Messalonskee Middle School Presentation Resources

Here are some quick links to resources I talked about in the session at Messalonskee Middle School on December 3, 2009.

Games to try out

Books to read

Other Good Resources

Dr. Ruben Puentedura also has a series of great lecture entitled Game and Learn: An Introduction to Educational Gaming, availalble through iTunesU. (you will need iTunes installed on your computer.)

Raw notes: Tuesday Afternoon Session: Ramapo Islands Year 3: No Avatar Left Behind

The last session from today. Phew. That was a lot of typing. Hope you get something out of these. Again, I will be going back through these sessions after NECC09 and reacting and adding a few things.

Ramapo Islands Year 3: No Avatar Left Behind

Peggy Sheehy, Ramapo Central SD

Session Description: Continuing the Suffern Middle School journey in Teen Second Life, this presentation demonstrates concrete examples of projects that support standards-based curriculum and NETS.

session overview

  • rationale
  • second life overview
  • curriculum connections
  • professional development

Need to have the correct lens
-”A milillion computers cannot replace a good teacher”

Think about shifts in culture and learning got her thinking about different ways to approach learning

  • challenge it to figure out what kids need to know and how to do it
  • need collaboration skills
  • mentions warlick, tapscott, jenkins, pink, gardner
  • Dan’s pink book had a big influence on finding new ways to teach

Again – “Not about technology. It changes so quickly.”

Our kids need to ask good questions.

Peggy told a great story about a pigeon that flew in the computer lab windows. She wanted to take a picture so she went to her media desk and had the clerk get a camera out of the closet. By the time she was back, kids already had cell phones out. Cell phone that they aren’t supposed to have on them. The picture she showed of the kids taking pictures of the pigeon made her point beautifully. After this comes my favorite quote of the day, “Connectivity is today’s kids birthright. We need to stop being scared and blocking it.”

Talked about what she called “The shifted learner”

  • basically explaining the progress from student in rows to real project based learning

Peggy was at some conference talking with people at nasa and they say they need employees that understand the relationship between abstract ideas and reality. She then explained a thought game.

  • You have three lightbulbs hooked to three switches. There is a wall between them. You need to see which switch turns on what light and you can only walk around the walk once. Can you answer it?
  • Highlight after here for the answer: Turn one on, wait, turn on another, walk around. One is hot, that is the first switch. The other one the cool bulb. The third is one turned off.
  • She asks, is abstract thought taught in the classroom? Isn’t that one of the best tools we can give students?

Mentions Disrupting Class as another big influence

  • disruptive innovation
  • extrinsic and intrinsic motication
  • computer based learning
  • playful
  • billions have been spent and not much changed
    • “we have taken new tools and applied them to old educational paradigms”
      • we need a true shift. truly make learning change
      • REALLY move away from sage on the stage

To make the shift

  • what will teachers let go?
  • when will admins start trusting their teachers?

Intros Second life

  • supports constructivist learning
  • participatory culture
  • conveys a sense of presence
  • harness lots of different types of technology
  • require students to participate
  • students are engaged
  • engages problem solving in context
  • Your world. You build it.

SL for educators

  • a supplement to face to face
  • extended learning
  • introduce and explore concepts
  • demonstrate mastery and create new meaning
  • “Over 13,000,000 residents. How can we ignore that?” -David Warlick

Purchasing and Island

  • 16 acres o virtual space
  • secure “intranet”space
  • or open and public
  • $700 one time + 147.50 monthly

Main Grid = Adult place – Not Xrated place. There is a difference. X rated content is on its own continent. Have to seek our x rated content, you won’t find it by accident.
Teen Second Life = 13-17

  • press got on the adult content. educators have to fight stigma of this.
  • made the point that the Teen Grid is for Teens. Adults are there as guests. IT IS FOR TEENS.

Safety and security on ramapo islands

  • private islands
  • adults have rigorous background check
  • no access to TG residents or content
  • constant adult supervision
  • have a security sript in place to allow kids onto the islands only when adults are there
    • equates it to a lunch room without supervision
    • she open it up at night and that seems to be when the most creative things happen

Teachers learned SL by getting on the Main grid and learning there

  • 45 teachers have gone through her main course to get up to speed to delivering learning and tie to curiculum

First brought a group of 9 students that were labeled as learning diabled, etc.

