Monday, June 24, 2013

Motivation and Purpose

Check This Out

Is Quest Atlantis a Good Choice for your Child?

That is a great question and one I hope to answer either via this blog and/or through personal contact via email or Skype. When I first started the training to be a teacher with Quest Atlantis two years ago, all I could think about were the possibilities of supporting Special Education students within this venue.  I could see visual and auditory learners being able to excel.  I could see reluctant writers and struggling readers being able to see success.  I could see a safe environment for any student to be who they are and not be judged.  My heart and mind caught a vision for using Quest Atlantis and after completing a pilot project this school year, it is truly remarkable and tough to put into words, just how much transformation can take place for a student. Many people have been involved in making Quest Atlantis an opportunity for students with HCOS and still are opening the doors for more adventures for future students.  I want to thank Gord Holden, John Davies, Krista Barney, Steve Bastian, Greg Bitgood, Janet Rainbow, and Michelle Nimchuk for their hard work, their belief in the possibilities and their unending support for students of HCOS utilizing QA for their learning.

Below in the many videos, the blog posts, and comments that are sure to come, I hope that you will be able to experience some of what has transpired within Quest Atlantis this year.  There are interviews with Sasha Barab, the creator of Quest Atlantis, who gives a great understanding of why and how QA was created. I will continue to add more onto this blog over the summer and into next year as we have more and more experiences and see more successes.

I will be the first to say that the successes have not been without many struggles. We have endured many technical issues, writing sorrows, weakness challenges, attitude differences, difficult social communications, and more.  As one of my students shared, it has been hard at times, but so very worth it. Quest Atlantis is a fun way to learn, but when learning is a struggle, having the adaptations and modifications made to ensure success is imperative.  With my support within the world and also face to face on Skype with weekly one on one meetings and group meetings, your child will have a year of adventure that will be unparalleled to any other.  It will not be a year without obstacles, but with the scaffolding that can be provided by myself, you as the parent, and other questers, your child will love learning in Quest Atlantis and they will have grow in ways that are truly difficult to measure.

Please feel free to email me or Skype me:
april.mcleod369 - Skype name

Members of the 300 LUMIN CLUB

During our year in Quest Atlantis, myself and 7 other students have been questing and earning what is called lumins.  Every time you complete a quest, you gain anywhere from 2 - 5 lumins depending upon the amount of work was needed to be completed for the quest.  A lumin is (as per Quest Atlantis): "Each Quest is connected to one of the seven Social Commitments. As students complete Quests, they earn specified numbers of Lumins, representing their work on a particular commitment and the difficulty level of the Quest. For each completed Quest, students receive an equal number of Lumins and Cols. Unlike Cols, Lumins cannot be spent, traded, or given away. Lumins are like units of energy and represent each student’s personal accomplishments. At threshold points as Questers earn Lumins, shards of the Shardflower will “luminate,” energized by their accomplishments."  Hence, only earning 2 - 5 lumins per assignment, you should be able to imagine the overwhelming success of a quester when they reach 300 and join the 300 lumin club.  There are several members of this club and reaching this pinnacle of success in only 1 year is outstanding and unprecedented.  Joining the club of amazing questers is hctalang, hcgriffenh, hchollyh, hckeagans and myself, Dawneoflight.  Two other questers who are on the verge of joining with the lumin count of 250 are hcandrewm and hckevinl (hchudsonl is close behind at 240). BRAVO, to all of you for surpassing all of my expectations this year!!!!!!

Quest Atlantis Legend Video

Back Story of Quest Atlantis:

What is Quest Atlantis

Perfect Two Minute Explanation of "What is Quest Atlantis?"

Big Thinkers: Sasha Barab

Creator of Quest Atlantis, Dr. Sasha Barab, is interviewed here.  He explains his motivation and desire for students to be engaged in their learning and to be transformed into responsible global citizens, skilled critical thinkers and problem solvers, and life-long learners. Have a listen:

Quest Atlantis on the Learning Channel

Quest Atlantis Explored through Interview with Dr. Sasha Barab, Students, and Teachers

There are three interviews that involve Dr. Sasha Barab, the creator of Quest Atlantis.  I am posting all three. It is important to note that while Dr. Barab's initial learning environment was within a classroom, we at Heritage Christian Online School are implementing it through the use of online education with homeschooling students.  While the video shows the success within a classroom, the pilot project we just concluded implemented many of the same strategies a  classroom teacher would. Using Skype, Scribblar, and Quest Atlantis chat/telegrams, we have explored the world together and formed an amazing community, had group discussions, worked with partners,  supported learning challenges, built friendships, and more.

