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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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Group Table

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 18-11-2008

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What it is: GroupTable is a web-based software and success network developed specifically to help student groups improve document management, project planning and communication.”  Group Table helps students stay organized with all of their group projects and study groups in one place.  Students can see all of their groups in one place including any file uploads, posts, tasks, upcoming events and more.  Each student and group has their own binder on Group Table that allows them to organize, store and share word documents, presentations, and spreadsheets in one easy-to-use location.  Group Table has the ability to create to do lists and assign tasks or remind others about upcoming events.  Each group gets a dedicated chat room and discussion board with Group Table making collaboration and communication simple and efficient.  This site was created by college students for students.  Although the target audience is high school and college age students, Group Table could be effectively used in the secondary elementary classroom and the middle school classroom.

 

How to integrate Group Table into the classroom:   For high school and college students, Group Table is a great site to introduce students to for their own group creation.  Secondary elementary and middle school students would benefit from a teacher led group on Group Table.  This is a great way to introduce your students to effective collaboration, communication, and 21st century literacy skills.  It is essential that students learn how to collaborate on projects using web 2.0 technologies and Group Table provides the perfect space to practice.

 

Tips:   Teachers, create a study group for your classroom that your students can join.

 

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

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