have stemmed from a great tweet from  

Friday, 26 August 2011

Buddhist Learning thinking

This is a collection of thinking in a Buddhist way and how this thinking could apply to learning. I got the inspiration from a programme I watched on the BBC iplayer called;

'Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World'

This is a series of notes taken on my iPhone as I watched the programme. It is a series of things to think about from a Buddhist spiritual perspective for various ways of learning. I am currently really exploring my mind for one reason or another and am going through a real creativity patch I actually put it down to this way of thinking and am going to stick with it for a while and see where the journey takes me. I wouldn't call myself a religious person or a spiritual person but perhaps a reflective person.

Take it point by point rather than as an overall methodology as the flow could be better!

The main aim is to Empower individual learning, collaboration, reflection, and passing on learning to others to enlighten all.

Buddha created a radical change of thinking. Mark out YOUR path to follow for self revelation . Make it a rigourous quest to avoid complacency and stale state.

Meditate - think deep on a problem. Enlightenment state don't move from a problem until you have created or thought of a possible solution or range of solutions.

Sit under a tree to reflect. Have a different location to mix thinking up so it is free from the classroom. Go back to that spot to remind you that you came up with an idea to physiologically train the mind that this is a thinking spot where successes are born. Let students discover physical places that work for them. Let them explore. My place is virtual I find I am most creative on twitter between 6pm-3am (a big window to fuel my insomnia)

3 jewels of life:

An idol - Try to have a trio found this most manageable I have a learning Trio currently of David Didau, Alex Quigley and Zoe Elder who I find have had most impact on my teaching and learning.

They could equally be themed so Geographers for me would come from this list everyday of the week as my go to for inspiration. (The Geography Collective Dan Raven-Ellison, Tony Cassidy, Alan Parkinson, David Rogers, Richard Allaway I'll come back to this....

It is important everyone is Responsible for their own learning. As a teacher I am not 'The Saviour' be critical and highlight this to students! They are someone to gain curiosity from, to ask for guidance of where to find help i.e resources, peers etc.

Create self evaluation learning plans. Be True to self of strengths and weaknesses for all in class.

Personal morality - Many Buddhist temples have faces as focal points.
Eyes - teacher role to watch/assess not do.
Ears - to listen. I want students to come up with strategies as a community to answer them.

3 jewels again....
1. Buddha founder - The Big Picture
2. Community - Learning community
3. Preaching - Spread Learning to peers, community the World. - twitter, blog, website, youtube, teachmeets, staff briefing/news, display

Journey paths to enlightenment: 

I wrote these all down and found it really helped. I recently had some help on how to cope with my loss using CBT - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and am writing a lot of things down and finding it has untangled a lot of my thinking webs that I have in the past got trapped in.

Chanting - repeating strategies to gain enlightenment to one self's learning and progress.
Earth, water, wind, fire, space, mind into a plan. Is awareness that universe is ideal

Earth - solid aspects to own learning in geography and T&L. (Geography - using description, explanation, investigation, opinion and interdependence across various scales incorporating human interaction with the physical world at the forefront of my learning for geography. T&L - using solo, critique, questioning, collaboration.)

Water - what learning flows well for individuals?

Wind - what blows over you? What do you struggle to grasp / sense?

Fire - what frustrates you most about your learning? Key weakness target.

Space - goal - aspects of awe to you.

Key behaviours:

Sangha - focus on learning (during lessons stay focussed to gain wisdom.
Dharma - teachings. According to understanding to do what you do practically without doing any harm. To try to gain 'Purity of thought' understanding whilst not restricting others and aiding others as we're all the salt of knowledge.
Karma - emphasis on consequence of actions. How we think and act. Twisted we should think and act (create) to bring about a consequence/product- to evaluate review.

My room in the past has been messy and still is to an extend I am working very hard on creating an 'awe of class should be full of wisdom and have decadence properties / respected by all who enter'. A place people are proud of and want to enter. So that it hopefully produces positive Karma. So My walls are filling up with breathtaking pieces of learning from students who have taken time and pride in their work.

