teacher resources

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

From Movies to Shakespeare

No need to spend hours making PPPT’s or searching for info on film techniques or background to Elizabethan Theatre…How you ask? SKWIRK! It’s done.

As a very busy English teacher I can speak first hand at how Skwirk has saved me hours of time a week. I know longer have to spend time going through my own collection of resources that are from 100’s of different places or creating resources for each topic. Skwirk has it at the touch of a button. I have access to notes on Shakespeare in general, then specific texts like Romeo and Juliet. It doesn’t stop there, I have access to notes, tests and summaries on topics like poetry, film, alliteration, reading and essay skills. There is not only great notes for students to use but animations, tests and interactive activities available as well.

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Skwirk breaks down English between Skills and Texts. If you are teaching a skill set, like film, where the students need to make notes on something like camera angles. On Skwirk, you click on the link (yes it’s that simple) and at your fingertips you will find content on different techniques with an image to show students exactly what they are looking at, along with animations for elements like camera movement. All the resources are linked to the national curriculum so you know exactly which content descriptors and achievements standards you are covering.

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Who has time to create notes for half of what we cover? That’s where I found Skwirk beyond helpful! There are notes, which are easy to print or display for students to make their own notes (which you can also personalise to expand or simplify for each class). It allowed me more time for marking and the students loved it! If they missed a class or notes they could login and access without any hassles in their own time. No more digging for notes that a single students missed 2 weeks ago while still trying to prep for the lesson that has already started! I honestly LOVE Skwirk. I cannot wait for new resources they continually add.

Teachers can get 25% off an individual teacher subscription during March with the discount code ‘teaching’. Click here to get going.

Natasha, Secondary English Teacher

This month, we discuss the value of using graphic organisers or mind-maps to enhance and improve learning. its use for learning and teaching is limitless. Mind-mapping has the following important uses:

Consolidate learning: At the end of a chapter or topic of learning, recall all the information you have gathered and present it in a mind-map. You will surprised how the process of mind-mapping will help you remember your learning better.

Brainstorm: Stuck for ideas? Got a big project but not sure where to start? Well, mind-mapping allows you to develop ideas quickly and in a logical way. It allows you to change, link, delink ideas as you gather your thoughts and analyse the task on hand.

Keep adding: With a mind-map there is no limit to how much information you can add. The more you read and come across, the more you can add to your mind-map as relevant. Encouraging growth of knowledge, its something you can can keep returning to!

Note-taking: Can’t keep up with your teacher? Mind-mapping offer a quick and easy short hand for developing ideas as your teacher discusses them.

Exam frenzy: Exam jitters outside the exam hall, pull out a piece of paper and create a mind-map of ideas, topics, issues you need to know for the exam. It’s a handy tool for revision and enables visual ease of remembering content!

Don’t forget, find out more about Skwirk, click here.

As a teacher, I know too well just how expensive it can be to purchase quality, relevant resources for my students. If you are fortunate enough to be allocated an allowance by your school for purchasing teaching resources, this budget is usually minimal at best and is often a rare luxury. For most teachers, quality teaching and learning resources are an expensive but necessary part of their occupation, more often than not requiring them to dig into their own pockets to pay for them. For this reason, teachers have many important criteria that they adhere to when selecting quality resources to supplement their teaching practices. This will include but is not limited to: resources that are Australian and curriculum oriented, comprehensive and value for money, easy to read and follow, fast and simple to access, engaging and appealing to students, differentiated and suitable for a range of learning styles and abilities. This is where Skwirk, the online interactive learning platform, is a teacher’s best friend and a highly valuable all-in-one learning tool. So how does Skwirk save teachers and schools money? Here are just a few ways:image2

  • Skwirk’s resources are national curriculum aligned and created by experienced educators

Skwirk currently encompasses over 18000 educational resources across subjects such as Mathematics, English, Science, Geography, History and Commerce. These resources include over 2000 animated ebooks, 1000 educational videos, 1000 interactive activities and thousands of podcasts, images, pop quizzes, exams and printable worksheets. Furthermore, these teaching and learning resources are created by experienced teachers and link to the new Australian curriculum codes. With this comprehensive collection of quality, diversified resources all located in one secure location, it is very cost-effective and saves teachers and schools money by decreasing the need for multiple resources.

  • Skwirk’s resources are accessible across different technologies

10502536_620336494730231_7737354430165643814_nThe Skwirk teaching and learning resources can be accessed anytime from home or in the classroom. They can also be utilized across different technologies, including tablets, laptops, projectors and interactive whiteboards. Being able to incorporate Skwirk’s resources into a variety of lessons at any time is not only really convenient but reduces the cost associated with providing individual print material to each student to support the learning program.

