A few people have asked me recently how I’m finding my new job here as Education Content Manager. My response has always been “I had no idea how much stuff there was on the site, now I manage the site I can see EVERYTHING – it’s amazing!”. Finding out how many videos, animations, worksheets, podcasts and quizzes we have has been a real eye-opener. I hope that in the coming weeks and months you take a few minutes to have a look at everything Skwirk has on offer.
Access to English secondary content
Previously on Skwirk we’ve kept the English content for Years 7-10 in two separate groups based on age level. However, with more and more teachers and parents wanting the flexibility to compare texts or extend their more able students, the new Skwirk site will make all of our English text resources available to all year levels. We’ll also be linking our three Shakespeare text studies to our great overview of Shakespeare’s world which examines everything from the fashions and law of the time to the language and themes that helped make the Bard’s work so timeless.
New rewards in the Skwirk Store
Skwirk is delighted to announce a new partnership with Professor Plum’s. Based in Sydney’s Lower North Shore, this AMAZING store has a huge range of toys, games and gadgets that are ideal for the young scientist (or anyone who enjoys explosions!). They also run great workshops for primary-aged children during the school holiday periods, covering everything from electricity to medieval warfare. We are celebrating this great new relationship with two new rewards in the Skwirk Store:
Primary students reward – Heebie Jeebie’s Construct-a-Clock
This great activity can be put together in as little as ten minutes, with the finished product being a working clock complete with swinging pendulum! The clock is spring-driven so it requires no batteries. A great project and the perfect way to teach children basic mechanics.
Secondary students reward – Liquifly water-powered rocket
ROCKETS! We need someone to claim these quickly before our office manager Alice starts firing them off inside Skwirk HQ. This is a complete DIY rocket kit that only requires water and air to send it flying – it can reach heights of over 30 metres! If there’s a more fun way to combine a day in the park with some basic lessons about water pressure, I can’t think of it.
Website of the week - National Geographic’s new “Found” tumblr
Everyone in Skwirk HQ is a sucker for some great National Geographic photography. As part of their 125th anniversary celebrations, the Nat Geo team have launched their “Found” photo page via the microblogging site Tumblr. This site showcases some of the fascinating images from the National Geographic image archives, most of which have never been published. Needless to say, any teacher looking for stimulus material for English or primary sources for History should check this out. Just be warned, they’ve put the “purchase prints” button in easy reach.
App of the week – ‘Explain Everything’ for iPad
Sometimes a tablet app comes out that blows my mind, something that glues together several different basic functions to make something genuinely different. Explain Everything is a screencasting tool that allows you to import just about any kind of file from a host of local and cloud-based sources, and then tie them together into a presentation that you can record for later playback, complete with audio. You can also pre-plan a presentation and edit it together as a short movie. The app is currently $2.99 in the App Store. I’d suggest an iPad 3 or later to take full advantage of everything it can do - there’s obviously some heavy-duty processing going on.