Aim: The ambition was that by 2014 all Geography departments in schools across Brighton and Hove would feel suitably skilled and more competent in the delivery of rigorous, engaging and exciting Geography lessons through the use of ICT and new technologies.
Background: Following the Joint Practice Geography Development Day across Brighton and Hove secondary schools in February 2012, led by Cardinal Newman, there was an expressed desire by teachers in all Geography departments to extend their knowledge and practice of Geographic Information System (GIS) and other new technologies in their classrooms to support the rigorous learning and teaching of Geography.
Method: It was necessary to develop and invest in new technologies, draw on Geography/ICT expertise and local partnerships to deliver appropriate training, apply for relevant funding and share best practice both inside and outside the classroom. Cardinal Newman worked in conjunction with other Brighton and Hove schools, the University of Sussex, Apple Solutions Inc. and other geography professionals.
A departmental set of iPads for Geography was purchased at Cardinal Newman for use both in the classroom and outside in the three newly created outdoor learning classrooms and on fieldwork as from summer term 2012. Appropriate training was given to staff and appropriate geographical apps were identified. Joint fieldwork was developed using iPads and Sony Bloggie cameras linked to Google Earth with the University of Brighton PGCE Secondary Geography students.
More ICT was used in Geography lessons across Brighton and Hove and all departments had Geography/ICT ambassadors to promote and support staff expertise. An article was written and contributions made to a national project (Digital Education) for the Geographical Association and Royal Geographical Society about the use of new technologies and fieldwork in the new Key Stage 3 and 4 Geography curriculum.
Evidence: Staff and student feedback.
Impact: There was excellent attendance and excellent feedback at the training sessions planned and led in 2012/13 by various providers at the University of Sussex as a result of a £2,000 grant secured by Cardinal Newman. The joint Year 8 fieldtrip was very successful and an article was produced for Teaching Geography in spring 2013.
Feedback from staff and students showed that there was better usage of ICT in Geography lessons across the city.However, feedback also showed that there is still more need for GIS with the implementation of the National Curriculum and GCSEs. The project was refreshing and exciting, further increasing collaboration between school Geography departments in Brighton and Hove and beyond.
Reflections: Supportive and equally driven partners are the key, who can plan at least a year in advance. The greatest challenge with the training provision was, as ever, ensuring that all/most schools participated; the hard to reach are often the ones that need the greatest change. Where possible this was overcome by mailshotting and telephone contacts.