I want to create this positive mindset in the room of excellence and not mess - It shows I don't care, take pride in my room, myself so why should the students? This is a huge push in my marginal gains for my learning in my classroom. No stone will go unturned to bring about excellence in my classroom from myself and my students. This I believe will lead to greater resilience of learners in my room. I am bringing this about hugely at the minute with my language of choice in describing tasks and expectations. The minimum is just not good enough. 

Allow for creativity. Artistic (This is a figure of speech it could be presented from any of the multiple intelligences) work for students to take time and pride and aim for the look at what we have created. Sharing moment that brings me so much pride and love of the job. It happened so many times yesterday from students who normally come into my room and say I can't or give me behaviour gripes. Perhaps the task wasn't outstanding but the learning was breathtaking to me and more importantly to the student who shared.

Large scale (interpret as you might) be big on creativity - take it to next level don't think small think of something that will make people sit up, observe and listen and act.

Aim to reach enlightenment samsara.

Go through cycles of learning like - TEEP or the 7e's that Hayley Thompson introduced me to as a planning strategy, until for that specific learning objective you gain enlightenment and can be reborn to focus on the next learning objective. So allow students to escape Samsara. We shouldn't think ok that lesson is over now, next lesson we are learning this, here are the next set of objectives when students haven't achieved their last set of objectives! This will only create frustration and student behaviour of 'I can't do it' because the goals are 'too big' in the time frame for them to achieve and so they gain a defeatist attitude. We keep hearing it but PERSONALISATION of learning really is key. This could be targeted for specific students. But don't make them too easy, allow for that strive, that challenge that is achievable but only through real drive and ambition.

Samsara can also be thought of to examine the daily life around us. To review the passions, desires and destructions of everyday life. And reflect how these conflicts can come to Nirvana - peace.

This has been key to me. I have been so angry lately from those who I have told or have read about my past. I have been working on this hugely and I am making massive strides with it. A direct correlation with myself being more at peace with myself that my teaching is going to new and improved places. Mainly due to the great learning I am reading on twitter, blogs and books people mention.

The main message I would like you all to take away from this post is to:


The next bit will be ramble as I try and form it in my mind so bare with it:)

Cambodian Buddhism is to take a more human face. Be humble reflect look at different views / opinions, have different temples - seeds for thought. Reflect on destruction around us the fragile nature of the world around us reflected in the temples that are crumbling empty now like areas that are affected by war, natural disasters, poverty etc and see the liberation that occurs in the time after.

Areas that are good to meditate according to Parli Cannon:

'Mountain, hill side, open field, forest cave, root of tree' - this highlights as geographers we have to explore visit to meditate allow the human mind to explore and to transcend the world around us and not be happy to just read about these things.

Also from Ankor Wat explore drama (re-enact scenes, role-plays, future) the dramatic lives that exist around us and not to limit where we examine. Apply on a monumental scale. - pass on experiences to parents, friends, other schools the community, other countries through blogging etc. So the Power and wisdom of what we learn / experience is available to all.

Zen - Qualities are not just unique to me. Explore - Discover - Share - Teach - Coach - Pre-structural - Multi-Structural - Relational - Extended Abstract by seeing how others take the learning.

I hope this helps your thinking:)

Buddhist Learning Concept

Seven Wonders if the Buddhist World

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The power of the hashtag in twitter #

During my insomniac phase after a general anaesthetic I thought I should add to my blogs:)

This evening at 2:00am I was browsing through my PLN (personal learning network - the tweets of those that I've chosen to follow) tweets when it struck me as to how I gain ideas fastest on twitter and how in the future I will focus on these simple strategies to enhance and accelerate my learning of facts, resources, ideas, programs/programmes, key dates and most importantly specifics related to hashtag groups.

I first became aware of hashtags from one of the 1st people in education that I followed @susanbanister she added in a message containing the hashtag #ukedchat. I clicked on the message and found that the hashtag was hyperlinked. So I clicked on it. What I discovered was that it took me to a list of tweets that people had made relating to #ukedchat or educational issues.

