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The Miniature Earth Project

  What it is:  The Miniature Earth Project is a great website that poses the question: “what if the population of the Earth were reduced into a community of only 100 people?”  Based on this assumption, the site helps students understand what the breakdown of nationalities would be, religious representation, how many people would live in an urban area, how many people would have the majority of the world income, how many would live without clean world, those that live on less than $1.25/day, etc.  The purpose of the site is to break our quickly approaching 7billion people in the world down to a number (100) that we can more easily wrap our minds around.  The point of the site is to help kids (and adults) understand the real landscape of the world and cause positive action. There is a video on the site that breaks down the infographic in a different way.  Students can submit their own videos about the Miniature Earth. How to integrate The Miniature Earth Project into your curriculum: Right now the Jr. High at Anastasis Academy is looking at the following line of inquiry: “Understanding our rights and responsibilities as individuals and the similarities and differences of others helps contribute to the development of world citizens.”  The Miniature Earth Project is a great place to put the world’s challenges in perspective for students.  We have been having fantastic conversations about the rights that we enjoy as Americans, and the responsibilities to others around the world that come with those rights.  Students have also been exploring rights they believe all world citizens should enjoy and what responsibility they share in making those rights a reality for those who don’t currently enjoy them.  As you can imagine, the discussion has been fascinating! A great place to start this discussion is by asking students to create their own personal code of conduct.  What standards will they hold themselves to?  At Anastasis we talk often about managing our freedom.  Freedom comes with responsibility, it isn’t a free-for all.  We also ask students to think about what their actions would look like if it were multiplied by 7 billion people.  What would the world look like?  Is it a place they would want to live?  The Miniature Earth Project is a great place for next steps. Looking at who makes up their world, what kind of challenges are faced.  We ask our students to think about solutions to those challenges.  They are NOT too young to come up with solutions! Since the 100 person Earth is such a manageable number, ask students to create graphical representations of each figure presented in the Miniature Earth Project.  What questions do they have based on the data?  What challenges do they see?  What common ground do we have?  What are our responsibilities?  What rights should we claim for all humans?  What are ways that we can make the world a better place for all?  What impact can a small change make on such a large population (does it change when you think about it on a smaller scale)? Want to show students how their actions can change the world?  Share the story of the 13 year old who has the world planting a million trees!  The story of Felix Finkbeiner is an awesome one!  Equally cool for our students: we have a Mr. Finkbeiner who teaches at Anastasis. Tips: There are great links to more information about our population approaching 7 billion.  Be sure to have your students dig into those resources to learn more! ***Want to do your part as a CHANGE MAKER in education?  Check out, support and spread the word about the Learning Genome Project! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Miniature Earth Project in your classroom!

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Create your own virtual classroom: Edu 2.0 and Vyew

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, collaboration, Create, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 18-10-2010

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What it is: Tomorrow I launch my virtual classroom and honestly, I am a little nervous!  It is like the first day of school; everything is carefully planned, all the resources are ready to go, and the students are enrolled and have received their welcome packet.  But, there is still that anticipation and sense of dread that all that careful planning won’t be enough…that something unexpected will happen that will force me to think on my feet.  Really, isn’t that what teaching (and learning) ends up being every day? :)  I am using two tools to host my virtual classroom that I wanted to share here.  Even if you teach in a traditional classroom, these tools offer the ability to expand your school day and provide your students more of a hybrid learning model.

Edu 2.0 is the first tool.  I first wrote about and started using Edu 2.0 in 2007.  The tool has only gotten better with time!  Edu 2.0 is an outstanding alternative to Moodle or Blackboard as an online Learning Management System (LMS).  It is completely free to use, multilingual (it auto translates messages!), allows you to teach public or private classes, gives each student an online portfolio, includes a full gradebook, allows you to create curricula and track proficiencies, transcripts of all student grades, tracks attendance, includes forums and wikis, online quizzes, create and track to-do lists, completely web-based, mobile with a free iPhone app, tracks analytics, teach multiple sessions of the same class, upload and access over 15,000+ online resources, parent involvement, define and measure proficiencies, integration with popular web widgets, real-time chat, custom RSS feeds for your class, Calendars, private (designed with students in mind), create and share lessons, provide conditional pathways in lessons (you have to pass one assignment or class before moving onto the next), rubrics, groups, debates, messaging, public and private blogs, surveys, multimedia, and pdf integration.  That is a long list but it really doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Edu 2.0 can do.  This is your one stop shop for a LMS whether you are in need of one for a district, a school, or for your individual classroom.  It is relatively easy to learn and has fantastic tutorials, guides, and support.  The biggest challenge that I have with Edu 2.0 is navigation, not because it is difficult, but because it is so comprehensive!

