Monday, 24 January 2011

Exactly how big is the United Kingdom?

Following on from the theme of a recent post, about the size of different countries, I thought it would be interesting to compare the size of the United Kingdom to other parts of the world. The UK covers an area of about 243,000 square km., which is quite big in some ways, but not so big in others (ask any Canadian). It's all a matter of perspective. Some maps and facts below, with the UK superimposed on different parts of the world. Click the maps to see them in full size.

  • Russia is 70 times larger than the UK
  • Canada is about 41 times larger than the UK
  • The USA and China are both approximately 40 times larger than the UK
  • Brazil is 35 times bigger than the UK
  • Australia is about 32 times bigger than the UK
  • India is 13 times bigger
  • Sudan is 10 times bigger (n.b. now split in two since I originally wrote this)
  • Iran is 7 times bigger
  • France is twice as big (this is just the European part, not the overseas d├ępartements)
NOTES: I've used an equal area projection so there is a bit more map distortion than I'd like but this was just a bit of fun to make a point and remind myself of the relative size of the UK. For the USA I've shown the continental US and Alaska on separate maps. I've not shown Hawaii this time.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Poll Everywhere - audience response for lectures

I've not blogged on e-learning stuff for a while so time for a new one. Today I'm speaking at the University of Sheffield's annual Learning and Teaching conference. My talk is all about integrating 'low-tech' technology into teaching - the slides are online too. One thing I'm doing is demonstrating Poll Everywhere for audience response in lectures (screenshot of home page below).

It can often be very useful to get feedback from students during or at the end of teaching sessions. Since the vast majority of students now have mobile phone deals with unlimited texts or can get online via their phones, Poll Everywhere is making a real impact in this area. It's very easy to use and it is free for classes of up to 32 students. An example below of how you can also embed the polls in web pages... If you click an option below you can see the results of this crucial poll!

Many universities in the UK (e.g. Brighton, Greenwich) are now using Poll Everywhere, so it may be here to stay. I think it is a very effective tool for quick feedback from students.

Monday, 3 January 2011

EUROCITIES - Tackling Urban Poverty

Just in case you missed it, 2010 was the year for tackling poverty and social exclusion in Europe, according to Eurocities - well, actually the European Commission, but Eurocities agree! There is a very interesting video about all this - see below. Some interesting examples in the video from across Europe.

What is Eurocities? Here's what they say...

EUROCITIES is the network of major European cities. We bring together the local governments of more than 140 large cities in over 30 European countries.

We influence and work with the EU institutions to respond to common issues that impact the day-to-day lives of Europeans. Our aim is to shape the opinions of stakeholders in Brussels to ultimately shift legislation in a way that helps city governments address the EU's strategic challenges at the local level. A large part of our work is aimed at reinforcing the role and place that local government should have in a multi-level governance structure.

Based on the EU's three key challenges, EUROCITIES' policy priorities are:

  • Climate
  • Recovery
  • Inclusion