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Children's Way is a non-profit organization that teaches internet safety to children through an online program called Woogi World.
Scott Dow is the founder and president of Children's Way. Some notable members of the advisory board for Children's Way include 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Wrestler Rulon Gardner, entertainer and philanthropist Alan Osmond, and former U.S. Senator Jake Garn.
Woogi World is a yearlong program in which elementary school students, from grades K-6, can become members of the Woogi World community. Woogi World teaches over one million children appropriate ways to socialize online. It is a scaled program that provides incentives for children to be active in the real world. To keep its users engaged, it utilizes the latest gaming and social networking technologies to teach them the ins and outs of online interaction. For a lesser cost than a traditional education, Woogi World helps children learn necessarily skills for a wide variety of careers and real-life situations.
The program is free for schools that would like to participate and is funded by philanthropists. The official national launch of Woogi World took place in 2008. It has engaged over 50,000 elementary schools around the nation to date.
In Woogi World (WW), children can sign up and customize their virtual character with watts, the currency of WW. Kids may also buy furniture for their wigwam, which is a woogi's house. Also, for a fee of $70.00 (with 10% off) a year kids can get extra features for their character. They can also join clubs like music club, science club, and reading club.
A full list of subjects taught includes:
- Cyber Safety
- Woogi English
There is also a summer camp program for students who want to continue the Woogi education during off months.
The Woogi English program is designed to help students learn English as a second language. It lasts for 36 weeks and provides 5 lesson plans per week, Monday though Friday. Woogi English teaches its students how to hear, speak, read, and write English through an immersive and interactive environment. With a heavy reliance on visual tools, Woogi English provides a platform that is universal and user-friendly.
To keep its students on track, Woogie English monitors its users' progress and creates customized programs based on their results. It also offers a safe environment for students to practice their skills and converse with native English speakers throughout the world. Children's morals and habits develop at a young age and Woogi World takes that into account. Woogi World allows its students to interact with its program such that they are able to develop safe cyber skills but also be carefully watched by instructors, parents and teachers.
Students can keep track of their lesson plans with the Woogi Planner, an organizational tool that appears on the child's home page immediately after logging in. Each week, they work to improve their vocabulary, grammar, and speech with Storm Starwoog, the Woogi English guru. Starwoog formats each new lesson as a movie that focuses on the different areas of the English language. At the end of each week, the student acts out the lessons by putting on a virtual performance that is saved and able to be shared with friends and family.
The Woogi English program also offers children the chance to gain experience points (XP) that help them advance to the next level by playing the following club games:
- Contraction Action: Stunt Woogies pull from westerns, spy thrillers, and other types of movies to teach children how to contract English words.
- Pronunciation Pitfall: Children are placed on the set of an action movie and are forced to learn about the correct pronunciation of different English words in order to escape from a mythological creature and an ancient labyrinth.
Every time child user reaches another level, he or she receives a belt of a different color that symbolizes their rank.
Woogi World's mission is to provide a game platform that engages its students and gives them necessary practice with the curriculum. It allows the teachers to focus on supporting students at their own pace instead of making every student learn in a standardized fashion. All these practices hope to propel students to "permanent learning".
Woogi World's learning platform is broken down into three fundamental components:
There are four main goals of Woogi learning.
- Depth: Woogi World attempts to take students to deeper understandings and away from superficial awareness.
- Breadth: Supplying each student with what they need to succeed in which subjects they excel at.
- Permanent Memory: Ensure students retain the knowledge they earn.
- Real Life Application: Applying lessons to the outside world and making a positive difference.
Woogi World employs tactics known as "The 4C's" to teach children.
- Curriculum: Every lesson in Woogi World starts with a review and a student submitted study log. Then the core instruction takes lac which is folloed by an exercise to help the student practice. Later an assessment is completed to gauge how the student is progressing and to help guide their learning in following lessons. A 100% "confidence quotient" in a subject should be analogous to at least a 70% on any assessment in that same subject according to Woogi World.
- Clubs: Every subject has a corresponding club for students who show increased aptitude or interesrt in that particular subject. These clubs are headed by "gurus" who are available for one-on-one tutoring and any questions that are on hand. Students participate in activities that get progressively harder, gaining influence in the club and accruing rewards as they climb higher.
