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The Carbon Cycle Game

What it is: The Carbon Cycle Game is a free online game that teaches students about how carbon cycles through the Earth system.  It is appropriate for 4th-9th grade students learning about the carbon cycle.  As students play the game, they will learn that carbon cycles naturally through living and...

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StackUp: track self-directed learning online

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Classroom Management, Inquiry, Interactive book, Knowledge (remember), Maker Space, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 16-01-2017

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Assign and track reading online: StackUp

 

What it is: I’ve written about StackUp before here but, over the last three years, the company has grown up enough that it warrants another post! StackUp has a pretty great back story. Nick Garvin, the founder of StackUp, was fresh out of school and wanted to apply for a job at Tesla Motors. The problem? His traditional resume failed to document the thousands of hours that he spent online in self-taught learning about the automotive industry. This frustration led to the creation of StackUp, a way for Nick (and others like him) to better document self-directed learning. As an educator, StackUp immediately appealed to me for the way that it could capture my own learning. Though I don’t hold a degree in educational technology, my years of independent study should be captured! My blog does a decent job of helping me share my learning with others, but it is still just a small representation of all that I have learned over the years. Similarly, my graphic artist husband has realized that he has a love for industrial design and machining. He has spent hours and hours learning 3D digital design, playing with 3D printers, CAD programs, woodworking, welding, and recently machining with a metal lathe. Though his traditional resume wouldn’t easily reflect it, he has a pretty impressive industrial design background. StackUp is a Chrome browser plugin that tracks everything from personal productivity (I’ve learned I spend way too much of my life in email hell), to verifying independent reading/learning, to helping quantify self-directed learning.

How to integrate StackUp in the Classroom: The beauty of StackUp is that it isn’t one more program to add to your curriculum, it isn’t one more piece of technology that your students have to learn. Simply add the plugin, ask your students to sign in, and it runs automagically in the background while they carry on with their learning. As a teacher, you can login to StackUp and create reading challenges for your students. At Anastasis, we are using these challenges in inquiry to encourage students to spend time on a variety of website types. Right now our students are doing an inquiry on How the World Works. They are inquiring into different types of energy. This lends itself to a lot of research on science websites. The challenges help us encourage the kids to diversify the types of sites they are incorporating into the inquiry block. Yes, we want the kids to be researching the science behind different kinds of energy, but we also want them to explore the history of energy use, the social and economic implications of how we use energy, the current political climate and it’s impact on how we use energy. You know…connective inquiry! StackUp lets our teachers challenge students to diversify their learning in this way by creating a category challenge. Teachers choose categories for students. No matter which websites they visit, if they are included in a category, they will get ‘credit’ for visiting that site. I love the way StackUp works for your classroom, and doesn’t box students into specific requirements for the tracking to work. Teachers can also set up challenges based on a specific website or time spent learning in a category.

One of the unintended consequences of using StackUp with our students, is they way it has added to our Learner Profile. Using StackUp has helped us gain a better understanding of who our students are by uncovering hidden interests that they might have. If a student spends a lot of time in a specific category or on specific websites, StackUp  gives us insight into those passions and interests.

Students (and learners of all kind- teachers count!) can use StackUp to showcase the reading and learning they do online by subject area. At a glance, students can see how much reading they are doing and what topics have been of most interest to them. This can help them discover the things that they are most passionate about, and even help them discover where they waste time. It is pretty revealing when you see how much time you sink into things like email, Facebook, etc. While I appreciate the time to connect with others through social media, I realized that I spend more time there than I probably need to. StackUp can help you manage online time more efficiently by revealing where you spend it.

Students can engage in classroom reading challenges and see how their learning compares to their classmates. This can be used as a motivational element, though we don’t use it this way at Anastasis (inquiry lends itself more to competition with self than competition with others).

One of the things we’ve loved about StackUp is the ability to help parents see the learning that their children are doing online. So often our time spent on devices can appear to be frivolous to those who don’t know what is happening while we are online. With StackUp, parents can see the time students are spending learning and what they are learning about. Of course, if students are spending 90% of their time on gaming sites that tells a story, too.

I really appreciate the way that StackUp helps teachers and students alike metacognate about where and why we spend our time online. It is a great tool to spur on reflection about where we spend time, and what we care most about.