In the following months I explored many of these and now as you will all be aware who use them there is virtually a hashtag group list on anything and everything from sport like #bbcf1 (formula 1) to #NQT (tips for mainly inquisitive / nervous / struggling NQTs looking for drive/focus/clarity) to #geography #geographyteacher (self explanatory). To educators meeting for a curry #curryNE5 or for conferences or teachmeets #bmobile.

Now to my initial point over the coming weeks I'm going to stay more focussed on how I use twitter as I have woffled on recently after I've had a knee op and procrastinated. So my strategy for me and others to try perhaps.

1. I'm a geography teacher and I've found that some of the best practitioners in my subject of geography add the hashtag #geography or #geographyteacher to their subject specific tweets. By clicking on the hashtag hyperlink I see hundreds if not thousands of useful geography comments. Some can be broad and so some subdivide these using more specific hashtags.

2. One you see useful tweets click on the person and read their other tweets 99/100 they will have something else if not lots of things that you find useful from a link to a useful website, to a program to try, to a tv programme that is on that is useful for a certain unit if work. They could give pointers. This I have had incredible help with from @geoblogs @tonycassidy @aknill @davidErodgers @mrgeog @vausekatie @victoriaellis to name a few

3. Check the tweets of the RTs that people send out. These are often useful ideas/resources or people they respect as accelerating their learning opportunities/potential and can quickly increase those that you follow and accelerate your learning potential.

3b. They can often be a joke that can lighten the mood for you bs actually clear your thoughts so you can re focus when getting bogged down.

4. search for specific hashtags by typing a useful phrase or topic and 80% of the time I have found something useful trying that method if I'm hunting for something specific.

5. Once you've gathered a respectable PLN and you are part of a large number of people's PLNs you can go about creating your own hashtag. This is often done by those organising events and the hashtag quickly expands like wildfire due to RTs or by people saying they will attend or setting down key aims, focuses etc. E.g #ukedchat or one started arcs conference this morning tweeted to me by my good twitter friend @aknill #ifip11 for a conference in Kenya. This highlights how you can very quickly gain access to inspiring ideas happening all over the world in your specific search field controlled by the hashtag used or created. E.g. #ukedchat is effective as it is specific and easy to understand UK education chat/information.

6. Find links to similar hashtags like #geography and #geographyteacher or like I found tonight #NQT and #ntchat . This will quadruple if not more the specific search targets that a tweeter is aiming to gain information on. Similar to when we see #edchat #ukedchat etc and specific chats related to subject like #mathchat which i discovered from the person sat in front of me at a teachmeet in Newcastle @ColinTGraham and other maths tweeters like @bucharesttutor or #mfl or #ELTchat which I discovered from @Isilboy and @DaveDodgson

7. People power - when you search specific hashtags you will notice certain people pop up a lot. These people will become synonymous therefore for certain topics, issues which if you are lucky they might have in a bio if them in their profile homepage but like I say with the hashtags you visit you will figure this out for yourself. This means you will quickly figure out experts in certain fields and so you can tweet them for help or you can search their recent tweets if something caught your eye and who they were in conversation with as 9/10 that person will have something useful as well.

8. Using the search option (the magnifying glass symbol in twitter) this is an excellent tool if you know the person who you want to find just type the name into the search bar and hopefully they show up.
At times i have wondered how has this person found that tweet i made and teplied to it when they dont follow me and it isnt spam???? I recently tweeted about my knee and the fact i am suppose to wear DVT stockings to avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis. This morning i got a tweet from a support group asking how i am recovering? So i was bamboozled for a minute or two so i thought how on earth that eas days ago!?! Then the penny dropped they must have searched DVT and found my tweet. I searched and wa la it was there.
Another searching strategy can be where you click on the search option tab to search all tweets that include that name. You might have a task to come to a judgement on the public opinion of David Cameron following recent events. You could then enter the name into twitter search all tweets and come to a judgement of positive and negative with some examples to back up your judgement.
You could use it to search a topic or find out recent information on an issue or event and how through time perceptions changed or events got better or worse? I used this for a flash flood lesson. Brief as twitter journalists your task for the geography gaggle is to report on Flash flooding. Here is some areas the students took it as I asked for categories to be created and for students to work as sub teams to extend the research for our paper. They searched twitter for the most recent tweeted event, analyse the tweets for severity e.g area flooded (effects has it caused other issues secondary effects), deaths, mapped it, has flash flooding occurred there before? has there been mention of emergency services and rescues (responses) and examined weather reports to try and predict could anywhere else be at risk? Then write a timeline of events based on twitter feed, create using ICT a picture prezi portrait if pictures news articles are attached to tweets add to location on a map. Students were then set a homework:)where they searched for other flash flood events that occurred near to them using twitter as a search engine by refining the search or if they couldn't find anything extend the lesson project by finding a flash flood in a different location.

