The Orbit for Kids website is the online component for educational publisher Learning Media’s Double Takes series. Motive worked with Learning Media’s International business unit to develop the Purple (US grade 5) webpages.
“…webpages [compliment] the information provided in the students’ books,”
The Double Takes series pairs fiction and non-fiction works in a single book. A companion webpage explores the same ‘big idea’ and can be used as source material for a student research project.
“One of our goals was to provide information in the webpages that complimented the information provided in the students’ books,” explains Learning Media’s Bill Gaynor.
The book Go Buggy!/Sailing on Land features an illustrated story about making and racing a go-kart (fiction) and a photo essay on blo-karts, the smaller version of a land-yachts (non-fiction). The accompanying webpage Best Buggy is a judge’s report on a go-kart race.
Teacher’s notes for each book include a research project that can be completed using the webpage. The Go Buggy project directs students to describe their ideal buggy. Using the information in the judge’s report and the buggy diagram students make a case for the tire/chassis/steering/power combination they think will give their team the advantage in an upcoming race (based on the track conditions).
“Employing familiar conventions… makes it easier for students to use the webpages.”
Each of the webpages has its own look-and-feel, referencing common media forms, from encyclopaedia and diary entries through to email and (web) banner advertisements.
“Employing familiar conventions, such as [newspaper] mastheads, image-caption relationships and quotations, makes it easier for students to use the webpages,” explains Motive’s Andy Kirkwood.
“Likewise, there are conventions for interaction. Links, buttons, tabs and pop-up windows are part of the emerging ‘language’ of ICT [information communication technology]”.
The Orbit for Kids (Purple) webpages were launched April 2004.