Thursday, December 2, 2010

Second Life Tour

After about a month of exploring Second Life, I started exploring educational opportunities that this could provide. Although I am a Elementary Education Major, I do understand that science can be used at these levels as well. Science is important at all levels, and exposure to more complicated concepts is not a bad idea. I can see that most of these would be usable at around 6th grade. There are definitely some complicated concepts, but the visuals are just too interesting to not show. Second Life can become a powerful tool, with the collaboration of educators as well as designers, Second Life could provide virtual field trips that would not be possible otherwise. Seeing a huge strand of DNA, is not only exciting, but also more powerful in memory.

This tour is suited for K-12 science. While there are a few islands that are more suited for high schoolers, many of the areas have interesting tours for all ages. This covers space, biology, as well as oceans and dinosaurs. The islands will cover varying units in which a student may learn about over the year. The aim of this subject would be about 6th grade general science. the ocean locations would be used with an ocean unit while the space ones would also be part of a unit.

Oceans/Prehistoric Life
Ocean Auditorium
This location is great for walking around underwater! you will see a variety of plant and ocean life!

Abyss Observatory
Take a tour of an underwater station! The ride down takes about 5 min utes, but you are given the depth and pressure as you ride. The bottom provides facts about the ocean and the station. Great representation of how we really do explore ocean life.

Dinosaur Park
Take a tour of the park or visit the museum to see 3d models of some of the most popular dinosaurs! Seeing these animals to scalewill allow students to appreciate the true size of these animals.

Monolithe Biome
Here is a location that is great for learning about the organisms that live in pond water! stand on the giant microscope to learn about the bacteria and the microscopic organisms!

Cell Island
Island that holds all sorts of facts about cells, from nucleotides to lipids, this area holds a great deal of information!

ACS West Wing
Awesome area that gives facts about different chemicals as well as a look at your second life dna! great area for chemists and biologists!

Spaceport Alpha
Great area to learn not only the history of spaceflight, but also a fun place to see scale models of some spaceships!

Science Museum
Information about black holes and the solar system are found in this area! neat place to learn about the solar system!

NASA colab exhibits

Area created by NASA! Houses models of rockets as well as a tour through a planetarium!

Part of this Island is dedicated to the rotation of the earth around the sun! Quite a few exhibits to see eclipses
or just see how the earth rotates!

This project would be used as a year long resource for the different units covere. The two bigest uses would be for cells and spcace exploration since, those are hard to explore without the use of tools like this. I am really excited aboutthe use of space within second life.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Online gaming can save our world?

MR. Rein's blog provided a look into virtual gaming in education. While watching the video of Jane Mcgonigal, it was obvious that many of the people were skeptical about some of the ideas she presented. Some of the ideas she presented ranged from collaboration, achievable success, and positive thinking. Using motivation such as feedback and challenges that can be met at each person's personal level, sounds very familiar to anyone that has been in an education class. While some of the justifications sounded stretched, they truly can work!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lincoln Elementary School Visit
After Visiting Lincoln Elementary, I was impressed at how well those young students used the technology they have been provided with. There were 3 major pieces that i found very interesting.
The first was their math programs. Students were building bridges using this program and were predicting how much weight their bridge could hold. They were likely at the 4th stage. They were using this project by themselves with little help from the teacher. The tutorials were also self led.
Each teacher had personal websites that students could use to make their own blog or share information with. Along with the blogs students had their own Google docs account which allowed them to share their information with other students in a variety of ways. This was also stage 4 because students were using the technology as part of their work.
The last piece was the video show that the students run. Students were able to create a news show that was shown every Wednesday for students across the school to see. This is also stage 4 and the teacher was likely there to guide students rather than direct. To make most of these projects go up a level, students would have to have multiple choices to show their work, and decide to use these by themselves.

Monday, November 30, 2009

an Apple a day....

When you leave your home for class or work, you are likely to see many people with an Ipod Touch. The Ipod was originally a neat mp3 player that has slowly become a hand held computer. The Ipod Touch can now be seen as a vital tool in many people's lives. Such a small portable device, can easily become a distraction in the classroom, but also can become a very powerful tool. It is obvious that students love technology. The Ipod Touch has many applications, some that can be used in an educational manner, and even some made to be educational. These applications can be spanish tutors, to maps and calculators. Rather than trying to fight against these gadgets, it is much more wise to see how they can be used within an educational setting. Technology is often seen as an enemy of education, but when embraced, gadgets like the Ipod Touch can become powerful tools that not only capture the student's attention, but also help them learn. Below is a video clip found on youtube showing how the Ipod Touch can be used as a tool in the classroom.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Making Learning Fun

I remember when I was in 6th grade when my elementary school made a very interesting purchase. The school purchased about 30 Sony Playstations. Now many parents may see the gaming industry as a threat to learning and fitness, but video games can very much encourage children to discover how fun learning can be! When I was younger I actually learned to add by playing some Nintendo games. At the end of each level the game would give you two digit points and reset a one-hundred points. I would always try to add my new score to my current score before the game showed me. Today, companies like Leapfrog are finding many new ways to help children learn with fun handheld games. Kids can play games featuring their favorite characters, while also maintaining an emphasis on learning. I believe that games can encourage children to keep learning, and help reinforce that learning can be fun!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Small towns and Technology

Education Technology classes offer new ways to teach using technology. While this seems like a very interesting idea, some argue that smaller schools may not have the resources to use these tools. After talking to my father the other day, I realized that these technologies are slowly entering classrooms all over the world. For nearly 20 years my father has been working for the Perry School District. He told me that he had recently gotten a projector for his class that uses a camera. The ELMO is seen in almost every class at UNI and is a very important tool in college classes. My father has used a simple projector for nearly 20 years and is now excited to use the ELMO. This isn't the first time I have heard my father talk about new technology he is getting. A year ago he was able to get a set of graphing calculators, which he uses to help teach his students about sloped and curves. Because he was able to teach them to use these calculators now, when these students will be able to spend less time learning about these calculators, and more time using them. Getting cutting edge technologies into classes sometimes seems like an impossible task, but it can happen slowly but surely. By having new tools in the classrooms, teachers are able to enhance the students' learning experience.

*images taken from

Monday, November 16, 2009

Virtual Worlds and Virtual Education

The first time I heard about Second Life, was about 2 years ago when a neighbor in the dorms was playing it. I understood that it was a virtual world where people were free to do whatever, but I was in shock to realize there were very few limits. I have played several online games where you create a character and even join groups. Although this was fun, I never felt any real connection to any of the groups I joined. Games like World of Warcraft offer a similar virtual world, but the game limits you to a certain degree on what you can do other than play. After a lecture in my Ed Media class, I realized that games like Second Life have another use: Communication. Rather than joining and communicating like other games, second life may influence people to join to communicate. An example would be a student who joins second life to attend a virtual lecture the Professor may do in Second Life. This allows people to continue to communicate and learn while also doing it in a fun and exciting way. I was even surprised to see that colleges and business are joining Second Life and using this virtual world as another form of communication. I would not be surprised to find out that most major businesses and schools are using Second Life as a form communication. As of right now, I do not have a second life account, but if there was a reason like a class lecture, I would easily use that as an excuse to explore another world!

*images come from Second Life Blog