Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Module 1 - Section 2 - Activity 9

Curating our digital selves

Hi dear all!

During this week we were asked to take some close-up snapshots from our friends and create a mini-exhibition. It took me some time to decide how I was going to design my gallery. I didn't have any idea. I first started trying with prim, colors, shapes; then, I decided to create walls and the decoration; and finally, I uploaded images (textures) to be shown. Since I was not sure about the total number of snapshots I was going to use and I didn't plan my work in advance, I spent all the money I had. So, I'm broken now. I couldn´t upload all my friends' snapshots, but in this slideshow you will have an idea of what I included in my exhibition. Enjoy the show! You are cordially invited to visit my gallery in Muvenation; here is the landmark:

Evelyn Michalski's Gallery, Muvenation (122, 130, 300)



Module 1 - Section 2 - Activity 8

All about My Avatar: Evelyn Michalski

Evelyn Izquierdo interviews Evelyn Michalski
Dec 3, 2008

EI: Hi, Evelyn! Thank you for accepting my invitation for this interview.

EM: Thank you. I'm glad to tell you about my SL experiences.

EI: When was Evelyn Michalski born?

EM: Evelyn Michalski was born on August 9, 2008. That means I'm only four months old, LOL.

EI: How did you choose your SL first and family names?

EM: Well, I decided to keep my RL name because I love it and because I didn't want to lose my own identity. I think Evelyn is a beautiful name; besides, having a different name made feel strange.

Regarding my family name, I had to choose from a long list of last names. It was fun. I chose Michalski because it sounded like Russian or Polish. It seemed to be nice and elegant. At the beginning, I even forgot my last name, but after some months, it has become part of me.

EI: How would you describe Evelyn Michalski?

EM: Well, Evelyn Michalski is a young woman, between 24 or 28 years old, with long black hair and a beautiful smile. She has a sexy walking style and loves using poses. She usually wears black hair and purple eyes; but, lately, she has discovered how exciting is having a new look everyday. She is being trying new skins, new makeup and new outfits. Look at here:

EI: Is this your first avatar? Tell me about your first moments in SL.

EM: As all new SL avatars, I was naked. I had to decide about her size, height, weight and face's features. I took me some time to edit her appearance and design some outfits for her, but I really enjoyed it. To that moment, I didn´t know how to save a skin or buy a new one. One day, while editing my avatar's appearance I made a mistake and I lost all the work I had been doing. My avatar suddenly became an ugly, fat and bald man. I tried once and again and I couldn´t change his physical appearance, so I went shopping and bought another skin. This new skin was pretty much what I was looking for. I made so changes to her and that is the second avatar you have seen.

EI: How do you feel when editing your avatar? What effects do you want to produce on others?

EI: Interesting question. More than thinking about the effects I might produce on others, I try to find something that makes me feel well. Evelyn Michalski has been an inspiration to me. She always feel comfortable with her appearance. And if she doesn't, she inmediately changes it. In RL, for example, you cannot change your appearance in seconds, except under surgery; but I think we must feel confident and happy with the way we look like, anf if we don´t, well, find the way to do so.

EI: Do you have any relatives in SL? Do you have other avatars?

EM: No, not yet, unfortunately. But I do have many friends, most of them are Webheads. I'm learning how to control my feelings when I don't like the skin, and I would like to try with a new avatar.

EI: What does Evelyn Michalski do in SL?

EM: Uhmmm, I don't know yet. She looks like an excutive but it seems to me that she is unemployed. Two months ago, she was trained to be a Spanish teacher in SL. She might be teaching in Ciudad Bonita soon, or she might find a job as an English teacher as well. She loves exploring lands and making new friends. She also likes building, but she needs more practice.

EI: What do you do in RL?

EM: I'm an English teacher. I work at the School of Education of Universidad Central de Venezuela. I love ICT and using Web tools in my classes. I discovered they are excellent media to learn the target language.

EI: Well, Evelyn, thank you very much for letting us know more about you.

EM: It was a pleasure! You are always welcome!

Module 1 - Section 2 - Activity 7

The Professional Avatar

Hi dear all:

In Activity 7, we were asked to answer the following (provocative) questions related to the 'professional' avatar:


  • Do you think avatar appearance is an important aspect of educational activities that are being undertaken in Second Life?

No, necessarily. Perhaps, if you are working with newbies, the appearance might have some influence on them, but once the learner knows the SL environment, he or she can easily understand the difference; what really matter is if you are prepared or not to teach in SL.

  • What does appearance say about us in a teaching situation in Second Life - to what degree is it the same as real-life?

I think RL and SL teaching situations are very different. In SL you need to master several abilities you never put into practice within a traditional RL classroom. It is also different from teaching online. SL demands a lot from the teacher; he or she must know how to deal with all the technical aspects, besides having the competence to be a teacher. I mean, he or she must have been trained in the pedagogical aspects and must know the subject or course content. As a SL teacher you have to design a lesson plan and follow it, but controlling at the same time all what students are doing too (ie. voice, chat, audio, movements, etc).

The avatar's appearance might be important or not depending on your class objectives. In RL, a teacher should be careful with what he or she wears. Something that doesn't follow the standard rule might be a distracting factor for the entire class.

  • What is a appropriate professional avatar appearance for education?

Well, almost all teachers have the same physical appearance all over the world. I mean, we have standard rules on what a teacher should or shouldn´t wear, or how he or she should look like. The main aspects concerning to the avatar might be those related to behaviour instead of appearance. Some teachers are more formal than others and they would probably like to show a similar look in SL. Or, on the contrary, someone who is always tired of being dressy in RL would probably have a less formal appearance in SL. It is simply a personal style matter. With a 'professional' or 'non-professional' appearance, teachers must inspire respect and confidence, since they are an example to follow; that is something you get in return if you are a professional teacher, if you treat the others with respect, if you know the subject matter, if you prepare your class, if you listen to others and respect their ideas, etc. Of course, if you choose something very 'strange' as an avatar or something that is not 'allowed' in RL, your students might be probably observing you, instead of paying attention to class. That's a risk. It also happens in RL.

  • Does your avatar have a professional appearance for educational contexts? Yes, no? Why?

Well, it depends on what we understand for professional appearance. But, well, yes, I think she has a standard 'professional' style.

  • Is there any appearance you would never use to teach in Second Life and why?

Yes, I would never teach being naked, or I wouldn't like to teach with a devil appearance.

  • The ability to change avatar appearance could be described as an affordance of Second Life. How can the ability to alter avatar appearance be used as a teaching tool?

As a language teacher, I think the ability of changing or alter an avatar is really important, since it is an excellent resource for a warming up activity, follow up tasks, homeworks, etc. It is very useful to practice specific language skills, indeed. I think SL, in general, has many advantages for online language teachers and learners.

This is me as Vivi

You may add your comments below. They are very welcome!

See you inworld,


Module 1 Section 2, Activity 6: Almost Famous

As part of Module 1- Section 2, we were also asked to alter our avatar's skin to create a famous person. I chose Abraham Lincoln. I spent several hours to get an avatar as close as possible. Unfortunately, I had some trouble with the beard and eyebrows, which I couldn't make darker. I tried several times, and this is what I got.

While I was in a store buying some men's clothing, a woman arrived. I said hello to her although I was really uncomfortable. I had to let her know that I was not a man, and why I looked like Abraham Lincoln. She told me that I had done a good job with my avatar, which made me feel proud of myself.

What do you think about the results? Your comments are welcome!

Evelyn Michalski