One of the pleasures of the digital age is the fact that there is so much information readily available on the internet for any chosen aspect of our subject. However, it can sometimes be very frustrating watching students struggle to use their time efficiently to find it. Slow network speeds, clunky search engines, and easily distracted curious minds can often lead to a lot of screen time with little to show for it.
For a number of years now, we have used a well-structured VLE to help staff manage web resources and help make them easily available to students. Embedded within our VLE is the neatest little tool I have come across to give students easy, quick access to selected web sites. It is called 3×3 links, and found at: www.3x3links.com
This tool is free, and very easy to customise to your own needs. The screenshot above shows what it looks like when it has been set up. The example here is for our year nine scheme of work, and includes the 6 separate half term units studied over the year. By clicking on a unit, a new layer is opened that offers as many as 30 different (teacher-vetted) web sites to the students. So, with just a couple of clicks, students can select an appropriate site to support their learning – hence the reason for adopting the name ‘speed dial’.
A similar tile has been set up for years seven and eight, and also one for key stage four GCSE studies.
An additional tile has been created to cover a range of possible support sites that students can access to support them with their extended research homework. Each unit of study in key stage three includes a four week homework task where they have the freedom to choose their own homework from a bank of ideas. I will explain our department’s homework structure in a future blog.
To experience the fun and ease of operation yourself, explore the different speed dial tiles first-hand by logging on to this web link : www.devongeography.com
The speed dials can be found in the ‘Department’ section, along with the ‘Curriculum Wheel’ summarising our key stage three curriculum. Please leave a comment!
Future projects will use the 3×3 links grid to bring together my personal favourite web sites, and also a collection of You Tube links. Watch this space!