Have your say and give your colleagues inspiration!

What software do you find most beneficial for your students to use? Click here for a link to a short survey.

Zoomerang provides a free online survey tool which can survey up to 100 people. Very easy to use and publish. The survey will remain active for 10 days. To see it working, complete this survey and then try creating your own.

Results published soon …

Pics4Learning: free image library for teachers and students

The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers and amateur photographers. Unlike many Internet sites, permission has been granted for teachers and students to use all of the images donated to the Pics4Learning collection.

Browse by topic, look at the most popular photos or do a search for specific images. Topics include  Animals, Countries, Education, Food, Geography, History, Signs, to name a few. Some of the over 50 topics have numbers in brackets – these refer to sub-topics i.e. Animals has 49 sub-topics which include Marsupials, Bats, Insects, etc.  In the Marsupial section, there are 96 jpg images which can be copied or downloaded and used in multimedia presentations and information reports.

Students can also contribute photos they have taken. An example activity could be setting the students the challenge of taking digital photos around your school of mathematical concepts e.g. acute angles, parallel lines or symmetry. These can then be uploaded to the Pics4Learning site. This activity is not only an authentic learning task to consolidate students mathematical understanding but also a very engaging activity where students would be using a range of ICT knowledge and skills as well as collaborative and decision-making skills.

http://www.pics4learning.com/details.php?img=greyroo5.jpg

Math Connection Project

Introduction to the second year of the Math Connection Project: a Mathematical Problem Solving Workshop between international and public schools around the world. Find the website at http://mathconnections.wikispaces.com/. This collaborative project is designed to provide a place for students and teachers to share their experiences with Mathematics and discover the connection of mathematics study to their own real world experiences. This year’s project is centred about four CHALLENGES which will use a variety of online tools to engage your students’ in exploring and communicating their understanding of Maths within four different strands.

CHALLENGE 1: DATA ANALYSIS November – December

CHALLENGE 2: GEOMETRY January – February

CHALLENGE 3: NUMBER OPERATIONS March – April

CHALLENGE 4: MEASUREMENT May – June

Interested in participating?

The project is open to all elementary and middle school level classrooms from all over the world. Join in for just one time or as many CHALLENGES as they fit into your planning and schedule. Individual, small groups, or whole class examples are welcome. Email Linda at lvnitsche@gmail.com to answer any other questions you might have. 

Project Goals

  • Develop mathematical understanding across the standards of communication, connections, and problem solving.
  • Develop an understanding of the use of mathematics in everyday life.
  • Develop an understanding of the universality of mathematics across the world.
  • Engage students in discussions about mathematics with others across the world.
  • Develop collaborative skills across classes and countries.
  • Creatively communicate new understandings about Mathematics.

Wouldn’t it be great to have some Australian involvement!

 

Thank you to Vicki Davis for spreading the word!

The Louvre Museum: Visual Arts online

Since October 2008, The Louvre website (http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp) features a new host: Dominique-Vivant Denon. The first director of the museum has been brought back to life as an animated character! He has a multitude of stories to tell about the museum and its contents, together with anecdotes from his travels, and he’ll help both children and adults explore the Louvre Web site! He will also entice young and old into his workshop—an Aladdin’s cave of treasures and memories.

When on the Louvre’s home page, click on Dominique’s head (top right-hand corner) and he’ll pop up all over the place to give students some practical information, suggestions for the virtual visit, and facts and figures about the museum. His audio narration will tell  the kind of things people don’t usually tell you about the secret life of the artworks. Visitors will learn the full history of these artworks when you open the description pages. These histories are in a detailed written form.

Dominique’s workshop is full of clickable objects and creates an excellent interactive starting point for students. For instance, click on Dominique’s book: it’s full of amazing stories about the artworks. In the portfolio next to his writing desk, find the list of story-telling objects. There are always lots of things lying around in Dominique’s workshop to experiment with.

