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New Learning Content from Down Under

Posted by rstephe on January 27, 2006 at 12:12 PM PST

The Learning Federation, a non-profit governmental initiative of Australia and New Zealand, has created remarkable Web-based materials for grades P-10. About 120 learning objects cover math, science, basic literacy and creativity, and are mostly in the form of Flash games. An additional 40 are for teaching foreign languages -- specifically Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian -- to English-speaking students.

Two examples that illustrate the quality of the materials are found in the Showcase (a selection of a half-dozen of the best games, at www.thelearningfederation.edu.au/tlf2/showMe.asp?nodeID=242#groups). In Steady
Ships
, loading an shipping containers into an ocean-going freighter teaches concepts of balance and center of gravity (remember the "tipping point"?). In Creativity, an Australian artist named Fifi Colston guides students through the process of designing clothes using found objects. Then students get their turn at being designers. I wonder if the U.S. reality TV show called Runway plays in Australia...

screenshot from Steady Ships screenshot from Creativity
loading cargo in Steady Ships
a fashion makeover with Creativity

The game designers showed remarkable imagination in making academic subject matter relevant to students. A physics game measures the effectiveness of sunscreens. Math games involve building bridges, and deciding on the best mobile phone plan. Literacy games include composing lyrics for a rap song, finding clues to locate a missing celebrity by digging through her wastebasket, and catching an art museum thief.

All the materials are free for educational use. For more information, take a look at thelearningfederation.dev.java.net/