Seventh grade students in Elizabeth McGann’s science class have been participating in a project called River City.
The project is a product of Harvard University researchers (led by Beaver parent Chris Dede) which looks at the effect online Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVE) have on educational outcomes.
As visitors to River City, students travel back in time, bringing their 21st century skills and technology to address 19th century problems. Based on authentic historical, sociological, and geographical conditions, River City is a town besieged with health problems. Students work together in small research teams to help the town understand why residents are becoming ill. Students use technology to keep track of clues that hint at causes of illnesses, form and test hypotheses, develop controlled experiments to test their hypotheses, and make recommendations based on the data they collect, all in an online environment. )
Using the scientific method, Beaver students took on the task of solving a problem that affected the citizens of River City. Once their research was complete they presented their findings in a VoiceThread — a tool to create narrated slideshows that allows for audio comments from viewers.
A look at one group’s final VoiceThread is embedded below.