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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.

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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.

 

Dipity is a Web 2.0 application which allows chronological information to be entered and displayed as a timeline. It can then be shared via a blog or other website. The news headlines about our Olympics team below is an example of one your students could make. It is a ‘live’ timeline in that as events are reported, they are added to the timeline automatically. Any RSS feed can be used and I’m sure there will be heaps during the Olympics. Students could also research Olympic data from the past and enter manually … for instance, host countries, records for 100 metres, etc.

Notebook 10 and the Lesson Activity Toolkit are not just excellent tools for the teacher but can also provide a basis for creative activities for the student. When students are given the challenge of creating a puzzle or activity for others to solve, there is a high level of engagement. Not only are they applying the knowledge they already have or need to research, but they will also ‘step up’ the difficulty level so as to create a challenge for their peers.

SMART Notebook 10 provides a range of tools in their toolkit which teachers and students can use to create interactive activities for the SMARTBoard. Along with the wide selection of games, like sudoku, anagrams and word guess, there are also other activity templates like multiple choice, matching activities and sentence arrange.

Activities are easy to use – just drag from the Gallery and click the Edit button to add your own content. They can be used in all subjects and KLAs, and in all year groups. The activity can be saved and ‘played’ by other students. They are self-marking so students receive immediate feedback and reinforcement.

PowerPoint is a well-known software program used for presenting information in a dynamic slide show format. Text, photos, clipart, graphs, sound effects, music and video are just some of the elements that can be included in a presentation.

Many teachers integrate PowerPoint into their curriculum, especially in English (Talking and Listening), Science and HSIE. Examples include students using PowerPoint for a visual support to an oral presentation or a means to present a research project. These are both excellent uses of the software but what about using it for more creative cross-KLA projects?

PowerPoint can add a new dimension to Writing while accommodating all age levels as well as range of abilities and learning styles. Students can use the software to publish their writing, whether it be a narrative, a personal recount or a procedure. Text can be typed in to consecutive slides, formatted appropriately and spellchecked. This provides the opportunity for developing effective proofing and editing skills as well as a range of publishing options. Additional writing skills like storyboarding can also be targeted.

PowerPoint also offers easy-to-learn features which allow students to enhance their writing. For instance, they can illustrate, record their own voice reading the text, animate the pictures and add page turning buttons.

Student Engagement, Visual Learning and Technology: Can Interactive
Whiteboards Help?

William D. Beeland, Jr.
Abstract: The purpose of this action research study was to determine the effect of the use of interactive whiteboards as an instructional tool on student engagement. Specifically, the desire was to see if student engagement in the learning process is increased while using an interactive whiteboard to deliver instruction. In addition, an effort was made to determine if methodology impacts the level at which students are engaged in the learning environment when a whiteboard is used in the classroom. In other words, does the manner in which the whiteboard is used affect the level of student engagement? A total of ten middle school teachers and 197 students participated in the study. In each of the ten classes, the teacher presented a lesson using an interactive whiteboard. After the lesson, students were given a survey, and some students completed a questionnaire. Teachers also completed a survey and questionnaire. The results of the surveys and questionnaires indicated a strong preference for the use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom. The results will be used to make further technology spending decisions at our school.

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