Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Learn about Habitats with Zoo Tycoon

The other day, I asked my daughter what she was doing at school and she said she was learning about different habitats.  She asked me questions about different animals and where they live.  During the holidays we had played  Zoo Tycoon 2 together, so I used aspects of the game to explain different environments in which animals live.  It then occurred to me how great this game would be for learning about habitats.

Zoo Tycoon is a PC game and has many different versions such as African Adventure, Extinct Animals, Marine Mania and Endangered Species.  Within the game you can select animals and then create the correct environment for them including food and shelter. The game allows a bird’s eye view and a ground view. You can also take photos to put into an album.  The graphics are very realistic.

It is a Tycoon game so other aspects of the zoo are important such as facilities, maintenance and profit.  This game can be used as stimulus for many different activities such as art, science, sose, it also includes elements to develop literacy and numeracy skills, and most of all it is fun to play!

Choose a location on the globe to build your Zoo.

Select the type of environment and the relevant animals appear.

Biome Modification

Alter the environment to suit the animal using the Biome brush.  It will create the correct environmet for the animals.  You can then select the correct food and shelter.

Get close up views of animals and take photos.

Information is given on each animal.


Read about different animals.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More Poisson Rouge

After further exploring, I have realised Poisson Rouge offers great potential for learning vocabulary and different languages.

If you scroll over the castles in the bottom right hand corner, you will notice one with a Greek Flag, one with an English flag, one with a French Flag and one with a Chinese Flag.  These flags represent the language used in each game.  When you click on one of the castles another castle appears. 

You can then scroll over areas of the castle to learn categories of words such as:

You can also click on the seasons on the black board and click on the insects flying around.

This is the same for each castle only in the different languages.

This is a great activity for students to explore.  You could even set a type of scavenger hunt and see if the students can find the items in the game.

Create fun effects with Photos

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Poisson Rouge

This is an engaging interactive site with a lot of potential. It includes music, art, colours, matching games, astronomy, letters, numbers and time to just name a few. You can click on each image to take you to a game.

When you click on the keyboard it takes you to a music game.  When you click on a key on the keyboard the note is written on the staff above. 

When you click on the clock, you go to this game where you can move the hands on the clock and the corresponding digital time is displayed.

Being an art teacher I love this one, when you click on the stain glass window with the fish on it, you go to a virtual art gallery.  You can then look at four different artworks created by Pollock, Warhol, Mondrian and Escher.  When you click on each one you can interact or create a work.

Create a Jackson Pollock inspired work or

alter the colours on Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe prints

When you click on the little people you can create your own choir and harmony.

Click on the telescope and discover constellations.

Click on the picture and explore optical illusions.

The paint and brush will take you to a colouring activity.

You can even mix colours and clean your brush in the water.

There are many more activities available on this site.  I spent hours on it, imagine how engaged children world be.

Worth 1000

This has to be one of my favourite sites and gives me great inspiration. Worth1000 is a creative contest community. My particular favourite is the photo effects category. A task is given and people submit their response.

I love to use these as tasks in the classroom when creating digital effects. They are also great to put up around the room to inspire creativity.

Why not create the 1000 words (well it doesn't have to be that many), ask students to create a story or discription of the image.

You can view the current contests or search the gallery for past contests. You will be amazed!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Turn yourself into a cartoon!

Here are just a few avatar creators I like to use.  I created this glog for my students who were making a personal profile on themselves and one of the tasks was to create an avatar. For more avatar creators go to http://www.slideshare.net/shend5/creating-characters

Monday, February 08, 2010

Online Drawing Tools

I have often used Glogster in class and love to use it as a form of a Digital Portfolio for students to reflect on their work.  After seeing the blog, Bits and Pieces Place, I saw how great it is as a source of links.  I wanted to create a list of links for online drawing tools, so I thought this could be a fun way to do it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Crayon Physics Deluxe

I like to focus on digital tools and games which are free, however, this one I couldn't resist.

“Crayon Physics Deluxe is a 2D physics puzzle / sandbox game, in which you get to experience what it would be like if your drawings would be magically transformed into real physical objects. Solve puzzles with your artistic vision and creative use of physics.” http://www.crayonphysics.com/

The aim of the game is to create a path for the ball to move and roll over the star. There is a range of levels to work through.

This is a great game for problem solving, decision making and creativity. As the title suggests it can be used to understand different rules of physics such as the effects of gravity, size and weight. It is great for all ages.

This link shows videos of the game in use.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Reflection on Digital Pedagogy

After winning a 2009 Smartclassroom Teacher's Award, I was asked to share what I do in my teaching via a web conference.  This activity made me reflect on how I structure tasks in my classrooms and how I choose them.  I decided to create this slide.  I am in the process of altering and updating this slide as it is constantly changing as I learn and develop as a teacher.