Here are a couple of resources that teachers might find of use in their classrooms, both of which are ideal for presenting or using on an Interactive White Board. The first has quickly become a valuable resource to me in teaching Science as part of the SESE curriculum. It comes from the University of Colorado at Bolder and is a series of interactive simulations that seek to improve the way that physics, chemistry, biology, earth science and maths are taught. The simulations animate all those physics phenomena such as magnetic fields that we as teachers try to explain, often with still images. Pupils can interact with the simulations using click and drag, sliders or radio buttons; a number of the simulations also incorporate instruments that can be used to measure various output from the simulation.
The Phet simulations are Java based and can run within a browser window or downloaded to a local PC and run independent of an internet connection.
The second resource deals with online Internet safety. While the Webwise.ie project recently celebrated its Safer Internet Day and has an excellent resource in Think B4U Click for second level students, I think we should never become complacent about Internet safety for students. Last week I came across an excellent resource from Carnegie Mellon University. It is a series of internet safety lessons on a new web site from Carnegie Mellon’s Information Networking Institute, called MySecureCyberspace, which also includes tools such as an encyclopaedia of hundreds of web terms. Among these resources is a game for students called Carnegie Cyber Academy.
It is an interactive game designed for 10 – 12 year olds that teaches Internet safety and computer security in a safe, fun setting. Players join the Cyber Defence training program at the Carnegie Cyber Academy, where training missions teach different Internet topics. The missions cover fundamental skills such as how to spot spam, how to keep personal information private, and how to identify Web site traps, such as dangerous pop-up windows, forms that ask for personal information, and Web pages that show inappropriate content. It is available for Windows or Mac platform and well worth checking out.