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Atlantis Remixed: Inquiry based virtual world

What it is: Atlantis Remixed is a great interactive virtual world that supports students and teachers in conducting rich, inquiry-based explorations during which students learn standards related content and develop pro-social attitudes regarding environmental and social issues.  More than just making learning fun, project Atlantis Remixed aims to help kids realize that they can make a real difference in the world.  Atlantis Remixed is really a combination of education, entertainment/gaming and social action.  The game environment has been designed to support students in social commitment and real-world action.  Atlantis Remixed was created for children ages 9-16 to engage in transformational play in both online and offline learning activities.  The storyline in the online activities inspires students toward social action. Atlantis Remixed is a combination of a 3D multi-user virtual environment, learning quests and unit plans, a storyline (presented through an introductory video, novel and comic book), a global community of participants, and a narrative programming toolkit that kids can use to remix user-created stories.  The storyline helps bridge the virtual, fictional, world of Atlantis with the real-world.  Students can travel to virtual places to perform authentic activities (Quests), talk with other students from around the world, build virtual characters and professions, and demonstrate learning through multi-media portfolios.  The platform is transdisciplinary including math, science and literacy. Students are sent on virtual social missions that reflect global ideals such as social responsibility, compassionate wisdom, creative expression, diversity affirmation, environmental awareness, healthy communities, and personal agency. How to integrate Atlantis Remixed into the classroom: Atlantis Remixed has full units ready to use. Each unit is aligned to standards, inquiry based and meets multiple domains of learning. A single water-quality unit puts students in role of scientists hired by a national park, to come to the forest to help explain fish decline in the area.  Students interact with virtual park rangers, loggers, fishermen and indigenous people and discover multiple perspectives.  After decisions have been made, students can log back in and see the impact of their decisions.  They can reflect on the consequences (and unintended consequences) of their decisions, and make changes as needed. In addition to the virtual component, there is guided offline learning that can take place including discussions and in class activities.  Teachers can modify curriculum to fit their own classroom needs. Units include: Taiga- a water quality unit, Virtual Mesa Verde- a social studies unit, Plague World- a persuasive writing unit, Ander City- a statistics unit, Spacenik- a planetary science unit, Biological Indicators Mission, Rights & Responsibility Mission, Two Cells-One World Mission, and Diversity Mission.  You can look at a snapshot of any of these missions to learn more about it. Think about the added components you could layer on Atlantis Remixed Quests and missions.  Are your students practicing writing business letters?  Who could they write to in the virtual world or real world?  Are your students learning how to use a new tech tool?  What tie-in is there to the inquiry?  How can you integrate other learning and customize the Atlantis Remixed environment to best fit your needs? Tips: On the Educators Page, you can choose to login to the 2D gateway without logging into the 3D world. I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!! Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Atlantis Remixed in your classroom.

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“Facebook” profile pages for literary characters

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Character Education, Create, Download, Evaluate, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 04-03-2011

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Today I worked with a mixed seventh and eighth grade class who is reading To Kill a Mockingbird.  The teacher was looking for ways for the students to explore the characters more in-depth and think about how authors develop characters.  I thought having the students create a fake “Facebook” profile page would be a great way to accomplish all of those learning goals. As one of the students said, “It is totally fun!”.    The challenge with this particular classroom is that we are working within a mixed platform environment.  There are PC’s and Macs of all different operating systems and ages.  The one common we have going for us is an Internet connection.

Each student created an information page about one of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird that looked just like a Facebook information page.  This gave them the opportunity to think  about characteristics, interests, activities, quotes, and some creative license to flesh out the details.  I knew about My Fake Wall, but because of the HEAVY advertising, and request for an email address I wasn’t convinced it was the best place for students to create a character profile.  For the record I like the site a lot and the results are impressive but all of the advertisements are obnoxious and I wasn’t convinced it wouldn’t get hung up by a filter.  I needed a plan B.  I ended up creating a Facebook information page template using Pages.  The problem: not all of the students had Pages to use the template (that mixed environment thing).  So, I got creative and settled on exporting the Pages document as a PDF and uploading it to Crocodoc for students.  I uploaded it once for each student (so each would have a unique URL to edit).  It worked great! Students used Crocodoc to annotate over the template and then could download the finished pdf it to their computers.  Some students chose to find an online picture that they could use for the profile picture, other students created their own avatar type pictures of the character using the drawing tools in Crocodoc (they turned out great…such little artists).

When the students were finished, they headed over to see if they could get My Fake Wall to work.  Miracle of miracles it wasn’t blocked (I was surprised!).  My Fake Wall has the students create the profile page of a character where they can create posts and discussions between characters.  They used the information page they created as a starting place and created a conversation between several characters.  It was a big hit except they were disappointed that it didn’t actually work like Facebook. They were wanting to each create their character and actually interact as the character.  If they were older I would have considered letting them use Facebook this way.

The students really enjoyed thinking about characters this way and as we were wrapping up for the day they asked, “could we go on here and create some of these for historical characters?”  One wanted to take on Hitler and another Columbus.  I always consider a lesson successful when students aren’t ready to stop the learning…this one was a success!

