Using this virtual world in the classroom.


Students are becoming progressively more proficient in all types of technology and are delving into virtual realities at an increasing rate. I wanted to take advantage of this interest in online worlds and in my students' adaptability to new technologies. I also wanted to try to get my students to think about the story from a different view point and an online world seemed like a good medium. I wanted them to “become” boys on the island and to think about how the boys would exist and how the boys interacted and made survival decisions with limited resources. I wanted to help students make connections with the boys and we did this not just by reading the book, but by experimenting with this new type of technology. Not only are different learning styles and comprehension skills addressed, but also, students are given the tools to create their own associations with the curriculum presented. I found that embracing a virtual reality environment allows teachers to encourage even resistant high school freshmen to move beyond traditional interactions with the literature they read.


How do you do this with my virtual world? I can tell you what I did. I created groups of “boys” in classroom as we read this novel. I had them interact online as the boys on the island. Essentially, my students “existed” in the virtual world just as they would have needed to on Golding's island with Piggy, Ralph, Jack and the other boys. They had conversations using vocabulary words, they made decisions depending on their role on the island, they had meetings to organize their duties, etc. These activities got my students thinking about the themes from Lord of the Flies , about human nature and how our behaviors change and group dynamics are volatile. Even though it took some trial and error to get the kinks out (and they aren't all out yet – teenagers can be resourceful when it comes to finding ways to drift away from work), I'm glad I spent the time to create and use this virtual world with my students.

Please contact me (caraarver@aol.com) if you would like further information about how I used my virtual world with my students.