geoskills, geoskills plus project, geo-jobs, geography

Is Geo- really important?

Is geo- really important?

Why has President Obama put his name behind a $1 billion programme in the US? http://tinyurl.com/nfpb826

Why are there plans to integrate geospatial education in every school in India? Indian National Task force in Geospatial Education

Why is geospatial compulsory in Finnish schools? http://www.oph.fi/english

GeoSlills Plus Project

GeoSlills Plus Project

This post is about the GeoSkills Plus Blog, raising awareness of the education gap between the needs of the European geo-industry and education and training policy and perspectives. In 2011 EUROGEO estimated more than 50,000 geo-jobs remained unfilled across Europe (http://www.abc.es/agencias/noticia.asp?noticia=1300333).

Geo- is not recognised in Europe. The GeoSkills Plus Project tries to make a start on putting that right. It is an ambitious attempt to transfer innovation in geo-vocational training, geo-jobs and geo-skills development from one country (The Netherlands) to others around Europe. It is based on establishing a professional community in the geo-sector – something I have been working on for the past 10 years through innovative projects and networks like HERODOT (http://www.herodot .net) and digital-earth.eu: geo-media for education (http://www.digital-earth.eu).

geography, higher education, learning and teaching, quality

HERODOT network

The GeoSkills Plus Project is a Transfer of Innovation Project funded by the European Commission. The Project has its own GeoSkillsPlus Blog sharing news and ideas on geoskills and geo-jobs. You can register at http://www.geoskillsplus.eu/press/blog.

The challenge is to raise awareness of the importance of the geospatial sector in policy and among decision makers in education and training.  There is a greta need for quality education to feed the rapidly growing geospatial industry sector. Three areas need to be focused on: careers, skills and qualifications. Sign up for the GeoSkills blog and help us on social media to raise awareness of the issue.

So what are GeoSkills? Find out more at http://www.geoskillsplus.eu/press/blog

 

Cloud computing, education

School on the Cloud: lessons from Digital Earth

It is commonly agreed that networking in education is important. This post reflects on some lessons learned from networks I have been involved in and looks to the future. It is based on a presentation I am making at the 2014 Scientix  conference in Brussels. It’s planned to be a networking meeting for projects, researchers and leaders in the field. It is hosted by the European Commission and European Schoolnet.

My presentation will reflect on the experiences learned from the  Scientix 2014digital-earth.eu project, which networked more than 80 organisations involved in using Digital Earth technologies and geo-media in schools, teacher education and training.

It seems to be a real pity that such neworking opportunities for schools and teacher education have disappeared under the Erasmus Plus funding system. These networks generated so much innovation and built the capacity for change. They were able to gather ideas and initiatives from many different stakeholders.

My presentation will review the outcomes of the ambitious digital-earth.eu network, recently graded at 90% by evaluators from the European Commission and which received a Global Award for Capacity Building in education at the GeoSpatial World Forum in 2014.digital earth, geospatial, industry, geo-media

The digital-earth.eu project raised awareness of the explosion of science and technology opportunities, open data and open science developments. It highlighted learning and teaching perspectives and sought to scale up the implementation of innovative approaches through a Centre of Excellence approach. These outstanding organisations continue to be highly active in promoting geo-media and geotechnologies in their own contexts. Many spinoff projects and other innovative developments continue.

I will examine the digital-earth.eu legacy and subsequent developments taken forward by the School on the Cloud network: Connecting Education to the Cloud for Digital Citizenship. School on the Cloud (SoC)  is a KA3 ICT network aiming to explore new dynamic ways to integrate the Cloud into education.

Cloud computing, education, Digital Agenda

The goal of the network is to explore how to align education with the way we think, share, learn and collaborate, across various education sectors, by exploiting the opportunities arising from “Cloud” Computing environments.

SoC started with 57 Partners, most of whom are leaders in their educational sectors. They represent 18 European countries and include 10 Schools, 21 Universities, Companies, NGOs, National Authorities, Research Centres, Associations and Adult Education providers. School on the Cloud has undertaken a state-of-the-art survey and established 4 working groups to look at the prospects for management, teaching, learning and Cloud-based digital futures,

Scientix  conference programme - School on the Cloud - digital-earth.eu

geography, hellenic association, crisi, greece

Communicating the power of Geography in a time of crisis

Later this week I’ll be speaking at the 10th International Congress of the Hellenic Geographical Society, which will take place in Thessaloniki, Greece. The theme of the event is ‘Geography in an era of crisis’ and my presentation will seek to deal with Communicating the importance of Geography and geographers in an era of crisis. GeoSlills Plus Project

Crises have a spatial dimension and geography is really important when looking to understand the impacts and outcomes. As a result, many geographers are working in crisis management and risk mitigation, from natural hazards, humanitarian crises and impending issues like climate change.

