The new media in this information age has revolutionised the way information is available and accessed. Increasingly, CD ROMs and the World Wide Web are becoming an important and indispensable reference resource for students and teachers. www.kidsrgreen.org an web resource designed and developed by Centre for Environment Education, is an innovative and interactive environmental education outreach programme harnessing new media to motivate, facilitate and support learning. It uses the strength of the World Wide Web to take children beyond classroom and textbooks and encourage independent learning.
The site uses the web as a medium to encourage and foster the spirit of enquiry through its in-depth lead feature, games that are entwined with environmental messages, hands-on activity ideas that can be carried out individually or in a cooperative situation. It also has an environmental calendar which gives ideas to observe days of environmental significance by giving the purpose of the day, theme if any, for the day, and related activity ideas. The website is in the form of an interactive e-magazine that comes out with a fresh issue every month, inviting children to explore, investigate and discover different facets of the world we live in.
The topics for the 12 monthly issues focus on the themes announced for various environmentally significant days and on issues of current significance and importance. It includes relevant games and activities that harness the potential of interactivity that the web medium offers.
Spaceship Earth is a regular feature in every issue. Each one talks about an interesting aspect of our planet earth. Key points supported by illustrations help to explore different environments, plant and animal life, and learn about systems that support the rich life on earth.
In the Green Games section, children can “logon” and play games that not just challenge skills and abilities but set one thinking, and at the end convey an environmental message.
The Let’s Do It! section gives simple do-it-yourself activity ideas. Children can do them on their own, or with friends.
The Celebrate a Day section has a calendar of environmentally significant days, giving a brief history or background of why the day is observed including some ideas for activities that would help anyone to observe these days with in school or with family and friends.
The Krg Club is a forum where children can share poems, paintings and thoughts on the environment. It is a chance to let other children in the world know more about oneself and what one does to improve the environment
The Green Gifts section has attractive downloadable offers. How exciting to select designs for personalized stationery like letterheads, visiting cards, and bookmarks.
Teachers and schools also play an important role in introducing students to use such self learning resources, which provide the opportunity to enrich textbook earning and open up windows to a larger canvas of environment.
Teachers can effectively use such resources to complement and supplement the curriculum. However, there is an overload of information on the web. It is often difficult to look for information that is correct, relevant, current, and presented without any bias. Utmost care is required while introducing children to resources on the web. It is important for the teacher to choose and sieve relevant information on the web and use it effectively. Kidsrgreen offers information that is current, relevant and accurate without being pedantic or preachy.
The relevance and usefulness of such a website is reinforced in the light of the New Curriculum Framework and the national imperative to infuse environmental perspective to all syllabi, as well as the demand of activity and project ideas. The different features of the website provide information in a child friendly way, and also a variety of “do-it-yourself” ideas that support “hands-on” involvement and the “joy of learning”.
CEE established in 1984 as a Centre of Excellence in Environmental Education, supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, is a national institution engaged in developing programmes and material to increase awareness about the environment and sustainable development.
Oracle Education Foundation honors ThinkQuest award-winning students
The Oracle Education Foundation honours the winners of the ThinkQuest International 2007 Competition. ThinkQuest, a programme of the Oracle Education Foundation, is a renowned global contest that challenges students to create innovative Web sites to share with their peers around the world. The winning teams collaborated in the research, writing and creation of Web sites on educational topics ranging from sustainability and energy alternatives to poverty and the effects of war on children.
This year’s winning students hailed from 17 countries, including Argentina, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Vietnam and the United States. Student teams create educational content to be used by teachers and students around the world; their work is published in the popular ThinkQuest Library, visited by 30 million learners each year. The competition is utilised by teachers to engage their students in developing critical skills for life and work in the 21st century. Over the course of completing their team project, students learn important skills including teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, self-direction, and utilisation of technology.
The first, second and third place winning teams will travel to the ThinkQuest Live celebration held in San Francisco, California in November 2007. In addition, each student and teacher participant of the thirty winning teams will receive a computer laptop, while their sponsoring school will receive a prize of USD1,000.
Hi-Tech boost for pupils
A four-year United Kingdom Government-funded study into how making technology a key part of education could boost learning, found it improved attainment and classroom practices.
The ICT Test Bed project, managed by the education technology agency Becta, studied 23 primary schools, five secondary schools and three further education colleges. The results of the study showed as the new technology was introduced, a school’s national test outcomes improved beyond expectations. It provided greater interaction between teachers and students, enabling them to work closely together to set targets for achievement, and pupils were able to learn in ways tailored to their own needs.
BSNL to help bring all Indian schools under the Net
The ministry of human resource development in India is working on a plan to roll out an Internet communication backbone for the entire education sector.
At the school level a tentative budget estimate for providing ICT facilities in all 1,81,520 schools has been worked out to INR 24,160 crore. In the first phase, in the school segment, a provision of providing ICT facilities may be limited to 50% of schools that is, 90,760 schools.
In schools, the present scheme and its four components will be enlarged to encompass more schools. The four compo-nents include, partnership with the state governments and union territories for providing computer education and computer-aided education to secondary and higher secondary government and government-aided schools. Second is the establishment of SMART schools. Third, Universalisation of Computer Literacy through the networking of Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas with neighbouring schools.