To view this projects, you need to download MicroWorlds Web Player
“Where in the United States is Student Name” was designed to develop student awareness of their location in the United States. The goal was to create a project that gradually led students to their room, starting from the map of the United States, through the map of California, the local vicinity, to the street, the house and ending at the room. The room was to be drawn in detail, with its furniture, toys, pictures, T.V. and musical appliances. Finally, students scanned their pictures and placed their image in the room and animated them. The project was created with MicroWorlds and each transition, from the U.S. to the street, was drawn on a separate page. Students placed hot buttons on each page to proceed to the next level. If you are a typical user, you first click on California, then on Los Angeles, then the local neighborhood, and finally your arrive at the street. Then you click on the door, which zooms into the house, opens the door and gets you into the room.
If student fascination is a measure, this was the most successful project I ever designed. Not only did it provide them with a new view of their location, but it was so relevant to their world. Students immersed in it from the beginning and identified with it completely. They were eager to come to the lab to work on their project and it generated interesting dialogues among students about their neighborhood, room, and their daily lives. They were the subject of this project and they loved it. This unique feeling towards their project made them seek to improve their technical skill, looking to animate the scene as close as possible to reality. Programming skills which are considered boring by many became important skills to master. They took their programming, graphic design and writing very seriously and produced incredible projects. Again, students were driving their own knowledge acquisition, more intensified than before because this time it was all about them.
I enjoyed this project as much as my students did. I would easily do it again. As our world becomes global, it is important to look at our location from a worldwide perspective. I would probably start from the World map. Also, with the development of Google Earth, it could be nice to include a 3D Google map of the student’s neighborhood.