Thursday, December 15, 2011

Learning Through Second Life

Tour of Islam

With just a few clicks so much could be learned. Check out what I learned about Islam by visiting the following landmarks:

World Arabic:
This is a place that shows a lot of architecture that is common in the Arabic countries. By walking around you would get a sense what it would actually be like being in the Middle East.

Moroccan Houses:
Examples of different kinds of homes specific to certain areas are shown here.

Penrod's Place:
It is a place that shows off the skills of the Arabic people-rug making.

Allah Mosque:
Mosques are all around the Middle East and it is a place of worship for the Muslims. This landmark shows an example of the inside and outside of a mosque.

Al Andalus Mezquita:
This is a place that resembles an Arabic city. There are many things to see and Muslims to meet while visiting this location.

Palestine Holocaust Memorial Museum:
This is more for mature audiences. It shows real images and stories of people that have lost their lives due the fighting.

Ummah of Noor - Al Rawnaq Mall:
For those intersted in learning about the dress of the Islamic people this is the place to be. There area activities that can be done and some information on the items that just about every Muslim has in their house.

Islam Forever:
Videos and factual information is all around about the religion of Islam.

Rahmatan Lil Almin:
It is a little village that teaches one what one living in these areas does.

OnIslam Virtual Hajj:
Great place to start when exploring Islam. The Quaran and the mosque are the biggest features.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Learning Geography and History through Second Life

As I took a tour of Ancient Civilizations I realized how beneficial this would be to my future students. Many students don’t enjoy reading text books and articles especially when learning about history. I know I always wished I could go back in time to learn what it was actually like for the people before us. Reading and researching could only do so much. For the students that struggle finding history and geography interesting Second Life would be a great tool. They are able to visit many locations and not only look at the buildings and streets, but also gain a lot of knowledge by exploring the places. Teachers could explore this even further by having students look for something in Second Life that catches their interest and then further research it.

Once again, I can’t believe how easy and fun this is! Within only a few minutes I have visited so many places. These are the places that I have learned throughout the years and this aspect makes it so much more interesting. Some may view most of these places as places to spend money, but so much more can be done with it. Teachers can just simply instruct the students to compare and contrast the clothing from certain time periods and today as well as many different things.

The possibilities are endless for exploration! I can’t wait to be able to do this with my own classroom one day. I have so many ideas floating around in my head already!

Makeovers in Second Life

I have always wanted to wear a big gown with a cute little hat, but never had the guts to do it in real life. Second Life has provided me with an oppotunity to do something I've always fantasized about. It is so trhrilling being able to adjust your appearance and see what you would like like with a different hairstyle or hair color. My mom has green eyes and I have wondered many times what I would have looked like if I had her eyes and I was able to see that through Second Life. Any girl of any age I'm sure would enjoy the makeovers as much as I did if not more. Guys could enjoy it too. We all have wondered at one point or another what we would have looked like in another time period and how certain styles would look on us. Whether we have the guts to try it or not in real life, we can always do it in Second Life.

Here is what I played around with:

Isn't my gown gorgeous??

Second Life Exploration Continued

Wow! I am impressed! I have had the opportunity to explore the world from my living room. Now that I have become a little more comfortable with Second Life I have come to enjoy it more. There is so much to see, I don’t know where to begin!

I have explored several places and it has been so much fun running and flying when I wanted to avoid walking around other avatars. I also discovered a way to make it so that people can’t send me messages; I just go to busy and no message go through to me. At first I was just noting down the places that I visited, but now that I know how to take pictures it makes it so much more fun. It really feels like I’m traveling the world and I can start a scrapbook of all my adventures.

Here are a few pictures of some of my adventures:

Second Life Exploration

As soon as I entered into Second Life I immediately received a message from a guy with a screen name of ___1969. That guy had not had enough time to look at my profile which I was still working on to see what age I was, so I don’t know what the intention of his message was to me. I don’t like that it is so open and if I was to do this with my class that I would have to take the chance of having to let my students explore something full of people from all over that might not have their best intentions at heart.

