Wonderville.ca (Website, Grades 3-9) REVIEWS CONTINUED
[MindFuel (403) 220-0077]
Wonderville.ca is an exciting, age-appropriate science website designed to keep kids fully engaged! Interactive animations and high quality videos abound with scientific information, encouraging exploration, discovery and curiosity, and demonstrating how much fun science can be.
This free, secure website is made available by MindFuel (formerly Science Alberta Foundation), a registered charitable organization. The user may sign up with an email address or just dive right in, and language options are English or French. As the publishers state, "Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are key to prosperity in our global society, and are where the largest growth in future jobs will occur. With a projected shortfall of skilled science and technology workers in the future, engaging youth in these fields is vital."
A sidebar lists all topics available, including Atoms, Careers, Cells and Systems, Diversity of Life, Earth, Ecosystems, Energy, Human Body, Laws of Physics, Matter, Plants, and more. A dropdown menu allows the user to choose grade-level activities (3-9). The top navigation bar links to Living Things (bacteria, cells, DNA, biodiversity...); How Things Work (nanotechnology, Aztec atlatl, aerial fire-fighting, airborne experiment, amazing liquid light…); Our World (natural and ecological succession, building with waste, careers in pipelines, changing the world...); and Wonderville Blog.
Subheadings help to delineate the main ideas and facilitate learning: About the Science, What's it all about? What does it mean? Who uses it? Want to learn more? The website offers over 220 innovative games, videos and activities, and we should mention that these are not just 'shoot 'em up' games! In the Heat and Temperature game, 3 activities involve knowledge of conduction, radiation and convection. Game areas to explore are Tutorial, Background, and Experimentation (where points are deducted for each wrong answer); and a Glossary is just a click away.
Wonderville.ca is winner of this year's BESSIE Award in the categories Middle School Science Website and Multi-Level Science Website.
Edgenuity MyPath (Website)
(Edgenuity, (480) 423-0118)
Every teacher knows what a challenge differentiating instruction can be - to accommodate, in the same classroom, a student who needs remediation, one who needs enrichment, and everyone else somewhere in-between. Edgenuity MyPath (2015 BESSIES winner for Multi-Level Multi-Subject Remediation Courseware) answers that challenge for math and reading.
Edgenuity MyPath addresses both remediation and enrichment with, first, a placement test which determines whether a student is Foundational, Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced. Delivered by a 'live' video teacher, the lessons are solidly constructed, highly inclusive (one lesson contained excerpts from the Iroquois Constitution, memoirs of a Chinese immigrant, and Thomas Paine), and, for the most part, compelling and interesting, with many opportunities for practice and mastery. If a student's first language is other than English, at least a dozen languages are available.
Useful in many educational settings (a comprehensive classroom, home-schooling, independent learning, incarcerated youth, etc.), Edgenuity MyPath has a comprehensive management system, a 'virtual classroom' where teachers can manage individual students as well as entire classes. Students have access to email, a chat manager, an announcement screen, and can view their scores and progress.
The product's technical production and instructional quality are so high, it seems almost petty to point out minor imperfections. However, the navigation buttons within a lesson can take some getting used to; and a few virtual instructors rely too heavily on notes, and even then, stumble, giving the impression that they are unfamiliar with the material. But those flaws are an easy fix.
Edgenuity MyPath should be made available to every teacher, in every school and educational setting, where each and every student's educational needs are imperative.