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A whole new world

The days of teaching world geography using a crumpled map wrapped round a beach ball are over thanks to an innovative website.

Mapping Our World (MOW) - designed for interactive whiteboard use in schools - brings the world into the classroom. And its creators will hear later this month whether it has won a children's BAFTA for primary learning.

The brain-child of Oxfam's Rachel Harrison from Swansea, it was originally a book.

"The idea was to update it to fit into the curriculum and bring more of a global citizenship aspect to it," says Ms Harrison, who was helped by Oxfam Cymru's education adviser, Rhodri Griffiths.

"We felt it was really important to make it interactive. We're trying to encourage active learning and this works with children, however they learn."

A spoof chat show and computer-style games featuring Ms Dynamo, Nigella Mansell and Sir Rudolf Find help pupils navigate around the globe 21st century style. They can also turn the world on its head, squash and stretch it, and watch as it goes from a flat map to 3D globe.

"That's a really cool part of the product," says Ms Harrison who has an English degree from Oxford and an MA in scriptwriting for film and TV from Goldsmith's College, London. "It's very hard for teachers to get children to understand that a globe and a map are the same thing."

Mapping our World is available free online at: www.oxfam.org.ukcoolplanetmappingourworld

* cymru@tes.co.uk

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