  • called them peer leaders
    • in hind sight this was probably the best things she could have done.
  • empowered these students in ways that they weren’t before


  • nasa contributed content to them
  • weather center
  • catastrophic events
  • ecology debates
  • nasa rockets
  • noticed it leveled the playing field

Family and Consumer Science

  • entrepeneur reseach, interviews, business proposlas,
  • kids started telling teachers ow to teach them
    • they started adding rigor themselves
    • got them engaged in improving because they wanted to run their own business


  • modeling math objects
  • add notecards describing explainations
  • then students started to increase it
    • students would include a problem with the model and if others solved it they would give them a dollar
  • math teacher wanted to go to store and have them buy things
    • gave them $100 and had to buy things and still have enough left over
      • planning, buying, saving, study % off
    • students started just buying things they wanted and out of money quickly
      • they started a back channel chat and started trading
    • great way to learn financial literacies

Social Studies

  • rebuilt ellis island
  • She then asked the kids what they could have done better
  • students told teachers that they should have role-played
  • students were completely involved and immersed
  • students developed empathy due to changing roles and understanding immigrants and officers though role-play

Health and Wellness

  • showed dove real campaign to students as a starting point
  • had students create representations of themselves
  • talked about how the media lies to us about what people look like and encouraged them to think about it
  • students did what media does and dolled up avatars
  • great conversations and deep discussions
  • changed gender roles
  • then switched back and students realize the pressure that is on them
  • Middle schooler “Maybe we should reevaluate what beuaty is.”
  • my thoughts- Peggy is really doing a fantastic job here. VERY powerful presentation. My notes do not do it justice.

Multimedia Island

  • Music studio
  • soundstage
  • wrote and sell music

Foreign Language

  • cultural investigations
  • voice immersion
  • authentic artifacts
  • shared experience

This year, student are designing the curriculum. Students designed experiences. Students were able to collaborate with their research on the planets. Had discussions on how to place planets correctly and what to include for an effective experience for other students.

When students act in the avatars identity (which it part of theirs) it allows students to participate in a safe and profound way.

Students are motivated like no time before.

Mentions What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee.

  • SL allows users to explore alternate identities withough repercussions.
  • The fact students identify under the SL avatar allows them to open up more then in face to face.

Places to go and atlantis rising campus (a Sheehy project)

LL Lab is looking to make a better way to get teachers in to sl

Ramapo Island Blog

Here are her slides:


View more documents from PeggySheehy.

Raw notes: EcoMUVE Session – Monday

Here are my raw notes without correction or reaction. I will update this post soon. Thought a few of you would just like to see my brain dump.

EcoMUVE: Promoting Ecosystems Science Learning via Multi-User Virtual Environments
Chris Dede, Harvard University
Jody Clarke, Shari Metcalf

Session Description: We describe EcoMUVE, an multi-user virtual environment, and discuss how to promote science learning and understanding of complex causality through interactive and immersive virtual worlds.

Chriss dede In EcoMUVE learning in multi user VR environments, by Harvard. Finding ways to address classroom limits in our student’s digital worlds.

intro with microsfot comercial. lots of tech from microsoft. making the point that educators get excited about the ability to repupose them for learning. Commercial shows them being used for ammusement.

mentioned river city
-17hour time one task curriculum
-project in its 10th year
-kids like to do identity play
-encourages kids to task academic risks
-travel back to 1878-79, fictional town, not told much about experience on purpose. get curious and encouraged to figure it out.

Starting to talk to about river city muve
helping to discuss ecosystem and student deep understanding
talk about what it does

ecomuve encourages collaboration to explore the environment
starting to show ecomuve and describe what and how it works.

reaction about realtion to the Tim Hart/Vi Thia CHOG model -

Dede has interesting thoughts on how “games” are percieved by people. seems to make a point of saying games aren’t important unless tied to a curriculum goal. My thought: is everything worth learning tied to the curriculum. Certainly not.

I had to leave this session a bit early. Thoughts to come.