Vyew is the second tool I am using for my virtual classroom.  Vyew is an online meeting room that is simple to use.  The free version is the one I am using, premium versions are well priced and offer increased options and capacity.  Vyew allows up to 10 students to participate in a room at a time.  Teachers can create and upload course content for real-time and anytime collaborative learning.  Vyew is a lot like Elluminate but doesn’t require any downloads, it runs completely inside the web browser.  This makes it a really easy virtual meeting option for students as they aren’t required to do a lot of extra prep.  The authoring area of Vyew is easy to use, it is a lot like creating a PowerPoint presentation with slides.  Vyew allows for external publishing which means that you can embed the finished presentation on your Edu 2.0 site for those who couldn’t attend the live Vyew session.  Vyew supports a HUGE amount of files including video, pdf, PowerPoint, swf, and many more.  It also allows for real-time desktop sharing which means that all of your students can see what you are doing on your computer as if you were sitting side by side!  There is a built-in screen capture tool for making step by step tutorials.  Both students and teacher have whiteboard drawing tools for on-screen collaboration.  Embedded comments let you include information on the page to be expanded.  Vyew lets you communicate with VOIP (voice over IP), webcam (all 10 can use the webcam!), free tele-conferencing with a unique phone number provided, and voice notes (voice recording embedded in on-screen sticky notes).  This is such a simple to use virtual meeting room and it’s features are among the best.

I am using both edu 2.0 and Vyew together for my virtual classroom.  I felt I needed an online meeting room where I could create meetings on the fly because this class is being held completely online.  I am working with students in third through eighth grade and teaching a 5 week digital storytelling class.  We will be working together to discover the power of story, and how to use different digital mediums to tell a great story.  I am offering this class to everyone but advertised specifically to the students I used to teach for the first virtual classroom.  I did this for a few reasons: parent requests, as a way to stay connected to my students, and I knew what technology skills they had already learned.

How to integrate Edu 2.0 and Vyew Virtual Classrooms into your classroom: Creating a hybrid classroom is an incredible gift to your students.  It offers them the ability to connect with you outside the hours of the school day, and on their own terms.  It gives students time to review content, interact with other students, and learn at their own pace.  Virtual options provide a whole new dimension to learning.  Use a virtual classroom to: extend your classroom and teaching, tutor students individually, offer courses to home school families, connect your students with other classrooms, record in-class learning for students who are absent or have a long-term illness.  There are hundreds of ways that taking your classroom online can benefit your students.  Taking your classroom online gives parents an additional way to be involved in their child’s education and goes one step better, allows them to learn along side their child.  Have a tough new math curriculum that parents are lamenting?  Offer a virtual parent university where parents can learn more about how to help their child with the new learning.  Have teachers that need professional development but can’t find the time?  Use Edu 2.0 for learning on demand.  Edu 2.0 can be utilized as a classroom online learning solution, or as a school or district wide learning management system.  Use Vyew for live meetings with your students.  Make yourself available in a Vyew room at the same time every day for additional academic help.

Tips: You can offer your virtual classes for free or charge depending on their purpose. I wouldn’t charge for a virtual classroom that was an extension to my regular classroom, but you might charge for tutoring or specialized classes.   I am charging for my class and treating it as an after school club.  Edu 2.0 allows you to charge for a class with checkout support using Paypal or credit cards.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Edu 2.0 and Vyew Virtual Classrooms in your classroom!

Comments (15)

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely, ktenkely, Mark Barnes, Marcelle McGhee and others. Marcelle McGhee said: RT @ShellTerrell: Create your own virtual classroom: Edu 2.0 and Vyew http://bit.ly/cJXiIZ by @ktenkely #edtech [...]

Good luck with this. I’m very curious to see how it goes. I’ll definitely be following your updates.

