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JASON Science: Eco Defenders

What it is: Eco Defenders is another excellent Filament Games simulation/interactive.  In this game, students design “alien” invasive species and set it loose on an imaginary ecosystem.  Students must use their knowledge of ecosystems, adaptations, and competition to design a simulation of an invasive species.  Students find out that when an invading species occupies the same ecological niche as native species, they can cause problems for the ecosystem.  The game allows for a lot of customization and decisions for students as they choose one of three ecosystems and then design their own alien.  As students go through the simulation, JASON host researcher, Russell Cuhel, will ask questions about how invasive species invade an ecosystem giving students the chance to be the expert.  Before students play the game, ask them to click on the “Learn More” link where they will receive a tutorial for the game and some background information about invasive species.  Students can learn about different kinds of invasive species that exist in our world. How to integrate Eco Defenders into the classroom: In the Eco Defenders game/simulation, your students will: design their own invasive creature, watch their creature as it interacts in the ecosystem and competes over resources with native creatures, and analyze the interactions among the organisms in the ecosystem.  Students will select a creature to target in the ecosystem they have chosen and then design a species that will compete in the same ecological niche.  Students will design and then run a simulation to test their invader.  Afterward, they will discuss what happened with the virtual host scientist, go over the results, and analyze the data.  The great thing about this game/simulation is that no two students will have the exact same results.  Eco Defenders is best in a computer lab setting where each student can play individually.  After students have experimented and run through the simulation, come together as a class and discuss what students observed.  What made their invader successful?  What would they change for the next time?  As students learn more about ecosystems, eco niches, and invaders throughout the unit, have them run through the simulation again and see if they come up with different results.  If you can’t manage access to a 1 to 1 computer setting, play the game as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  The class should discuss each decision, weighing the pros and cons, before making a move.  As the students work through the simulation, talk about what they are observing and what tweaks might change the outcome of their simulation. Tips: JASON Science is worth a look.  The tag-line of JASON Science is “Education through Exploration”.  I couldn’t agree more! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Eco Defenders in your classroom.

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Animoto for Education

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Character Education, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Interactive book, Internet Safety, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 07-08-2008

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What it is: There are some really neat online tools that I find that live in my Google Notebook for a long time (I have upward of 800 links for educational websites yet to post to iLearn Technology…and growing daily!) Some get pushed aside for my newest cool find, and some move to the bottom of the list because, while they may have educational value, they are not intended JUST for education and may have some questionable user created content that I wouldn’t want my students to stumble on. Animoto was one of these sites for me. It is an amazing and COOL tool but wasn’t necessarily geared just toward education. I got a fun email today that Animoto now has an education only site! Animoto for education is a site where students can create compelling and impressive digital content quickly and easily. It is the perfect addition to your classroom’s digital storytelling kit. It is very intuative and easy to use, in no time students have digital videos that they created! This is also an amazing place for you, the teacher, to create a video that will bring your lessons to life. You can post or embed videos on your class site or even, are you ready for this?, download for in class presentations. Animoto for Education makes it simple to mix audio and visual for a dynamic, unique presentation in no time. It is so easy to use that students could create a complete animoto presentation in one computer class.

How to integrate Animoto for Education into the classroom: Animoto for education is a great place for you to teach from. Make any lesson come to life with audio and visual, use at the beginning of the day as a ‘teaser’ for what your students can look forward to learning each day or use to teach complex concepts in history, math, science, or character education. Students will respond to new media in the classroom. Allow your students to display knowledge of a concept using Animoto. Use Animoto for Education for a beginning of the year get to know you activity. Students can each create an Animoto showcasing who they are through pictures and music. Animoto presentations are quicker to create than traditional PowerPoint type presentations making them ideal for digital storytelling in the classroom setting. Because Animoto is completely web-based, students can create videos from school and continue working on them at home. The ability to download videos is outstanding…students could save their work for offline viewing too!

Tips: Children under 13 can’t sign up for their own account. To use Animoto for Education with your students you can register your students with dummy accounts using dummy email addresses. Animoto is private to your school. This means that other people can’t come accross student videos or contact students through the site.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Animoto for Education in your classroom.

Comments (1)

[…] 5.¬†Animoto- The free version of Animoto lets students create 30 second videos that combine images, songs, and text. It combines them all for an impressive presentation without a lot of fuss. […]

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