Interactive ecology

ecokidsEcoKids has a number of interactive games and activities to teach material to do with ecology and a sustainable planet. It presents the material clearly and well. You can build a food chain, learn about climate change and wildlife.There are plenty of choices. There is also a teachers’ section and a contest area. The material is further supported by a blog. For younger students it would be a good way to absorb this material and for older students it would be a quick way to get the key points into perspective. As well as the games and activities there is some more complex, well presented material on the environment. A very well thought out, well constructed site.

Interactive soccer lessons

soccer I am surprised I haven’t seen more of these sorts of real life coaching sites. Perhaps because I am not a sports or phys ed teacher. It makes sense. We have video cameras. We have well trained teachers. We often break things down into skills. This site breaks the skills down and then targets various age groups for the training. It is a good way for a student to go over basics and see for themselves. It would also be a good way for a teacher to get students to look at particular skills and see where they could improve. Seeing can be worth a thousand explanations. Digital students are very visual and respond quickly to visual support. The interactive training site is clear, fuss free and very focussed. I am certain we could use this practical approach more often in a number of areas in our curriculum. Students relate well to people giving them information.

How green is your office?

Harvard Education Leaf One Harvard Education has a green office sustainability project where the levels of achievement are graded by leaves. Leaf One is the easy level where you can do the obvious. The site offers you a PowerPoint for each level and some explanations as to how they have done it so that you can follow their lead and then pass it forward! I guess my clean and green week at school with the Clear , Cull and Clean motto has led us to the achievement of Leaf One. At the end of this week we have achieved so much and can see our way clear to the next step because we dared to confront the past and deal with it. We have to move on and let go the old resources. In a week we have reclaimed plenty of space. The office is so much tidier and lighter and we have been talking about the future. We have found some great treasures which were lost in the piles and piles of old resources. There also has been a natural flow of co operation, inspiration and organisation which has come from it just from sorting, throwing things out, recycling and thinking about how we can become more digital. It is , after all, the digital age. My hands have been black with dust and dirt, our students have seen us sort and clear and I have noticed some of them have had a locker sort out too. Since we have dared to clear then all the old resources which we have decided to keep for now are in one spot and can be easily removed and recycled when we have the digital replacements and avenues. As we have gone through the week then others have come on board and shared what they know and what they can offer so that we can move ourselves out of the past and into 2011…nearly 2012. I am going to look at the rest of the Harvard leaves because that might fast track me to where I want to be. They have done the field work for me. I can say though that just by tackling this clear, cull and clean it has generated plenty of momentum and regeneration and opened up a clear path forward.

Build your own fish

fish The Aquarium of the Pacific has this fun fish building game to teach students about the parts of fish but it is also a serious site for getting some high level and current information about the aquatic environment of the Pacific. It has an education section and the multimedia section has videos by experts in the field and there are podcasts you can subscribe to. It is one of the largest aquariums in the USA so if you live there or are visiting the country you could actually take a tour of the aquarium. Its site has a commitment to educating all ages and provides materials that anyone can use to improve their knowledge of the Pacific Ocean.

Save time, resources and energy

LinoItToday was about saving time, energy and resources by using technology. Our school will be introducing a tech help desk and it will save time trotting around to see the technicians. It will mean their input is automatically logged and it ought to mean we are less worried about getting tech support because it is right there on our computers. I have had the experience of technicians fixing my in class problems via remote and that is a bit weird and Halloweenish but it is also takes less time and energy. Sometimes you need the face to face conversations and you need to watch someone doing something so you can learn to be independent, but often a quick fix via remote is all you need or a technician just needs to know the sorts of things which are occurring. That adds to the big picture in a big school. I also used LinoIt for the first time with my year 11s. It was fun. Took some patience to set up but we had a really good and useful time practising the subjunctive and I wasn’t using real paper, nor were they locked in their own space on their laptop. I could see what they posted and could talk them through the edit or edit their stickies myself. No pens , no paper and shared learning. My email also went to work hard for me today to get out information and create contacts. It saved a lot of paper , photocopying , phone calls and legwork. It is a matter of getting the right tool. You travel much lighter with technology when you master the tools.

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