Is it time to change how we measure development?

On May 11th author, environmentalist and investigative journalist George Monbiot tweeted an article on The Guardian that really caught my eye.

His post shared a piece on The Guardian website by Fiona Harvey exploring the findings of a YouGov poll which suggests Britons want the quality of life indicators to take priority over the economy. The results of the survey suggest eight out of 10 people would prefer the government to prioritise health and wellbeing over economic growth during the coronavirus crisis, and six in 10 would still want the government to pursue health and wellbeing ahead of growth after the pandemic has subsided. 

The campaign group that commissioned the research, Positive Money, has suggested the government should publish statistics on social indicators, health, the environment and quality of life give a truer reflection of the UK’s status and should be used by policymakers to meet the needs of the population. 

The group have produced a report entitled The Tragedy of Growth, backed by politicians from several parties, including Clive Lewis of Labour, the Green party MP Caroline Lucas, and the former Conservative environment minister Lord Deben, who chairs the committee on climate change. The report calls for a shift away from GDP as the government’s core measure of success. The reasoning behind this is that economic growth, through measures such as GDP, masks the impact economic development has on people’s health and well being, the gap between rich and poor and its environmental impact. 

Having read the initial article and report I returned to the original tweet and trawled through the replies to the original post.  I found myself descending a late-night rabbit hole that led me on a journey exploring changes to how development is being measured in countries such as Iceland, Bhutan and New Zealand. 

This included watching a thought-provoking video called the Gross National Happiness The Paradigm (see below) produced by the Schumacher College and the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan. In it Tho Ha Vinh, program director at the GNH Centre, Butan explains how this paradigm shift involves redefining what we mean by development, making a comparison with the natural world, through the growth of a seed, leading to the development of its own nature. He goes on to discuss how foreign ideologies have been forced on countries, and economic development has been prevalent in measuring the ‘success’ of countries to the expense of other indicators. He raises an interesting point that the economy is a mean, not an end. The end is satisfying human needs.  He argues that the goal of an economy should be to bring humans happiness and well-being. Additionally, he raises the point that it is not enough for an economy to focus purely on human needs and that the needs of the natural environment should also be met. He finishes by discussing the need for each country to have its own organic development, based on traditions and culture, that it should meet the needs of the whole (humans and environment).  

The TED talk,  Bhutan’s Gross Domestic Happiness and Environmental Initiatives, by Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bhutan explores the paradigm shift in more detail and is certainly worth a watch. 

I then went on to discover New Zealand’s new well-being budget that seeks to expand mental health services, reduce child poverty and homelessness, promote Indigenous rights, fight climate change, and expand opportunities and watched Iceland PM Katrin Jakobsdóttir talk about GDP or well-being.

 

Is it time to change how we measure development?
I may be late to the party on all this, but having reflected over the last 24 hours I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a fantastic opportunity to explore the issues raised in these sources with students, particularly given the results of the YouGov poll which are likely influenced by the Covid-19 outbreak. We have been presented with an opportunity to reflect on what is really important to both the human and natural world. As geographers, we are in the perfect position to investigate this question, given the multitude of synoptic links the question draws on from our discipline. The underlying themes of sustainability, conservation, interdependence, international development, the use of natural resources, spatial variation and change over time could provide a wonderful opportunity to pull together the geography curriculum. The question has the potential to be an amazing enquiry to investigate with learners. If you fancy joining me down the rabbit hole, throwing some ideas about for a unit of study, please let me know

 

Thanks, 

Anthony 

 

Y11 Changes Places Transition Pack

Mr Pérez (AKA @mr_perez5 on Twitter), has only gone and shared another fantastic Year 11 transition pack covering Changing Places, on top of his recent Y11 Globalisation transition pack. 

Changing Places Y11 Transition Pack

Changing Places Y11 Transition Pack

There are two resources available to download:

If you use this resource, please remove the dept. logos and email and consider donating to the Global Coronavirus Appeal here: islamic-relief.org.uk/donation/ – even £1 would be greatly appreciated!

Year 11 Globalisation Transition Pack

Mr Pérez (AKA @mr_perez5 on Twitter), has shared a fantastic Year 11 globalisation transition pack which you can download below. 

GEOGRAPHY discursive writing project

Download the Y11 geography discursive writing transition project

If you use this resource, please remove the dept. logos and email and consider donating to the Global Coronavirus Appeal here: islamic-relief.org.uk/donation/ – even £1 would be greatly appreciated!

