World Poverty Clock Web Site

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The ‘World Poverty Clock’ web site can be very impactful starter for geography lessons on themes of development.

It is a real-time graphic estimate of the numbers of people in the world living in poverty, and can be projected into the future to monitor the progress against ending extreme poverty – the United Nations’ first Sustainable Development Goal.

After discussing the figures with a class, you can use the slider towards the bottom of the screen to look into the future. What progress is being made? Is it fast enough? What else can be done to reduce some of these figures?

You can also click on ‘methodology’ at the top right to get detailed information for a number of case study countries.



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How Far Do Children Roam?

I came across this interesting graphic recently from the Wildlife Trusts:

C_jK2EkXgAA3cruI fully realise social conditions have altered considerably since 1915, but perhaps a good dose of geographical education at school might help our future parents-to-be to explore the outdoors with their children?

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The World At Night Quiz

Here’s a nice little test for geographers – can you identify these cities from night-time photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station?

Try these tasters, and then go to the full quiz via the link below:



I wont give the answers away – they are part of the full quiz!

Link to full quiz:


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Can You Draw A Decent World Map?

I have always believed that young people (as well as adults!) should have a decent ‘mental map’ of the world if they are to begin to understand the complexities of the world in which they live.

I have to say I was pretty impressed by the ability of this Chinese teacher in reproducing a world map on his blackboard (remember those?)

These versions might be a good place to start with students –

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The World’s Newest Countries



Image: Toronto Sun

I always cringe in our local pub quiz when the geography questions come along – and pray that they refer to something I know in order to maintain my street-cred.


In a recent quiz, a couple of questions referred to ‘new’ countries of the world, and it led me to check that I was up to speed with all of the newest countries to gain world recognition.

Here is my list:

  1. South Sudan – declared independence from Sudan in 2011, and is currently the newest sovereign country of the world, and a member of the United Nations.
  2. Timor Leste – formerly East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002. timor-leste-010211
  3. Eritrea – annexed by Ethiopia in 1962 after a long civil war, eventually gained independence in 1993.
  4. Palau – Gained independence in 1994, and now exists in free association with the USA which is responsible for its defence and foreign affairs.
  5. Kosovo – part of the former Yugoslavia, broke away from Serbia and unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Recognised by the UK and many other United Nations countries, but is not actually a UN member state.
  6. Montenegro – joined with Serbia in 1992 after the collapse of Yugoslavia – but Montenegro withdrew from this alliance in 2006.
  7. Serbia – formed in 2006 after the alliance with Montenegro collapsed.
  8. Slovakia – born as a nation in 1993 following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
  9. Czech Republic – created in 1993 following the disintegration of Czechoslovakia.
  10. Bosnia & Herzegovina – created in 1992 following the break up of Yugoslavia.
  11. Croatia – formed in 1991 following the break up of Yugoslavia.
  12. Slovenia – formed in 1991 following the break up of Yugoslavia.

In addition to these, the earlier disintegration of the USSR gave rise to 15 new countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

And what of the future? Maybe these will be the next ‘new’ countries to figure in pub quizzes –

Catalonia – a region of Spain located on the north east coast and bordering France and Andorra; Flemish Republic – (Belgium) Flanders differs greatly from Wallonia in terms of language and culture; Venito – some in Venice envision the city becoming a European version of Singapore; Scotland – calls for Scottish independence are still alive; Abkhazia – this region has been disputed for centuries, and tried to separate from Georgia when it was made independent; South Ossetia – recognised by Russia as an independent nation; Transnistra – currently an unrecognised state within Moldova; New Russia – Donetsk and Luhansk, 2 self-declared republics in Ukraine; West Papua – western half of New Guinea; Somaliland – a state within Somalia




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Not Just Garden And Golf …

Since I took early retirement from my teaching career back in 2015, it has not all been gardening and golf.

Apart from my regular visits to Iceland as a Field Studies Tutor on behalf of Rayburn Tours, I have been involved in a number of writing projects.

These are now beginning to come to fruition, and the following resources will soon be available to teachers and students:

This exam practice book for OCR B GCSE is published by Hodder and will be available later this month. It was written in collaboration with Jo Payne from Okehampton School – a real Devonian joint effort!Hodder New Publication

I also wrote a number of sections for this AQA GCSE revision guide for Harper Collins, and this will be available in June:

Collins New Publication

I have also been working on a revision flashcard smart ‘phone app for AQA GCSE on behalf of BBC Bitesize, and this should be available later in the year.

No projects in the immediate pipeline – so this summer I can get back to tending my garden and reducing that golf handicap ….

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DigiMap Now With Photos

The excellent Digimap For Schools service has now been updated to include photographs.

Over 5 million photographs from across Britain are now available on Digimap courtesy of Geograph. This crowd-sourced project ( set out in 2005 to capture a photograph for each and every 1 km grid square in the country, and each week, more and more photographs are being uploaded.

Teachers and students can now access this photograph library via the Digimap programme, and can easily find images of features they are interested in and see them located on the maps.

The photographs are available via the menu bar by clicking on the UK map (fifth from the left):

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You can then search by geographical feature (eg drumlins) to see if there are any photographs of these in the map area you have defined. I started by reducing the map scale to cover the whole of the UK before performing my search – and discovered over 260 images of drumlins I could check out!

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Here is my search for glacial erratics:

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The help section of Digimap provides more information about how to use this new feature, and it includes this excellent short video:


If you have not yet made use of this superb mapping software, get your school signed up at:




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