  • Skwirk’s resources can be customized according to student or classroom needs

Teachers have a responsibility to ensure that all students are catered for in their classroom. This involves implementing differentiated content and teaching methods to suit the various learning styles and abilities. Skwirk’s resources are suitable for students from foundation/ kindergarten to year 10 and enable the teacher to select content, games, assessments and other resources from either their class’s own year group or differing year groups to accommodate the diverse learning abilities in a classroom. Teachers can also assign individual students specific work without the student/s realizing that the work is from another year group. In addition, the range of relevant and interactive resources available on Skwirk caters for differing learning styles including the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learner. This means that teachers and schools do not need to purchase additional resources to meet the varying student needs. Skwirk provides a positive, differentiated learning experience for every student.

  • Skwirk listens to feedback to provide quality and comprehensive resources

Not only does Skwirk continually encourage feedback from teachers, parents and students, they use this input to ensure their resources are relevant, up-to-date and in line with educational standards. This means that teachers and schools do not need to continually up date and replace their teaching resources which is often a costly and time-consuming exercise.

Once you spend money on resources covering different subjects and different materials, it can end up costing hundreds of dollars per student. Skwirk offers all subjects and resources at $6 per student! That’s $6 for a student to access Curriclum relevant Maths, English, Science, History and Geography material, all in one place! I can’t think of many better deals then that. For these reasons alone it is evident why Skwirk is one of the leading educational websites and provides great value for money. Grab a free teacher and school trial by clicking here.

Written by Rachael Ingram, primary school teacher K-6

Alternatively email us asking for a quote, teachers@redapple.com.au

 

Sacred Heart College is a rural Catholic Secondary College located on the border of Victoria and New South Wales with a total student population of 260 students. In 2010, our College went one to one with Mac laptops and also began integrated curriculum throughout years seven to ten.

After an initial trial of Skwirk, we introduced the website to our students as an additional research method that provided accurate and reliable information on VELS relevant topics.

In year seven, the students are currently studying Ancient Egypt as an integrated unit. With the use of Skwirk, students are able to access information, maps, quizzes, timelines short videos and even podcasts to assist with their research and assessment tasks.

Skwirk enables students of all abilities to achieve success in their studies. Students who have lower literacy levels are able to listen to the podcasts that summarise the topics through iTunes on their Macs, making Skwirk an invaluable classroom tool.

CYNDI GLEESON is Year 7 Coordinator at Sacred Heart College in Yarrawonga, Victoria.

Grab a free teacher trial to Skwirk, click here.

Early literacy learning in the modern classroom has been redefined with emerging digital technologies and the ease at which information can be accessed. The increasing use of technology in our everyday lives impacts greatly on literacy instruction and the role of the teacher.

Skwirk, the online learning portal which provides educational resources for foundation (kindergarten) to year 10, supports children in developing fundamental early literacy skills in the current digital age. Early literacy skills do not only entail the development of traditional fundamental knowledge and skills of the past print media world, including reading, comprehension, writing, phonemic awareness and spelling. In today’s society, it is critical that children from an early age are taught computer and technology basics to become confident, informed and safe users of technology. Skwirk not only provides opportunity for the development and consolidation of literacy skills with curriculum aligned resources but at the same time, young children are learning important online skills including how to navigate through a site, use a keyboard, mouse and touch screen technology. Skwirk promotes the interrelatedness of literacy learning and is therefore a valuable learning tool for early learners.

There are a number of ways that Skwirk supports the development of early literacy skills.

  1. Skwirk provides a multi-sensory learning experience

The resources in Skwirk for stage 1 (K-2) provide a highly interactive learning experience for young children. There are over 300 dynamic and engaging animations and games in Stage 1 that teach key concepts such as spelling techniques including sounding words out, breaking words down into smaller parts or blending sounds. In the Skwirk English section for stage 1, there are 9 units of essential early literacy concepts covering more 55 topics. In each topic, the animations and games encourage active participation with the use of questioning techniques, simple instructions, rich, meaningful language, engaging graphics, and interactive games, requiring student participation. In addition to the animations and games, there are also ‘read alongs’ which provide the written text or script for each animation. Students, particularly younger ones, enjoy the variety of multi-sensory games Skwirk offers. Skwirk’s resources encourage enjoyment for learning and when a child is engaged, it is well-documented that they are more likely to retain information and grasp a clear understanding.

