What it is: You have undoubtedly heard of virtual world Second Life and its growing popularity in the education realm. Second life has some amazing educational opportunities for older students (students must be 13 years or older to have an account) but nothing for the elementary age student. Enter Secret Builders, an enchanting virtual world designed specifically for elementary age children. Virtual worlds like this are highly engaging for all ages and allow students to interact with each other in new ways. Secret Builders can be used to supplement different topics including literature, arts, science, and humanities. One of my favorite features, is the ability for students to interact with historical figures like Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, Galileo, and more! Students can visit these historical figures homes and ask them questions. There is a magazine in Secret Builders called The Crooked Pencil where students can submit writing to be published. There are learning games to play that, like Free Rice, donate to a charitable cause for correct answers. Students build up points by completing quests and can use the points to purchase things in Secret Builders.
How to integrate Secret Builders into the classroom: Secret Builders is a really neat site, students will love the online world and ability to connect with other students online. Secret Builders is more than just a ‘game’ sort of site though, there is a lot of learning to be done here! Students can build netiquette skills, computer skills, and learn about humanities, arts and literature all in Secret Builders. Students can write stories in Writers Block, go on a quest which requires logic skills and weaves in arts and humanities, perform a play in the Theater, solve puzzles, and interact with others. This is a really neat alternative to worksheets and traditional story writing. I think that the opportunity for students to interact with historical figures and tour their virtual home is fantastic! I hope that they continue to add historical figures, I would have loved this sort of history environment! The ability for students to play games and earn real money for charities is a wonderful motivator for students and great for building character education.
Tips: Secret Builders encourages student and teacher suggestions, if you have an idea, let them know…you may just add the next cool feature to the Secret Builders world! Take a look at the Teacher page for some great classroom tie-ins and features.
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Secret Builders in your classroom.