My presentation will look at four main themes:

  1. Geography, Geographers, Crisis – a case for Geography and the work of geographers in times of crisis

    SPACIT, geo-media competences

    Geo-media competences

  2. Geography, Geographers, Futures - emergent themes and geo-perspectives 
  3. Geography Associations, Crisis  and Communications - the role of organisations 
  4. Communicating Geography and geographers  - who and how do we communicate Geography, innovative projects

It will be a great opportunity to showcase some of our exciting and innovative projects, like Spatial Citizenship, GeoCapabilities and GeoSkills Plus.Geocapabilities logo

Congress Web site - keynote presentation (29Mb)

spatial citizenship

Spatial Citizenship

Logo SPACIT

SPACIT project logo

The term “urban jungle” has been used for some time to describe the environment created by the growth and development of our cities, the activities and infrastructures people produce. In the jungle, many youngsters have become dislocated from the environment in which they live, they do not have the skills to properly navigate the jungle or follow the laws of the jungle. I think this is because of the narrow curriculum (dominated by literacy, numeracy …….) delivered in our schools. Youngsters learn from the laws of the street, education has become external/marginal to their world. The Spatial Citizenship Project tries to redress this situation.

Young people need to be helped (through education) to understand, appreciate and relate more closely to the places they live in. We defined this in a recent article as ‘spatial citizenship’, whereby place, space, ownership and responsibility are interconnected. In the article we suggest that education needs to involve much more than classroom abstraction from the real world, it should be connected closely to learning in and about our world. So, all youngsters need a good “geographical” education to provide them with a real sense of place (including their place) in their community.

The availability of location-based technologies and open access to geoinformation affords an excellent opportunity to effectively integrate the real world with geo-media communicated through social networks into school education. It would also help students actively participate in the world they navigate. Yet such geotechnologies are used in less than 1% of schools. The paper and further research goes on to introduce some of the key concepts through which spatial citizenship could be addressed as a core area in the curriculum.

geo-media, spatial citizenship, education, Geography

Using geo-media

Living, surviving and competing in the jungle requires a deep understanding of the jungle! I suggest the riots that took place in London in 2011 (see http://www.theguardian.com/uk/london-riots) were symptomatic of the marginalisation of important curriculum areas in teacher training and in schools, like geographical education. The delivery of Geography lessons by non-specialists, unaware of the importance of the meanings we attach to the places we inhabit and the relationships with the needs of citizens componds the issue. This needs to be addressed.

We need a broad. balanced education not one based almost entirely on literacy, numeracy, technology, SATs and PISA comparisons!! Forthcoming curriculum reforms will be an opportunity to make a difference….. but will the decision makers realise it?

Read more about spatial citizenship at: http://bit.ly/isx3EG

geography, geo-cube

Welcome To My Blog: a geographical journey

geo-cube-logo

Geo-cube

I’m finally making the leap into the Blogosphere. Welcome to my Blog. Hope you enjoy it.

I’ve been concerned with things geographical throughout my career in education. This blog will be dedicated to innovations in geography and the projects, training and other consultancy and voluntary work we are connected with.

Geo- has suffered in comparison to other subject areas, being not well viewed by education Ministries and policy makers around the world, struggling to fight for its place in an over-crowded curriculum. Employers in many countries don’t recognise the value of geographical qualifications, despite comment from influential media organisations like the Huffington Post, the Independent and the Guardian.  Professional bodies maintain a positive profile but those responsible for education policy remain unaware of the impact geographers are having in society.

Using Search Engines to find out what Geography and geographical education were about was not very useful, so members of the European Association of Geographers decided to develop a promotional tool on the Internet for things Geo-.  In 2010-2011, together with colleagues from European universities, we designed and developed a Web site called Geo-Cube to help unravel the complex nature of what geography is and what geographers do. We targeted policy makers and high influence people and organisations, but also provided copyright free media to educators.

Geo-Cube was developed to offer 54 windows into the world of geographers. It illustrates many of the areas in society that people with a geographical qualifications are working in. The site has hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and has now been translated into 5 languages. My son created the graphical design and coded 3-D cube interface …. you can find out about him and his work as a leading Web Designer here and through his blog.

We’d like to update the site and create a Geo-Cube app for mobile phones and tablets so if you’d like to contribute to support this venture, please get in touch.