Learning from Home – 7 May 2020

Last week I shared some wonderful ways to explore Australia from your computer, tablet or phone. Today, I thought I’d look a little more broadly at look at some ideas for how we can explore the wider world from our homes.

First up, we have the Bard himself. The Globe Theatre in London is not a place that many of us will have the opportunity to visit, certainly not any time soon, but how wonderful to be able to watch Shakespeare’s plays performed in the venue for which they were written. The Globe has been recording their performances for years, and many of them are available to watch on Globe Player. While only a small portion of this content is free, it does change regularly, and watching Shakespeare performed is invaluable in helping students – of any age – understand his works. Even if the play you, your child or your students would like to watch is not free, this is quite an easy way to access quality performances that rely on the text, rather than film or tv effects, to get their meaning across. Personally, I’m thrilled to see that the performance of Othello available for viewing is my favourite version, and the one I used to use when teaching the play; such a deliciously malevolent Iago!

Now for something completely different. Seeing the northern lights is one of those things that’s high on my bucket list. Until I have the chance to go to the far reaches of the northern hemisphere, there’s Explore’s live webcam in Manitoba, Canada to help me out. One of the advantages of the time difference is that you don’t have to be up in the middle of the night to view the lights, and the webcam has a great rewind function so that you can view the previous 12 hours of footage to see if you’ve missed anything. As well as the northern lights, Explore has live webcams all over the world, so you can also see into owls’ nests or African wildlife, amongst other things, if you’d like to keep exploring.

Next we go to the desert, to visit the Pyramids of Giza. Lots of children, and adults (me included), are fascinated by the history and artefacts of Ancient Egypt, and chief amongst the fascination for many are the Great Pyramids. However, around the huge pyramids which get most of the attention are smaller pyramids and tombs, which were resting places for family members of the pharaohs. The Giza Project of Harvard University have put together a wonderful virtual tour of one of these, the tomb of Queen Meresankh II. This is incredibly well put together. Amongst other things, the tour allows you to look at carvings and paintings, including hieroglyphics, providing explanations of their meaning and significance. There is also a short introductory video that introduces you to the Queen, and explains how and why the tomb is constructed and decorated as it is.

This final suggestion does not strictly fall into the category of exploring the wider world, as it’s a tour of the International Space Station (ISS). However, given that it’s really the only way any of us are going to experience it, I think you’ll give me a pass! There are several videos where you can meet astronauts, learn about the history of the ISS, and discover how it all works. It’s all absolutely fascinating (and a lot messier than I expected)! Videos are 5-10 minutes long, so there’s no chance to get bored, and there’s plenty for small children – the wonder of zero gravity and watching the earth go round – as well as older children and adults – science experiments and how the station functions. One thing everyone will love are the details about life on the station, like sleeping and brushing your teeth, which are hilarious!

Due to time constraints on my part, and more settled education systems and processes across Australia, the Learning from Home bog series will be happening once a week from now on. New posts will go up on Thursdays.

I look forward to seeing you next week!



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