Anyway I'll leave it at 7 well 71/2 as it's my favourite number. I hope these techniques will prove useful for many new tweeters. I'm sure it is telling many how to suck eggs but it is how I use twitter to aid my expanding knowledge of subject matters to keep improving. It is where I find out about new apps, programs resources, web links that then become invaluable tools for my learning and teaching in the classroom.

Also as I'm on twitter a lot lately where I come for a friendly chat to improve my mood, take a break, socialise and have a laugh to get in good spirits. As normally that is when I'm at my best and therefore at my optimum to spread ideas in my classroom and that of others to aid the students that I teach who this all really matters about as it is them who I strive to learn more for as they are our future.

An in pain insomniac John Sayers

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Knee operation 17th August

What a day. Got to hospital at 6:50am to be told I'd be first to have an operation. Then at 7:45am I was told I had been shifted back to 4th in the list due to an emergency and would sit around till 1pm.

So I started reading my book on my iPad after a few putts on golf putt pro (set a new personal best). WHEN a nurse came through with a porter at 8:30am saying the emergency wasn't ready (screams of no, no, down the corridor), I was whisked along a number of corridors feeling like a toddler enjoying a fast push pram ride.

When I reached the anaesthetist he tried to put a needle into a vein in my right hand only to fail!
"Sorry about that:S Oh that will come out in quite a bruise tomorrow!",
'gee thanks I thought'
He eventually got it in and gave me the general anaesthetic. I got to the count of 7 before lights out and the land of nod.

When I woke up a lovely nurse called Nuha said to me in a lovely soft voice (Irish voice)
"Are you awake John? Shall I go and make you some buttery toast and a cup of tea?".
It was like I was prancing through a summer meadow, she could not have said anything sweeter if she tried:)

Waiting back on ward 3 room 2 on my own after the best toast and tea of my life, a male nurse called Steven came to see me to inform me that the physio would be along in 20 minutes to run through some exercises so that I could be discharged. He took my blood pressure, which was low and asked Nuha to make me another tea to try and increase it and bring some colour back into my Lilly White face.

After the tea of dreams take 2, my blood pressure was higher and Steven was happy.

Queue the Scottish physio. she entered the room very cautiously. I was puzzled! When I glanced at her eyes they had fear in them and she couldn't look me in the eye. So I asked her straight out.
"Are you ok pet?"
She replied, "to be honest I was worried when I saw your name on my list:("

I suddenly put 2 and 2 together and like her came up with 666 a scary number as she thought I was the renowned Geordie Gangster JOHN SAYERS! We had a laugh and a joke about it and after watching me excel on the crutches that she brought for me (years of practice with broken, feet, legs, knee ops) she left with a very large sigh of relief that felt like she was exhaling a huge breath after consuming a Narga Chilli!

Queue Steven to run through my discharge papers, procedures, medication, outpatient appointments, stitches removal appointment, bathing instructions, physio appointment, letter to my local GP nurse, letter to my GP......AND medication again (30 minutes later) I was ready to go.... "WAIT go and pass urine please!"

When I returned exhausted at having to listen to my next 6 weeks of rehabilitation Steven brought in the MOTHER of all PEE takes!!!! Oh yes and your consultant has asked for you to wear these for 6 weeks to avoid deep vein thrombosis...... A PAIR OF STOCKINGS!!!!! HONEST!

And that has been my hospital adventure for the day. Well half day as I was discharged at 12:51pm.

To finish i have to mention the incredible NHS staff who treated me. They were professional, thorough, kind, pleasant, and made my nervous day not so. TOP JOB THANK YOU:)