Reel Learning in Virtual Spaces

Machinima (creating video using 3D virtual worlds) holds real potential for developing several 21st century media literacy skills as well as proficiencies in communication, collaboration, creativity, and problem solving. Beyond making movies, these unique spaces allow us to step out of the constraints of our traditional brick & mortar classrooms, step into environments that allow us to stretch our imaginations and design learning that truly encompass skills that are relevant to today's learners.


Before we adopt any new technology, we ALWAYS must ask ourselves:

  • Why are we using this technology?
  • What does it allow us to do better?
  • What does it allow us to do that we have never done before?

The Elisabeth Morrow School in NJ initially adopted virtual world technology (Teen Second Life and Quest Atlantis) because we perceived it as a unique & engaging tool for building visual & media literacy skills. However, once the program was in place, it quickly became clear that the learning taking place in this space far outreached our initial expectations.

Literacy: Interpreting the world in which we live

To truly understand, we must go beyond consumption & discussion. We must deconstruct, and reconstruct to fully develop our understanding.
It takes us years to teach students written language. We understand they need to read in order to learn writing and write to learn how to read.
Why then do we expect kids to use these new digital tools and magically know how to produce content that is rich and meaningful?

Political Commercials for Greek Gods

Collaborative Asynchronous Project Between 6th & 8th Graders

View Entire Project Here

We deconstruct our past ~

Step into our future ~

Problem Solving: Suspending OUR fear of NOT knowing the answers

ToMorrow Island First Day Dance (Archive)

Tidal Wave Clip – Behind the Scenes

Poseidon Commercial

Communication: Students as teachers

Virtual Worlds (Assignment)

What is Machinima? (Employment Opportunity)

How to Perfect Your Look (Assignment)

Fantage Tutorial (Independent)

Collaboration: Beyond brick walls

The Vet (Project SMS)

No Future Left Behind (Project SMS)

Creativity: Giving students tools they value

Sample Commercial (Independent)

Fan Tribute - Glee (Independent)

Community: Putting citizenship into practice


First Day (Archive)

Identity (Play)

Virtual Worlds @ Elisabeth Morrow School


Teen Second Life

13 - 18 year olds
Private Estate
8th Grade (We have a handful of 7th graders who have turned 13)
Objectives: Machinima, Community & Commerce

ToMorrow Island Machinima


Greek God Project

2010: (Work in Progress)

Future School

Camp TechKnow


Reaction Grid

Private Estate
No Age Restriction
7th Grade (plans to expand to 6th)
Objectives: Begin a dialogue on what it means to be "Smart Online"


The Gnome Project


Quest Atlantis

Schools Only
9 - 13 years old
5tth Grade (plans to expand to 4th)
Objectives: Global Socialization, Citizenship, Online Safety

Student Congress

Machinima Resources