If you are interested in using the template I created, you can do so by first downloading the original from Facebook Template.  Next, upload the pdf template to your own Crocodoc page.  You will need to do this for each student or they will all be collaboratively working on the same document.  Give students their unique URL, and they are off.  If you don’t have access to computers but would still like to use my template, feel free to print it out and have students work on it the old school way.

Comments (35)

Cool
Thanks for the reflection and the resources.
Kevin

I did the same project with my bible class. They had to make a page for a biblical figure from our studies. I used a PowerPoint template which allowed them to create additional pages and links between the pages. They loved it as well.

Just forwarded this to my ELA teachers…good idea.

Jill

I think your plan B innovation was brilliant!

wow! what an awesome idea – I can’t wait to pass it along to the literacy teachers at my school! do you think it would work with younger students (4th/5th graders)?

I haven’t used it yet, but I am looking forward to using this with my 5th graders!

[…] 9. Are We Wired For Mobile Learning? (Infographic)http://bit.ly/ezfOR1 10. http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=3719 “Facebook” profile pages for literary characters “To Kill a Mockingbird” template […]

Just so you know creating “fake ” Facebook profiles is against facebook’s terms of use agreement that you sign when you sign up for Facebook.

Truly an awesome idea. Thanks for this and all the other fabulous ideas and sites. I teach in a very remote school in Central Australia, and the kids just love the connection they can get through technology – even though our small community is 1200kms from our nearest capital city. Your site helps this happen. Thanks again.

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Have students that want to interact as characters??? Edmodo is the answer! Students and teachers have been using it to great advantage in our district. In a nutshell, edmodo is secure social networking for the classroom. It is simple to use and WONDERFUL for integrating technology.

Here’s a post from my district’s tech blog with more details: http://icafe.lcisd.org/why-i-love-edmodo-and-you-will-too (Be sure to check out our cheatsheet for getting started!)

Additionally, one of my wonderful colleagues, Jennifer Mitchell, has developed a lesson plan which spells out how to use edmodo for a project (like yours above) where students post information as if they were historical or literary characters. Here’s a link to the lesson plan she has created: http://goo.gl/Q1JsB

Thanks for the great blog post! I haven’t checked out CrocDocs yet, but I intend to.

Yes, I will second this Holly- Edmodo is a GREAT way for students to interact this way online. Thanks for the comment.

Thank you so much for the kind words Stella, I am so glad that you can use this and the other sites I share!

Hi PJ, this is only partially true. You are right, creating a fake profile is against the rules. However, students can create a Facebook Page of a fictional character (fan page). Choose “Person” on the page and choose the fictional character option. Within the Page students can create a profile for the character and interact as the character.

Thanks for sharing Lisa! I hope it goes well!

Hi Martha, yes it will work with younger students, I have used this with younger students 4th-6th grade and they really enjoyed it.

Thank you Susan!

Thanks Jill!

Great idea! We did the same at my school with 5th grade students. Each was assigned a Biblical Figure and had to interact with each other as that figure.

You are so welcome!

Thanks so much! I’m using this for an undergrad research project involving curriculum development… I hadn’t heard of myfakewall, either, so now I’m playing with both :)

Glad that you can use it Sara!

[…] ‘Facebook’ Profile Pages for Literary Characters […]

[…] the social media sphere.  Last week (or was it the week before?) I shared that I had created a Facebook Template that could be used with students for creating a fake Facebook profile.  Since then I have come […]

I recently had to do a project in my teacher prep program and chose to do a fake Facebook page for a main character in a book for middle schoolers (Jerry Spinelli’s “Loser”). There are so many directions students can take the project (wall posts from other characters, status updates, likes, photos, etc.) that demonstrate their comprehension of the literature.

Also observed a 7th grade class, in which an ELA teacher had students make profiles using construction paper. The projects came out great and the students were very involved in the work! I will let the teacher know about this useful tool, which might make the project less time-consuming (I did mine through Paint, which took many more hours than it should have).

I also like the suggestions for teachers outside of Social Studies and ELA – never thought it could be used in that way.

Keep up the great work; the information on this site is very useful.

Thank you Brett, and thank you for sharing the ways that you are using this idea with your students!

i used myfakewall but i prefer this tool http://thewallmachine.com

Thank you so much for sharing! I am excited to try this for my grad class. I am a little bummed though because I thought the literacy character facebook page was a new idea I just came up with :-( awesome though to hear how others have accomplished this though… And addressed my initial concerns.

Know what you mean…happens to me often! BUT, the passion behind the “new idea” is the best part…whether it is new or not! ;)

I think your document link has been hacked. It has scribbles and profanity written over it. I would like to check out your version of the template to use for my Honors English 1-2 class and The Odyssey. Do you have a clean copy you might be able to email me?

Thanks,

Rachel

Oh dear! I’ll send you a copy Rachel. Thanks for letting me know!

I was really excited about the idea and went to the link that allows me to download your original page…It’s been vandalized. I just wanted you to know. I tried to click on one of the buttons to edit and remove some of the markings, but I didn’t quite know how.

Thanks for letting me know, I think I’ve solved it!

Hi – Any chance you could either reload the PDF page to the link above (where we click on “here” or send the PDF to me? I’ve been messing with trying to make a template – and I’ve discovered I know just enough about graphic software to frustrate myself!!

@KC- I just updated the link. It should allow you to download now! Give it a try :)

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