 

GCSE Geography Homework Resources by Mr McAllister

Adam McAllister AKA @McAllister_Geog has produced a set of GCSE homework activities that he’s kindly agreed to share on Internet Geography.

There are 40 resources to download so they have been compressed into a Zip file. The file size is around 20MB. You can download it below.

Download Homework Zip File

Adam also recently wrote a blog post for Internet Geography sharing a strategy for interpreting graphs using TEA analysis which is well worth a read!

If you have resources to share please drop us an email via admin@internetgeography.net

Key Stage 3 Geography Knowledge Organisers

Recently, @MissChambers15 shared some stunning key stage 3 geography knowledge organisers on Twitter.

Eve has very kindly agreed to share them on Internet Geography. Please show  @MissChambers15 some appreciation on Twitter, they look like they took hours to create! You can download the resources below:

If you have resources you’d like to share with the wider geography community please send them over to admin@internetgeography.net 

Map missions using the AQA OS Maps from 2018

Geography teacher, Nik, has kindly shared a set of map missions based on the OS map extracts from the 2018 AQA GCSE geography exam. You can download the questions and answers below.

Woolacombe Bay Extract (figure 10):

River Severn Extract (figure 12):

Cairngorms Extract (figure 15):

If you have any resources you’d like to share with the wider geography community please send them over to admin@internetgeography.net.

Sunday night geography pub quiz

On Sunday 31st May we’ll be hosting our ninth free online pub quiz for teachers. This week, we’re back to our geography focus!

To take part you’ll need to download the Zoom app for your phone/laptop/computer. Zoom is available for mobile devices from your app store. It is recommended that you download the app and install it prior to the quiz, especially if you are using a laptop or computer (if this is the case then set up a free account on Zoom.com now). You’ll also need access to Google Forms to record your answers. 

At 7.50 pm the link and password to access Zoom will be published below. You can access the video stream from this time. The quiz will start at 8.15 pm to give those with children who have an 8 pm bedtime time to do the parenting thing. 

Everyone will be muted during the quiz so that it doesn’t turn into carnage but you are welcome to use the text option to say hello etc. 

Zoom Details (will be posted at 7.50pm)

Meeting ID:8109 4674 800

Password:780947

Google Docs: Answer form

Rules:

  1. Quizzer’s answers are final. Questions have been researched using (mostly) reliable sources.
  2. The quiz only has limited connections and works on a first-come-first-served basis. 
  3. Be nice.
  4. You can play as an individual or a team. 
  5. There will be a prize for the best team name (chosen by the quizzer)
  6. There will be a prize for the winning team. 
  7. Over 18s and geography teachers only (trainees, teachers and retired welcome)
  8. No Googling or cheating in any way. It’s a bit of fun and you’re only cheating yourself (said in best teacher voice). 
  9. The winner will be informed within 24hrs.
  10. I’m the event of a tie the quizzer will choose the team with the best name. 
  11. You’ll need to include an email address and contact name so we can get in touch with the winner. 
  12. We’ll publish the results, though these will contain no personal information e.g. team name and score only. 
  13. We’ll run through the answers at the end of the quiz for those that want to hear them. Answers must be submitted by players before this is done. Answers submitted by Google forms after this point will not be counted. 

The quiz (software and hardware) has been funded by payments for Internet Geography Plus. If you’ve not got a subscription there are lots of useful resources available for distance learning.

Free geography resources on Internet Geography in the event of school closures

Internet Geography has a range of resources to support teachers and students in the event of school closures.

We have 19 Geography in the News assignments that can be downloaded and used by students to investigate events around the world that are relevant to their studies.

Students revising can use our structured guide to GCSE revision to help prepare for their exams. Take a look at the 3rs of Revision.

We are in the processes of developing a series of online lessons using Google My Maps. The first two are available to use now:

There are a large number of multiple-choice quizzes on the site covering GCSE courses.

There are online resources covering the majority of the AQA GCSE course that students can use for revision.

Last summer we introduced Wider Geography, a summer project for students to participate in to broaden their geographical horizons. This is being updated over the next few days.

If you have any resources you are happy to share please send them to admin@internetgeography.net and we will post them here.

Google My Maps Project – Environmental Quality Survey in My Local Area

In this lesson, you will investigate environmental quality in your local area. To do this you need a Google account. If you don’t have one through school, simply head over to Google.com and click the sign-in button. Then click create an account. Go through the process of setting up an account. You will also use Google Streetview to complete this investigation.

