"If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." --John Dewey

Sunday, May 20, 2012

E2BN is GR8!

Have you discovered the treasure trove that is e2bn.org?  E2BN is the East of England Broadband Network, part of a regional broadband consortia whose purpose is to "help raise standards in teaching and learning by the use of broadband technology."  To that end, they provide a wealth of useful online tools for classroom use, as well as picture and audio galleries, along with plenty of information and resources for teachers.

I recently shared their website, Myths and Legends (http://myths.e2bn.org) with my 4th graders.  After a brief introduction to the tools of this animated story creator site, my students eagerly dove in and before long the room was completely (almost eerily) silent, with each little mind busy creating wonderful stories inspired by the graphics on the site.  I've since heard students tell me that the site was "awesome," "cool," and one that "I will definitely use over the summer."  High praise, indeed, from a 4th grader, don't you think?

With literally hundreds of graphics and sound effects, and the possibility of up to 90 pages of illustrated text, students can easily create amazing stories with the tools provided by the site.  Additional pictures and sounds can also be imported, or students can use the record feature to create their own audio accents.

Now, your students will need an account to use the site, and in order to get an account teachers need to be sure their school is registered.  Visit http://myths.e2bn.org/story_creator/register to complete the registration process.  According to the site, registration approval may take up to 5 days, but it seems that they tend to actually work much more quickly than that.  Once your registration is approved, you will be able to quickly create as many student accounts as you need by uploading student names, along with username and password information from a spreadsheet.

Need more convincing that the e2bn website is worth bookmarking?  Check out http://discoverybox.e2bn.org/ (formerly Museum Box).  This site has inspired one of my favorite end of the school "year-in-review" projects.  The site was modeled after the actions of Thomas Clarkson, who campainged against slavery by carrying a box of artifacts with him that illustrated his arguments.  Along those lines, the Discovery Box website enables students to create a virtual box of artifacts on the topic of their choice.  Each Discovery Box can hold layer upon layer of text, images, video and sounds.  I've found it to be a wonderful way for students to document what they've learned throughout the school year.  In addition to adding clipart images to represent things they've learned, students can link documents they've created during the year, pictures of themselves and their friends from that year, and even add a short video commentary.  Students love the options, and I love that it makes them actually think about all the things they've accomplished during the school year.

There is much to explore at the e2bn Teaching and Learning website (http://www.e2bn.org/tandl), and the handy subject grid they provide makes finding resources appropriate for your subject and/or age group quick and easy.  Thanks, East of England Broadband Network, for sharing such an amazing collection of classroom resources!  And, on behalf of my 4th grade students, thanks for providing activities that are "so awesome" they don't even realize they're learning.

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