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Exploring the future of Geographical Education

Fearghal O'Nuallain considers the future of Geography Teaching

· Science,TheWaterDiaries,Geography,Education,Conservation

This expedition is borne of the many adventures I went on in my twenties and my frustrations as a Geography teacher in my Thirties. Cycling around the world inspired me to become a Geography Teacher I wanted to share the wonders of the world I’d experienced on my Adventures. Now, I’m fusing Adventure with teaching and I’m very excited. I’m also excited to be exploring what a classroom can be.

Education has never been so important and so under threat. The world is changing rapidly and it is crucial that we teach our kids so that they’re prepared for an uncertain future. Geographical knowledge has also never been so important. Geography a messy subject it bridges science and humanities, indoors and outdoors inquiries, the human and natural worlds. Yet there has never been so much competition for students’ attention. They are constantly bombarded with compelling stimulus from gaming, commercial and entertainment. Kids use their phones as windows on the world in a way that is difficult to fully understand for us non-digital natives. It makes teaching today that little bit more of a challenge, when it comes to the classroom the content often appears dry and un-exciting by comparison. Teachers work hard to animate their classrooms bringing the world to their students with enthusiasm and energy. But the classroom is still remains unchanged since Aristotle’s time.

We’re hoping to explore a new way of teaching, by leveraging tech to bring the adventure of field work into classrooms. Classrooms already have the tech. A whiteboard sits at the front of most classrooms in the UK. Usually it functions as a screen for video and powerpoint, but wouldn’t it be cool if it was transformed into a window? Wouldn’t it be great if it became a window on the world? A portal that dissolved the four walls of the classroom and transported students to anywhere in the world?

We think that that would be cool. We’re not the first to do this, Digital Explorer and Exploring by the seat of your pants use these tools to connect experts in the field with classrooms around the world. But we are pioneering a new way of blending Adventure and Education. The Water Dairies - Jordan is a purely educational adventure. We’re embarking on an expedition with the express objective of experimenting with educational technology. Mostly, the educational components of exploration are bolted on after the science has been done and the branding and publicity demands have been satisfied but in this case teaching is the sole purpose of the endeavour.

Make sure to tune in for our week daily broadcasts @3.30pm GMT to learn about the journey and the Geography and Science of the terrain we’ll be passing through. Don’t worry if you miss the start of the broadcast as they’ll be available for viewing for 24hrs afterwards. We’ve also got some limited places for one to one class sessions so be sure to email to book one for your class. And if you’d like to hear all about the adventure and do some expedition planning and digital mapping workshops sign your school up for the RoadShow in 2018 (places are filling up fast so book now to avoid missing out)

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