Geography Resources for Primary Teachers: the next step

Earlier this year in February, a damning Ofsted report concluded that the teaching of geography was not good enough in more than half of English state schools; how the subject had practically “disappeared” in one-in-10 primaries and how many teachers lacked specialist geographical knowledge. On the surface this is worrying news for geography as a leading subject.

What was not investigated in the Ofsted report was how teaching resources might improve the standards of the subject.

A new report called ‘Geography Resources for Primary Teachers: the next step’ surveyed primary school teachers across the UK, and was conducted by Oddizzi, a new online teaching resource with geography at its core.

The report concludes that the correct type of resources e.g. those that are inspiring, relevant and interactive, are key to help to facilitate the teaching of geography and improve standards in the subject among primary schools. This is great news for geography – as a versatile subject technology can be applied brilliantly.

In support of the Ofsted report, ‘Geography Resources for Primary Teachers: the next step’ concludes that 47% of primary teachers said that their own lack of confidence in teaching geography had a great impact on the subject in schools.

One vital aspect, which was not mentioned in the Ofsted report, was the extent to which teachers feel that the quality and relevance of resources currently available to them are impacting the teaching of geography. 45% of primary school teachers in the ‘Geography Resources for Primary Teachers: the next step’ report said that this had a great impact on their current teaching. When looking at how teaching resources for geography compared with other subjects, 68% said that geography materials are significantly worse or not quite as good as materials available for other subjects.

When it came to the type of teaching resources one area that stood out was the desire for more interactivity; 67% of primary teachers say that they are not or only somewhat satisfied with the level of interactivity of current materials whilst 81% said that child friendly interactive maps would be a very interesting or essential feature of any new teaching resource (28% say it is essential).

Beyond interactive teaching resources 70% say that the inclusion of cross curricular project ideas would be very interesting or essential as a feature of a new teaching resource (27% say it is essential).

These are very interesting comments as geography could very easily be a leading subject where technology is applied in the correct manner. It seems the demand for technology and good resources are what our primary schools need. Oddizzi is one solution and I am sure there are many other resources out there that need to be supplied to our primary schools – otherwise we are going to have a future generation lacking the skills and interest in geography. We only have one planet to live and learn from – let’s make sure we are not doing our students a disservice.

Oddizzi

I received an email this week from Harry Cymbler, Director of Hot Cherry, the independent, award winning digital PR and social media agency in London who are promoting Oddizzi. I was very excited by this email and clicked straight away onto their website. I was instantly amazed by the resources made available by Oddizzi for primary schools.

What is Oddizzi?

Oddizzi is an exciting new website (just launched!) for primary schools that instantly brings the world to life in the classroom. It is a bright and refreshing resource full of clever features and games that encourage children to want to learn about their world.

The clip below is part of their online promotion; it is an amusing take on the popular 80’s game show Child’s Play hosted by Michael Aspel which challenged members of the public and a celebrity to work out what primary school children were describing. Sadly, I am old enough to remember Child’s Play!

In the Oddizzi clip, geography knowledge is tested among primary students from Holy Trinity School Richmond, London with some amusing responses: ‘Falafel is some sort of Anteater’, ‘In Greenland they eat Green grass,’ ‘Dead Sea is black and mouldy’ and ‘a Yurt is an upper class person saying the word ‘yoghurt’.

Created by former primary schoolteacher Jenny Cooke, Oddizzi is an online teaching resource that supports cross-curricular learning at stages EYFS, KS1 and KS2 and features a free child-friendly interactive map and news feed. In addition, there are 500+ pages of interactive content, over 1000 images, online ‘ClassPals’ that enables classes to link with each other nationally and internationally, geography games that test global knowledge, and a bank of creative lesson ideas and activities for teachers to use that take geography across the curriculum.

Personally, Oddizzi looks to be a flexible resource that offers many different activities and topics promoting geography within the classroom. It is a very well thought out resource where your comments as a teacher seem to be encourged to improve their site. Oddizzi is an innovative and interactive online resource that is using todays technology brilliantly but teaching the National Curriculum at the same time – not an easy task! Oddizzi provides an affordable online resource and will be funded by a subscription model with a launch price £155 a year. It is also available for a free 21 day trial. A bargain if I have ever seen one.

I would be very keen to hear from any schools that are currently or are going to use Oddizzi to learn more about the benefits it offers. Great stuff is happening out there online – keep it up geographers, together we can all work together to improve, develop and make sure geography deserves its place in the curriculum.