Yes I Can Award Recipient Holly Henderson

This year has been an exciting one for Holly Henderson aka hchollyh within Quest Atlantis and in her personal life.   She began the year as a very quiet student and ended the year full of enthusiasm and achievement.  Holly has made extraordinary progress this year in many areas of her life and it can be contributed to her hard work and perseverance. She has a wonderful support system with her parents, educational assistants, family members, teachers and her friends.  A wonderful attitude and steadfast spirit have brought Holly to a very special year of success with Quest Atlantis.  A few months ago, Sharlene Grant, her SE teacher and I put together a nomination for Holly for the BC Council for Exceptional Children.  Recently, we heard the exciting news that Holly had won for her success in Technology this year.  Congratulations, Holly!  You are one of the 10 deserving recipients of this award from all of British Columbia.  I traveled to Vancouver to receive Holly’s award for her as she had already planned a trip and was having fun in Quebec with her Mom and sister.  It was an honour to represent Holly there and she had a very special message shared about her achievements and received a certificate and an awesome trophy. BRAVO!!! Holly has graduated this year and will be pursuing a new wonderful adventure.  She will be missed as a student, but she will hopefully return as a mentor.



This video is awesome and it is really great to see that what this teacher is doing with these gifted students, I am doing with Special Education Students with HCOS. The students give great explanations in words that explain the student interaction far better than I can. They give a wonderful synopsis of Quest Atlantis from a student's perspective which is so important for everyone to hear. Enjoy!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Parental Accolades

Parent shared:
Homeschooling my special needs child has always been challenging because he has opposing strengths and skills.  Even more challenging was finding a supportive curriculum to meet his complex needs.
Quest Atlantis has provided a venue for my son to blossom.  In the 5 months that he has been using this program we have witnessed God’s hand at work.

Diagnosed with dysgraphia among other things, Andrew has always struggled with writing. Andrew went from an emerging writer with weak sentence structure and disjointed thoughts writing only a few sentences to a fluid writer who includes detailed paragraphs with proper opening, transitions and closing statements. Andrew’s social skills both in QA and in the real world have also improved.  He has shown growth in critical thinking skills. He is highly motivated to do his work and feels rewarded by earning cols, shardflowers and petals, the right to build and the ability to hold a job in QA.

Quest Atlantis has contributed to profound changes in my son providing him with a solid foundation to succeed in many areas in the future.

We are SO grateful we took a chance and gave immersive technology a go!  

Thanks so much for your encouragement and support!!  

In Him;
-- Allison Miles
HCOS Special Education Support Teacher

Parent supports:

Karen Henderson here, mother to HCOS SE student Holly Henderson.  This is Holly's sixth and final year at HCOS.  All in all, our experience at HCOS has been very, very positive.  We are ever so grateful as the public school system was failing her.  However, what I really would like to expound upon is Quest Atlantis.  

We came to Quest Atlantis almost reluctantly - our support teacher reservedly recommending it for Holly.  We were encouraged by John Davies and had questions answered and fears allayed by Sharlene Grant's conversations with Gord Holden.  And finally, we met online with April McLeod.  We were sold without waiting for the two week trial period.  The program was described to me as Immersive Technology, 21st Century Learning focusing on functional and practical skills as well as socialization.  Well, this is one of the most exciting ways to take in knowledge and to learn life lessons I have ever experienced.  Yes, as Holly's coach, I am learning too.  

Most amazing is the intriguing way lessons are taught, information is given, and the lessons are individualized for each student.  Holly has been given encouragement, had her own skills reinforced, acknowledged and expanded.  She has been given recognition on so many different levels.  She travels the 'worlds' with ease and a great deal of expertise and has shared her experience with other students in the program.  This program is perfectly aligned with Holly's way of learning.  Of course she still has difficulties in the areas where she always has had difficulty, but even those are being ameliorated in Quest Atlantis.  

It is difficult to say for sure that Quest Atlantis is responsible for the glowing eyes, increased self confidence and sparkle Holly exhibits, but it sure looks like it.  Our only regret is that this is her last year and she will be unable to continue to develop through this program.   

