Monday, December 1, 2008

Module 1 - Section 1 - Activity 8

Micro lesson for an Induction Session

In this activity Evelyn Michalshi (Evelyn Izquierdo) and Tamara Ashton (Jennifer Verschoor) have worked together to create a mini-lesson on:

Getting Around: Taking a Closer Look
Landmark: NMC Orientation 213, 105, 27

Objectives: At the end of this module, participants will be able to:
  • Use the computer keyboard to focus, zoom and pan
  • Use the camera control feature to focus, zoom and pan
  • Get around and take a closer look at things by using camera controls
  • Be able to stay in one spot and quickly view something from different angles

1- Find an object that interests you and inspect it closely from all angles. Also pan around the environment and around yourself.
2- Play hide and seek with another friend using only camera controls to search for the other person without moving your avatar.

Previous knowledge: None

Materials: Item Location Camera Control View > Camera Controls, panels, images uploaded (textures) and pasted in prims, snapshots with camera controls, images with arrows.


  • Step 1: Focusing. Hold down the Alt key to activate Focus Mode. Did you see your cursor change to a magnifying glass while Alt was held down? While continuing to hold down the key, click on anything - an object, the landscape or a person. Notice how the view centers after you click? Even when the object or person moves, your camera will stay with it until it is out of range.
  • Step 2: Zooming. While holding down the Alt key, press the UpArrow key on your keyboard to zoom in and DownArrow key to zoom out.
  • Step 3: Horizontal panning. As you continue to hold down the Alt key, press the RightArrow key or LeftArrow key to pan right or left. This is a great way to go around your subject. You can also pan using your mouse. While holding down the Alt key, drag your mouse around. Did you see that you can zoom by moving the mouse forward or back and you can pan by moving your mouse left or right?

Play 'Hide and Seek':

Play 'hide and seek' with another friend using only camera controls to search for the other person without moving your avatar. By the end of this mission you will be able to pan in all directions and angles.

Further Practice

  • Step 1: Vertical panning. Hold down the Alt and Ctrl keys together then click on something. Now press the UpArrow key or DownArrow key to pan up or down. You can also press the E or C keys to pan up or down. This time the distance from your avatar remains constant but you can pan in all directions using the arrow keys. Try this now: Using your mouse, make sure you hold down the Alt and Ctrl keys together, then click on something and drag your mouse around.
  • Step 2: Pan landscape. Hold down the Alt, Ctrl and Shift keys all together and drag your mouse. Did you notice that as you move the mouse, the camera slides across the landscape as if you are dragging the ground around?
  • Step 3: 360 degrees around yourself. To get a quick look around your avatar try this:
    With the Alt key pressed down, click on your avatar. While continuing to hold the Alt key down use the arrow keys to spin around your avatar. This is a great way to see what your avatar looks like from the front.
  • Step 4: Camera Controls. There is one more way to access your camera controls in Second Life. Under View menu select the option Camera Controls. View > Camera Controls
    You will see two circles and a bar in between appear at the bottom of your screen.
    The left circle rotates the camera.
    The middle bar zooms in and out.
    The right circle moves the camera left, right, up and down.

We will be soon advising you about our hours available for orientation.


Evelyn Michalski

Module 1 - Section 1 - Activity 7

Coming in to land - Do's and Don'ts
Hi dear all:

During this week, we were asked to select two orientation spaces from the list below to be analyzed:

  • Orientation partly interactive, Virtual Ability (135, 124, 23)
  • RL Student Orientation Area, Campus (172, 90, 24)
  • NMC Orientation (107, 114, 39), and
  • Orientation Stations, Dore (32, 99)
I visited the four orientation spaces, but I chose Virtual Ability and NMC Orientation to make my main comments here.

Orientation partly interactive, Virtual Ability

The first space I visited was Virtual Ability. I was delighted with that space. I think it provides the necessary guidance to make a 'just born' SL avatar happy and confident. The arrows, images and explanations are very important for a newbie. A person who is entering in-world for the first time needs to be treated as as young child. All information you can give him/her will be appreciated and this space takes that child by his/her hand teaching him/her the whole process to control and learn from his/her avatar and his/her environment, step by step. I also liked the calm and peaceful environment provided by this space, the games incorporated, and rewards when tasks are well done.

In Virtual Ability, I met Pecos Kid. He is one of VA mentors. He asked me about the orientation space and my experience there. We enjoyed chatting for a while. He taught me how to climb a tree, something I've never done in RL. It was exciting. I took several snapshots during my visit. I really enjoyed it.

NMC Orientation

Regarding NMC Orientation, it seems to be more sofisticated, more serious, more elegant perhaps. It provides another interesting orientation space for newbies. I think students can feel comfortable, and they will be able to learn a lot. However, I think this space demands a higher competency level than Virtual Ability, and more attention. But, well, it depends on the learner's maturity or learning style.

In NMC, I met my friend Tamara Ashton (Jennifer Verschoor in RL) and we explored the orientation island together. We checked, step by step, all what we were supposed to know according to the training received with Languagelab, until we got to a video station. We got distracted there. I saw San Francisco's trolley, which made me remind my visit to that city. That was our first distractor, then we walked around and passed over the Golden Gate bridge. We completely forgot the other stations and we never came back to complete the steps, but we have come several times to plan our micro-class. The fact of not finishing the circuit indicates that something wrong is happening. Perhaps, it is too long, or it has some distractors on the way to make the SL learner get some rest. I'm not clear about the purpose of this specific design. I really liked it, but it would be advisable to have someone around who provides some help or guidance. We have never found anybody there.

Tamara Ashton on the left

The other two spaces, Dore and Campus seemed too simple to me. I don't think they provide enough information to the learner. On the contrary, the learner can get lost and feel frustrated. There is no place to go, nothing interesting to see, except for shopping. I found a MVN mentor in Campus, she asked my opinion about the space. We had a very short chat and said goodbye. In Dore, I found a stranger who seemed to a mentor. Tamara Ashton (Jennifer) and me were put off. I don't know why. We couldn't come back. Wow, I'm happy not to be a newbie. I would have felt very bad and I would probably never come back to SL.

In sum, orientation spaces should be:

1. Goal oriented and well guided. Arrows, images and explanations should be clear and enough in order to lead the learner step by step to reach the goal (s).
2. Interactive. It should offer many opportunities for the learner to interact with the environment.
3. Task-based and well graded. Activities must have a purpose and must go from simpler to more complex.
4. Encouraging. It should incorporate games and provide positive feedback when tasks are well done.
5. Pleasant. The learner should feel comfortable to develop SL abilities under a relaxing and peaceful environment.
6. A learning facilitator. It should provide some help if needed. There must be a mentor or helper ready to give a hand to those who need it.
7. Friendly. It should encourage learners to come back for more practice or just to check some tasks.
8. Fun. It should include funny activities for learners to enjoy while exploring and discovering the SL new world.

Orientation spaces should NOT:

1. Provide only written instructions. They should have enough images, pictures or sounds to guide the learner to reach the goals set.
2. Hide signals or simply not show any kind of learning path.
3. Provide too short explanations or descriptions.
4. Be dark spaces or desolated. They must be built by specialists in graphic design, architects or people who know about online space management.
5. Leave the learner by his/her own. Some kind of help must be offered.
6. Provide negative feedback.
7. Be static.
8. Be boring.

I'm not sure whether a SL orientation space should have a linear path or not, what I do think is that all orientation spaces should provide different possibilities for all different learning styles.

Well, that’s all folks.