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MinyanLand: A virtual world for economics and finance

What it is: I love virtual worlds that go beyond just play and incorporate learning opportunities.  MinyanLand is a virtual world where students get to play games and make friends while they learn about earning, saving, spending and giving.  Best of all, it is free to use!  Students begin their time in MinyanLand with $50,000 in MinyanMoney and a condo.  They can visit the ATM in the MinyanLand bank to invest their money.  Each time students visit, they can check to see if their balance has gone up or down.  Students can earn more MinyanMoney by playing fun games, or doing real life chores or classroom jobs to collect a virtual allowance.   Students can  use their MinyanMoney to buy things for their home, add rooms, and move into a new neighborhood. MinyanLand has it’s own newspaper called the MinyanLand Journal, it will keep students up-to-date with what is new every day.  Students can play games where they practice their math skills and test their knowledge about money.  Games include a Lemonade Stand, Guitar Mayhem, Paper Route, Concentration, Balloon Quiz, Fill in the Face, Fill in the Name, Catch the Money, Word Search, Money Sorter, Cluedoku, Boo Blvd., Where Did You Get That Money?, and Quiz Boxes.  Students will need to keep their virtual character healthy by fueling up at Ollie’s Diner. The characters in MinyanLand are fun and varied, there is Hoofy the Bull, president of the bank; Boo the Bear, a retired dot-com millionaire; Daisy the cow, executive producer of MinyanLand’s TV station; Cassidy the Bear, a school teacher; Sammy the Snake, an administrator in City Hall; and Snapper the Turtle, the go-to guy in town. MinyanLand is a fun way for students to learn about and interact with economic and financial concepts.  The economic system in MinyanLand can even take advantage of real-life pricing of general goods and services.  Students are encouraged to charitably give within MinyanLand.  The idea is to offer every child the opportunity and platform to be financially literate.   MinyanLand is ideal for students in 3rd-5th grade but younger students would enjoy it as well. How to integrate MinyanLand into the classroom: MinyanLand is such a fun way to work toward financial literacy in the classroom.  It offers students a virtual economy where they can practice real-world skills of buying, earning, investing, and giving.  I love the way that MinyanLand ties the real world to the virtual by allowing students to earn virtual MinyanMoney for real chores and jobs. Registering is free and easy enough for young students to register themselves.  A parent or teacher email address is optional for registration.  If students include a parent or teacher email address, they can earn MinyanMoney for chores or jobs that you assign. MinyanLand is one of those sites that would be great as a year-long project.  Students can visit MinyanLand throughout the year in the classroom (and at home) to learn about money, investing, spending, earning, and the economy.  It is a natural fit in the math classroom where students are already working with money and numbers.  MinyanLand would be best in a lab setting where each student has access to a computer.  If you don’t have a lab for students, use classroom computers as a learning center.  Students can visit the center throughout the week to interact in MinyanLand. Tips: Even if you don’t want to use the virtual money in class, consider letting parents know about the opportunity to tie household chores to learning.  Students can play in class and earn virtual money at home. Please leave a comment and share how you are using MinyanLand in your classroom!

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Squad: Collaborative Code Editor

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Create, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Technology, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-12-2012

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What it is: We have some students at Anastasis Academy that are CODE crazy! They are really excited to learn how to code (we’ve used Codecademy) and practice with friends.  Squad is a free collaborative code editor.  With Squad, students can access the code they are writing anywhere there is an Internet connection. This means that students can chat and edit files together no matter where they are.  Squad constantly saves the workspace so that they are available even when multiple machines are logged in.  Students can see what teammates are working on, offer recommendations and even work simultaneously on a document.  Even better? If your students have a coding question (and you, like me, can’t answer) they can copy and paste the code in the workspace’s share URL and anyone with the URL can get in to help.  All of the files created on Squad belong to your students.  They can open (and save) local files, access a remote host via FTP/SFTP or grab a file from Dropbox.  The chat feature is searchable so that students can go back and learn from past mistakes or suggestions.

How to integrate Squad into the classroom: Do you have students who want to learn how to code?  What better way for them to learn and practice than together?!  At Anastasis, we have Crave classes.  These are classes that run once a week that students get to elect to take…something they “crave” learning.  One of our crave classes last year was learning to code.  I “taught” it.  No, I don’t really know how to code. We learned together!  You don’t have to be an expert to help your students explore their passions and interests.  We used Codecademy to learn together.  One of the limitations of Codecademy is that there is no where to just practice together after you have learned a skill.  Squad would be the perfect place for students to explore and practice together.

Older or more advanced students might want to create a club or work together to show what they know in another subject by putting their coding skills to use.

Tips: The free version of Squad limits students to 3 collaborators and 1 workspace, this should be plenty for your beginners!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Squad in your classroom.

Comments (2)

If you’re looking for a great site to learn to code, you need to check out http://codehs.com

We’ve made it really fun and accessible to get started and keep students engaged by teaching them to make fun graphics and awesome games, all from scratch!

We have an awesome, in-browser editor that lets students explore and create.

Most importantly, we have live tutors that answer your questions and give you feedback on your code, so you really improve.

Thank you for these resources! After I created my wedding website last year I became interested in coding, most specifically, learning more about using HTML and CSS to design blogs. Since then, I’ve been interested in teaching an elective for 8th graders. These resources and your experience make me even more confident that it’s something I’m willing to do! Thank you!!

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