 

  1. Skwirk supports a range of learning styles

Skwirk caters for a wide range of learning styles by encompassing a variety of methods to suit different learners. Younger students are more visual learners requiring colourful, eye-catching images and entertaining sound. Skwirk recognises this and uses bright, quirky characters and funny sound effects to engage their young audience. These multi-sensory educational games/ activities stimulate learning by engaging students on many levels, helping them to learn by using more than one sense. Unlike traditional teacher instruction which typically only engages two senses: sight (visual) and hearing (auditory), Skwirk accommodates the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (touch) learning styles. With the kinaesthetic learner, they prefer to ‘move and do’ in order to learn. They perform best in a learning environment where they can interact. Skwirk’s incorporation of interactive technology such as flash animations, interactive buttons, and drag and drop technology appeals to the kinaesthetic learner. For example, stage 1 students can develop their literacy skills by using the mouse or their finger to hover over a word to hear it read, click on a noun or verb, drag sentences to place them in order, clicking on the initial or end sounds in a word. Early learning of essential literacy skills is more effective when all three learning styles are engaged.

 

  1. Skwirk encourages a self-directed and self-paced

Skwirk allows children to complete games and move through the resources at their own pace and according to their individual needs. Within a classroom, there is a vast range of abilities and needs in literacy learning , particularly in the early school years when children enter formal education with such substantial variation of prior knowledge and skills in reading, phonemic awareness and writing. With Skwirk resources, the learning is individualised. Students are able to select literacy concepts or topics they would like further practice in and attempt these until they have master them. By allowing students to select games and work at their own pace, Skwirk encourages children to have ownership and can take responsibility for their learning.

With the multi-sensory learning experience, the range of learning styles and individual needs Skwirk caters for and the curriculum aligned interactive resources, Skwirk is a powerful online learning tool that can foster the development of early literacy skills and provide a positive learning experience for young children.

Teachers you can get 20% off Individual Teacher access until the end of March with the discount code ‘literacy’. Click Here to get started!  

Teachers/schools/parents, get a free trial to Skwirk by clicking here. 

Written by Rachael Ingram, primary school teacher K-6

As a teacher, I have taught in various high schools for 17 years. I, like my colleagues am constantly evolving my teaching pedagogy, looking for engaging, interesting and fun ways to challenge my students. One approach is getting onto the technology for learning wave! Every teacher knows that technology can be a powerful tool in assisting the content that we are teaching to our students. There are many websites that teachers can direct their students to use to research the content but the list becomes endless!

Every teacher knows that technology can be powerful tool in assisting the content that we are teaching to our students

One such site was Skwirk Interactive Schooling, which was a useful tool for both teaching and learning. The benefit of using Skwirk is that the content is specific to the Australian state-specific syllabus and is written clearly and concisely for students to understand. I came across Skwirk when my school subscribed 2 years ago and was impressed by its clear layout of the units of work the students need to learn. Consequently, I started to incorporate Skwirk into my teaching last year and I would like to take this opportunity to make suggestions on how the learning objects can be used in classroom teaching and learning.

1. Each chapter usually has animations or videos which are designed to help students understand concepts being taught.

These animations can be used to cater to individual learning styles. This may include students who learn better with visual presentation rather than reading the content. Teachers can put together some questions based on the animation that students can answer. The animations are a great way to introduce the concept to the class. A short animation will always gain student attention and after the animation has finished playing the teacher can follow up with a class discussion or learning activities.

2. Students can apply their learning to the content in the chapter with different activities.

For example; a comprehension or worksheet can be designed. The current offerings of worksheets and many more in the pipeline are important learning resources for students to both gauge and apply their learning. Students can also work individually or in groups develop a multimedia presentation such as a PowerPoint, webpage, podcast or a short video. The student laptops issued in public schools enables students in Year 9 or above to make use of voice recording and webcam as well as video editing software. This is a powerful means to enable students to construct and develop knowledge to aid and enhance their learning.

3. Each Skwirk chapter also has a quiz, which consists of 5 or 10 multiple choice questions.

Students can complete the quiz after they have read the chapter. They can complete the quiz as many times as they like until they score 100%. The advantage of the quizzes is that students can go through the course at their own pace while giving the teacher time to assist students one-on-one. At the end of the unit of work, there is a final exam, which can be used as a form of assessment.

I hope this brief article gives teachers some ideas on how Skwirk can be implemented in the classroom as a teaching and learning resource.

‘DANIEL KING is a classroom teacher with extensive experience teaching Commerce.’