It is nice to look at the original grants on this project ($50,000), Original Grant for the Anne Frank project, I think that The Islands of Enlightenment project really went beyond what was expected of them. I like it when someone just takes the "bull by the horns" and runs with it, exceeding expectations.
I really dislike the overused term of "thinking outside the box," because a lot of us never were in the box in the first place :)
Obviously Andrew Wheelock did just that!
What stands out for me?
1) I need a $50,000 - $100,000, not line-itemed, grant with me as the designated administrator/controller. When dealing with grants you learn the difference real quick between "line-itemed" and "not line-itemed," "not line-itemed" is sometimes called a block grant.
2) I especially like the linking of the Anne Frank project to the book, that you need to read the book before, and during, the immersion into the virtual world, I can see using that in a project, Introduction to Chicano/a Studies, with the Chicano/a representation in Comic Books if I could create a world for maybe four characters, representing possibly four stereotypes, and you could have the world divided into four parts, (kinda like Disneyland) and you could interact with the characters and get their point of view of how they were depicted and you would have to read the comic books.
3) This would also work for the Anthropology of Folklore[ class if you coupled it with say, video and books, of a folklore AND a fairytale, It is very difficult to get students to understand the difference between a fairytale and a folktale. If they could talk to the characters, see where they lived and read information regarding the story . . . take them on the journey of the story, they would understand the baseline differences.
How do others think these would work or how would it work in your classes?
#8117099 Jul 10, 2013 at 06:55 PM · Edited 7 years ago
Professor Illuminati brings Anne Frank's world to life for the students. This is fantastic! I would love to do that with Beowulf or Dracula (we read both in my senior English class). I wonder if Dante's Inferno would be out of the question....
Second Life allows for a fully immersive literary experience, something that has been missing from the teaching of reading and literature. Yes, imagination is all important, and it has served humanity well for centuries - BUT, Second Life and other virtual environments are now allowing us to take this experience to the next level. Required? Absolutely not. Desirable? Absolutely!
As an teacher of literature, I think the Anne Frank project can be modified to accomodate a wide range of different texts. It would be amazing to have my students build the world(s) themselves, but I know the cost would make the idea for my school district.
I have to admit, I'm struggling. Struggling to see how these wonderful experiences, both the rgMOOC and the Anne Frank site and the Islands of Enlightenment can fit into my courses. For one, I'm feeling tired already. Have been working so hard this summer and still have so far to go with 3DGL. I'm highly motivated to doing it though so I'm going to see it through in the hopes that kids will be excited this Fall.
So as far as something like these incredible experiences I can't imagine myself even thinking of undertaking anything even remotely that expansive unless I was part of a team with a nice grant, developers, designers, dreamers, gamers, teachers, etc. I would beta test anything that has physical science, environmental science, or life science aspects in my 6th and 8th grade classes in a heartbeat. Anything that looks like the rgMOOC course, the Anne Frank world, or the Islands of Enlightenment site excites me and would excite so many of my students that I would be crazy to miss an opportunity to bring that into my classroom.
Maybe that's why I'm feeling a bit low right now. Seeing all this great stuff makes me want it for my kids. Yet I can't have it. So I'm going to continue to focus on 3DGL for this coming year and if anything comes my way that's already developed that I can offer my kids I'm all over it! But I know my limitations and I cannot create or build anything like the Anne Frank world or a Science experience that reads like a mystery or like a problem needing to be solved. I'd love to be able to do that but I can't do it and certainly not alone. It would be cheap and kids would tire of it quickly if not be bored with it outright. And how many iterations of kids would it take before I had something worth having kids actually do?!?
So at this point I can't see how to adapt any of what I'm seeing into Science. Heck, I'm even struggling trying to find out how to use Minecraft in Science and that seems like the easiest one to integrate. The fact that the laws of physics don't apply really bothers me. I even heard today of a study that was done on ecosystems where a class cleared a natural place and built a town keeping track of the animals and how building impacted them. Personally, I don't trust the Minecraft world to simulate real life since it can't even simulate gravity correctly!
So I'd love to see how Science teachers are using these types of virtual environments cause I'm at a loss.
@EducatorAl I totally know how you feel. No one could create something like the Anne Frank MOOC alone, even if they had all the right skills (and that's rare to find in one person). I find seeing these things slightly frustrating as well, because I'd love to work on something like this, but have rarely had the chance (and none of the stuff I worked on ever "made it"). Having funding and colleagues is a big part of being able to do something like this, and that's not always available for everyone.
I don't know if it's any good, but you might check out Games for Science. I found a bit back doing some random Google searches. While not as impressive as the Anne Frank MOOC, they do seem to take "real science" into consideration.
Something else you might consider is having your students *make* games about science. They probably won't be amazing games, but the students will have to learn the subject matter pretty thoroughly in order to make a game. There are a number of low-barrier-to-entry game making tools out there that you/students could learn pretty quickly. I like Scratch, and I have colleagues who've used this with elementary and middle school students.
Thanks, blueAppaloosa, I'll check out the Games for Science site. I have tried having kids create their own games and even with Scratch they don't have the perseverance to learn it enough to even create a basic animation. I had too many kids give up. I'll try again as an option instead of an assignment. Then those who are willing or already know a bit about Scratch can go for it.
I really enjoyed exploring the Anne Frank world. I has been a while since I read the book but I did find the experience of seeing the house and street "brought it to life". I have to admit by being a little put off by navigation problems when the camera was on the other side of the wall. Is that something we just live with or was I doing something wrong?
Parts that surprised me were the museum and reflection area. I found the museum exhibits more engaging than the Powerpoint slides that they basically were - they were spaced so that I felt like I was walking around a real museum. The reflection areas with candles I found quite moving. The reflections that the kids wrote felt as though they were more considered as a result of being attached to an actual candle.
As far as possibilities in my class (chemistry) go, I can imagine an application as a microscopic world that players could fly among the atoms in but if Anne Frank world cost $50k, I imagine a chemistry simulator would be prohibitively expensive.
I really enjoyed exploring the Anne Frank world. I
I did too, read the book, saw the movie, you are correct navigation problems are just something we have to live with till programming gets more robust.
I think the spacing of the museum exhibits added to the feel of a real museum. I remember seeing the Titanic Exhibit in Denver as well as the King Tut Exhibit in San Francisco. In real life we are used to exhibits being spaced. It feels familiar to us.
Yes, I can see your chemistry class and flying among the atoms, and yes, expense holds us all back, I expect that there were a lot of what I call (think it is actually a term) "in kind" contributions, that is where other contribute not money but time, equipment, space, food, whatever isn't covered in the grant.
I work on contract for a game company that actually runs gaming camps, and even with a "discount" I couldn't get a game built. Trying to talk the president, and a friend of mine, into having some interns build a "Cultural Anthropology" game that I can use, no success so far. . .
As a part-time instructor I am never sure how it relates to me going for big grants (never wrote a grant that wasn't funded, up to an RFP for 75M) so haven't tried. :)