Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, and Healsville Sanctuary offer some fantastic educational experiences for all ages. In a brilliant move, particularly for schools distant to the zoos, the zoos have ‘wild digital learning for students’:
Students can choose from three different areas – conservation mashups, primate behaviour research, and bushfires and wildlife challenge – to contribute their learning to. In a world first, if students choose ‘primate behaviour research’ there are real time web video cameras that allow students to conduct a behavioural study of the Orang-utans and Siamangs. Students are able to enter their data and share their findings, or interpret the data that is already there. This real research will be used by the zoo to encourage the natural behaviour of these animals. This is authentic learning at its very best!
In ‘conservation mashups’ students can choose the options of ‘don’t palm us off’ or ‘beads for wildlife’. In ‘don’t palm us off’ students are asked to create a mashup video that can be used to campaign the palm oil issue. The site provides all the information on the issue, and all the things students would need to create their mashup. To really convince students to take part, there is a gallery where they can share their mashup video with the world.
If students choose the ‘bushfires and wildlife challenge’ they are asked to improve biodiversity and reduce fire risk in their community. Again, the zoos are providing the real-life, authentic learning tasks that prove to be so powerful in creating knowledge. These activities can be undertaken by primary or secondary school students.