#gaconf11 How can school grounds be used to explore space?

This early lecture on Saturday was presented with Jo Debens (@GeoDebs).  The subject was the multi award winning project that aimed to engage young people with school space. There were a number of overlapping themes, but the main messages were how to produce a creative curriculum, how simple and freely available tools can be used to develop young people’s understanding of geography while developing skills and how the profile of geography can be raised.

The key message is that pupils can, and should, be involved in changing their school spaces, on any level.  Even micro or small changes can make a huge difference.

Thank you to the 21st Century Learning Alliance, Royal Geographical Society, Microsoft Partners in Learning and The Geography Collective.

The slides are embedded below, but please get in touch if you would like to see any more.

The session concluded with some ideas for moving forward:


What is your Geography?

Whatever you do, sit down and create a vision of where you’d like geography to be in your school first. Create this with staff and students and share it as much as possible.  Here’s ours:


Seek out and apply for external funding

As long as these don’t interfere with the core purpose of the department and funding can compliment existing plans, apply for them! If you’re not in it, you can;t win it and the independence that external funding brings is very useful. Start with an RGS(IBG) Innovative Geography Teaching Grant.

Our project last year is summarised in this video:

Get involved in whole school initiatives

If you want your school to take Geography seriously, tell SLT and Governors how the subject will help them deliver whole school and wider curriculum aims. Make sure that your development plan links in to the whole school plan. Examples include community cohesion, controlled assessment policy, learning outside the classroom, citizenship, literacy, numeracy, ICT….

Use what’s on your doorstep

And get every pupil in every year out of the classroom.

Get pupils talking to SLT and the wider community

Email makes this simple – the more voices there are and the more coherent and well argued the message the more chance there is of change.  Remember that change can be small – micro even.

Link projects together and embed

Hit as many pupils as possible and ensure that any project informs the future curriculum and is not a one off.

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