What is an environmental quality survey?

Environmental Quality Surveys are used to measure the ‘look and feel’ of a location. The technique is very subjective, which means people will have different views about an area. Some will find a location unattractive, while others may find the same place very attractive.

Below is the environmental quality survey you will use in this investigation. You are welcome to edit it and add more characteristics. You can download the table in MS Word.

Environmental quality survey

Environmental quality survey

The Challenge

Your challenge is to complete environmental quality surveys in your local area and present the findings on Google Maps. You can either visit the locations and complete the environmental quality surveys if it is safe to do so. However, this guide will take you through the steps to complete the environmental quality surveys using Google Street. There are limitations to this such as the images may have been taken some time ago, however, it will be good practice for completing environmental quality surveys.

  1. Go to Google My Maps
  2. Click Create A New Map
  3. Click Untitled Map (top left corner) and give your map an appropriate title e.g. environmental quality surveys in my local area.
    Naming your Google Map

    Naming your Google Map

     

  4. Next, find your local area by typing in the name of your street in the search box. When it is displayed, click it, then the map will zoom into your local area.
  5. You can share your map and work with other students at the same time. To do this click Share, in the Add people box add the email address of the person you want to share the map with. Then click send.
  6. You need to identify the locations where you will complete your environmental quality surveys. You could choose the locations by using random, systematic or stratified sampling. In this example, we are going to use random sampling.
  7. To do this, drop markers on the map in random areas in your local area where you will complete the environmental quality survey. Click the marker icon (upside-down tear) and click on your map. Repeat this at least 3 times. You can give each marker a name e.g. site 1, site 2 etc.

    Identifying sites randomly

    Identifying sites randomly

  8. For each location you need to add the following information in each description to record your environmental quality survey scores:
    Buildings =
    Pavements =
    Graffiti =
    Litter =
    Greenspace =
    Boundaries =
    Traffic =
    Pullution =
    Street Furniture =
    Total =

    To do this click on Site 1. Then click the edit button (pencil) to add the information.

    Recording your environmental quality surveys

    Recording your environmental quality surveys

    Below is a completed example:

    Setting up markers for data

    Setting up markers for data

  9. The next step is to complete the environmental quality survey for each location. If you are not visiting the locations you can use the satellite view on your map along with Google Street View to complete your environmental quality surveys.
  10. To change your base map to a satellite image simply click the drop-down menu next to Base Map and select the satellite view.
    Changing your base map

    Changing your base map

    You can then zoom into your first location and view it in more detail. This could provide some help with completing your environmental quality survey, but you should also use Google Street View.

  11. To use Google Street View you will need to open a new Google Map (this needs to be a Google Map NOT a new Google My Map). Locate your first marker by returning to your Google My Map, click on the first site and copy the latitude and longitude coordinates by highlighting them then right click and select copy.
    Extracting latitude and longitude data

    Extracting latitude and longitude data

    Return to Google Maps and paste the latitude and longitude data into the seach box. As you ocan see below Google Maps has dropped a marker.

    Searching by latitude and longitude in Google Maps

    Searching by latitude and longitude in Google Maps

     

  12. Next, grab the Street View icon in the bottom right (yellow figure) and drop it on your marker.
    Opening Street View

    Opening Street View

    You will now go to Street View and will be able to complete your environmental quality survey. Remember to add your data to your marker in Google My Maps. Repeat this for each site.

Taking it further

Compare environmental quality in your local area. This could include adding presenting your data in appropriate graphs and describing and explaining the differences. You could also complete environmental quality surveys between wealthy and less wealth areas within and between countries.

Hosting an Online Revision Party

Fed up of the same old revision? Why not organise an online revision party? It’s simple to organise, a great way to connect with others and helps share the workload!

How does it work?

Each party guest chooses an area of the course they will become experts in. They then spend some time planning a brief recap of the topic. This could be a PowerPoint containing images and a small amount of text.

Next, each party guest writes a selection of multiple-choice questions to go with their presentation.

Finally, connect with each other online, take it in turn to teach, quiz and answer questions.

There are lots of free online tools you can use to host your party. If you have a Google account, you could try a Google Hangout. Another great tool is Zoom.us which allows up to 40 minutes of video meetings per session. Both services allow you to share your screen with others in your group, along with video and audio.

It is worth trying out a video meeting before you host your revision party so you are not wasting time setting up before the revision party.

Make sure you know the people you are having your online revision party with. Stay safe online!