There is a website I have been toying around with recently called Secret Builders. In Secret Builders students explore a virtual world full of historical figures. Students can meet these figures as well as explore their houses to gain a better understanding about each figure.
Teachers can set up student accounts for free – and watch as students complete achievements in the virtual world. Teachers can also create quests with rewards for students – serving as an impetus for students to learn about specific historical figures they may be talking about in class.
I am going to have to work with it some more to fully understand its classroom uses – but it already appears to have an educational value.
Are you looking for fun ways to promote science in and out of the classroom? I have already discussed a number of science related resources through free.ed.gov, but here is one that I could see students playing all day long. It’s called “Game for Science.”
Game for Science is a virtual world where students can create their own avatars. As the students begin to explore the world they bump into a variety of challenges and quests. Each quest requires them to achieve some act of science or answer questions related to science. For instance, if students visit the lab in main square, they will find a scientist who is trying to solve the lack of toothpaste issue in the world. Therefore, the scientist encourages you to play with chemical mixtures to create toothpaste.
As students play the game they will collect neurons and talent points – which will allow for them to get more things and do more things with their avatar.
In this virtual world, everything is science related – and, something I love about it, is that it doesn’t just focus on one type of science – students are going to be exposed to all facets of science. The game provides questions, fact sheets, experiments, quests, and videos to watch about science.
It’s also free. Give it a shot. Even if you aren’t using it specifically in the classroom, you could encourage students to use it at home – possibly give students extra credit if they get to a certain point in the game.
One incredible emergent technology is Augmented Reality. The aim of Augmented Reality is to enhance the users’ understanding of the world around them. It does this by creating interactive 3d aids that can be viewed through a webcam on the computer. Essentially, software reads an imprint on a paper and tells the computer to produce this 3d, interactive image on the screen.
When used, the Augmented Reality is able to not only be interactive with the user, but also interactive with other AR items on the screen.
Imagine the implications for education. With a pack of cards teachers would be able to create interactive, computer generated models of what they are teaching. Students would be able to interact with the 3d model. It would be incredible!
After viewing this film – I looked online to see if I could create the software to do similar things through my webcam. Although it was complicated – I was able to do it!
Watch the following film to further understand how this technology could be used in education.