Skwirk Online Education

Studying online can be especially daunting for both students and their parents, especially as every student has their own unique way of learning. That’s why here at Skwirk we try to make online learning as fun and as flexible as possible, so your student has access to every section of each chapter straight away and doesn’t need to unlock particular items to access the content that best helps them learn. And this week, we’ve made it even easier to access every video, game, assessment, animation, quiz and eBook through a brand new layout to suit each and every student’s learning style.

dashboard

The Skwirk Student Dashboard View

Every Skwirk chapter is divided up into easy-to-navigate sections for each content type: Read It, Watch It, Play It & Prove It. Do you have a student who is a visual or aural learner? Spending more time in the Watch It section will definitely help here. What about a logical learner or a student who loves learning through games? The Play It section will be where you want to look. By using each of the approaches to learning across all our chapters, your student is more likely to retain the information and have fun doing so.

sections

1. Read It

Here is where your child or student can access the text content written specifically for their year level by Australian teachers to introduce them to the subject material for that chapter. They will be also able to see pictures along the side which are referenced in the text to visualise the concepts. Have them read this material carefully as it will help form a base to answer questions in the corresponding games and quizzes later in the chapter!

naturalresources-new

An example of the Read It section in the new Skwirk (Year 3 Science: Natural Resources)

 2. Watch It

This section is especially helpful for our visual learners – we’ve packed all the images, videos and animations we can find on the topic into one section so you child or student can use more senses in their learning journey. Our animations and videos are especially helpful in providing a quick overview of the chapter and have native Australian speakers and language directed specifically for the year level the content is addressing.

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-2-11-08-pm

An example of the new Watch It section (Year 5 English: Language Variation and Change)

3. Play It

Games time! Our games are all designed for children to work through concepts in a fun and engaging way, and in many cases make them forget they are learning at all.

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-1-34-21-pm

The new Skwirk Play It section (Year 4 Maths: Times Tables 2-12)

4. Prove It

The Prove It section is where children can directly test their knowledge learnt throughout the other Skwirk sections. It’s also a great tool to affirm what your child has learnt in class earlier that day or as a recap on a particular topic. Here you will find cloze passages, spelling tests, quizzes and assessments. Our Prove It section is designed in a way that students will achieve 100% of their progress points when they get at least 50% of the answers correct, and they can go back and complete the Prove It as many times as they like to improve upon their scores.

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-2-29-10-pm

The new Skwirk Prove It section (Year 6 HASS: Global connections)

So, how can your student or child benefit from the new Skwirk?

Apart from being easier to navigate and being able to see their results immediately, the key benefit in using Skwirk is the ability for your child to work through the content in the way that best suits their learning style. Research shows that a child is far more likely to retain information when presented in forms that engage different senses, and so by Reading it, Watching it, Playing it and Proving it you and your child can see exactly what kinds of learning works for them and be able to access this content across the entire Australian curriculum of English, Maths, Science, History and Geography.

Stay tuned for Part 2: What are Skwirk Progress Bars and how do I use them?

You can trial Skwirk for FREE today – click here for a parent trial and here for a teacher trial. Happy Skwirking!

The iPad was introduced in 2010, providing a compact and highly portable, yet accessible, medium through which to reach the internet, as well as a number of other functions. User numbers have grown significantly in recent years, with iPads being employed not only for work and entertainment, but also as an educational tool. This latter application has provoked considerable controversy, with some experts suggesting that screen use is detrimental to academic success, whilst others feel there are significant benefits to e-learning. Take a look at the benefits an iPad can bring to your child’s education, as well as the advantages of ensuring high quality textbooks are readily available as a learning resource.

Fast, portable and convenient

Unfortunately, textbooks can be heavy and cumbersome to transport. Even using a textbook can be time consuming and frustrating, as finding the information you need is frequently a challenge. In comparison, an iPad is light enough for smaller children to carry easily, can be used anywhere and most learners can find the information they need in a few minutes, making it ideal for flexible learning. A single device is all that’s needed to access comprehensive information on a wide range of subjects. Sites such as Skwirk, for example, contain over 16,000 learning resources, covering curriculum material for four to 14 year-olds.

Range of learning mediums

Textbooks contain writing, diagrams and photographs, but little else. This can make learning a dry process and can often deter children from wanting to find out more about a topic. One of the major advantages of e-learning is that in addition to these methods of conveying information, children can also enjoy video clips and animation, adding interest to the learning experience. Different presentations of the same information allow children to find a method which suits them best, enhancing retention and engagement.

Interactive

Textbooks contain plenty of useful facts and figures, but do not present opportunities for interaction. Conversely an iPad can provide numerous tests, quizzes, assessments and puzzles which encourage learners to remain attentive and retain the information they need. For children who have trouble concentrating, an iPad can work wonderfully well as an aid to study.

Appealing

Those of us who remember the pre-digital age will frequently favour textbooks, as they are familiar – a tried and tested method of obtaining high-calibre information when you need it. Whilst this is still the case, it’s important to recognise that premium, interactive content is frequently a more appealing way of learning for young people. The use of iPads doesn’t negate textbook use; rather it offers a route for accessing information which better suits many young people today, complementing more traditional methods.

