[Health] I have a dream
beth at waveplace.org
Wed Aug 4 07:42:34 EDT 2010
I was recently describing to a prospective Waveplace volunteer what I
envision for Etoys units/lessons (she basically asked me how Etoys was
different from a website, particularly when teaching health material) and I
thought it would be good for me to send along my description to you all to
see what you think...
Hope all is well!
The way Etoys is different from a regular website is that it's interactive.
Sure, a level of it can definitely be instructive through reading or
watching a video. If you pull the book feature from the supply box, you
allow for the creation of a sort of step-by-step lesson. Once a student has
finished one instructional video or reading/interactive activity/etc, s/he
can then turn the page and more on to more content.
Etoys is not only for showing instructions and images but also for creating
simulations (with which students can interact), record data, and play
learning games that can provide immediate answers when a teacher may not be
able to (as there's often one teacher and a number of students that need
him/her at once). Say, for example, you created a health unit on sanitation,
and within that unit you had a lesson about clean water. Perhaps the first
page of your lesson is talking about the differences between potable and
unpotable water. The next page shows a simulation of the world's freshwater
disappearing (students can start/stop the simulation and click on various
buttons to see other things like, oh I don't know, population density in
those areas of decreasing water, air temperature/climate, you get the idea).
Then on the next page, students are told that they will be able to do their
own testing to see the qualities of water. The different qualities (pH, for
example) can be explained and then the students can be given a step-by-step
guide of how to do at-home water testing (a group of MIT students just
developed a very inexpensive, child-friendly water testing kit that we could
perhaps make available to students doing this lesson). Then on the next
page, students need to record their findings into a table in Etoys. Then
maybe they are instructed to discuss their findings with a neighbor. Maybe
depending on the numbers they insert into the table, a different animation
pops up showing a forest area/beach/marshland that would be equivalent with
the water values measured...
This is lots of brainstorming, of course, but the idea is that Etoys can be
used both on and off the computer- and the best part is it can be taken
"into the field". One student can be typing away on their XO laptop while
the other student is measuring water levels (or whatever else). It becomes a
notebook, an instruction manual, a video, and a game all at once-- more, in
fact, because Etoys can literally interact with the student when many books
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