Curriculum sustainable development Teaching

Connecting young people

Customised badgeI was asked at fairly short notice to stand-in to run a workshop called ‘Connecting young people through climate change’ in Manchester. Forty people were booked so the Geographical Association conference organiser didn’t want to cancel it.

It’s based on a European-funded online project run by the Citizenship Foundation and Plan International.

By chance, I managed to borrow a manual from another organisation.

It raised some interesting questions in my mind about engaging learners, knowledge and online debate. And, not least, Margaret Roberts’ question “Where’s the geography?”

There has been a considerable amount of learning resources on climate change. This represents another chunky contribution in the clamour for attention. I don’t think a single resource is appropriate for such an important and wide-ranging subject matter. However, it takes teachers’ time and expertise to sift through the alternatives in order to arrive at a programme that suits their school. We need to be able to share what works in different circumstances.

Here is my Connecting-young-people-through-climate-change PPT [pptx 5.8mb or pdf 2.2 mb] presentation for the workshop. We did an activity from learning resource unit five (weblink) and discussed the questions ‘why climate change?’ and ‘why debate online?’ The PPT includes a small selection of links to climate change learning resources.

There is huge potential in this type of project – mainly for the direct participants – but, I feel, there are many aspects of engagement using online tools (by adults or young people) that need further frank discussion for future projects to benefit.

Also worth mentioning here is Poverty2Prosperity another EU-funded project engaging learners in online debate. There are two downloadable packs: Biodiversity and Poverty; and Climate Change and Economy. The P2P Challenge Packs won a Geographical Association Silver Award in 2011. The online element involved young people to suggest ideas to go forward into a Charter and then vote on them. Evidently this process was met with more enthusiasm in Bulgaria and Hungary than in the UK. The Ghana page is sadly blank. However, there is some content of substance on the site.

I have written a preview blog on the GA Conference 2012 for Hodder Education here>

Some other reflections on the conference appear on my blog here>

For other presentations at the GA Conference 2012 see here>

By Angus Willson

The editor of this site and author of this blogpost.

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