Improving Academic Achievement and Economic Opportunity for Disadvantaged Students: An International Metaverse Environment Project

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The primary goal of the IVMP is to improve academic achievement and economic opportunity for disadvantaged students through a variety of traditional and non-traditional technology based modalities to: augment academic instruction with self-paced modules (technology, economics, business) in a rich informal environment focused on academic/economic/social skill development, stimulate intellectual creativity by providing students with tools to research/design/create unique retail/service establishments, increase employability skills and economic acuity by competitively operating businesses, encourage cross-cultural and international understanding and communication using discussion boards/blogs to form collaborative partnerships with disadvantaged students across the U.S. and abroad.

This intervention initiative is designed to augment the core curriculum each year as this cohort progresses through their secondary education. To reach project goals, yearly objectives and interventions were planned that build on previous year’s strategies. The following is a brief summary of the goals, objectives, interventions, and outcomes by grade:

9th grade objectives: Improve writing skills, promote enrollment in rigorous secondary academic courses and broaden career aspirations. Interventions: On-line writing partnerships, creative journalism seminars, university interactive field experiences. Outcomes: More genuine interest in attending college, writing skills improved and some interest in more rigorous academic track. Product: Cohort research and documentation in an eight page color tabloid of 16 articles with photographs that promoted the city as a tourist attraction and family community.

10th grade objectives: Continue writing skills development, introduce math and science as life skills and enhance employability skills. Interventions: create unique enterprises; establish virtual mall, participate in engineering program and present product at conference. Outcomes: several creative enterprises developed, each group developed business plans, Product: Cohort, in small groups researched, created and gave a power point presentation of their business plans to local business and mall managers.

11th and 12th grades, Cohort will develop and operate a virtual mall with ongoing profit oriented enterprises.


Keywords: Improving Academic Competencies, Expand Employment Possibilities, Prepare Disadvantaged Under Performing Students
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Elinor L. Brown

Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
College of Education, University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Associate Professor, Elinor L. Brown earned her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Akron (UA) in 1998. She is internationally recognized in equity and social justice education through her: series co-editorship of International Advances in Education, Equity, and Social Justice Research published by Information Age Publishing, publications in distinguished national and international refereed journals, numerous national and international refereed presentations, invited international workshops on equity in education; and for conceptualizing, implementing and hosting an international conference for scholars from 10 nations across Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, East Asia and Africa. She currently teaches graduate courses in multicultural education, teacher preparation, foundations of education, and cross-cultural education research. Her commitment to teaching, research and service is evidenced by four awards received through student nominations as a Teacher Who Made a Difference; a university of Kentucky Outstanding Service Award ; and nominations by peers for an American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award, University of Kentucky’s Teacher of the Year Award and University of Kentucky’s President’s Award for Diversity. Her research interests focus on the development of equitable education opportunities to maximize productive non-exploitive 21st century global citizenship and influencing the cross-cultural perceptions and behaviors of future teachers.

Madison L. Gates

Senior Staff Associate and Doctoral Candidate, Department of Family and Community Medicine
College of Education, University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Madison Gates is currently a Doctoral candidate in the College of Education and a Senior Staff Associate in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He co-developed and conducted research projects that address the health care needs of offenders, implemented and facilitates the Kentucky Department of Corrections Electronic Health Records System, serves as liaison among Kentucky’s corrections Health Services Network and develops and disseminates educational materials and project activities. Previously, he coordinated and co-planned the integration of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) curriculum grant designed to expose medical students, residents, and physicians to non-allopathic practices, co-developed and facilitated curriculum integration and faculty development programs. He has made several peer-reviewed presentations on culture, education and health care. Gates has been the recipient of the prestigious Lyman T. Johnson Associate Fellowship and the Holmes Scholars Scholarship. He is a member of numerous professional organizations including: Department of Family and Community Medicine, six-year Review Clinic and Administrative and Education Committees, Kentucky Corrections Health Services Network as Associate Research Director, facilitator of the Kentucky Department of Corrections Electronic Health Records Team and on the Executive and Advisory committees of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Ref: D08P0342