In the United States, estuaries provide nurseries for more than 75% of
the fish and shellfish harvested. They
provide a diverse habitat for sheltering
and nurturing birds, mammals, fish,
shellfish, insects, and many other species. Estuaries filter many toxins, pollutants, and debris that could travel
into the oceans. By the end of the
game, students will recognize the importance of estuaries, the threats they
face, and how students can help.
Sea Turtles and the Quest to Nest
What’s a sea turtle to do? As sea turtles
swim ashore to lay eggs, they must navigate confusing shore lights, scattered
debris, noisy tourists, barking dogs, and
NOAA’s online game Sea Turtles and
the Quest to Nest educates students
about the hardships sea turtles endure
to nest and survive. Students can play
six minigames that teach about coastal
habitat, the food chain, and complex
coastal issues that affect sea turtles, including human and natural threats. It’s
enough to make a sea turtle’s head spin.
By playing these environmental
games, middle school students evaluate, explore, and engage in making
decisions that increase their awareness and understanding of coastal and
ocean issues. Each online activity provides detailed field guides, additional
links, and information to enhance
their journey. Enjoy these games at
NOAA’s gaming link (http://games.
—Lisa Hill is a children’s science writer who has
written numerous articles and two books,
Gravity and The Properties of Elements and Compounds for Heinemann Raintree. She also reviews educational technology for her ed tech blog,
School Tech Talk ( www.schooltechtalk.com).
LEARNING CONNECTIONS |
Find Free Tools and More
edu Techer ( http://edutecher.net) is a no-cost, ad-free site that con- tains scads of great ed tech resources for teachers. Adam Bellow, director of technology for College Board Schools and a 2010 ISTE
Emerging Leader, created the site to catalog and share Web tools for the
Now in its third redesign, the site aims to be a resource for a global audience of teachers, students, and parents at all levels of technology use and
understanding. The sites it features are either free or offer free services to
teachers. Keep in mind, however, that while Edu Techer has no ads, many
of the sites on the list do. The site also illustrates how tools not originally
designed for education might be repurposed for classroom use.
Edu Techer contains more than 1,000 links, and Bellow adds new sites
daily. He also provides concise explanations of how each tool can be used
in the classroom, with an educator’s insight into the realities and rigors
of daily teaching. A growing library of Edu Techer TV webisodes also provides audio and visual support for basic training as well as specific classroom applications of various Web tools.
Every link allows users to provide feedback on the Web tool or to ask
questions. Contributors can be notified by e-mail or RSS feed when a
response is posted to a comment. Users can even post their own favorite
Web tools, video responses, and images along with their comments, questions, or answers to one another on the site. Bellow strives to respond to
all questions within two days of posting.
Bellow’s range of selected websites offers something to teachers of all
grade levels and any discipline. Additionally, his succinct descriptions of
classroom use and a dynamic search feature allow even the busiest of teachers to effectively scan and select tools that might apply to a particular just-in-time need or developing interest. To facilitate this social networking, users can easily share any link directly from the Web tool’s description.
Edu Techer was the first Web resource for teachers to be released as
a mobile application. More than 8,000 users already have installed the
iPhone app. It’s also now available for the Android, and Bellow plans to
build an app for other mobile devices soon.
—Maria Ribera is an ISTE intern and the vice president for Assessment, Academic and Technology Services at Catholic School Management, Inc., of Madison, Connecticut.