One of the StackUp stories I love was from @SenorG, he talked about students taking a credit recovery class online. One of the things StackUp revealed was for every hour spent on the credit recovery site, students spent 20min on Google Translate. This information was invaluable for those assisting students. It was also valuable information to consider for the credit recovery course platform. Could they better empower students by embedding a translate feature? By translating the whole site? Way cool!

Bottom line: StackUp can help give you insight into your students online reading habits. It gives you a way to see where their learning takes them and how much time they are spending on their online reading/learning. We realized after a few weeks that our students had the bad habit of site hopping. They would start research using Google, but if the answer they were hunting for wasn’t immediately apparent on the site they clicked on, they would go directly back to Google. This helped us realize that we needed to teach students how to search smarter, and that when they arrived at a site, we needed to better equip them with the tools to dive into the learning.

Tips: StackUp is super easy to install, you can do it in under a minute! If you have Google apps, you can do this in under a minute for your whole school! Students can sign in using their existing Google education accounts. Don’t have Google for Education? First, I’m sorry! Second, not to worry, students can sign in using any email address.

The StackUp plugin can be easily turned on or off at any time. All information is private and can be deleted at any time. It is both COPPA and FERPA compliant. Students can choose which information to share on their profile.

StackUp Chromebook

Shout out to StackUp who generously donated a class set of Chromebooks to Anastasis students! Thank you!

 

Are you coming to the 5Sigma Edu Conference in February? If not, you should be! It is the place we were originally introduced to StackUp!

 

Eliademy: Democratizing education with technology

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Foreign Language, Geography, Government, History, Inquiry, Interactive book, Internet Safety, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Music, PE, Phonics, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Technology, video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 19-11-2013

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ilearn Technology: Eliademy- Democratizing education with technology

What it is: Eliademy has a wonderful mission of democratizing education with technology.  The tool makes it easy for anyone to create an online classroom, for free!  Eliademy makes it easy for educators to create, share and manage courses.  Eliademy is a free learning management system and course content created by you.  Educators can engage students through discussion boards, videos, images, news feeds, visual notifications and calendar with a fast and easy to use interface.  Eliademy is available everywhere: Mac, PC, tablet, smart phone. Very handy!  Even better, you can create a course from your tablet (not available in a lot of LMS/online classroom options).

How to integrate Eliademy into your classroom: Eliademy isn’t just for offering distance-learning.  It is a great way to connect your students in new and awesome ways in a blended-learning environment.  Keep all of your digital classroom resources in one, easy-to access place.  Make sure that your students can always be connected to what is happening in class with a shared calendar. Extend classroom discussions with discussion boards, video, and news feeds.

I’ve long been a fan of blending online experiences with offline.  Students begin to see that learning can happen anywhere, not just in your classroom.  They also connect in different ways online.  I’ve found that kids are willing to have deeper, more vulnerable conversations in an online environment.  This is especially true when the relationships are established first in the classroom.

Host your “flipped” materials using Eliademy.  Not only can students access video, they can extend the experience with access to additional classroom materials, the ability to discuss and share resources online, etc.

Challenge students to create their own course to share.  What are they passionate about?  What can they offer to teach others?

Tips: Eliademy makes the promise that it will always be secure, without advertisements, and free.  Outstanding.

What do you think of Eliademy?  How do you plan to use it in your classroom?

The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators: FREE ebook!!

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, collaboration, Download, For Teachers, Grade Level, inspiration, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 13-12-2010

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I am excited to announce the release of a free ebook: The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators- a comprehensive introduction to using technology in all k-12 classrooms.  Think of this as an early Christmas present!

Richard Byrne from Free Tech 4 Teachers is the brilliant mind behind this ebook.  About a month ago, he approached some of your favorite educators and bloggers (myself included…still can’t wrap my brain around that 🙂 ) to contribute to an ebook.  Today is the release and I have to say, it is pretty amazing!!  I just finished reading through the finished product and have bookmarked some new tools, had my jaw dropped by Silvia Tolisano and her AMAZING Skype guide, and been inspired all over again by fellow educators and administrators.  I am honored to be a part of this incredible resource and guide.  Contributers include: Steven Anderson, Adam Bellow, Richard Byrne, George Couros, Larry Ferlazzo, Lee Kolbert, Patrick Larkin, Cory Plough, Beth Still, me (Kelly Tenkely) and Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano.  Thank you Richard for the outstanding idea and for acting as editor and pulling it all together!