Textbooks continue to play a major part in many educational experiences, particularly for advanced learners who need to access niche subject matter. For school aged children, an iPad which gives them access to high quality educational material can be of real benefit in enriching their learning experience in a wide range of subjects.

Long gone are the dreary days of ‘chalk and talk’. We now know that the limited teaching strategies of old simply don’t work for all students. To instil a life-long love of learning in students, we need to introduce subject matter in a way that’s vibrant, interesting, inspiring and interactive. What’s more, each student’s particular needs and learning style must be taken into consideration – whether they’re learning the English curriculum or the science curriculum.

Teaching to inspire

That said, it’s one thing to acknowledge that modern students need exciting learning experiences; it’s quite another to make it happen. So how does a teacher make sure that students are not only learning, but also enjoying it?

Well, for a start, it’s crucial to find a point of real-life interest. Say, for example, a student is struggling with learning the maths curriculum. For many people, rows of abstract numbers don’t mean much. But put them into a context – whether that be counting money, for those interested in shopping, or counting waves, for those who love the beach, and the entire picture changes.

That’s why, here at Skwirk, we’ve put time and effort into developing online education resources that appeal to students at their points of interest. We’ve created more than 18,000 teaching tools that make sure students are engaged and that learning is a joy – rather than a gruelling task.

Meeting a range of learning needs

There’s been ample research to prove that there’s more than one way of learning. Some students remember facts, ideas and skills best when they’re presented visually. Others learn best by getting active. We know that simply giving kids textbooks and asking them to read, take notes and memorise, doesn’t work for everyone. So, in addition to making sure students are interested, teachers must give them access to a variety of learning strategies.

Again, this is where Skwirk comes in. Name an education tool – such as iPad resources, interactive whiteboard resources and education videos – and you’ll find it on the Skwirk site. What’s more, all teacher resources are produced with the Australian curriculum in mind. Skwirk covers every aspect of the national curriculum, from the history curriculum to the science curriculum.

Aside from working with curriculum specialists to align our content to the Australian National Curriculum, our Content Team has been busy adding new content to Skwirk to inform, engage and inspire!
Our team has been focusing on ensuring we have content to support events and observations such as the ANZAC Centenary and Reconciliation Week. Our chapters on these topics now showcase 10 videos from the State Library of Queensland and 4 from Reconciliation Australia.

Marvel at our universe with over 20 new videos from leading global astronomy organisations such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project (e.g. Australian SKA Fly-through).
You will find this exciting content in our science chapters on outer space across years 3-10, designed to support the Australian national curriculum
Encourage your young ones to chant and count along with the animation; one of over 20 fun and informative literacy and numeracy videos from ELF Learning across years F-2. Find an example video below:
Lastly but certainly not least are our exciting new games designed for students in years 3&4.
11058659_1085788221436812_3981082079314746432_o
Test your identifying shapes skills with shape Sky Dive, click here. There are many games yet to come; look out for Maths Rally and Asteroid Blaster, all coming soon.
In addition to fantastic new content, over the coming months you will see many exciting changes to Skwirk including new website features that you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get regular updates!
Feedback is always appreciated – let us know what you’d like to see more of on Skwirk! Email us at info@skwirk.com.au.

After 10 years working for high-profile media organisations, including leading digital education providers in both the UK and Australia, I joined the dynamic Skwirk team to take on the exciting role of Education Content Manager last month.

What a month it’s been and what a fantastic team to work with! Never have I ever worked with such an enthusiastic team, willing and ready to embrace innovation with a commitment to providing digital education resources of the highest quality.

In my mind the quality of a digital education resource can be determined by asking 4 simple questions:

  1. Does it engage me within the first 10 seconds?
  2. Is it suited to the target age range?
  3. Is it factually reliable and therefore a trustworthy resource?
  4. Does it effectively fulfil the learning objective it’s designed to support?

If the answer to any of the above is ‘no’ then it won’t stand up to the level of quality our students deserve. Simple.

My experience in the research and acquisition of educational material has enabled me to develop the ability to quickly identify engaging learning content. Establishing and maintaining high editorial standards has been paramount to success in my career to date, and I am committed to upholding these standards in my role at Skwirk.

Over the coming weeks and months you will see some exciting changes and improvements to Skwirk. To begin with I’ll be working with a number of curriculum specialists to align and organise our current content into new units, topics and chapters to reflect the Australian national curriculum. This will result in schools, teachers and students being able to choose whether they prefer to stick with the current state-based curriculum layout or with the national structure. Throughout this process we will identify gaps where new content is needed and I will research quality content to fill these gaps. When researching new avenues for content acquisition I will approach a wide range of suppliers, from high-profile licensors to small boutique providers. I believe this will result in a very ‘well-rounded’ Skwirk!

Katie Lowson, Education Content Manager, Skwirk