WiloStar3D's learning methodology is based on the theory of Constructivist Learning. Constructivist Learning encourages and accepts student autonomy and initiative. Students construct meaning by doing under this theory. It is not passive. It is interactive. The main way our students do this is via participation in our ever-evolving 3D Virtual Reality educational environment called Wiloworlds. WiloStar3D students create 3D virtual worlds where they show what they have learned in unique ways. Wiloworlds is the "virtual home" of WiloStar3D. All school operations, classes, interactions, and assignments are delivered via this wonderfully interactive virtual universe.
Students role-play historical characters, put on plays for other WiloStar3D students, create interactive games, and work on assignments inside our virtual worlds for learning. Students also learn 3d computer programming, work with graphics program and address key 21rst century learning goals. This creative approach to learning prompts students' pursuit of connections among ideas and concepts. Students who frame questions and issues and then go about answering and analyzing them take responsibility for their own learning and become problem solvers and, perhaps more importantly, problem finders. WiloStar3D students-- in pursuit of new understandings--are led by their own ideas and informed by the ideas of others. This is the basis for the WiloStar3D Method. Wiloworlds is the natural extension of our growth. Students are driving us ever forward and upward!
Students ask for, if not demand, the freedom to play with ideas, explore issues, and encounter new information. The way a teacher frames an assignment usually determines the degree to which students may be autonomous and display initiative. For example, students in 9th grade English read Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. The novel is integrated with a WiloStar3D science unit on volcanoes. After discussing the text in online literature study groups, students incorporate fact with fiction by creating their own virtual volcano world where characters from the novel come alive inside our 3D world.
Students write plays where the main characters take other WiloStar3D students on an interactive journey to the center of the earth. Each character has a chance to 'speak" and explain the setting and context of the volcano game. Students then act as tour guides and partner with other WiloStar3D students to take them deep inside the volcano. Various earth science facts area embedded into the 3D game exemplifying student knowledge. WiloStar3D students are taught to think for themselves and to create on a daily basis.
Wiloworlds also has the ability to incorporate interactive technologies such as a distributed whiteboard, realaudio and video, a multiuser audio chat room and Web-based links leading to the main site. WiloStar3D students incorporate and create multimedia web-based projects to enhance learning and Wiloworlds allows seamless integration of these areas.
Inside Wiloworlds, students gather to attend virtual classes with their teachers, work on collaborative projects and create their own personal apartments in the student housing area. This multi-faceted environment allows teachers to demonstrate math concepts, do live writing and editing, and have students contribute content among other things.
All students enrolled in the WiloStar3D Academy are expected to participate and attend weekly online conferences to reinforce concepts taught and to experience our unique online community of learners. Typically students have one conference per subject area each week excluding electives. At the secondary level, students attend one conference that covers arts and humanities topics, one math conference and one science conference for a total of three weekly conferences. Students are graded on conference participation and attendance just as they would be in a traditional classroom setting as conferences are a critical piece to our distance education experience. Students are expected to "attend " school in Wiloworlds each day, communicate and participate in our educational 3D world.