This week I have had some time to explore a few more sites and tools for science teaching and learning. SpongeLab has just launched a new site with graphics, animations, interactive games and a teacher’s section. You can set up classes and save a playlist of activities for students. You and your students have access to a free digital library of scientifically accurate and stunningly beautiful images, graphics, simulations and animations including exciting interactive games such as “History of Biology”, “Build a Cell” and “Build a Body”. SpongeLab uses credits to unlock premium activities, which are earned by time online (or purchased through PayPal).
Another great new resource is “Scoop.it“, which I came across on Twitter. Joe Evans has curated an “iPads in Education” e-magazine from various sites, and I used the tool to produce two Scoop.it titles “Education for Sustainability” and “VCE Biology“. Although the site is in beta, it seems to work really well – even on the iPad, which is not ideal for all purposes (I have found it of limited use in Google+ and blogging). Once you are registered and choose a title, you can select articles from various sources to add to your e-magazine. I was quite chuffed to discover that Lisa Neilsen, writer of “The Innovative Educator“, had mentioned me in her latest post about this tool.
This tool is a great way to introduce a topic to students, compare perspectives and editorial styles or collect resources for a project. I posted the Scoop.it link to my students on our Facebook page, where they can access videos, slideshows and other content that may be blocked at school.
Have you noticed those mysterious black and white squares popping up around the place? QR (quick response) codes are used like bar codes to store information, but have a much greater capacity. They can store over 7,000 characters, including URL’s, names, adresses, phone numbers or other information that can be quickly and easily transferred to a mobile phone or other device with a camera and the appropriate scanning application. Mr Robbo (the PE Geek) wrote about them way back in 2009 and they have been used in Japan since 1994 (according to Wikipedia). A very inventive use of the codes can be seen above, from Flickr, where the Periodic Table of QR Codes takes the user to a video of each element in the periodic table.