Monday, October 25, 2010

Writing Across the Curriculum

I was interviewed this week by one of our upper school English teachers for a qualitative study about writing across the curriculum. Our conversation got me thinking about tie-ins between writing and virtual worlds and towards the end of the interview we had some head-spinning brainstorming going on. It occurred to me that virtual world experiences could set the context for some really rich writing activities. We tend to think of very specific learning activities for students to do inworld, building something, performing something, engaging in some interactive environment that is set up for them to get something out of. Why not go there to reflect and write? I started thinking of it like tourism. You go somewhere that is new to you and it can be transformative, bring out new thoughts and feelings. Yet you are the same person, just having new ideas sparked because you are seeing new things. A visit to a virtual world could be a window on that type of experience and facilitate a new perspective for writing. It's just a thought for now, but we'll likely try it out later this year.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Students Build The Parthenon in Opensim

(Can't get the embed to work, but here's the link to video.)
 For the last couple weeks I've been working with 8th/9th grade students in their geometry class as they build a life-size replica of The Parthenon atop the Athens Acropolis. It's been a fantastic experience watching students collaborate on such a project. One thing I argued for in planning this project with the math teachers was to give the students part or all of a class to edit their default avatars. They spent the first class making avatars as ugly and as beautiful as they could (this is an all girls school) and I think the investment paid off in their apparent engagement in the project. It's hard learning to use the building tools but they are doing a great job and very proud of it.