As pointed out by one of my colleagues in her blog, our introduction to Scootle is tinged, in her words, with both excitement and astonishment. I can’t believe that in two years of university study I had never even heard the word Scootle mentioned.
What a wonderful site it is, especially for new teachers, those established teachers struggling to incorporate ICTs into their teaching or looking for ways to implement the Australian Curriculum.
In a nutshell, Scootle is a website which contains a hoard of resources for teachers. It’s so much more than that though. Resources are categorised into eight resource types;
- Learning objects
- Teacher resource
- Assessment resource
Even better than that, all resources are linked to the Australian Curriculum by subject, content descriptor and year level, so that, not only can you do a standard search but you can also select a content descriptor and year level to find resources which directly relate to what is to be taught.
Having flicked through a few activities (Learning objects), I did find a few of them to be of questionable usefulness or have flaws such as long introductions which can’t be skipped, the overall usefulness of Scootle in incorporating a range ICTs into teaching can’t be overlooked.
Now we’ll go on a brief field trip of the Scootle site.
My Professional Experience site has linked me with a Year 1 class, so I’ve taken this as my inspirations for this search. I would imagine that I will be required to teach at least one mathematics lesson during my fifteen day practicum.
So, I chose the Mathematics tab and scrolled down to Year 1 Content Descriptions, then clicked on “Represent and solve simple addition and subtraction problems using a range of strategies including counting on, partitioning and rearranging parts (ACMNA015), then viewed elaborations and matching resources.
A list of resources resulted. I was able to quickly choose the type of resource I was after by looking at the blue icon next to the image of each result. The blue box denotes Learning Objects. Not only could I read the description of the item, but I could also view the items popularity with other educators and a star rating, which I think is particularly useful for new educators. Having viewed and trialled the resources which I thought were interesting, I decided to review Counting Beetles.
This program asks students to use a range of strategies to count, add and subtract familiar objects (beetles) and lends itself well as a group activity with teacher instruction and scaffolding. The graphics are of great quality and well animated with the beetles actually crawling across the page. The addition of hiding beetles leads children to use memory and higher order thinking, perhaps tally marking or other written system to keep track of the beetles they are adding and subtracting. There are three levels of activity, increasing in difficulty which means that the program can be used to introduce, practice and extend the subject.
Overall, this ICT takes the place of traditional concrete object addition and subtraction teaching strategies with little change to content or process and as such is categorised within the Support Mode of the Computer Practice Framework.
I wonder what exciting discoveries my EDC3100 colleagues have made on Scootle.