- Coaching: Instruction with other students and actual teachers in real time using video chat and other media devices to bring the classroom experience to the virtual world.
- Community: Using the Woogi Worlds social media platform to encourage learning through collaboration with other youths and not just through formal instruction with the website or a teacher.
To accomplish its goals and to carry out its methodology, Woogi World employs some built in tools to facilitate teachers impact on student learning.
- Learning Management System: Called LMS, this management program allows teachers to analyze the progress of a student down to a very specific and accurate level. This provides an easier way for teachers to better customize the Woogi learning environment to fit their students.
- Parent Portal: Allows parents to receive updates on their students' performance during class. Emails and alerts can be set up to notify a parent when a student is falling behind and when they are excelling.
- Virtual World: The dynamic social media and interactive website that students will be using to enhance their skills and that teachers will be using to better instruct their students.
- Woogi Match Free: Allows children over the age of 4 to download this application on iPhones and iPads. By participating in a solo game or multiplayer game, children are able to continue enhancing their concentration skills outside the actual program through various games and activities.
Woogi World Terms
- Woogi: A Woogi is a character that every elementary age user receives after registration. Each Woogi has a unique look that can be further altered by its user. Children interested in updating their Woogi's style can exchange virtual money for items at stores and apply that money to new clothing from the Outfitter located inside of the Wigwam.
- Wigwam: A Wigwam is a virtual home that is assigned to every Woogi. Woogies can personalize their Wigwams by using virtual money to purchase different furniture. Wigwams are also a space for Buddies to interact with one another and throw parties.
- Buddies: Buddies is the term used to describe two Woogies that have become online friends. Buddies have their own private chats and are able to hang out at each others' Wigwams.
- Watts: Watts are the currency used within Woogi World. Watts can be used to purchase items to customize Wigwams and Woogis.
- Coupons: Coupons are the virtual prizes that children earn from the Woogi Planner Prize Wheel. They are kept inside of the Coupons section of DigiWoog until the student uses them. They can be redeemed for items at the Coupon Center building in Woogi World.
- DigiWoog: DigiWoog is where the user's videos are saved. Students can access their videos by clicking the DigiWood icon located at the bottom of the screen.
"Every Kid Votes"
In 2008 Children's Way launched the "Every Kid Votes" campaign to encourage children to become aware of the rights and responsibilities of voting in the American political system. Children learn about the civic landscape and role of the government in society. Studies Weekly, academic classroom supplement, participated in the campaign along with eGuardian an online protection service.
In total, over 6 million children visited Woogi World before the November 2008 election to cast their mock vote.
On November 18, 2008, the online WoogiReaders Club was launched as a platform to provide children access to great books. The club was created in collaboration with HarperCollins Children's Books, Walden Media, and Penguin Books.
Acceptance to the WoogiReaders Club is contingent on a child's completion of Woogi World's Internet Basic Training and the submission of one paragraph that explains why the child wants to join the club.
The WoogiReaders Club offers two types of membership: basic and upgraded. The basic membership offers online versions of classic children's stories to its users. The upgraded membership costs $7.95 each month and offers a more personalized account complete with recommendations from the publishers based on the user's age group. Following the Woogi World game-oriented form, each chapter represents a level that the user can pass. This advancement is known as "leveling up."
- Woogi World - About Us http://woogiworld.com (2014-01-03). Retrieved on 2014-02-14
- "Who's Watching Your Children? Value Propositions in Preteen Virtual Worlds". Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- Woogi Academy — Virtual School — Mission http://woogiacademy.com (2014). Retrieved on 2014-02-29.
- Woogi Academy Learning Platform
- Woogi Academy — Virtual School — Platform http://woogiacademy.com (2014). Retrieved on 2014-02-29.
- "Woogi Match Free". Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- Children’s Way Beefs up Security in K-6 Virtual World — THE Journal http://thejournal.com (2008-05-01). Retrieved on 2014-02-14.
- Woogi World — About Us http://www.woogiworld.com (2014). Retrieved on 2014-02-21.
- "Woogi World Getting Kids Reading by Bringing Books and Kids' Virtual World Together". HarperCollins. Retrieved 20 March 2014.