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Secret Builders Update

What it is: I have reviewed Secret Builders virtual world before, but some new additions and features deserve another post.  Secret Builders is a virtual world for kids (8-12) that introduces them to fictional characters from history and literature.  Secret Builders has added a host of new historical characters that students can interact with including: Jane Austen, Bach, Alexander Bell, Emily Bronte, Confucius, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Hafez, Magellen, Omar Khxyam, Motzart, Issac Newton, Rumi, and Lao Tzu just to name a few.  Students can actually visit the historical figures house, learn more about them, interact with them by asking questions in a virtual chat (answered as the character would answer), and take a quiz to find out how much they know about the historical figure.  Secret Builders allows kids to get up close and personal with history in ways not previously possible.  It allows them to gain a better understanding of historical figures than a textbook offers.  Secret Builders has additional school friendly features like areas for students to write, collaboratively draw and share, and play educational puzzle games.  Secret Builders also has a great Internet safety quiz that tests students on their knowledge of what online behavior should look like.  Secret Builders has just added a Teacher’s Console where teachers can add and manage their students from one central location.  Teachers can also set up an online reward system for students where they can unlock special Secret Builder features by completing “quests” that you assign.  For example, you may be studying Thomas Edison in class.  You could send students on a quest to find and learn about Thomas Edison and give the reward to those students that correctly complete the quiz. How to integrate Secret Builders into the classroom: Secret Builders is an excellent way to bring history to life for your students.  They will understand historical and literary figures better as they interact with them in this virtual world.  Secret Builders is best in a lab setting where every student has access to a computer.  Be sure to sign your class up under a teacher account where you can control and monitor what students are expected to do in Secret Builders.  Encourage students to interact and “interview” the historical figures that they encounter.  They can then write an article about the historical figure for the Secret Builders virtual newspaper.  Secret Builders is a great first stop for learning about important figures in history.  It will leave them wanting more and excited to learn more about these interesting people in history. Tips: Secret Builders also has a program that is connected called “One for All” students can raise money for their school by answering math, logic, geography, and vocabulary questions. Leave a comment and share how you are using Secret Builders  in your classroom.

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Atlantis Remixed: Inquiry based virtual world

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Character Education, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 15-04-2013

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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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