Wed, June 29, 2011

Oracle Offers Students, Teachers a Gorilla “ThinkQuest”

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June 29, 2011

Oracle Offers Students, Teachers a Gorilla "ThinkQuest"

Teachers all over the world now have a unique tool for guiding their students’ study of gorillas and a multitude of other topics: ThinkQuest, a free program offered by the Oracle Education Foundation. Oracle, which established the Foundation, is also one of the Fossey Fund’s most dedicated long-time supporters.

Oracle's ThinkQuest invites students and teachers to join an interactive learning project about mountain gorillas.ThinkQuest is an online learning platform. It includes a Projects environment that supports collaborative learning; an international competition that challenges students to solve real problems; the award winning library, a learning resource visited by millions; and professional development for educators.

More than 400,000 K-12 student and teachers in 43 countries currently use the ThinkQuest Projects environment to work together on educational projects. Teachers may decide to engage only their own students in a project, or they may open a project to ThinkQuest members outside of their classroom, enabling students to collaborate with peers around the world and display the results of their work to the global community. Participating in ThinkQuest helps students develop “21st century skills” such as critical thinking, communication and technology skills.

In 2011 ThinkQuest began offering a project on gorillas, including the roles that Dian Fossey and the Fossey Fund have played in gorilla conservation and research. The website provides source materials and discussion questions that cover topics such as gorilla behavior, the job of the field researcher, and the similarities and connections between humans and gorillas. The Fossey Fund’s own Gorilla News web pages are among the primary sources to which students are directed. They can also study the life history and family tree of an individual gorilla followed by Karisoke™, and discuss how threats to the mountain gorillas’ survival might be reduced. The Oracle Education Foundation created the activities, based on data provided by the Fossey Fund.

Over 180 teachers and 375 students who use ThinkQuest are members of the gorilla project. They come from China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macedonia, Peru, Romania, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Oracle has a long history of creative support for the Fossey Fund, starting when founder Larry Ellison saw the Dian Fossey biopic “Gorillas in the Mist” in 1988. Under his leadership, Oracle became the first large US company to give major support to protecting mountain gorillas, first helping Karisoke to continue to pay for the anti-poaching patrols that Fossey had established before her death and later extending support to the Congolese park authority’s patrols and research. Ellison has been a Fossey Fund board member for many years.

“The ThinkQuest project is a wonderful way for the next generation to learn about gorillas and the importance of conservation,” says Fossey Fund CEO and President Clare Richardson. “Oracle’s consistent support for our cause over the years sets a great example for others.”

"Oracle is proud to support the Fossey Fund and delighted to see ThinkQuest enriched by the gorilla project," says Colleen Cassity, executive director of Oracle Giving & Volunteers and the Oracle Education Foundation.

Oracle, founded in 1977, is the world’s most complete, open, and integrated business software and hardware systems company. It is committed to supporting practices and products that help protect the environment.

For more information about ThinkQuest, see www.thinkquest.org. For more information about Oracle's corporate citizenship efforts, see oracle.com/citizenship.

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