I’m in awe with your knowledge and application of tech tools. I love it that you also share your feelings on your blog. As with any new project that has taken hours, days and weeks to prepare, it’s that uneasy feeling in your stomach that something might not go as planned that seems to capture us when we take that first step forward into a new endeavor. I looked at your virtual classroom and wanted to sign up just to experience it. It’s a wonderful project and a great way for kids to learn with your online initiatives and support. I wish you the best and am looking forward to hearing about your successes.

This is awesome. I have been using EdModo with my 6th Graders since we are going through a complete school website overhaul. We used to be using SchoolFusion, which I LOVED. Now we are using Moodle and it takes a lot of getting used to. This is a great website for me to check out.

BTW, I love your site. I have been reading/lurking on it for a while, however, this is my first comment. I remember reading one time where you said you dont know why you created a blog on implementing Free Tech in the classroom since Richard Byrne does a great job it. However, I read both of your blogs and find they compliment each other very well.

I am currently working on my own blog specifically about how I am using particular Web 2.0 sites within my classroom and impressions from my students and myself.

Richard does a great job of sharing sites you COULD use in the classroom, and how you could, but he doesn’t really have too many impressions about how it is working within his classroom. You do a great job of that and I am currently working on doing the same thing (when my blog is complete).

@Mr. Dean- I have heard that about Moodle, I haven’t used it myself so I’m not sure how it compares, but I have found Edu 2.0 to be user friendly.

Thank you for the kind comment, always happy to have lurkers who jump into commenters :) All in fun, I actually started this blog a few months before Richard started his…I think he may have even emailed me to let me know he was starting a similar blog. I am always on the hunt for great tech resources and often bookmark something to write about just as I see it pop up in my Google Reader from Richard…the guy is a blog ninja :)
Be sure to share your blog when you get it going!

@Nilah- Thank you! It was a surprise to me that I would feel so nervous about using tech to teach…I guess it really isn’t the tech I am worried about but rather my ability to teach in this new way. I am excited about it! I’ll post a follow up as I get a few classes under my belt.

@chad Lehman- thanks! I am curious too ;)

Hi Kelly
Your new project is great! You have so much to offer your students and this is such a brilliant way to deliver your course. I will be looking forward to reading about how you are going. Good luck and have fun.

Thanks Penny! I am having fun with it so far…my students have been amazing, I am continually impressed with what they are capable of :)

Hi! I just came across your blog today because someone shared it on Diigo. I’ve bookmarked it already!

I was wondering if you might be able to compare Moodle with Edu2.0. I have not ever used an LMS, but I really want to start one this year. I was looking into Moodle, but my current school does not host it. So I’m starting from scratch, trying to figure out how to get it hosted (cost-effectively), and then trying to learn the logistics, too. If Edu2.0 is free, that solves that problem, but I don’t really know what features one has versus the other. Any insight, compare/contrast, you can provide would be great!

Hi Holly,
I’m glad that you found my blog! I hear that Edu 2.0 is very comparable to Moodle as far as features. I haven’t used Moodle myself, but have heard that there is a definite learning curve involved (maybe a Moodle user can speak to this). I can tell you that Edu 2.0 is incredibly easy to use and has a ton of features. The creator, Graham, is really responsive to suggestions and is constantly updating and improving Edu 2.0. Especially if cost is a factor, I would say save yourself the headache and go with Edu 2.0!

How do most teachers set up their LMS? Do you create one space for your classroom? Say you teach biology…would you just set up a biology class, or do you set up a space for 1st period, 2nd period, etc? I’m very new to LMS. Thanks.

@Excited Neuron- a lot of schools are setting up a common school LMS. For schools who aren’t doing this (like mine) teachers are creating one space for their classroom. In Edu 2.0 you can create one class and then have multiple sessions for that class (1st, 2nd, 3rd period). It works really well because the assignments can have the same base and assigned to students when it is appropriate for their session. This is how I set up my virtual class. I created one digital storytelling class and I have two sessions, one for M/W and one for T/TH.

I have used Vyew and its good. Additionally, I have also used WebEx, GoMeetNow; gotomeeting etc. and they all are good too.

[…] found this tool about integrating virtual technology in the classroom and thought it was pretty interesting. I love […]

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