Handheld Learning Conference 2009 – London

| October 6, 2009 | 3 Comments 

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A challenge today. For a man who is gets dragged off a stage after a 1 and a 1/2 hour presentation yelling “There’s more!” , imagine my difficulty doing a 1/2 hour session!

So it was, at the Handheld Learning Conference, held at The Brewery in The Barbican, London.


We had fun though. I whizzed through some of our Wild Earth African Safari and Wii experiences.

I am grateful to Majesco Entertainment, the publishers, for their support in our travels with the game and for the lively learning that goes with it! 🙂

A sideline element I mentioned in passing was the delightful Switcheroo Zoo.

MystIII 031

One of my favourite activities with children, is to get them to write imaginary instructions. (“Attach the flenge carefully to the extreeded splicket. If the grellble is fullated, scrunn it frobullously with a full snucket”.)

p.s. only try this with a fully inflated scree net.

(On re-read, my example sounds like a classic Kenneth Williams as Rambling Sid Rump at his gruntnussocking best!!)

MystIII 030On the subject of nonsense, I am grateful to my dad, for introducing me to the idea of mixed up animals. I have had some great fun with classes designing composite animals, drawing them and coming up with some poems.

I always start by telling them about our pet Camelephantelopelicanary, a cross between many exotic animals:

MystIII 033A Camelephantelopelicanary’s a strange and wonderful thing

The bits of its body are really quite shoddy so he’s all held together with string

Discovered, they say, on the first day of May by an explorer out wandering the Nile

The first thing he noted was the fact that it floated and its face was all covered in smile.


Here is a fun little invention you could use on a whiteboard to mix up two random creatures. Have fun!

Children have been amazed, amused and bemused by the mixed up animals HERE too. But.. even happier when they can make their own with Swithcheroo Zoo.

switcheroozoo1Switcheroo Zoo (a.k.a. Switch Zoo) started as a small project. They were playing around with the idea of making new animals by switching their parts.

At first, the zoo had just nine animals, and it was the only attraction on the website. Today, there are 142 species in Switch Zoo, and the site features animal games, music performed using animal voices, a reference section about all of the animals in Switch Zoo, lesson plans, and poetry, stories and artwork created by students and visitors.

switcheroozoo2When you arrive at the zoo page, a green screen with a time-bar will display while the zoo is being downloaded, the entrance scene will appear and you’ll hear the Switch Zoo Animal Orchestra singing.

Build an Online HabitatBuild an Online Habitat
Students match animals to the environment best suited for their survival. A compatibility meter and a thermometer help evaluate the environment.

entrance Where Do I Live?
This animal geography game will challenge your students’ knowledge as they move the animals to their natural homes. Students can use the Animal
Homing Device to see the answer for animals they can’t locate.

Educational Games
Three animal-themed games make it fun to learn about animals’ characteristics and habitats. Students can even create their own new species!

switcheroozoo3Switch Zoo – Make New Animals
Visitors to this unique zoo make their own new creatures by switching the animals’ heads, legs and tails. While students play, they can read facts about each of the animals that comprise their new beast. Visit the lesson plans section for classroom ideas.

Your students can learn more about the animals in Switch Zoo by reading their Profiles in the Resources section.

gold handBe sure you don’t miss any of the features in Switch Zoo! — Click the gold hand on the fence to open the hidden How to Play panel and find out about everything you can do in the zoo. Or you can click here to read How to Play before entering the zoo.

map2. Choose an animal to switch
Wait until you see the map, which is a big rock with colorful buttons showing the nine primary animals.

Click the button for the animal that you want to use as your primary animal. This choice will determine what body your new animal will have, as well as its environment. Click the Animal List button to see a list of all the animals in Switch Zoo. By clicking an icon in the list, you can make the new animal and go to a new habitat at the same time.


A few of the Web Too technologies presented, included some favourites like Wordle, QuotePad, WordSift, EtherPad, Wikispaces, Bambuser, Qik, Cueprompter, ReadTheWords,TagGalaxy, ooVoo, Twitter, Prezi, VoiceThread, and so many more!

Category: 1) Events and Training days, 2) Useful n Interesting

Comments (3)

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  1. becky pearce says:

    when is chew magna primary school going to be on this website

  2. Nora Begona says:

    I love all your creative ideas to incorporate technology in the classroom.
    I tried your Myst project in my classroom in Argentina and today trying to read more about African Safari and how to do it with my 3 graders in my new school in Snow Hill North Carolina, I found my short video clip about the project I made.
    I know that you may have heard this so many times, but thank you Mr Rylands to let us know your ideas and share with us.
    Nora Begona

  3. blog says:

    Thank you SO much for your encouraging comments Nora. Well done for your creativity. I would love to see the video. Perhaps I could blog what your students are doing? It would be lovely to read, hear or see anything you can send me.
    Again, thank you and well done!
    All the best

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