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Virtual Worlds Boot Camp 2010

Page history last edited by Lucas Gillispie 11 years, 1 month ago

Note:  This is a paperless (or nearly so) workshop.  This page can be updated to insert new resources and saves our district money wasted on dead trees!  Also, this session should be considered licensed under Creative Commons (see below).  

Virtual Worlds Boot Camp 2010



     Even at very early ages, today's kids are engaging in multi-sensory, multi-media, cognitive exercises that address each level of 
Bloom's Revised Taxonomy.  What may be surprising is that they willingly choose these activities and engage in them, often for hours at a time.  They're called video games, and they're emerging as an area of interest to researchers and educators.
     In this two-day workshop series, you'll not only learn how today's video games can be beneficial, but you'll get some hands-on time with several, popular games.  In addition, you'll be introduced to Reaction Grid, a service that our district has contracted with for the 2010-2011 school year to provide a virtual space for students and teachers to engage in creative project-based learning.  Similar to Second Life, but kid-friendly, Reaction Grid offers a vast area where students can engage with their classmates, teachers, and even people from around the world.
     In part two of the training you'll create your own Reaction Grid avatar, and begin learning the basics of object building in virtual space.  We'll also spend some time discussing ways you can bring your classes into Reaction Grid and get them started in creating meaningful and engaging virtual projects.

     Workshop participants who choose to use Reaction Grid with their students in the upcoming school year will be granted priority access and space for building on our virtual island. 



June 29th and 30th 9AM - 12PM



Cape Fear Middle School


Signing Up:

     Space is limited!  Sign-ups are limited to the first 15 registrations.  Additional sign-ups will be added to a waiting list and notified if space becomes available.  Sign up, online, in the staff development system today!  If you have any questions, email me at lucas_gillispie at pender.k12.nc.us.


Session Resources:





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Virtual Worlds For You To Explore:


There are a variety of virtual worlds out there for you to explore.  Most of them are game-based.  Many of these are free, but some have a fee associated.


World of Warcraft - (Rated "T" for teen) - By far the most popular virtual world game available, boasting over 11 million subscribers worldwide.  A 10-day free trial is available, or you can purchase the full game for around $30 at your local game shop or retail store.  Subscriptions cost $15/month.


  • Also, if interested in getting started with World of Warcraft, consider joining the Cognitive Dissonance Guild, a group of players consisting entirely of educators.  Ask Lucas for more information!


FreeRealms - (Rated "E" for 10 and older) - Free to play game by Sony Entertainment.  A premium membership is available that opens additional options in-world for players, however, there is considerable content available for free.


Dungeons and Dragons Online - (Rated "T" for teen) - free to play game based on the Dungeons and Dragons series.  Premium options are available for subscribers for a fee.


RuneScape - long-running, free-to-play online game with premium options.


SecondLife - 3D virtual community divided into two main worlds or grids, the Main grid (18 an older) and the Teen grid (13-17 years).  Free to use unless you want to own real estate.  Nearly all content is created by the user community.  Owned by Linden Lab, who released their source code which has resulted in numerous cloned worlds such as Reaction Grid.


ToonTown Online - Virtual world game designed for a younger audience and based on Disney's characters.


ClubPenguin - Popular game-based virtual space designed for a younger audience.  Also owned by Disney.


Warhammer Online - (Rated "T" for teen) - Fantasy-based game built on the Games Workshop's Warhammer universe.  Designed by Mythic Entertainment, a long-time developer of MMORPG's. Free to play for levels 1-20 (out of 40). Best suited for older teens and adults.


EverQuest - (Rated "T" for teen) - One of the longest-running, 3D MMORPG franchises.  Operated by Sony Online Entertainment.  Now split into the original Everquest, Everquest II, and Everquest Online Adventures.


Star Wars:  The Old Republic - (Rating Pending) - Much-anticipated fantasy world based on the Star Wars universe and developed by BioWare.  Release date has not been set.


City of Heroes - (Rated "T" for teen) - Comic-book oriented game world offering a wide variety of character customization options.  Play as a hero or a villain, and with the "architect" version, develop your super hero base or villain's lair.  (Also see Champions Online)


Lord of the Rings Online - (Rated "T" for teen) - Fantasy world based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Play as a human, elf, dwarf, or hobbit during the events of Tolkien's epic series.  A free-to-play option will soon be available.


EVE Online - (Rated "T" for teen) - space-based multiplayer game.  Take command of your own starship, become a space pirate, or join a powerful corporation in this galactic virtual world.


Wizard101.com - Free to play (with premium options) online game.


Register for and Download ReactionGrid and Hippo OpenSIM


Reaction Grid - (Content Teen and Under) - SecondLife clone designed specifically for business and education.  



There are, of course, many many more virtual worlds and games available.  The above are just a few of the most popular.


Rapid Lesson (Project/Game/Idea) Prototyping


Rapid Lesson Prototyping - This exercise was adapted from a session at Games, Learning, and Society 2010 called Rapid Game Prototyping.  The model could easily be applied to a variety of classroom, group-based exercises and is a great way to get creative ideas flowing.  Feel free to adapt, change, modify, etc.  The instructions are available here.


Reaction Grid (Second Life) Video Tutorials


OK, these are actually tutorials designed for Second Life, but most will work the same in Reaction Grid, since it's a clone of Second Life.  In this list, you'll find tutorials for movement, communication, building, and more.  The tutorial list can be found here.


Ideas Begin Here


Check out - Peggy Sheehy's Ramapo Island Blog - Peggy is a media specialist at Suffern Middle School in New York.  She is a pioneer in using virtual worlds with students.  Spend some time exploring her blog and reading her notes and reflections.  This is a good place to get ideas for your own projects.


Also read about how virtual worlds along with Dove's Real Beauty campaign were mixed to produce some incredible results at Edutopia.


Annotated Online Bibliography of Second Life Education Resources


Rapid Lesson Prototypes from the Workshop




Planets_Weather.pdf - Lesson designed to get students using virtual space to create a system to model the solar system and weather on Earth.


Middle School:

 Symbiosis_Hydrosphere.pdf and Symbiosis_Hydrosphere2.pdf - Lesson designed to use virtual space to have students create a model of hydrosphere and aquatic symbiosis.  Focus is on current events (Gulf Oil Spill).

Drafting_Spreadsheets.pdf  and Drafting_Spreadsheets2.pdf - Lesson designed to use virtual space to have students demonstrate architecture knowledge (constructing medieval structures) while using spreadsheets throughout.  Students will then give virtual tours of their creations.


High School:

Drama_Nonfiction1.pdf  and Drama_Nonfiction2.pdf - Lesson in which students will use drama and nonfiction to create a virtual experience (though a tour) for participants.

Careers_Interviewing.pdf  - Lesson in which students practice career research and interviewing skills in the virtual space.



Recommended Reading


Don't Bother Me Mom -- I'm Learning - by Marc Prensky


What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy - by James Gee


Photos from the 2010 Boot Camp



Other Videos


This is what education is like...


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Our very own World of Warcraft Students tell about their experiences...


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Creative Commons License
PCS Virtual Worlds Boot Camp 2010 by Lucas Gillispie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at pcs-tech.pbworks.com.











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