Tonight on WOW2: Virtual Worlds and Mentoring Programs at the University of Michigan

Show tonight!

I'm excited about the WOW2 show tonight! It will be on at 9 pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time (that is Atlanta, GA time for those who want to convert it) at

How to Listen!

To listen, go over there and click listen. You may click on chat to enter the chat room. Now, let me tell you why I'm excited. (See their great new help for newbies.)

Virtual Learning doesn't have to mean Second Life

Although many are excited about Second Life, as I saw with my students last spring, it is not ready for students (unless you have the funding to buy a private island and the hardware), but there are many colleges that have some incredible learning environments that ARE safe for students and provide meaningful, genuine learning experiences, tonight we will feature several such programs as we talk with Jeff Stanzler: UM School of Education faculty and Director, Interactive Communications & Simulations.

I've asked for permission to copy some information on he and his guests that he sent me via e-mail and perhaps you'll see why I'm so excited. This is taken from a conversation we have been having about what they are doing and I want you to see it for yourself (emphasis and formatting mine):

1) Mentoring Model of Teaching

One [idea for the show] would be the mentoring model that we've evolved, both in terms of the logistical model (university students take courses in which they receive support for engaging in reflective mentoring practice) and the idea of placing college students in a position to take what they're learning about and put it into action–to learn by teaching.

Each of the ICS curricular projects is linked to a seminar course, affording U of M students the opportunity to earn course credit for working with younger students on our simulations and writing projects. Fundamentally, we've attempted to create compelling spaces for our student participants to explore their thinking and exercise their creative imaginations, with the support of university students, whose work is central to maintaining a safe and inviting learning space. As a consequence, the “mentor seminars” are a crucial part of our work, as we endeavor to tap into the interests and passions of our university student mentors while building their pedagogical skill sets, and foregrounding reflective practice.

2) Theatricality and Creative Play
A second would build on the elements of theatricality and creative play that are at the roots of our simulation work. We believe that students (even HS students) often need a place–at school–in which they can engage in thoughtful play. Both of our simulations–and especially Place out of Time–are designed to ask student participants to take on historical figures, to attempt to get a feel both for the history of that figure and for the kind of person they are…to use language and rhetorical flourishes to convey the details of one's character, and sometimes (through the cover of speaking in character) to be able to challenge one another in ways that would be awkward without the emotional “cover” of one's character.

3) Teaching History Through Simulation

Finally, Pete, Maurita and I have been working for the past two years on a simulation project (and project model) called Michigan Matters, designed for the upper-elementary classroom (MI Matters is a kind of ‘virtual tour' of important places and moments in our state's history)

In terms of our conversation, this is important because Maurita has long been interested in imagining ways to put the information resources that reside at the U (she was the long-time Director of the Internet Public Library) in the service of the learning of K-12 students and their teachers. The idea of using “serious play” to animate this need for information and guidance to information resources is a big part of what drew Maurita to this project.

As Co-Director of the Oakland (MI) Writing project, Pete is deeply interested in using writing-based activities to illuminate cross-curricular links for teachers, and in working collaboratively (K-12 and U educators) to create alternative paths to get at the curricular standards/benchmarks that teachers must attend to. Because of this, the Oakland Writing project took the initiative to draw together the team of K-12 and university educators that Pete led in the creation of Michigan Matters two years ago.

The titles of the other participants are:

Peter Shaheen: Co-Director of the Oakland (MI) Writing Project (part of the National Writing Project network, a nationwide organization for professional development for teachers around writing across the disciplines) faculty of FLEX program at Birmingham Seaholm HS.

Adam Hellebuyck: 2007 graduate of the Master of Arts with Secondary Certifiication (MAC) Program at UM. Mentored for the Place out of Time & Arab-Israeli Conflict Simulations. New faculty member at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, MI.

(Note: I am very excited to talk with Adam about the Arab-Israeli conflict simulation and the measured improvement in student understanding that took place there.)

Maurita Holland: Associate Professor and Assistant to the Dean at the UM School of Information, as well as Director of the Office of Academic Outreach. Maurita has been the point person in a cross-campus collaboration between our two schools on a state history project for upper elementary students (see ~mholland/MichiganMatters.html to see an “in progress” descriptive website).

I hope to see you there. Sharon and I will be cohosting tonight and wish Cheryl and Jennifer well on their vacation time before school starts again.

Upcoming Plans for WOW2

We will then take three weeks off and start with our back to school show on August 21st.

On August 28th we'll be talking to some great researchers about their research results concerning technology related tools. (We have an opening for another researcher or two, let us know if you have one to recommend.)

September 4th will be our Admin 2.0 supershow with Miguel Guhlin (Around the Corner) Scott McCleod (Dangerously Irrelevant), Doug Johnson (Blue Skunk Blog and ISTE Board Member), and Barbara Barreda (part of the LeaderTalk blog — written by school leaders for school leaders since this February – a must read.)

The rest of the schedule (which will change and evolve)

September 11 2.47Weebly: Weebly: cheryl moderates, confirmed
September 18 2.48 – (Vicki moderates) Dean Meyer – used 5th graders to teach his teachers blogging – We will be added several other people who have used students to assist in teaching teachers.
September 25 2.49
— BUD HUNT (Jen Moderates)

October 2 2.50 — Diane Hammond
October 9 2.51 — David Jakes
October 16 2.52 — ANNIVERSARY SHOW — David Warlick — Tentative!
October 23 2.53 — K12 Conference – Live show where we show you how we do the show as part of the K12 online conference
October 30 2.54 — Vinnie Vrotny, Principal using Moodle in Internet safety education programs.
November 6 2.55 –Melinda Miller, the podcasting principal,

If you have an idea for a show or someone who needs to join a show, just leave a comment here or e-mail me.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

Rachel Boyd July 25, 2007 - 12:16 pm

Alas, I did not get to listen to the show today… my brain was simply over-run and over-whelmed with thoughts of parent/teacher interviews!

Will listen to the recording and I look forwards to catching up with the show when it starts back.

Cheers, Rachel from NZ

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere