[Discovery Education (800) 323-9084, ages 7-11]
Discovery Education's unitedstreaming website is as richly diverse and colorful as the wings of the butterfly pictured on its home page. The hues and patterns of those wings exemplify the multidisciplinary approach to teaching and student learning, while embracing an effective digital video-based learning experience. The multimedia content is correlated to state education standards, and more importantly, allows for different student learning styles - this permits the student to select from either subject matter or media type.
In a traditional classroom teaching environment, the success of this website will be determined by the ability and willingness of the teaching staff to familiarize itself with the expansive nature of the service. Although the Teacher Center and Professional Development portions of the website are helpful, it would be useful to have a site level administrator or technician to facilitate staff training on an on-going basis. However, for a more tech savvy grade level staff or individual teacher, it would be an exciting 'trip' to tour the site and to plan instruction accordingly.
For those schools where individual student interest and choice are emphasized, this website provides a comprehensive, interactive and inquiry-based format for exploration and learning - an ideal website for cooperative student learning projects.
Pokémon Learning League
[Pokémon USA, Inc. (212) 765-6000, ages 7-11]
Pokémon Learning League is an exciting subscription-based website which offers 'interactive, animated lessons for elementary schools.' Children will be drawn to the popular Pokémon characters whose dialog is designed to help them analyze, understand and solve real world problems in areas such as science (scientific method, speed, simple machines, three states of matter, magnetism, rock cycle, elements, food pyramid, plant cells, motion, friction, sound energy), math (types of angles, areas of a triangle, equivalent values, rounding and estimating, equivalent fractions, percents), language arts (story elements, similes and metaphors, run-on sentences, subject verb agreement, prefixes) and life skills (teamwork, I-messages, managing stress, peer pressure, goal setting).
The well-planned video lessons are standards-based, and follow a format where the child first watches a narrative tutorial (Watch), then receives guided practice to reinforce learning (Try), and finally answers questions in an interactive challenge (Apply).
Pokémon Learning League is intended as a supplemental resource to support differentiated instruction in core content areas, and can be used with a wide range of students in a variety of learning environments. Educators, parents and students may use the website on a trial basis for one month. A teacher's guide and classroom materials are available, and the company plans to offer more content and features, as well as an administrative tracking system by the end of the year. (Requires Macromedia Flash Player 8)
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