Tag Archives: contest

A Free Resource : A Must For Media Centers and Science Departments

Welcome to another mid-week post that allows me to share what I claim to be “Great Web Catches”. Explore this review of The Encyclopedia Of Life. It is a resource that should be known by every science teacher and available in every media center. Encourage students to explore what will eventual be a  amazing resource of biodiversity and  of all life on earth. – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

Imagine a database filled with all the Earth’s living organisms! A site that allows students to search by common or scientific name, shows a text  and graphic  illustration of specific classification, provides “creative commons” pictures,  and displays interactive maps of distribution. In fact, complete detailed physical and behavioral descriptions are included, along with habitats, distribution,  trophic strategies, conservation status, usefulnessand associations. EOL known as The Encyclopedia of Life is an unprecedented global partnership between the scientific community and the general public. The goals of the organization is to make  freely available an online reference and database of all 1.9 million species currently known to science and stay current by capturing information on newly discovered and formally described species. The EOL steering committee consists of  senior advisors from Harvard University, Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum of Chicago, the Marine Biological Conservatory at Woods Hole, the Biodiversity Heritage Libary Consortium, Missouri Botanical Gardens, MacArthur and Sloan Foundations, and over 25 content providers worldwide. There is an excellent web page tutorial providing assistance on how to use the interface and the species pages. The site has even been featured  in this TED Video by site  founder E. O. Wilson of Harvard University. EOL is well on its way of reaching the 1.9 million species listing.

EOL has  also recently launched an exciting education site for teachers and students to explore biodiversity. Some activites include having middle and high school students upload pictures of their area floral fauna and upload images and video to the EOL Flickr Photo Pool. EOL  runs regular image contests, so you can use the contest as extra motivation for your class. Perhaps you may wish to introduce elementary and middle school students to the  Podcast of Life: lively, you-are-there audio segments showcasing science in action. Beginning December 17, 2009, you can download the podcasts.  New podcasts will appear every other week. Learn how middle and high school students can enter the Living on the Ocean Planet Video Contest sponsored by the US-based National Ocean Sciences Bowl. EOL content and images can be used for these and other class projects and winning videos will be posted on EOL. Explore the new EOL NameLink widget to automatically hyperlink species names in any web page to EOL. NameLink will also convert scientific names to common names. To install the widget, drag this link (NameLink this page) to the bookmark bar in your browser (or right-click and add it to your favorites). Elementary and middle school students may wish to Dive into Marine Biology with WhyReef. Developed by EOL cornerstone institution,  The Field Museum in Chicago, in conjunction with the social networking site WhyVille. WhyReef is a virtual coral reef stocked with species that are linked to content on EOL. Have students find out about classification and taxonomy by exploring species’ “family trees” using the classification browser located in the upper right  hand side of every EOL species page. Click here for a lesson plan developed by a teacher using this feature. Have students Explore primary biodiversity literature and illustrations from the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) that are linked to the species pages.  EOL is an awesome project with even bigger possibilities for today’s twenty-first century learners, and it’s free! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

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It’s Free, Engaging, Creative, and Project Based : Make or Take A Virtual Fieldtrip or Book Review and “Meet Me At The Corner”

Wow, what a response I recieved on both the Blog and Wiki on the Intel free resources for assessing 21st Century skills. If you liked that, I promise you will enjoy some upcoming postings on simular materials. This new posting has been designed to get the right side of your brain flowing by introducing you to a creative site designed to engage students. It also addresses standards, promotes Project Based Learning, and enhances 21st Century Skills. I reccomend you take a look at the my review, and the site. I am certain it will bring you to an amazing corner that has been produced especially for students. As always feel free to respond, email ,and visit my 21centyredtech Wiki. In fact, take a moment and join! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

Every once and a while I am introduced to a truely unique and innovative site that has great implications for 21st century learning. The most recent site that fits this bill is one called Meet Me At The Corner. The site is dynamic and interactive, encouraging  individual expression and participation through video submissions from children worldwide. Donna Guthrie, the website producer, is committed to creating a community of children, who learn the art of self-expression and storytelling through video. Guthrie is not new to education. She is the author of more than twenty award-winning books for children. Donna has also taught kindergarten through fifth grade in both public and private schools in Pennsylvania and Colorado and is a visiting professor at Colorado College where she teaches children’s writing.

The website focus is geared toward  students and standards  in elementary and middle school. At present time, Meet Me At The Corner has a collection of close to one hundred  short virtual fieldtrip episodes  hosted by students and filmed on location.  The episodes are written and video is filmed by students. The footage is then sent to Meet Me At The Corner, and Donns’s crew edits and posts a final production that is truely professional and engaging for students. In keeping with educational standards, each episode has a related material that has questions to answer from the video, creative activities,  weblinks that focus on the topic, and possible books for reading. Topics are fund and of high interest. One interesting example includes  juggling from an expert in Brooklyn, be sure to scroll down below the video to see resources to integrate. How about this interview with an astronomer in San Diego? The episode and related resources could most certainly take care of some science standards. Write and submit a fieldtrip, and some of the language arts standards are covered. If students collaborate as a group on a project, then those all important 21st Century Skills can also be addressed. Take a moment and have students explore and uncover their community resources. Perhaps your students will find an author such as Robert Sabuda, a famous pop-up book engineer and artist, and create an episode like this  for an authentic audience to watch. Even more resources and information is found at the Learning Corner.

Don’ pass by the Contest Area of the website. Here you will find contests related to current events such as Arbor Day, the holidays, and an on-going writing and poetry contest. This inspiring episode  entitled Paws For Poetry sponsored by the New York Humane Society and Meet Me At The Corner should spark some great ideas. It may even get your school community thinking about possible partners. When visiting the Episode Page you can serach for videos by topic. My favorite topic is the  Big Apple Book Review. This area contains a small collection of books of elementary and middle school books reviewed by students and then produced by Meet Me At The Corner staff. While the collection is small, it provides a great opportunity for students to submit a favorite book and build the collection. Students get a chance to learn the difference between a report and a review. They can work in groups enhancing Project Based Learning as they aquire a wide range of 21st century skills. You will note that only first names are used in the productions. Take a look at this Video Episode that shows how to submit a video podcast for final editing and posting by Meet Me At The Corner staff.

In conclusion, be sure to read the User Agreement on the website  and also check you school district policy on submitting student work. It is important to be aware and abide by policies and procedures both at the site and in your school district. The site has a designated area to sign up and read more about submitting student work. Meet Me At The Corner really does  provide students with some amazing, engaging, and relevant resources. It also invites teachers and  students to become contributing members.  I know the teachers I have already presented the site to have walked away with enthusiasm and excitement. Perhaps you will, Meet Us At The Corner!

Have a wonderful week and continue to visit my partner 21centuryedtech Wiki! I am constantly adding resources that I feel are the best for 21st Century educators as they transform instruction in their classroom! While you are at the sight, take a moment to join and become part of a new community of educators! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

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