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Posts Tagged ‘a-level’

LiveMaths discount

Just a quick update to the LiveMaths article that I posted a little while ago. One of the administrators of the website was kind enough to provide a discount code which will get you a £5 discount off the usual price. Use the voucher code BPTR09 at the subscription page on www.livemaths.co.uk to take advantage of this offer.

I’m also informed that worksheets have now been added to supplement the video guides.

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Explore yourself with Visible Body

I will unashamedly tell you that I don’t like Biology: I don’t want to know how things inside me work. I’ve been sick and nearly passed out at one point during the torture which others like to call a ‘biology lesson’. But I shan’t let this unreasonable inability to learn about the human body prevent me from doing it online! ‘Visible Body‘ allows me to do just that: it provides a snazzy interactive platform for touring a virtual body.

Visible Body.com allows you to explore the human body in-depth without getting your hands dirty.

Visiblebody.com allows you to explore the human body in-depth without getting your hands dirty.

It’s simple to use: you’ll need to create an account in order to experience its full wonder, then you’re ready to launch the body. The first time you load it up you’ll probably see a blank white screen until you click the little button at the top which asks you to install something called ‘Ubiquity Web Player’ – you’ll need this to run the virtual body. It’s a quick, easy and safe install. After that mild kerfuffe you can get cracking.

The body will then take quite some time to load – it’s a bloody complex thing; give it time! Whilst you watch and wait patiently for the little bars at the top right to reach the end, rest assured that you’re in for a treat. The program is loading the various layers of the body for you to explore. Chances are, you’ll see the skeleton pop up first, but there’s much more to come. Patience is a virtue.

Once you’ve come close to beating yourself senseless against the desk in a fit of… patience, you’ll be ready to get exploring. On the left hand pane there’s a list of the different systems which you can explore. If you click the little green ‘Add’ button, unsurprisingly, that system will appear on the body. You can add and remove the systems as you see fit. There’s also some navigational controls to the left of the body – something that looks like a compass which this lets you navigate around the body; a zoom slider which allows you to move in closer on certain parts; and a few buttons underneath which are fairly self-explanatory, such as ‘Hide’ and ‘Reset View’.

This navigation can be made easier by using the mouse to drag around instead of using the provided buttons: click and hold on an area of the body and drag the mouse to spin the poor chap around; zoom in and out with the scroll-wheel; or hold down the scroll-wheel and drag the mouse around to move the body around.

You can click individual parts of a system to see its name appear on the left hand pane, providing a dandy opportunity to find out the names of just about every little bit of the body; even the smallest of bones! Similarly, you can also hide certain parts of the body by clicking on an area, and then clicking the ‘hide’ button. For instance, you could hide parts of the skull to peer into the lovely looking grey matter inside. I get endless pleasure from giggling at googly-looking eyes and brain hovering in mid-air of their own accord after I’ve hidden the other layers. Small things for small minds, I know.

I hoping for even more future improvements, such as a slightly more friendly user-interface, and perhaps little bubbles which could be toggled on or off by the user which tell you what part of the body you’re looking at. In addition, little optional messages that give concise and simple information about different systems, organs, and other parts of the body would be a great educational addition for everyone.

Even for someone like me who is afraid of even the implication of blood or something in any way related to human bodies, this website is an incredibly fun and educational experience. It looks to be a fantastic resource for everyone: casual dapplers, students, teachers, hypochondriacs. Give it a go at www.visiblebody.com. You won’t be disappointed!

Online maths tutoring with LiveMaths

March 11, 2009 3 comments
Get a £5 discount on a LiveMaths subscription if you use the voucher code: BPTR09 at the subscription page.

I’ll freely admit that I’m not a fan of maths: numbers have never been my strong point. The lack of open-ended answers scare me: I’m more a fan of being able to babble on about a load of twaddle in the humanities subjects: English and History in particular . That’s the reason I do all I can to be less awful at maths in order to muddle through my examination. One of the ways I do this is using a dandy little website called ‘LiveMaths‘.

An example LiveMaths how-to tutorial.

An example LiveMaths how-to tutorial.

There’s plenty of revision websites out there, but this one is a little bit different: rather than just text, images, and maybe an occasional diagram, it has a video walking you through the steps to complete various different maths problems you’re likely to encounter if you’ve been unfortunate enough take GCSE Maths or foolish enough to take it for A-Level. It uses short but in-depth videos to make it clear how problems should be tackled in the exam.

You’ll find an incredibly wide range of topics, but if you are such an intrepid explorer that you find a missing topic, you can always contact the people who run it. Both of which are long-term secondary education maths teachers. I think my only suggestion for improvement would be for the site to also include webpages or worksheets with steps for solving the problem and sample questions for each topic which could be printed and used if one does not have access to a computer at the time. I must also say that the narration on the videos greatly resembles that of a robot programmed to patronise! The rates are pretty cheap: a GCSE subscription comes to the cost of about two private tutoring lessons. Have a look at the free samples to see if it’ll be helpful for you. Poddle off to www.livemaths.co.uk if you’re interested in a further browse or subscribing.