Sunday, 26 May 2013

Skwirk blog – late May 2013

Skwirk blog – late May 2013

Hi there Skwirkers,

As the cold weather sets in the team at Skwirk HQ have been learning all about online videos. Our new site has the ability to link to or embed video content from a range of video sites ranging from YouTube and Vimeo to TeacherTube and the TED website. We are looking forward to implementing this functionality to help teachers and students find more and more resources to increase their teaching and learning.
Meanwhile, your fearless Education Content Manager is heading to Uluru and Kata Tjuta this week for a brief holiday; I look forward to experiencing these unique World Heritage Sites and (hopefully) snapping some Skwirk-worthy pictures to be uploaded to the site!

New and updated content on the Skwirk Site
The Australian Curriculum is the hottest topic of conversation amongst the teachers we speak with at Skwirk HQ. We’ve unleashed more state-specific content for a national audience as schools all over Australia continue to prepare for the ‘big switch’ next year. Some of the new units of work you’ll be seeing on the Skwirk site include:
-        Cultural and Historical Science – Featuring 11 chapters of content, all with our custom-created Skwirk animations,  this unit for students in Years 5 and 6 is a great resource for teachers looking for ideas for the new ‘Science as Human Endeavour’ thread of the national Science curriculum. The unit covers the major fields of Science and the role Science plays in areas ranging from Medicine to Art!
-        The Great Barrier Reef – A great compact unit of work for lower Secondary students, this Geography unit can be used to examine marine biology, the role of tourism in World Heritage Sites, and managing a fragile marine ecosystem. The unit features over three dozen images, animations and videos and a handy unit summary.

New rewards on the Skwirk Store
The evil geniuses at Professor Plum’s have outfitted us with some awesome pocket-sized prizes for you to take anywhere with you. Check them out below:

Sherlock Magnifier
Elementary, my dear Skwirkers! Keep this great magnifying glass on hand to examine insects and solve crimes. We have already used one of these in Skwirk HQ to solve the Mystery of the Missing Tim-Tams (it was Jordan).

IQ Fit and IQ Puzzler game packs
Did your iPod touch run out of battery? Is there a blackout at your house? Are you tired of not being able to throw game pieces at your annoying siblings? Then rejoice! These great portable brain-testers slip into your pocket or backpack and provide hours of challenging puzzles from easy to expert difficulty levels.

Podcast of the week – A History of the World in 100 Objects
Originally broadcast in 2010 on BBC Radio, this podcast tracks human history across time, space and place using artefacts from the vast collection of the British Museum. Hosted by Museum Director Neil MacGregor, each podcast last for around 15 minutes and features experts in fields ranging from biology to fabrics. There is also a lovely companion site with an interactive time-line.

Video of the week – Sir Ken Robinson on escaping education’s ‘Death Valley’           
Education theorist Sir Ken Robinson is one of a number of world-renown speakers who will be presenting at the EduTECH Conference in early June. Speaking here at the TED Talks Education Special in April, Sir Ken makes the case for thinking about education as an organic system that can be grown and adapted, rather than a mechanical system that needs to be fine-tuned.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Skwirk blog – Early May 2013

Hi Skwirkers,

With Term 2 officially underway it’s time for students to break out the winter uniforms, teachers to start thinking about mid-year reports, and EVERYONE to get excited about the new Skwirk site. We are talking non-stop with the development team to make sure the Skwirk 2.0 will combine all the existing features you love with a range of new functions, including a powerful custom-made lesson creator tool for teachers.

New partnership: Digital Farm TV
Skwirk is delighted to announce our latest partnership with Digital Farm TV. DFTV is an online news platform for the Australian agriculture industry, with connections to farmers and regional advocacy groups all over the country. Skwirk will be using DFTV footage and reports to develop video resources and increase student awareness of the historical, geographic and commercial role of  farming in Australia.
DFTV has already provided us with two video great resources, including a video from Canegrowers Australia that details the “paddock to plate” processes for growing Australia’s second largest export crop. You can see it below:

Skwirk @ EduTECH 2013
As we mentioned last month, Skwirk will be in attendance at the upcoming EduTECH conference on the 3rd and 4th of June. We’re now proud to announce that in addition to showcasing the new site to teachers from all over Australia, your humble Education Content Manager will be giving a seminar on cross-curriculum connections in the new Australian Curriculum. This is one of a series of free seminars that will be taking place in the exhibition hall over the course of the conference, so if you are attending the conference or stopping by, feel free to join us!
We’re also terrified delighted to announce that after years of working behind the scenes our mascot, fearless leader and benevolent overlord Professor Skwirk will be joining us for EduTECH. The Professor will be wandering the exhibition hall handing out treats and challenging the conference-goers to the ultimate battle of wits – GIANT CONNECT 4. Be sure to give him a high-five!

Website of the week – The Girl Effect
All over the world girls are being born into circumstances that lessen their chances of being healthy, getting an education or earning a living. The Girl Effect website exists as a collection point for a host of data, videos and inspirational stories about the steps you can take to raise awareness of this massive global issue. The website’s approach to sharing content is incredibly generous, stating repeatedly that ‘this site is yours’ and offering zip files of themed resources.

App of the week – Fotopedia Heritage for iPad and iPhone
The UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites is a comprehensive catalogue of the greatest natural and cultural locations on Earth. Every continent (except Antarctica) is home to dozens of these amazing places, and they are a central part of teaching key concepts for both History and Geography. Fotopedia Heritage allows you to explore World Heritage Sites using images sourced from the global Fotopedia community and linked to explanations from both the UNESCO site and Wikipedia. And if you are feeling inspired to visit them in person, the app also integrates information about local accommodation from TripAdvisor !