Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Skwirk Blog – December 2013 – SKWIRK 2.0 IS NOW LIVE!

Hi there Skwirkers,

After several months of exhaustive beta testing and input from staff at over 800 schools nationwide, we are delighted to announce that the new Skwirk is live and in the wild!

OK fearless Content Manager, what does this actually mean?
The launch of the new site means that all new school, parent and student subscriptions will automatically get access to the new site. All teachers and parents requesting trial access will also be given access to the new site.

I’m a parent or teacher and my children or school are subscribed already, when do I get access?
We will be migrating user information for existing parents, students, teachers and schools throughout September. Once your account has been migrated you will receive an email from us. This process will be done as quickly as possible, please bear with us!

The search by national curriculum code function is excellent; will you be adding the outcome codes for the NSW Syllabus?
Absolutely! We are already analysing the site content and tagging it with NSW outcome codes. We are committed to having K-10 English and Maths entirely searchable by the 30th of November, with Science and History on the way.

Features - what’s new?

Here’s a refresher on the new tools we’ve included in Skwirk 2.0:

Universal Bookmarking – Take your content organisation to the next level. Teachers and students can now bookmark anything from single images to entire units of work and save them to customised folders – find what you want when you need it most!

Earn points and unlock achievements – Students can now use Skwirk points to customise their own Skwirk avatars. You can also unlock hidden achievements, but you will have to explore the Skwirk site in order to access them!

Compete against other schools - Every month we will tally the points earned by Skwirkers at schools across Australia. There will be a new theme each month (year group, full-school) with prizes for the top-scoring Skwirkers!

Teacher tools – what’s new?

Content Calendar – Teachers can now assign Skwirk content to a particular date. Need that chapter for next week? Next month? Set the date and it will be waiting for you on your personalised calendar.  Teachers can also calendar chapter and assessments for classes or individual students

Search by curriculum code – We’ve been hard at work linking our English, Maths, Science and History content to the Australian Curriculum. You can search via these codes to make sure your transition to teaching new material is smooth and simple.

Lesson Editor –A powerful web-based publishing tool built into the site, the Lesson Editor allows you to provide your students with customised learning experiences. Create lessons and assessments utilising content from within the Skwirk site and across the internet.

Content – what’s new?
Throughout 2013 we’ve been taking advantage of the National Curriculum to make content previously limited to single state syllabuses available to users nationwide. Here’s a reminder of the new stuff you may find upon logging in!

Years 5 and 6

Exploring the unknown: ocean voyages – this unit for Years 5 and 6 covers the Age of Exploration, including profiles of Columbus, Magellan and Vespucci and details of their voyages in search of fame fortune and hidden lands. Features lots of maps and sketches from the period.

Media: Representation and Global Identity – this unit for Years 5 and 6 presents a great overview of how people form groups and how those groups in turn create cultures. It includes chapters on stereotyping, the role played by the media in the portrayal of various groups and how Australians have been represented in the past and the present. A great unit of work for media- savvy students who have been looking at Communities in Geography or text types in English Includes over a dozen animations and over 40 colour images.

Indigenous People: Culture and Changethis unit includes 17 animations and videos covering topics that range from the Dreamtime to the 1967 Referendum. This unit will be very helpful for English and History teachers seeking resources for next year’s implementation of the Australian Curriculum!

Years 7 and 8

Reduce, re-use or recycle – this compact unit for Years 7 and 8 Geography students is an excellent addition to studying the ways humans interact with the environment. The chapter introduces an extended ‘waste hierarchy’ to help students think beyond ‘Reduce / Reuse / Recycle’ and considers the huge variety of materials we throw away on a daily basis. Great for linking Geography to the Environmental Sciences or investigating global citizenship.

Origins of the Olympics – looking to combine your Ancient Greece studies with an upcoming sporting event or school Athletics Carnival? This unit for Year 7 and 8 students examines both the ancient and modern Olympics, the Melbourne and Sydney Olympics, and a number of famous Australian athletes who have competed over the years.

Romeo and Juliet (Full text) - Skwirk loves the work of the Bard. We’re delighted to advise you that our new site features the full text of the immortal tragedy Romeo and Juliet, along with scene-by-scene analysis, images and video clips of the star-crossed lovers, and even a podcast of the entire play, performed by a full cast!

Years 9 and 10

Industrial Revolution – with the Australian Curriculum’s redesign of secondary history, this great unit now gets to shine on the national stage. Includes over 70 images ranging from maps of Britain’s global resources to diagrams of the machines that reinvented the production of everything from clothing to metal. This unit also examines the political and social events of the period and the effects on housing, employment and social structure. Podcast summaries at both the unit and topic levels provide teachers with a great tool to introduce or summarise the topic.

The Russian Revolution – a great depth study for teachers or parents looking to extend Year 9 and 10 students studying World War I. With over 60 images from the period including dozens of primary source photographs, this unit covers the rise of the Bolsheviks, the fall of Tsarist Russia and the eventual descent into Stalinism.

Conflict, consensus and care – Combining the Geography focus area of ‘Australia’s Regional and Global Links’ with a depth study of Australia’s historical relationship with Japan from Federation to the present day, this unit of work for Years 9 and 10 provides an excellent overview of the factors that have defined our dealings with Japan. Features content and images ranging from the days of the White Australia Policy to current debates about whaling.