Hi there Skwirkers,
18 thousand likes on Facebook! This was the news from our General Manager as we finished work last week. The whole team at Skwirk HQ is delighted that we’ve had such a warm welcome from the education community via social media – don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter and YouTube.
Skwirk 2.0 news – open beta coming soon!
After an amazing level of interest in the new site we have been bringing teachers and schools online for closed beta testing of Skwirk 2.0. The responses continue to be very positive and we’ve had some schools give us wonderfully nuanced feedback – a special shout-out to the Early Years staff at Mount Pleasant Primary School in Ballarat for putting their feedback into a Word document complete with screenshots! You guys rock!
We are currently working with our development and web-hosting team to move from closed to open beta within the next two weeks. This means that new users will be get immediate access to the new site. We will continue to migrate existing schools to the new site on a state-by-state basis over the next few months.
Skwirk included on resources list for CapThat! captioning website
Two evenings a week your fearless Education Content Manager heads off to learn Australian Sign Language (Auslan). So far I can do little more than introduce myself and give basic directions, but a huge part of the class has been learning about the need take make educational resources accessible for students of all ages who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or have English as a Second Language.
CapThat! is a website run by Media Access Australia, who focus on ensuring people with a range of disabilities have access to all kinds of media content. We recently provided Media Access Australia with access to the Skwirk site and were delighted that they swiftly included the site on their list of educational resources.
Skwirk Surveys and winner of July’s prize draw
The online survey is still providing us with outstanding feedback on both the current and new site. Some of the comments we’ve received in the past month include:
“It's one of the best resources I have used so far and has been an excellent tool to use for my Japan cultural study. It's been fantastic!!! Absolutely love it”
“The kids love the animations and videos while I have really benefited from the text, photos and images”
“The students love the animations, videos and photo. It helped them engage further in the unit of work by helping in visualising Australia in history.”
If you are currently trialling the Skwirk site and want an additional two weeks free access, please take the time to complete the survey when you get the appropriate email. All teachers who complete the survey also go into the running for our monthly prize draw. We’ll announce July’s winner in the next blog entry.
Website of the week – World Without Oil
Waaaay back in 2007, an ambitious project unfolded online – simulate the first eight months of a global oil shock to see what kind of response the online community could create. Participants registered their location and were given regular updates as to how the sudden shortage would affect their home city, state or country.
The response was vast – the website (which now serves as an online archive) has 1500 blog entries, videos, voicemails and images – and the impact was long-lasting.
A huge number of participants interviewed 12 months after the project stated that their way of life had been changed as a result of playing this ‘serious game’, ranging from new commuting patterns to starting vege gardens. The site has a HUGE section for teachers with lessons about how oil impacts every part of our lives.
I have so much respect for the team at Edmodo – they have built a really solid social network for use in schools that pairs a clean, familiar interface with a healthy dose of respect for the issues teachers face when communicating online with students. And (for the moment) it’s still free!
The app keeps all the key features of the site and puts them squarely in the hands of your smartphone-happy students. And HUGE props for launching an Android app side-by-side with the iOS version!