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Tikatok

    What it is:  Tikatok is a great website to excite your students about writing.  With Tikatok each of your students can become a published author, create, share, and gain an authentic audience for their writing and illustrations, and receive writing support through the StorySparks system.  StorySparks are a framework that gives students prompts at the bottom of their screen as they are writing their story.  They are tips such as “the beginning of the story is where we define a setting, where does your story take place?”  StorySparks come in different levels depending on your student ability.  Using Tikatok, students can build literacy skills such as: writing, story structure, reading, comprehension, imagination, creativity, character development, story development, critical thinking, organization, drafting, and technology skills (typing, uploading pictures, saving, collaboration, and communication).  Students have options when creating a story, they can choose a topic and idea to start a story or they can start from scratch with a blank story.  The first option allows students to get help with the hardest part of story creation, thinking of an idea and beginning a story.  Students fill in blanks about their story and get a basic story that they can embellish and add to.  In the second option, students create a story from scratch.  Teachers can register classes and keep track of the stories their students are creating.  Teachers can also send students messages and comment on stories.  There is also an option for students to work collaboratively on a story.  Students can adjust their stories template, colors, text, and images.  When students are finished, their story can be viewed online, printed out from a PDF file, or published and purchased for $15-20. How to integrate Tikatok into the classroom:  Tikatok is an excellent tool to bring into your writing classroom.  It can be used as a publishing center for finished pieces of writing, as a collaborative writing project, or as a place to keep all written work.  The ability for students to use story starters is outstanding for those kiddos who are forever saying “I don’t know what to write about”.  They absolutely won’t be able to use that excuse here!  Even if you don’t have the ability for all of your students to write stories on Tikatok because of limited computer access, use the story idea starters using a projector as students write in journals.  I love the ability for teachers to keep track of all student writing in one place.  Since Tikatok is online, students can work on their stories from any Internet connected computer making it especially useful for those students who are slow or those students who like to write novels.    When students are finished writing stories, have a reading day where students can read other student stories and leave comments and feedback.  Only have access to one or two classroom computers?  Have the whole class take part in a collaborative story.    I love Tikatok for several reasons but the ability to view ‘published’ work online in book form is handy for the environment (it is green), for families who want to see their childs work, and the sense of authentic audience that it brings students.  Student work is always higher quality when they know their audience base is larger than the teacher!  I also love that the stories can be saved as PDF files and printed for classroom libraries or the school library.  The ability to purchase bound books is motivating for many students and parents love to have their kids work officially published.   In my classroom I will leave the stories online and send home a flier to parents about how to purchase a bound book if they would like to.  So neat!   Tips:  Tikatok has the ability to upload student illustrations, if you don’t have a scanner at your school, students artwork can be sent to Tikatok and will be uploaded within 24 hours.  I like the idea of using a computer based drawing tool like Skitch for illustrations.  Sign up for a teacher account today, it is so simple to get started!   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Tikatok  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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