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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.

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 A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most of the information is researched via the web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March at San Diego State University in 1995 (http://webquest.org/index.php)In an interview with Linda Starr of Education World,  Bernie Dodge discusses some of the key aspects of using WebQuests (complete interview). 

Bernie describes why WebQuests are not just internet Treasure Hunts or research projects … The key idea that distinguishes WebQuests from other Web-based experiences is this: a WebQuest is built around an engaging task that elicits higher order thinking of some kind. It’s about doing something with information. The thinking can be creative or critical, and involve problem solving, judgment, analysis or synthesis. The task is more than simply answering questions or regurgitating what’s on the screen. The benefit to using WebQuests is that it puts more responsibility on the learners themselves. Usually, a WebQuest includes the following:

Introduction: an engaging first statement that draws the reader in while setting the stage for the WebQuest – includes the central question around which the WebQuest revolves.

Task: a description of the end result of the students’ work; the culminating performance or product that drives all the activities of the lesson.

Process: describes step-by-step how the learners will accomplish the task. Includes online (and offline) resources, role descriptions (if any), and guidance on individual steps in the process.

Evaluation: a rubric or other means to evaluate the final task.

Conclusion: final statement that may include reflections on the lesson or extensions of the content for further exploration.

With today’s Web 2.0 tools, a WebQuest can easily be set up on the internet, include multimedia and hyperlinks and be an exciting, engaging activity for students across the curriculum. It can form the basis for a COGs unit, a G&T activity in Literacy and Numeracy or a group activity in any KLA. 

Bibliography

Linda Starr – Education World

WebQuests in wikipedia 

Google Earth combines the power of Google Search with satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings to put the world’s geographic information at your fingertips. From Google Earth home page (http://earth.google.com/)

  • Fly to a famous geographical landform or historical location.
  • View the area from above and zoom in to see roads, buildings and geographical features.
  • Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings, or look up to explore the night sky.
  • Save and share your searches and favourites.

To download Google Earth on to your computer, Mac or PC, visit http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html … it’s FREE!!

Why not try these activities with your class:

1. View an image of your home, school or any place on Earth. Click Fly To and type pyramids. Google Earth flies you to the location.

2. Go on a tour around the world. In the Places panel, check the Sightseeing folder and famous landmarks. Click the Play Tour button.

3. View 3D terrain of a place – this is more fun with hilly or mountainous terrain, such as the Grand Canyon or Mt Everest. When the view shows the location, use the tilt slider to tilt the terrain.

4. Need to explain Earth’s rotation, the sun rising in the East or time zones? A zoomed out view of the Earth could help!

5. An exciting free gallery provides lots of extras for Google Earth e.g. Night Lights of the World. Matt Fox’s overlay illustrates the planet’s night time “light pollution,” with huge differences clearly visible as you fly from one continent to another. Check out, for instance, the difference between North and South Korea. 

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