The Louvre’s collection covers Western art from the medieval period to 1848, formative works from the civilisations of the ancient world and works of Islamic art. Dominique narrates the history and aspects of some famous artworks which are contained in these collections. The collection is grouped into eight Departments, each shaped and defined by the activities of its curators, collectors and donors. These include Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Paintings and Prints and Drawings.

ARKive: a free multimedia resource for educators

ARKive, www.arkive.org is a centralised library of films and photographs of the world’s endangered species. Hailed as the digital Noah’s Ark, it has won numerous conservation, education and communication awards since its launch by Sir David Attenborough in 2003, and has now profiled over 2,500 of the world’s endangered species, using over 3,000 movie clips and 18,000 photos – all freely available for schools.

Multimedia resources are organised in categories and alphabetical groups e.g. Threatened Species –> Mammals –> W –> Western gorilla. In this section there are 19 images and 11 videos of the endangered gorilla as well as information relating to its biology, habitat, threats and conservation. There is also a facility to view larger images which would be ideal for displaying on a SMARTBoard.

ARKive is an initiative of Wildscreen (www.wildscreen.org.uk), a UK-based educational charity working globally to promote the public appreciation of biodiversity and the conservation of the natural world, through the power of wildlife imagery.

Making use of the stunning imagery available at the award-winning ARKive website, ARKive Education, www.arkiveeducation.org provides downloadable, ready to use modules on a wide range of curriculum topics, suitable for geography, biology, environmental education and citizenship lessons.

Resources are organised in age groups (5-7, 7-11, 11-14, etc) and subjects (Science, Geography and Other). There is a mixture of PowerPoint and pdf files containing activities and information. For example, an 11-14 years Geography resource called Adaptations: Investigate the world of animal and plant adaptations, using camels, snow leopards and even palm trees as engaging multimedia examples. Use the question and answer video clips to test your students. There is also an online games section which has a few simple activities relating to animals and the environment.

In April 2008, at Google’s UK headquarters in London, Sir David Attenborough launched ARKive’s new layer on Google Earth. Sir David said, “Google has come together with Wildscreen, who have this unique distillation of images of the natural world, so that any one of us can go to a particular area on the globe and see what lives there. Google can take you to parts of the world where you can actually see a flock of flamingos and know whether they are there, or whether they are on the way out.” To download your free copy of Google Earth and view the ARKive layer visit http://earth.google.com. The ARKive layer can be found in the Global Awareness Folder in the layers panel.

SearchMe: a fabulous visual search engine

Goldrush search results

Searchme (www.searchme.com) is a search engine that returns your results as images of the web pages rather than text. Like any other search engine, you enter your search keywords. As shown in the above example of Australian Goldrush, the search results appear as a screenshot of the web site’s home page instead of like Google’s link and text-based description.

This search engine can be effectively utilised on a SMARTBoard. Each of the search results can be paged through without actually visiting the site. When you find a page you want, you can tap or click on it to enter the website. You can also save the pages in a “stack”. A stack is a way to save your favourite pages in one tidy folder that you can visit again and again.

 

Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games: A focus for Writing, Reading and Creative Arts!

The Paralympics are being held in Beijing from September 6 to 17, 2008. The official website is at http://en.paralympic.beijing2008.cn/index.shtml. The International Paralympic Committee website contains a huge resource of information about paralympics, classifications, past and future games as well as current Beijing updates http://www.paralympic.org/release/Main_Sections_Menu/Paralympic_Games/Beijing_2008/.

The Australian Paralympic committee website has an excellent photo gallery and information on Australian Paralympians.  Wikipedia also has a good section, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Summer_Paralympics with lots of facts and figures i.e. emblems, themes, events, etc.

