I’ve been teaching for 26 years this month. My main subject is Geography and resourcing ideas in my subject have changed so much over the years. When I was a pupil, textbooks were in black and white. The only colour came from large maps on the wall or the teacher’s slides or the filmstrips that often melted as they were shown.
When I started teaching in the late 1980s, reproduction technology had moved on from Banda sheets, with black and white photocopying becoming an option. Textbooks had colour pictures, but size was limited. The biggest colour images were drawn in chalk and then wiped off straight after lesson ready for the next class. I experimented with slide film, but usually took prints to class to show case studies in colour.
Then the OHT technology was introduced, which was great if there were enough acetate sheets, or better still, a roll so you could return to previous points for a few lessons before the whole thing was erased to make way for new lessons.
Now I have access to the Internet, mobile apps, books, YouTube and many more resources. The issue has moved from ‘which resources can I get hold of?’ to ‘which one should I select?’ This abundance of information is a pressure in itself as we try to keep up-to-date with sources as our subject area changes rapidly with daily news events.
None of this is unique to Geography, so how can we help each other? There are many resource sites, networks and recommendations to follow up on. Two years ago I applied to go onto the Special Interest Group (SIG) ICT for my subject association, The Geographical Association. In my first meeting my knowledge of apps and their use gave me a responsibility, which led to a conference workshop this Easter at the annual conference looking at ‘Starting with Apps’. I spent two busy days sharing ideas about websites, items of software and apps with colleagues from several countries. New entrants to the profession and those less confident with technology were finding the information available overwhelming.
As a follow up to this information overload, I started a Twitter account for the group @gasigict. The aim is to share feedback from our meetings in one place and to RT out information linked to a range of geography topics. In just under two months we have gained over 360 followers, including geography teachers, geography departments in schools and higher education from the UK, Israel, Namibia, the USA and many other places. There is an accompanying blog at https://gasigict.wordpress.com which I will be developing further. This will collate resources discussed at our meetings and review a range of materials.
The pictures included support a range of the points mentioned. They are either original work that I have done and used in lessons or screenshots based on others tweets, again shared with classes on my IWB. Please join us or if you are interested in setting up a similar idea, let me know and we can exchange ideas – I still have much to learn.
Click here to read the full article in the July 2014 edition of UKEdMagazine.
Andy Knill is Head of Geography at The Albany School, in Hornchurch, Havering. You can find him on Twitter @aknill and @globalsolo. He blogs at mishmashlearning.wordpress.com.
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