What it is: I absolutely love when I learn about a new site, especially those that I immediately know will be a winner with students. You know the sites that have incredible graphics, are easy to use, and involve kids in the story (instead of just drill and practice). Wiglington & Wenks is one such site. One of the creators of the site @aldricchang alerted me to the new site today via Twitter.
Students are dropped into the middle of a story where they become world travelers to places around the real-world, meeting historical characters, playing brain games, building culture inspired houses, exploring secret locations, and solving ancient mysteries. There are 100 educational real-world and imaginary places for students to visit from the past, present, and the future. Wiglington and Wenks was originally a children story book series written by Johan Bittleston. It has exploded into an online world where students can learn and explore.
Wiglington and Wenks is so much more than your standard virtual world, it has a rich story line with well developed characters, plot, mystery, and quests. Students are dropped into the story and invited to participate, learning through exploration, problem solving, and critical thinking. The world highlights famous real-world landmarks, historical figures, inventions, culture, nature, and wildlife. Students are motivated to learn more about each as they complete a series of quests.
The story behind the virtual world is about two water rats from England, Wiglington and Wenks, who are in search of a legacy left by Wiglington’s great explorer ancestor. A series of magic maps guide them as they travel through time and space. Through a series of events, a time portal was accidentally created that transported famous figures from the past to the future. All of the historical figures seem to have forgotten who they are. Students embark on a quest to help Wilington and Wenks find the famous missing characters and recover their lost memories.
Wilglington and Wenks are the main characters of the story. They are the heroes. There are a host of other characters that further enchant students as they solve the mysteries of this virtual world.
Carto is the map creator who created the magic maps that keep track of geography, cultural evolution, and climate change over time. Fragments of the map piece together to form a complete real-world map.
Sir Ordy Nace is the curator of the maps at the British Museum.
Filo rat is the head of the Traveling Academy in the town. He is an inventor, code breaker, and skilled strategist- a genius in every way. He loves a challenging game of sudoku or master mind.
Scuttle Butt is a search engine. Ask him a question and he provides a useful list with the most relevant information at the top. He is Filo Rat’s assistant. (This is an awesome way for students to familiarize themselves for using search engines to solve problems!)
Chacophonous is a crab who also happens to be a conductor. He is reportedly connected by an ancestor to Beethoven. He introduces students to classical music.
Walpole the whale makes cross-ocean transportation possible. He has a terrible sense of direction so students have to give him directions and help guide him.
Every story needs a villain and the Count is the villain of this story. He is known for using his knowledge of the magic maps for the destruction of the environment along with his side kick Warrior Wolf.
Historical figures include Thomas Edison, Alexandar Graham Bell, Cleopatra, Confusious, Copernicus, Damo, Emperor Quin, Galileo Galilei, Issac Newton John, Marco Polo, John Rolfe, Nostra Damus, Pocahontas, Wilber Wright, Orville Wright, Vlad Dracula, and many more.
How to integrate Wiglington & Wenks Virtual World into the classroom: The rich storyline alone makes this site one to bring into your classroom. Students can do character studies, learn about plot, mystery, and suspense. Use this site to teach your students about environmental issues such as global warming, forest preservation, protection of marine life, and endangered animals. This is an immersive learning environment where your students will learn by doing. As students travel the virtual world, they will learn geography, cultural differences, history, and inventions. Students are encouraged to think creatively to solve the issues facing the world today. Wiglington & Wenks would be a great site to introduce to students at the beginning of the year that is used throughout the year for learning. Make it your goal to solve the mysteries of the magic maps before the end of the year. Throughout the year students can visit the virtual world, learn about historical figures, famous inventions, and geography. Hang up a world map in your classroom and keep track of the places that have been visited. Encourage students to create character cards as they learn about new historical figures, and story characters. Each student can have their own account but keep track of progress as a class. Create PSA posters for the classroom as students learn about environmental issues. Explore more about the inventors and inventions that students come across in the virtual world. Have students keep a journal of discoveries (on or offline) as they discover new clues. Have students write newspaper articles about the happenings of the virtual world and it’s characters. This site can be tied into your curriculum for the year in a variety of ways.
I love the way this site encourages discovery of knowledge, teamwork, and critical thinking. This site will have your students excited about learning the whole year through. Fridays would make a great day of discovery each week and give students something to look forward to. Create a single class account and explore Wilington and Wenks as a class each week (or a little each day) using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Give each student the opportunity to be the navigator of the world. The other students can take observation notes in a journal about what they see and learn. If you have classroom computers, cycle your students through the virtual world as a center activity. In this model each student can have an account. If you have access to a 1 to 1 environment (one computer for each child) or a computer lab setting on a regular basis, students can each have their own account and solve the mystery individually. Form small groups where students can discuss their findings and give each other tips and tricks. (Hint: these groups will form whether or not you create them…it is that engaging!)
Wiglington and Wenks is the way that learning should be!
Tips: Read the Wiglington & Wenks books (Amazon link) as a class…the tie into the virtual world will have your students eager to read these books to learn more!
Your students will catch on to the virtual world environment quickly and know more about the characters, games, etc. than you could ever hope to learn. There is a great guide that will clue you into everything the world offers so that you can keep up with your students. Check it out here.
Leave a comment and share how you are using Wiglington & Wenks Virtual World in your classroom.