New Multiuser Virtual Environments (MUVEs)
The growth of Teen Second Life classroom activities and Second Life professional
development opportunities is astounding. If you wonder what kids can learn from
a MUVE, check out what Peggy Sheehy has done using Teen Second Life at Ramapo
Middle School in Suffern, New York. Instead of presenting students with a fully designed world, Sheehy asks students to be part of the design team. Students come up
with solutions that instructional designers may not consider. In a recent challenge
to build a solar system in Teen Second Life, students experimented with rotation
and orbit scripts, shared myths about their planets, and taught each other new skills.
Classroom projects in virtual worlds help teachers reach NETS and standards-based
curriculum goals. Ramapo Islands has inspired other teachers to incorporate virtual
world projects in their classrooms, to the delight of their students.
RAMAPO ISLANDS BLOG: http://ramapoislands.edublogs.org
COST: Teen Grid real estate and some building materials must be purchased. Membership and participation are free.
If you are interested in Teen Second Life, here are a couple other MUVEs that just
might move you:
Whyville ( www.whyville.net). Designed for younger children, Whyville is a virtual
world where boys and girls from all over the real world come to chat, play, learn,
and have fun together. Kids design their faces, earn clams by playing games, hang
out at the beach, and go to town events at the Greek Theater. They can start their
own businesses, buy cars, and write for the town newspaper.
Skoolaborate ( www.skoolaborate.com). This global initiative uses blogs, online learning, wikis, and virtual worlds to transform learning. The idea is to integrate curriculum and digital technologies into collaborative global actions. The Skoolaborate
virtual learning space is secure and accessible only by invitation. Skoolaborate has 22
schools and organizations from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore,
Chile, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Quest Atlantis ( http://atlantis.crlt.indiana.edu). This is an international learning and
teaching project that uses a 3D multiuser environment to immerse children ages 9–16
in educational tasks. QA combines strategies used in the commercial gaming environment with lessons from educational research on learning and motivation.
Participation in this game is designed to enhance the lives of children as it helps
them grow into knowledgable, responsible, and empathetic adults.
EcoMUVE ( www.ecomuve.org/index.html). The EcoMUVE is an ecosystems science
curriculum for middle school that includes two science curricular modules that make
up ten 50-minute lessons. These include two MUVEs for teaching various aspects
of ecosystems science, with full technical documentation, ancillary materials, and
a teacher guide and training. These MUVE modules complement and extend the
current curriculum of the Understandings of Consequence Project (http://pzweb.
World of Warcraft in School ( www.wowinschool.pbworks.com). This program uses the
game World of Warcraft as a focal point for exploring writing, literacy, mathematics,
digital citizenship, online safety, and 21st-century skills.
14 Learning & Leading with Technology | November 2009