Thursday, March 28
2:45 PM-3:45 PM
Grand Ballroom C

Case Studies: Getting Students High School Ready with Whyville

Roundtable ID: 39642
  1. aaa
    James Bower
    Numedeon, Inc.
  2. aaa
    Cliff Zintgraff
    University of North Texas

Abstract: Whyville is being used in formal and informal education to get middle school students high school ready. This includes deploying games and simulations in classrooms that cover rigorous math and science content, integrating career education, delivering blended learning through constructivist pedagogy, and encouraging student engagement that taps intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Join us for case studies of Whyville’s use in informal and formal education, including the Next Generation Learning Challenges-funded WhyPower project and the WhyReef project with the Chicago Field Museum.


- Share case studies showing Whyville's application to formal and informal education. - Highlight practices from case studies and analysis of those practices. - Connect practices to theoretical foundations of constructivism, constructionism, and social constructivism; relate to prior research on media and learning. - Demonstrate use of media and constructivist pedagogy applied to standards-driven content. - Highlight virtual world affordances and educational strategies, with a special emphasis on teacher training needed to effectively deliver this content in classrooms. - Share free resources and link to other resources.

Topical Outline

1. Introduction: How Whyville can contribute to formal and informal learning (theoretical and practical foundations). 2. The WhyPower project: History, description, goals, activity demonstration, activity outcomes, research outcomes, including benefits to math and career education engagement. 3, WhyReef project: History, description, goals, activity demonstration, activity outcomes, and research outcomes. 4. Discussion of implications for future application and research. 5. Highlighting of resources.


Audience members may have specific background in the math, science and career content discussed. They may have prior virtual world experience that might include the use of virtual worlds in formal or informal education, or in curriculum for virtual worlds crossed to content standards. They may have prior understanding of theoretical topics including constructivism, constructionism, and social constructivism. Content will be understandable by beginners and will include content enriching for more advanced audience members.

Experience Level



James Bower, PhD, is CEO and Chief Visionary Officer of Numedeon, Inc., creators of Whyville. Whyville is the learning-based virtual worlds for teens and tweens that has served over 7 million users since 1999. Whyville features over 50 activities in math, science, art, finance, economics, journalism, life science, and much more. Whyville has been the subject of multiple National Science Foundation studies on virtual worlds and learning. Cliff Zintgraff is a PhD student at the University of North Texas and CEO of DaVinci Minds, a Whyville partner in bringing Whyville to formal classrooms. He was PI of the recent Next Generation Learning Challenges WhyPower project; Co-Manager of Texas Workforce Commission related projects; and has conceived, raised and managed $1.6 million in grant-funded projects applying Whyville for education.
No presider for this session.
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