As I was exploring destinations I came across a place that had an image of some indecent exposure. Not only do I fear coming across inappropriate people, but now also inappropriate images. With this being out there and a chance there for my students to be able to see this, I don’t think that I would even consider it. I haven’t seen as many positive things so far as I have negative, so I am not in complete support of it.

Apart from all that, it was also very overwhelming. It felt as if I was in the middle of the world with no clue as to what I was doing or where I was going. There was so much to do and I had no idea as to where to begin.

I am hoping that with time that I will get comfortable with Second Life and that I will be able to see some pros and not just cons to it. I have to admit that I am just a little anxious about it aside from all the negative comments I have about it.

Check it out for yourself!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

After finding out that I had to start gaming I was terrified. What games was I going to play? Is there anything out there that will interest me? Aren’t most games for boys? All these thoughts were running thorough my mind as I started researching for games online. I had to play for at least an hour and I just didn’t know how it is that I could find anything that could occupy me for that long!

I had always found the hospital “life” fascinating so I thought that it might be interesting to play a game about a hospital. is the first site I visited and I began by playing Day Care Nurse. I had to find beds for babies that were coming into the hospital and care for them while they were there. I played it for a few minutes until it became boring and then had to find something more thrilling. Medical Rush is the game that got my attention and I played it for hours! The goal was to rebuild the hospital’s reputation that was struggling. Patients kept coming in one after another and I had to take them to the correct doctor and get back to the desk to greet more patients. They kept coming quick and the goal was to make sure that they all had smiles on their faces when they walked out of the hospital. At times it got hectic and I got to experience a little of what a nurse has to go through on a daily basis.

The game requires very careful attention to the patients within the hospital and what their needs are. One playing the game would have to train their eyes to be very observant and all over the page to catch whatever is going on. As each patient was helped, they paid the hospital and the nurses had the money to spend as they pleased. It could teach students the value of money and how hard it is to earn it and how easy it is to spend it on things that really aren’t needed. At times some of the doctors had patients waiting so one playing the game would have to catch on to that and make the decision of investing money on making the doctor’s equipment more efficient so that he/she could have patients in and out of the office.

I would recommend this game to any young student thinking about a career in medicine. It was very fun and educational to me. I am pretty sure that I will be spending a lot of time playing this game just to see how much money I can make by treating more and more patients.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How We Flattened Our World

Thomas Friedman thinks that we have flattened our world by bridging the gap between ourselves as world citizens. We have the ability to work together and to compete at a greater level than ever before due to the convenience caused by advancement in technology. He believes a major event that led to the flattening of the world was the falling of the Berlin Wall. This historical event proved how countries can learn from each other and develop a more democratic government. With more countries developing this kind of governmental practice, we are able to exchange ideas more freely. The collaboration of different techologies to create the World Wide Web as we know it today has led us to be more connected in the viral world. The division of labor through work flow software has made projects a much more collaborative effort than ever before. One person can complete the design of a website, another person can do the text for it and a third person can proofread it and get it ready for distribution. They never have to be in one location to complete all of this. Having the ability to share your own creations by uploading them has been an important way of bringing people together. People have the opportunity to upload what they deem important, instead of just downloading something anyone can do. A major connecting practice is outsourcing, many businesses in America are able to outsource tasks they need completed as soon as possible. While they are sleeping here, someone in India can have it completed by the time they get to their office the next day. Offshoring has meant a lot to the businesses in United States. It means they have had to spend a lot less on labor because someone in China will do it for a loss less. Most of us are wearing someone right now that a person in China finished stitching a few days ago. Big corporations such as Wal-Mart show us how quickly information goes between a customer and a product. When a customer makes a purchase, it gets scanned and right away the ball starts rolling on how to replace that item that was just purchased. It takes fraction of the time to get that item replenished because technology has sped up the line of communication and offshoring has sped up how quickly a product will get made. Friedman in particular discusses how inshoring flattens the world. It allows small companies to partner up to be able to compete with big corporations such as Wal-Mart. He gave the example of beneficial it is for companies to partner with UPS to get their shipments delivered to customers faster, if a lot of companies go through UPS then it cuts down the barriers between them and it also creates a standard of operation which more companies will develop. Another big aspect of flattening the world according to Thomas Friedman is information on the web that is available to anyone with the click of a button. Where it is a person in India or a someone in France, they all have the same access to the same information that is available on that search engine. The last component to the flattening of the world is the digitalization of many information that is distributed. Text and sound can be coded the same way and easy distributed, people are able to work from their homes and more power lies in people’s hand than ever before. Looking at all of the proof as to how the world is flat is very convincing. It is something that we experience anytime we buy a product, google something or call a customer service representative. There is no denying it, the world is indeed flat.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What Education Means To Me

