Gavin Richards suggests surfing the net from the coastlines of Britain to water aid schemes in Ethiopia and glacial landscapes of Norway
The Global Gateway, developed by the British Council for the Department for Education and Skills, is a new international website, enabling those involved in education across the world to engage in creative partnerships. The site is a one-stop-shop, providing quick access to comprehensive information on how to develop an international dimension to education. It provides ideas and advice for young people, school leaders, parents, governors and local authorities, on a range of issues from funding and establishing links to professional development. It also offers useful case-studies and a bank of teaching materials, individually recommended by subject associations or accredited teachers.
For school leaders, the site demonstrates how the international dimension can motivate staff, students and the community as a whole. A particularly useful feature is the global database of schools, which users can search for a partner school by selecting from a list of criteria, for example country, preferred language (taughtspoken) and the type of project area.
The site is expected to link more than half of the schools in England with other countries within a year. Whether you want to find a partner school, access quality teaching materials or just find out what the global dimension is all about, the Global Gateway has it all.
Wateraid is a charity dedicated to helping people escape the stranglehold of poverty and disease caused by living without safe water and sanitation. It has for many years produced very good resources for teaching about poverty and active citizenship in general. The new Globalwise website is no exception. It uses real Wateraid projects in Ethiopia and India, allowing students at key stages 3 and 4 to explore issues relating to the provision of safe water to populations in the developing world.
The site is highly interactive and visually appealing. For example, the Hitosa water supply game takes pupils to Hitosa, in Ethiopia, where one of the world's most important water schemes helps more than 60,000 people.
In the game, students become virtual project managers, answering some simple and not-so-simple questions. If they get them right, the Hitosa water supply scheme will be built before their eyes - if wrong, they get suggestions on how and where to find out more.
There is also a teachers' section with lots of hints and suggestions on how to use each activity.
The site is sponsored by the reinsurance company Swiss RE, and is ideal for delivering global aspects of the citizenship curriculum through geography.
Coastal erosion and flood prevention in West Bay, Dorset http:www.westdorset-dc.gov. ukindex.jsp?articleid=1274
Students and teachers have a new online resource to help them with case studies on coastal erosion and flood prevention. The site is primarily aimed at A-level geography students although much of its content could be used at KS4.
A case study developed by Bridport teacher Hilary Bosworth focuses on West Bay in West Dorset, where a pound;15m scheme of coastal defence and harbour improvements is under construction. The case study introduces West Bay and its location at the centre of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, examining the reasons behind the West Bay improvements scheme and looking at background geology, coastal erosion processes and environmental considerations.
An assessment of flood risk factors is included, with an overview of the pre-scheme coastal defences and the coastal defence options and other issues which led to the adoption of the current scheme.
The case study is available as a website or as a downloadable Acrobat file, and includes a wealth of maps, diagrams and colour photos as well as suggestions for enquiry topics.
A study of Sligo seashore
A Study of Sligo's Seashore is an award-winning project about the coastline from Skerrydoo to Carrickfadda in Western Ireland. The website is the outcome of a schools heritage and ICT project, which was developed to promote an awareness and understanding of seashore heritage in primary schools.
The project ran in 12 County Sligo primary schools from October 2001 to May 2002. Students studied a number of topics relating to their local shoreline, including animals, habitats and plants, geology, history and folklore, and man and the sea. The background to the project and the outcomes are illustrated on the site, conveniently structured in several key sections. The Kids Zone illustrates examples of work produced by students involved in the project. The resource may be used as a teaching aid when studying the seashore.
In the Media Gallery, there are photographs and movies which highlight the many activities in which students were involved. The Discovery Zone contains an extensive album of identification pages to be used in conjunction with seashore visits. High quality digital images and key facts are displayed to enable easy identification of animals and plants.
In the Teacher Resources section you'll find curriculum-linked games, activities and art projects that can be used to enhance any project related to the seashore. Finally the Links section is for those who wish to do further research and get new ideas for seashore projects.
This is an excellent resource for teachers wishing to develop similar cross-curricular projects and can be a model for schools in other coastline communities wanting to use ICT creatively.
Look at Norway
Look at Norway is a geography resource for KS3 and above by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Its aim is to provide students with a bank of resources to explore Norway's geography, climate, history, ecosystems, farming, energy resources and industry.
The site contains a wealth of up-to-date resources. Some particularly good case studies provide in-depth information on current issues such as climate change and energy resources; these could be a good starting point for project work.
There are also some very useful skills-based activities covering a range of topics, from working out your ecological footprint to developing strategies for increasing sustainability.
Teachers will also find materials that will help put geographical themes such as glacial landscapes, resources and ecology into context.
All resources are available for download - with broadband you can quickly obtain multiple high-quality copies of the site's content for classroom use.
This is a well-designed resource-rich site providing teachers and students with a useful insight into all things Norwegian.
Gavin Richards is E-Learning Manager, Kingsmead Community School, Wiveliscombe, Somerset