Self-directed learning 7: Avatars and virtual worlds

Task: Explore, analyse and write up avatars and/or virtual worlds. How would you use these tools with your class? What would be the pedagogical advantages? Can you design a teaching and learning activity around the use of these things? Put any thoughts, observations, ideas, discoveries into your research journal. Also check out Alan Burt’s article on Scribd about protecting identity using avatars.

3D and virtual worlds

Wiglington and Wenks. Ages 7 – 14.

Active Worlds education universe

Panda 3D game engine. Cos pandas can sell anything and they eat bamboo.

Jumpstart. Ages 3 – 8.

Google SketchUp allows you to build 3D models.


Avatars can be great ways of getting your students to have an online picture without having to upload a photo of themselves. Create your own avatar with something like meez, Build your wild self,’s mini-mizer. Once you enter these sites, you’ll probably spend too much time there having fun, so watch out!

PS: The image at left is from Jason’s mind. You probably don’t want to visit there. But you might want to see Hitler’s reaction to news that the Avatar trailer isn’t much chop if you’re procrastinating (there’s a strong language warning attached to it, though). If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that it’s been a ‘thing’ on YouTube to take a certain scene from Downfall (with Bruno Ganz as Hitler) and to re-mix it with humorous subtitles. Ah, popular culture … Downfall is very good, btw.


About michaelsisley

Teacher, shambolic ruin, cricketer, singer, writer
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