I came to the United States when I was eight years old. It was the toughest time in my life. I was terrified to go to school because I did not know how to speak English and I did not know anyone. My teachers at the time had absolutely no idea about what it was like to be in my shoes, but they all saw my potential. Their caring nature helped me out the most, without it I would not have gotten as far in life. They never gave up on me and kept pushing me to succeed. The teachers that I have had have been the best teachers anyone could have ever had. They have all inspired me to try hard and be the best that I can be. I want to make the same impact on my students that my teachers have made on me.

Whether they know it or not, every child walks through the school doors with the hopes of being able to walk out much wiser and ready for the real world. Parents send their children to school to learn valuable life skills that will prepare them for their future and to gain all the knowledge that they can. Students are especially able to develop their personalities in a social setting.

I hope to create a very warm climate in my classroom. I want to treat every child the same way and love them all the same. The only difference that I hope to celebrate with them is their identity. I want to make my classroom the place where every student will learn all that they can learn and walk out being ready for the real world. My wish is that they will all be the best they can be and never give up on any dream that they have.

The power of knowledge opens up one’s mind, leads them to explore worlds foreign to one self, and provides a well-rounded life. Sending children to school teaches them the basics of different subjects. In school they also begin to explore who they really are in a social setting. This is also the place they learn the importance of seeing their teachers and other school officials as being important role models in the community for them to emulate. And it all starts with them walking through the school doors full of potential and thirst for knowledge they did not even know existed.

Waiting for Superman

Waiting for Superman is a documentary film about the corrupt school system in the United States of America.The country that is revered as the land of opportunity is actually not so. Teachers who are not motivators, who do not have students' best interests at heart, are allowed to continue teaching no matter what missteps they may take. Some teachers have fought back saying that so much has been blame has been placed on the teachers, but it is actually those higher up who aren't making the right decisions to benefit students. This interview clip shows some of the debate that has sparked after the film's release.

Regardless of who is to blame, the reality still stands that students who have a passion for learning, but not the funds to do so are sent to schools that are notoriously known as drop-out factories. These schools basically set up students to fail. They are not presented with the same materials that students are presented with who go to more affluent schools. If these students want to go to the better schools, there is a lottery system that is held annually. To see children and their parents sitting in big auditoriums for hours praying for their selection is heartbreaking. Where is the equality in education? Where is the basic right to attain a quality education in the richest land in the world? Where is the fairness?

I encourage everyone to watch this documentary from beginning to end. It is an honest representation of how we are not giving a fair chance to students in this country. This trailer from Waiting for Superman was more than enough to convince me to watch the documentary. I hope it does the same for you.

Champion of Education Reform

Michelle Rhee is a champion in the education world. The day she was appointed Chancellor of the DC school system, she set out change it, drastically. She fired many teachers and principals, even her own children's principal. Those who did not perform up to Michelle's standards were let go. Many people were outraged with the maverick who set out to change the ways everyone was used to. However, Michelle was never affected by anyone's criticisms of her. With Michelle's reforms, DC became the only major city school system that had a double-digit growth in reading and math scores. This is just one example of the incredible impact Michelle.

She did not care about being popular as she stated in this interview with CNN Rhee decided to resign after she served her time as the Chancellor. She still continues to be a pioneer for a better school system in America. She has set up a website, Twitter account and Facebook page in an effort to keep continuing her mission. She is still a very outspoken figurehead, which is made quite evident by her blog on the issue of No Child Left Behind, which can be read following this link

Michelle is an inspiration to me. It is satisfying to see that if the right person is appointed to do a difficult task, it will get done. We need more people to speak out about troubling issues in the education system.