You can read the ebook in it’s entirety embedded below, by following this link, or download it here.


12 Tools for Blended Learning- The Apple

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Grade Level, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Virtual Field Trips, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-11-2010

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A year ago I wrote this article for The Apple, it just got published yesterday 🙂  I have a few tools I would add to this list.  The first is Wiggio, you can read more about it here.  The second is Vyew, you can read more about it here.  Since the article was written a year ago, some of the tools are no longer available or have changed a little bit.  Drop.io just got bought out by Facebook and the service has been discontinued so that is no longer an option.

Read the original 12 Tools for Blended Learning article here.  If you are unfamiliar with The Apple, they are a social network platform for teachers that is connected to Monster.com.  The apple shares educational news stories, education articles on every topic, forums, collaborative areas, educational job postings, lesson plans, resources, and more. Definitely worth checking out!

Kelly Tenkely | TheApple.com

With H1N1 lurking in our schools and the possibility of pandemic illness, there has never been a better occasion for blended learning. Blended learning occurs when schools and classrooms mix traditional face-to-face teaching, with online instruction and interaction. Aside from the flu, there are other great reasons to create an e-learning environment for your classroom.

Natural disasters, weather, school closings, long term student illness, struggling learners, English language learners, and students who are entering your classroom mid-way through the school year would all benefit from a blended learning environment. This type of e-learning brings a continuity to learning that is not otherwise possible.

Additionally, a blended learning classroom prepares students for a future that is largely virtual. Students are able to go back and review lessons and learning at their own pace. Students who may lack support at home from parents or family members will have access to on demand learning. Parents will gain a better understanding of what is happening in the classroom and, as a result, will be more equipped to assist their child’s learning. Blending your classroom can save you time and energy by making your classroom more effective and efficient.

Making the transition to a blended learning classroom doesn’t have to happen overnight. Post teaching and learning materials online a little at a time, systematically increasing your offerings. This makes the progression for students, teachers, and parents seamless. Begin by providing instructional materials that were used throughout the school day online. Gradually add extra options such as online collaboration, assignments, grading, and lesson materials. Should your school need to go completely virtual due to school closure, the groundwork will have been laid to make it possible.

There are several free programs that help make e-Learning possible, choose the one that best meets your classroom and school needs.

1. Edu 2.0  http://edu20.org

Benefits: Edu 2.0 is a complete e-Learning solution. It is completely free to use with no hidden costs or advertising. Classes can be taught public (open to the world) or private (specific to the students in your classroom). A comprehensive gradebook is provided complete with weighting, statistics, and graphs. Online quizzes can be created that include a variety of question types. Messaging is built in and has the option of email integration. Within Edu 2.0 students and teachers can create public or private blogs and wikis.

Students have the ability to network with other students and teachers in your school. Each user has a personalized homepage with a to-do list where students and teachers can easily track to-do items. Since Edu 2.0 is web hosted, it can be accessed from any browser, there is no download or install required. It is easy to create and share lesson plans. Assignments are equally easy to give, track, and grade online. Online debates are hosted to spark discussion and encourage critical thinking. Threaded discussion forums have email and RSS integration. Edu 2.0 has a great privacy policy, it was clearly designed with schools in mind. An integrated calendar displays upcoming events, lessons, and assignments that are due. The site is intuitive and a relatively quick learn. The resource section of the site contains 15,000+ community contributed resources and lesson plans to use. Built in rubric builders make it easy to quickly and consistently score projects online.

Attendance gets tracked and teachers can optionally award points for consistent online attendance. The built in chat feature allows for real time group discussions. Create custom news feeds for classes with the built inRSS reader. Each student can create and keep an online portfolio of their best work. The site is multi lingual and available in 10+ languages. If you have a student user who has their language set differently from yours, all messages are automatically translated through Google Translate. Transcripts of all student grades are available and pull directly from the built-in gradebook. Conduct surveys from within Edu 2.0 and collect results. Multimedia can be added to any lesson including audio, video, photos, and slide shows. The format for building lessons is very simple to use, if you use a word processor you can use Edu 2.0.

Drawbacks: Edu 2.0 may be difficult for students younger than third or fourth grade to navigate independently. Younger students would require some adult assistance.

