Thursday, January 25, 2007

Webkinz: Web 2.0 for younger kids

So a student of mine told me about this website called Webkinz today. This site allows kids to bring a stuffed animal toy to life by creating a simulated home for it online. It also allows them to connect with their friends through chat rooms.

The site is evidently pretty popular with my fifth graders as the girl who told me about it was able to name a few other students who were using it. When I asked her why she liked it, she stated that she like getting money to build things for her pet.

This is pretty timely as right now I'm wrapped up in using a simulation video game as a teaching approach. My students have been glued to their computers for the last week playing Venture Africa. To me, the popularity of the Webkinz site and my students' level of engagement with Venture Africa reinforce the necessity of using these technologies--games and social software (my students communicated with each other through my classroom blog)--in the classroom.

It's very important that we begin to leave behind the tired teaching approaches that still dominate our classrooms. Our kids are bored and unmotivated by them. Bring in the right video game though and engagement soars.


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5 comments:

Dawn said...

I can't agree more. I'm a homeschooling mom and video games have become an important part of our home learning environment. Not simply the 'educational' titles like Reader Rabbit or Jumpstart but the honest to goodness games like Animal Crossing, the Sims, Oregon Trail and Harvest Moon.

Of course, I'm a game geek from way back and am sometimes a little amazed at how much geography I picked up from long nights with Sid Meier's Pirates.

KLG said...

Check out also www.clubpenguin.com, www.neopets.com, www.whyville.net, and for older kids www.runescape.com

Kathy

Kathy said...

http://teachingwithwebkinz.com/

Within the world of Webkinz™ there are an amazing number of opportunities for learning! On the pages of this book you will find activities and resources that encourage learning while using your students’ enthusiasm for their Webkinz™ pets! You will find the reproducibles and lessons based on the world of Webkinz™ that will not only engage children in a place where they are enthusiastic, but cause them to evaluate what they are doing, learn key concepts, and increase their brain power!

This resource will be available as an ebook download soon. Written by The Original Gadget Girl, Kathy Cothran.

Visit the website and sign up for updates for the release of this book!

http://teachingwithwebkinz.com/
http://theoriginalgadgetgirl.com

Kathy Cothran said...

The books are now available as ebooks (Using Webkinz in the Classroom and My Webkinz Companion Guide) on http://turningtoysintotools.com

Both will be coming soon to Amazon as paperbacks!

Kathy

Webkinz said...

This webkinz remind me on the game way back named Tamagochi. It has similarities in some ways. This new game was already a hit for youngster in town as this was starting to spread