Being something of a fan of the national broadcaster and its quality children’s content I was very excited to learn of their new content site, Splash (ABC, ©2013a) Our library maintains links to appropriate websites as part of its Homework Help programming and so we are constantly on the look-out for new quality resources as part of this. I find our Homework page (Moreton Bay Region Libraries, n.d) is a great way to show young adults and tweens quality web resources to help with their reference queries. So I decided to review this piece of technology to see whether it would suit our audience.
So how does it look?
The layout is relatively uncluttered and with areas colour-coded to aid clarity. Revolving story pages help to add excitement and interest without creating too much clutter. SPLASH features areas dedicated to three different age groups, early primary (Years K – 3), upper primary (Years 4 – 6) and secondary (Year 7 – 10) with excerpts from ABC broadcasts and specially created interactive video collections linked to the National Curriculum on English, Maths, Science and History. There is a section for teachers featuring reference material and articles posted by teachers. The parents’ section contains advice and tips for parents.
How does it work?
A brief podcast about the global reach of the English language aimed at Year 9 and 10 students caught my eye (ABC, ©2013b) I clicked on the link to discover this was an excerpt from Late Night Live supported by questions and ideas to think about before, during and after listening. Citation help and copyright information was available at a click, as were the teacher notes linking the material to the National Curriculum’s content codes and descriptions. This website certainly fits the criteria outlined by Spatariu that technology selected for young people to use and learn with needs to be developmentally appropriate (Spatariu, Peach, & Bell, 2012). In the segment selected the activities, thinking and the suggested interaction with family members and peers engage the students at a level appropriate to an age group integrating formal learning into their personal experiences (Cerny, Markey, & Williams, 2006).
One serious downside is that a lot of the interactive material in the collections and games use Flash Player. Of course Flash is near ubiquitous on PCs and laptops, however it is not viewable from iPads and I know many schools are using iPads as the students’ main computing device.
So would I include this site on our Homework page?
Yes. I would definitely recommend it. And I will be suggesting it as a potential resource for answering young people’s reference questions but I think it’s greatest potential may be a resource for classroom learning as it will allow teachers to provide engaging information in audio and visual formats to support curriculum objectives. I could have explored this site for hours, there really is so much material here including links to other areas of the ABC websites that can provide valuable assistance with engaging kids with their learning.
My biggest learning from this (apart from discovering out about Globish) was how little I know about the new National Curriculum. I think understanding more about it may help to make me a better reference librarian for young people. So I will be researching up on that using the Australian Curriculum website!
ABC. (©2013a). Splash Retrieved May 10, 2013, from http://splash.abc.net.au/
ABC. (©2013b). How the English language became the world language. Splash Retrieved May 15, 2013, from http://splash.abc.net.au/media/-/m/28512/how-the-english-language-became-the-world-language?source=home
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority ©. (n.d). Australian Curriculum Retrieved May 20, 2013, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/
Cerny, R., Markey, P., & Williams, A. (2006). Outstanding library service to children : Putting the core competencies to work Retrieved from http://CSUAU.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=289108
Moreton Bay Region Libraries. (n.d). Homework Retrieved May 15, 2013, from https://library.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/OPAC/MBRCHOMEWORK
Spatariu, A., Peach, A., & Bell, S. (2012). Enculturation of Young Children and Technology Technology and young children: Bridging the communication-generation gap (pp. 24-48): IGI Global.