2. Hot Chalk http://hotchalk.com

Benefits: Hot Chalk’s free learning management system generates daily teacher and student activities while providing a safe and secure online environment where teachers, students, and parents can interact. Hot chalk offers a grade book, online lesson creation, automatically graded quizzes, and an extensive library of digital content. Search Hot Chalks large database of pre-made lessons or create your own. Students can complete and turn in assignments online in one easy stop. Teachers can comment directly on student assignments. The digital content in Hot Chalk’s library is aligned with standardized curriculums and comes from sources such as Globetrekker, National Geographic, PBS, VEA, and more. Hot Chalk is easy to learn and use for both students and teachers.

Drawbacks: Hot Chalk doesn’t contain as many built in options as some of the other e-learning solutions. This is not an all-in-one solution if you are looking for collaborative projects, blogs, wikis or more complex quizzes and tests. Hot Chalk does not advertise to students during the school hours, however the site is advertisement driven to keep it free.

3. Moodle  http://moodle.org

Benefits: Moodle is an open source course management system that provides a virtual learning environment. Moodle is made up of action modules that include forms, wikis, databases, etc. that allow a teacher to build richly collaborative communities of learning around a subject matter. It can be used to deliver content to students and assess learning through assignments and quizzes. Moodle is a robust system and has nearly endless options for customization and implementation. It is comprehensive in its offering of gradebooks, collaborative tools, lesson building abilities, and assessment. Teachers have the option to fully conduct online courses, or simply augment face-to-face class time. Moodle works on all computing platforms including Mac, PC, and Linux. Moodle has extensive documentation and knowledge communities to learn from.

Drawbacks: Moodle is an open source software that has to be downloaded and installed on a web server. It is not as intuitive as Edu 2.0 or Hot Chalk. Moodle would be difficult for younger students to navigate and understand.

4. Think Quest  http://think.com

Benefits: Oracle’s Think Quest is an online environment where students can learn, work together, and manage an online presence in a safe environment. Teachers can assign learning projects for students to work on collaboratively. Other teachers can easily be invited to participate in the online learning projects. Each teacher and student has their own pages where they can create an online presence using text, pictures, multimedia, votes, debates, messaging, and brainstorming. These pages are simple enough for even very young students to create and contribute to, and offer a great introduction to blogging. Think Quest has a library of 7,000+ ready made projects created by teachers from around the world. Think Quest was created for students in k-12 and has no advertising. It is password protected and teacher monitored. Teachers can set up their class to be private so that students can only view other pages of students in their class or public to see what other students from around the world are doing. Think Quest promotes critical thinking, teamwork, communication, creativity, the use of technology, and self-direction. This is a nice option for elementary schools or primary students. It is browser based making it accessible to anyone with an Internet connected computer.

Drawbacks: ThinkQuest is limited in its offerings as a virtual school. There are limits set on file sizes of multimedia that can be used on student pages. There is no built in gradebook and no central location for students to submit work.

The above e-Learning solutions can be supplemented with additional opportunities for one-on-one interaction between teachers and students. Record the live class activities, lessons, and tutorials for on demand learning.

5. Skype- www.skype.com

Benefits: Skype is an excellent way for teachers to connect with students over the Internet. Skype provides a free platform for chatting, audio or video messaging, and screen sharing. Skype sessions can be recorded and saved for future reference. A Skype session would be an excellent way to connect with students to deliver teaching, read a story together, or discuss learning.

Drawbacks: Skype does require a download and students must register with a username and password to use Skype. Skype is not a closed network, this means that students could use Skype to communicate with people outside the classroom.

6. Pal Bee- www.palbee.com

Benefits: Pal Bee is a free online service where you can set up meetings in real time to collaborate online. Pal Bee offers video and audio abilities and provides a virtual whiteboard where students can share ideas. Sessions can be recorded and stored online with Pal Bee.

Drawbacks: Pal Bee limits meetings to 9 people at a time so you may have to split your class into sections.

7. UStream- www.ustream.com

Benefits: Ustream allows you to stream video live. Create a UStream channel for your classroom and stream your lessons live. Students can tune in to view teaching and ask questions or add input via text chat within the UStream channel. You can record your live boradcast for future viewing.

Drawbacks: If you don’t direct your students directly to your UStream channel, they will see feature highlight videos created by other users. These are not necessarily education friendly.