Why not have your students send a hero message to one of our Australian athletes? Go to http://hero.telstra.com/paralympics/. Students can write the message to an individual athlete or to a whole team. Simply click on the “Send an online message” button. Students need to enter a name and email address – you could set up a gmail address for your class i.e. 3GWPS@gmail.com. The message should contain a maximum of 160 characters. It could be drafted and edited on a wordprocessor prior to sending and then copied and pasted into the Message area.

If you want to get creative, students can also send a video message. Video file has a maximum size of 5 Mb. File types accepted are .avi, .mpg, .mov and 3gp. These short videos could be recorded on a digital camera and saved to be uploaded. Students could combine dance, drama and music or use computer graphics to create a short animation.

Messages, both text and video are shown in a gallery on the Hero site.

Teachers’ Domain: multimedia resources for the K-12 classroom

This website (http://www.teachersdomain.org/) is a growing collection of downloadable multimedia resources and lesson plans. Currently the majority of resources are in the Science field (listed below) but they are planning to add Language Arts, Social Sciences and Mathematics resources. It has a free registration although you need to align yourself to your educational institution.

I am not a huge fan of downloadable Lesson Plan websites but this site has suggestions which are not only practical and constructivist but also resources and links which students could use. For instance, the Polar Sciences Special Collection focuses on issues relating to Global Warming effects on the Arctic and Antarctic.  The collection includes a fabulous range of interactives, documents, lesson plans and video clips which can be viewed online, with some downloadable. Each with a brief description and suggested year level e.g. Earth as a System (Grade 6 – 12) is a visualisation adapted from NASA maps and shows progressive global changes on a rotating globe. You can also turn captions on or off to accompany the clip.

The collection groups resources in 5 areas: Atmosphere, Ice, Oceans, People and Land.

 

 

The Science K-12 resources are listed in major strands and sub-topics:

Earth and Space Science (292 resources) i.e. Earth in the Universe, Earth System, Structure, and Processes, Water Cycle, Weather, and Climate

Engineering (204) i.e. Engineering Design, Materials and Tools, Systems and Technologies

Life Science (399) i.e. Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Genetics and Heredity, Organisms and Their Environments, Regulation and Behavior, Structure and Function

Physical Science (395) i.e. Energy, Fundamental Theory, Matter, Motions and Forces

Thanks to Dean Mantz for sharing this website via Diigo.

 

VoiceThread: publishing to an international audience

http://voicethread.com is a free Web 2.0 tool which provides easy-to-use features for students to create multimedia projects. This is exciting in itself, but even more motivating for students is that viewers of the project can leave comments via the internet. Look at this example to see how it works: http://voicethread.com/share/107896/

The online media album can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in different ways – using voice, text, audio or video. They can even be exported to an Archival Movie for offline use on a DVD or video-enabled MP3 player.

Comments: as seen in the little thumbnails down the left and right side of the example. Simple voice recording within your web browser allows students or viewers to add their voice. All you need is a microphone! Comments can also be written or recorded on video.

Doodles: the Doodler is a way of annotating the presentation. It captures drawing as an animation and synchronises it to the voice or text commentary. See the red circle drawn around “name” in the example.

Identities for easy classroom management: to leave a comment, you need an identity and be logged in. One class account can have multiple identities so  a number of students can easily switch identities on-the-fly without having to sign-out.

Sharing your VoiceThread

It is totally safe for your students. You can set the access privileges – from completely private to completely open and variations in between.

Moderation: comment moderation puts the teacher in charge of the conversation. Only the comments that are deemed appropriate are exhibited on the screen.

A family picture was the inspiration for VoiceThread. One of the program’s creators was looking at the photo and thought it would be really great to hear each person commenting on the picture. They would all have different stories. This thought was a spark for the creation of the Web 2.0 tool. It is an extremely easy online application that allows you to create multimedia using your own photos, video clips, audio, etc… and then allows others to comment with text or audio in a way that will play along with your presentation.

It has been enthusiastically used by many teachers all over the world as a simple way for individuals and groups to work together on a presentation and storytelling. Visit VoiceThread to see more great examples!