Thank you HCOS for bringing Quest Atlantis to our learning experience.

Karen Henderson

Andrew's Spectacular 5 paragraph Essay

Sacrifice for the Cure
QA Plague Essay
March 29th, 2013
Andrew, Grade 5

The plague, a contagious bacterial disease, characterized by fever and delirium, killed over 200 people in the village of Ingolstadt.  Some villagers believe that Dr. V. Frank is a deranged man with ill intention while others believe he is misunderstood and that he is on a mission to save the village from the plague.  Dr. V. Frank should be allowed to continue searching for a cure for the plague, using his 'subject' in medical experiments because 1) the plague is destroying Ingolstadt 2) the doctor is their only hope and 3) the creation will be sacrificed for the town to prevent further deaths and loss in the village .  I know Dr. V. Frank is working hard on a cure to save Ingolstadt and the world.

The population of Ingolstadt continues to fall affecting the people, the work, the business and the future of the village.  Reporter Henry Curbshall states: "More than 200 people have died in the past year." Constable MacArthur goes on to add that, "the plague is destroying Ingolstadt" while Joey Mager suggests "a cure will help all of society, not just Ingolstadt" Furthermore, both Joey Mager and reporter Henry Curbshall agree that "people have lost their jobs because of the plague." Even Innkeeper Udolf and Millworker Karl stated "the mill worker and the innkeeper have lost 80% of their business this year."  The economics of the village is being devastated and Dr. V. Frank is the only one who can find the cure to save the village from complete destruction.

According to Postmistress Jodi, Dr. V. Frank "has won many medical honor for his excellent work" . Reporter Henry Curbshall suggests the doctor can be trusted and is "our only hope".  After all he is a doctor and his job is to save others and he was "the one to find the cure to that HG9 disease." (From Innkeeper Udolf and Lizzie's Diary) Dr. Frank as well as Innkeeper Udolf further states: "it's too late to start over and get someone else to find a cure." According to the mayor, not only is the doctor working day and night to save the village but he is also giving up meals to complete his research to find a cure for the plague. I heard Dr. Frank is one of the most highly trained doctors and he will find a cure.

Dr. V Frank's intention is to find a cure for the plague by completing medical experiments on his 'subject'.  The creation can be sacrificed for the good of the community because it isn't human and it doesn't have human rights.  "The creation doesn't even LOOK human,' shared Aunt Patricia.  Doctor V. Frank said "the creation was made in a lab from dead body parts".  I also witness this when I had to deliver a human brain to the doctor.  Dr. V. Frank is clearly sacrificing these bodies for the good of the town  

In conclusion, Dr. V. Frank is a committed doctor who is well intended and whose goal is to save the village of Ingolstadt from the devastation created by the plague. Dr Frank is Ingolstadt's only hope and he should be allowed to use his 'creation' to prevent further deaths and loss.  His cure will not only save Ingolstadt but also the world.

Experiencing Atlantis Remixed

Success in QA Class of 2013


Capturing the Experience

I am in awe of what has happened this year as I have worked together with students within Quest Atlantis. God has worked in mighty ways from bringing all of this together to transforming students' lives in a very real way.  I have thought long and hard about how to translate my experience into one that those of you reading this might understand and be able to grasp the vastness of the possibilities for students.  Atlantis Remixed was created to open the doors for students to be successful and love learning. We, at Heritage, have taken it a step further and opened it up for Special Education students to be supported in unique ways by adapting the curriculum and expectations in order to meet their needs. Educational Assistants, parents, teacher support and sheer determination by the students to rise above obstacles has produced successful results above and beyond what my expectations were at the beginning of the year. I desire to share a few videos to begin to take you on an introduction of Atlantis Remixed aka Quest Atlantis.  I have done a couple of 5 minute videos and then I learned how to do longer videos.  Each one will tell a piece of the story and I hope you complete all of them with a much clearer and more informed understanding of this amazing program and what it could mean to students you know.  I will continue to post videos over the next week or so to add to the picture.  Also uploaded to the blog will be a video created by one of our students.  HCANDREWM has kindly allowed me as well to post his essay from the Plague Mission.  Thanks, Andrew!  My hope and desire is that these videos will allow you to experience for yourself a small snippet of what QA is all about!