8. Wall Wisher- www.wallwisher.com

Benefits: Wall Wisher is a fantastic little web application that provides a virtual bulletin board of sorts. Teachers can pose questions or ideas for students to answer or think about. Students are sent the unique wall URL and can leave virtual sticky notes answering the question. Students do not have to login to use Wall Wisher, a simple double click allows them to add any thoughts they need to the wall. The platform is very simple to use but provides the opportunity for discussion and collaboration between students.

Drawbacks: Each sticky note is limited to 160 characters making in depth answers difficult on this site.

9. Screen Toaster- www.screentoaster.com

Benefits: Screen Toaster is a browser based screen recording tool that allows teachers to create detailed screencast instructions in minutes. This free to use application can take a video of anything that is on your computer screen. Audio can be included (or not) for any screencast. The screencast video is given a uniqueURL that can be embedded on a webpage or blog or sent to students via email. This is a great way for teaching students how to use e-Learning tools or any online assignments.

Drawbacks: This site requires a robust Internet connection for video creation.

File sharing websites make it easy for your students to access large files, word documents, or pdfs. They are also an effortless way for students to turn in assignments.

10. Drop.io   http://drop.io

Benefits: Drop.io makes it easy to put anything (pictures, audio, or documents) in an online environment where it can be accessed by others to collaborate and share. The documents can be accessed from the web, email, fax, or as an embedded widget. In just two clicks users are able to create personal sharing points, upload content via web, email, MMS, phone and fax. Each ‘drop’ is non-searchable and non-networked, does not require an account and can be password protected and set to expire after a period of time. This makes it very convenient for teachers and students to exchange files and documents online.

Drawbacks: Although Drop.io offers a free account, some of the functionality of a premium paid account would be useful in the classroom.

11. Google Docs- http://google.com/docs

Benefits: Google Docs is an online document, spreadsheet, presentation, and form creation tool. Google Docs are all stored online and can be easily shared with other Google Doc users for collaboration or to turn in an assignment. The layout of Google Docs is very intuitive and closely resembles office suites that students would be familiar with. Google Docs is a free online office suite.

Drawbacks: None

12. Zoho- http://zoho.com

Benefits: Zoho offers a complete range of free online productivity and collaboration applications. These include email, word processor, spreadsheets, slide shows, document management folders, wiki, note taker, online organizer, group chats, web conferencing, database, project collaboration, and a repository to share documents with other users. All Zoho applications work together seamlessly. This is an excellent alternative to software based office suites. Students and teachers can create and share documents online easily.

Drawbacks: None

Even if you never have a need to take your classroom or school into a completely virtual environment, blended learning will allow your students self guided learning opportunities where they can build communication and collaboration skills. These free tools will organize your classroom in new ways and provide learning that extends beyond the confines of the classroom.

Web 2.0 & Connectivist Learning Open Course

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 29-04-2010

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One of my edublogger alliance friends, Carl Anderson, is starting a new venture that we can all benefit from, an open course through Hamline University that is set to begin May 28th title, Web 2.0 & Connectivist Learning.  The idea behind the open course is to take all the great learning that happens online through personal learning networks (informally) and fitting them into the framework of schools, college and universities?  This open course is the answer.

Last fall, Carl wrote a post that posed the following question:

“So, at the very least, here is the rub: Why is it that I can get 1 continuing ed credit for sitting in an hour-long presentation by an obviously biased corporately-employed presenter and not engage myself meaningfully in the topic at hand but for an hour of reading and meaningful career related reflection in my PLN I get nothing institutionally recognized?”

If you are interested in this amazing offer, please fill out this form so that Carl can estimate how many online seats are needed.

Stixy

Posted by admin | Posted in Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 08-02-2010

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Picture 6

What it is: Stixy is a fun and easy way for students and educators to collaborate online.  Stixy reminds me of Wallwisher, but has many more options for sharing.  Start out with a blank virtual bulletin board.  Use the Stixy widgets to add content or functionality to your board, positioning them anywhere.  Users can add notes, photos, documents, or to-do items.  After content has been added to a board, it can be shared with others of your choosing.  Those that have been invited to the Stixy board can be given permission to add content, upload, or edit.


How to integrate Stixy into the classroom: Stixy is an excellent tool for the classroom.  Use it as a communication tool for your students.  Create a classroom board where you post homework, resources, to-do items, etc. for your students.  Students can, in turn, submit assignments via the document upload, add notes asking questions of the class, and participate in online discussions.    When working on group projects, students can create a Stixy board where they can collaborate virtually.  Here they can post ideas, research findings, and deadlines for the group.

