- What is your favourite or most special place like?
- Is it close to where you live, or even on your own street?
- Have you actually been to this place or is it somewhere that you would like to go?
- Is it a building, a village, a town, a city, a country or something completely different?
- Would you like to be able to share your favourite place with others?
- Do you have any pictures that could help to show why a place is special?
The Great Ocean Road, Australia: Photo: Ruth Totterdell.
My Places is the interactive area of the GA’s Worldwise website that allows students to upload details, some text and up to two images, of their own special places. They can also read about others' places and even vote for ones that they particularly like. The site allows students to post as many entries as they want to, either in the British Isles or the rest of the world within separate primary and secondary areas.
To allow students to take part a teacher will first need to register their school on the Worldwise website by following the ‘Teachers’ link from the Worldwise homepage. Students will then be able to register themselves as a pupil at a particular school and log-in. Once logged in students, as well as being able to add their own My Places, will also be able to use the online voting tool to mark entries as ‘Great’. This is a fun activity for pupils of any age that could be used as the basis for setting students the challenge of producing a piece of creative writing about their own favourite place, anywhere in the world.
My Place Example: Central Park, New York, USA
Photo: Anna Totterdell
“I love this place because it is different to any other park I have visited. Many famous films e.g. Ghostbusters, and TV shows have been filmed here so when I visited it I recognised many familiar sites. It was almost like I’d been here before. As you can see from the photo, the park is surrounded by masses of tall buildings but if you don’t look up it’s easy to think you are in the countryside, but this is Manhattan in New York. Many people who live in Manhattan come here to get away from the hectic city life. During the summer roller-blading is very popular. It is called Central Park and is located right in the centre of Manhattan. It covers 843 acres and has more than 25 million visitors each year. It was the first public park to be built in America.”
Where Else Could My Places Take You?
A secondary school’s entries under My Places will count towards their general participation in Worldwise and could result in their invitation to one of the Worldwise Challenge weekends. These are a free residential weekend of fieldwork activities, sponsored by the Field Studies Council, for teams of three pupils, between year 9 and year 11, with an accompanying teacher.
Students participating in the Worldwise Challenge in Malham. Photo: Richard Gill
Being part of Worldwise, also has the potential to help schools achieve the GA’s Geography Quality Mark. It can be a means of evidencing several key elements, in particular:
- taking account of pupils’ views, experiences and feelings about places and geographical issues
- stimulating an interest in, and a sense of wonder about, places at a variety of scales and in a variety of locations around the world
- encouraging pupils to be confident in expressing their own views about places, events and issues, using geographical concepts and beginning to appreciate the significance of the diverse views of others.
If you like the My Places activity then you may also be interested in other websites that attempt to identify what it is that makes a place special for some people. Most of the places that score highly on the below website are countryside views – do you and your students share the same opinions?
Geograph is another website that could be used to stimulate an interest in images of places and to encourage students to write about them.