There are many virtual pet games available at the moment. The trick is finding a game which students regard as fun, engaging, has great graphics and is challenging. One such site is Moshi Monsters.
Moshi Monsters is a Web 2.0 site where students register and adopt a monster. The site is monitored and is promoted as fun, safe and educational. It is a social networking site which also incorporates elements of a Virtual World. There are several components to this site which make it a viable educational activity. Participants must follow safety guidelines and learn how to interact in a virtual world safely. The graphics are excellent with interesting monsters. They cater for both girls and boys.
Students can make friends with other monsters and send messages. This encourages students to use online communication tools and improve their ICT skills and learn how to do it responsibly.
Students earn currency which is called ‘Rox’. They can earn this currency by completing educational puzzles which test general knowledge, maths, spelling and literacy. With this currency participants can visit virtual shops and buy items for their monster’s house or food for their monster or clothing items.
As students increase their participation they can work through levels and are awarded a virtual trophy for each level and are given a set of shelves to display them on. This reward system provides a motivational tool and boosts their confidence as they achieve the levels. Pet Monster Students feel ownership over their monster. They can feed them, dress them and design their living environment. Students choose their type of monster, colours and its name.
Follow up Activities
This site leads to many potential activities.
* Website analysis
* Website comparison using graphic organisers
* Design their own monster
* Make a stop motion animation using a 2D cut out of a monster
* Document the monster's progress by taking screen captures.
* Create 3D versions of monsters using clay, papier mache or even a soft sculpture with material and stuffing.
* Use as a tool to look at economics and document purchases made at the virtual shops.
* Focus on internet safety and how to use online communication responsibly.