Stixy can also be used as a virtual portfolio for students.  Ask each student to create a Stixy board for the year (or per semester, trimester, or quarter).  Throughout the year, students can add their content and learning to the board.  Teachers, other students, parents, and family members can be invited to view the board throughout the year.  Students can view their learning and progress in one place and parents, teachers, and other students can leave feedback and encouragement on the Stixy board.   This virtual portfolio can “travel” with students as a body of evidence.  I would prefer getting a virtual portfolio of learning over a report card of grades any day!


Tips: Stixy does require that users have email addresses.  If you are working with students that have not been assigned a school email account, you can use a service like tempinbox.com or mailinator.com to set up an account.  Stixy does not specify a minimum age requirement for use and does not require any personal information for use.


Leave a comment and share how you are using Stixy  in your classroom.

Wiglington & Wenks Virtual World

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Fun & Games, Geography, History, inspiration, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Internet Safety, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 13-01-2010

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free virtual worlds

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.

free virtual worlds-2

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.

[Picture+11

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.

free virtual worlds-1

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.

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WizIQ

Posted by admin | Posted in History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 26-08-2008

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What it is: WizIQ is a virtual classroom platform where you can teach and learn.  You can teach for free or earn money teaching.  The WizIQ is free to use, has no downloads (it runs in your web browser), and works on Macs, Windows, and Linux.  WizIQ provides a place to find, share, or upload PowerPoints on educational subjects and topics.  The sessions are intuitive to use and can be scheduled for individal students or a group.  The virtual classroom provides a place to teach and learn live online.  Everything launches in a few clicks with…NO downloads!  With WizIQ you can network with students or teachers, send a personalized invite to your contacts right from WizIQ.  Share educational content in the form of slideshows, pdf, and online.  When you start a session with students, you have access to a shared whiteboard space, live audio, video, or both, flash file sharing, and text messaging.  Sessions can be recorded and saved for students to view again and again.  

 

How to integrate WizIQ into the classroom: WizIQ is a great place to start experimenting with virtual classrooms.  It has a simple to use interface, requires no downloads, and is free.  Record lessons that you are doing with your class so that they can go back and review the lesson online at their lesiure.  This puts students in control of their own learing.  Interact with students during live virtual sessions.  WizIQ is also perfect for students who were absent, have a long term illness that prevents them from being at school, or students who know they will be attending your school for half of the year.  

 

Tips: You can make money by setting up and teaching in a virtual classroom (and lets face it, we could all use a little more of that!)  Your classroom will be visable by search engines and open to students from accross the world.  Don’t let the technology scare you, this is simple to use (even my fellow elementary teachers can get in on this one!)

 

Leave a comment and share how you are using WizIQ in your classroom.

Sketchcast

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Blogs, Fun & Games, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 21-01-2008

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What it is: Another web 2.o tool, Sketchcast is a new way for you to communicate with your students and for your students to communicate with one another. A Sketchcast is a recorded online sketch. Think an online whiteboard recording. Sketchcast offers the ability to record a sketchcast with or without a voice.

How to integrate Sketechcast into the classroom: How many times do you remember this scenario as a student: you watched the teacher teach a new math concept, understood it perfectly in class as you watched the process only to get home, look at the notes you took and have no idea what to do? I suspect if we are honest, this happened with more than just math. Enter Sketchcast. Now you can enable your students to be more successful by Sketchcasting new concepts and lessons. Sketchcasts can be embedded in your classroom website or blog or accessed on your Sketchcast channel. Now when students get home and have the “I don’t remember what to do” panic, they can get online and re-learn the concept with your virtual guidance. Could it get any better than that?! This could also be a solution to feeling like a broken record and repeating the same directions a thousand times (come on be honest, I know I am not the only one who has to do this!) If you have access to a projector, create the Sketchcast as you are teaching your students (instead of the whiteboard). This will keep you from doing everything twice and students can re-view the exact lesson you taught. Cool! Sketchcasts would also be fun for students. Let them practice that new concept online in a Sketchcast for their classmates to visit. Sketchcasts would also be a great alternative to the traditional book report. Give your students a new method for sharing ideas and get some great mouse manipulation practice in at the same time!

Tips: Sketchcast requires registration to create a Sketchcast (including email address). For younger students who may not have an email address, create a student classroom account where all students can login and create a Sketchcast.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Sketchcast in your classroom.