Monday, January 26, 2009

Module 1 - Section 3 - Activity 8

Tree planting on MUVEnation island

For this activity we were asked to create a tree. It was a challenge, indeed. We were suppossed to experience this task in order to develop not only creativity but to master the apprenticeship model, provide peer to peer learning support, enjoy ludic learning and share informal learning.

  • To further develop building and scripting skills and methods via a creative project
  • To cooperate in a community project
  • To experience and develop master-apprenticeship model and other forms of peer to peer support
  • To explore informal learning opportunities inworld

My group (Group 3) was asked to build one or more of the following types of tree here:
  • realistic tree
  • surrealistic tree
  • typographic tree
  • tree of life
  • family tree
  • naughty tree
  • musical tree
  • people tree
  • tree for sale
  • fruit of knowledge tree
  • tree into toe won’t go
  • tree of oblivion
  • tree from hell
  • symbol tree
  • science fiction tree love tree
  • snakes and ladders tree
  • monkey puzzle tree idolatree trees a crowd
  • geometree
  • repositree
  • poetree
Although it was not planned that way at the beginning, I created another tree that was not included in the list. I created a Christmas tree, because it was more related to my own RL. Then, I created a realistic tree. Therefore, I can divide my tree building experience into two parts:

Part I. A Christmas tree

At the beginning, I thought that building a tree would be 'a piece of cake'. So, I decided to work on the travel guide first and do this task later. However, as soon as we started with the travel guide, I realized I was wrong. Designing our Creation of Content tour was a total challenge and demanded more time than expected, so my tree had to wait until January.

Trying to accomplish with two assignments at the same time and enjoying the RL Christmas holidays, I built a Christmas tree in the second station of our travel tour path. Its main objective is to show all different shapes we have available in the Object Editor, object features, scripts use, and elements needed for a fun activity in the second station.

I am very proud of that tree. It was made with 16 colorful, lighted and different-shaped rotating prims. If you see it inworld at midnight, it will look like this one in the snapshot.

Part II. A realistic tree

When we came back from Christmas vacations, we realized that several of our travel guide prims had been moved, deleted, or returned. So, I was afraid of using so many prims in my tree. Well, I built this one you see here in the snapshot below.

I first created a cilynder, which would be the trunk. I added it a texture and stretched it. Then, for the leaves, I created a box, stretched it, twisted and hollowed it. I added it a texture, a real tree color and a rotating script. Once this object was ready, I duplicated it several times, creating about 7 or 8 prims. I added these new objects to the trunk. If you see it inworld you will see a rotating tree.

I' ve seen so beautiful trees built, so I'm not very pleased with mine. I still think I could do something better and more productive. So, I will continue trying until I can feel really comfortable or I decide to give up, ha ha :-))


Module 1 - Section 3 - Activity 7

Activity 7 - Multiple hands, Multiple voices: a co-writing experiment about Orientation islands in Second Life: analysis, evaluation and guiding principles for successful design of orientation islands

Background and aims

The aim of this activity is to produce an occasional paper from the results of Activity 7 'Coming into land'. In this activity, 20 participants from Group 3 explored four orientation islands in order to reflect about the learning experience of new users on these islands and to identify a set of guiding principles for their successful design.

This work has been analysed by Margarita Pérez and presented at Online Educa Berlin 2008. It attracted much audience interest and especially that of Jean Miller (aka Jean Linden), who works as the German Marketing Manager (consumers, educators, enterprises) for Linden Labs.

The reasons for her interest in this work were:

  • Linden Labs is looking for better ways to improve new users experience.
  • LL has quantitative data about new user experiences, but little qualitative data that can help them better understand user behaviour during their first steps in Second Life
  • LL has started a collaboration with ISTE for the design of the New Educators Pathway. But they are aware of the present limitations of the orientation island, and would like to improve or to create another kind of introductory experience for educators.

Very little has been written about guidelines for orientation island design, and thus our work has a potential for positive impact within the Second Life educational community.

Considering this interest, and as a continuation of our work together, we propose to co-write an occasional paper with recommendations for successful design of orientation islands. Naturally this process can be extended to the elaboration of at least two or three research papers. But we need to start with an easier co-writing exercise, and then move progressively towards more complex forms of writing that exist in longer publication cycles such as peer reviewed research papers. So this first attempt is also an exercise for us, to see how good we are at organising and managing the collective production of knowledge.

To cooperate in the MUVEnation wiki and co-write an occasional paper with the title 'Orientation islands in Second Life: analysis, evaluation and guiding principles for successful design of orientation islands'


This work will be publish here soon.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Module 1 - Section 3 - Activity 6

Building a Travel Guide


1. To collect, describe and comment on a number of tools that are suitable for teaching and learning in Second Life based upon a chosen theme
2. To design an experience-based, interactive and playful activity for a teacher to discover to discover these tools in Second Life, such as creating a tour guide

My reflections:

To do this task, we were first provided with a list of areas we might work with. These areas were:

  • Delivery of learning material
  • Communication and interaction
  • Cooperation
  • Creation of content
  • Individualisation of learning paths
  • Assessment, feedback and tracking
  • Self-organisation and group-organisation
  • Reflection and meta cognition

We also had to show our availability to work in groups. So, I did. I chose Creation of Content and decided to work with Cvetka, Narci, PeterGeorge, SusNy, and Alpha. Like Cvetka, I had an idea of 'content' in mind. Language teachers usually have to manage this term when planning and designing classes, courses or programs; however, I was not sure about its actual meaning in SL.

It was not easy at the beginning. Cvetka and I had many doubts about how and where to start. We met inworld and explored different places and tools. We did a great job together. We found many interesting tools, but not all of them were appropriate for our Creation of Content task, so we focused on building tools primarily.

Then, other members joined the group. It was very exciting. It would be the first time we would do a group task inworld. It sounded as a real challenge, and it actually was. We were all from different countries and have different time zones. It was hard to plan inworld meeting, then, we organized our work and keep a fluent and good communication, we exchanged our email addresses and created a Google document, so we could store all the information tere. Then, we organized the information and all team members added the different tools and information that might be useful for our project.

Inworld we designed a circle path with 6 stations. We were not clear about the number of stations at the beginning. We had planned to work on 4 main areas: building, textures, scripting and animations. After several discussions by email, the Google Doc and inworld, we decided to create the following:

Station No. 1 Welcome station: Here we provide a welcome message to our visitors and give a notecard with an overview about our travel guide and the landmark.

Station No. 2 Building: This station is aimed to guide the visitor to a building experience. The main building tool is Object Editor, but there are other ones available found by Cvetka and me.

Station: 3: Textures and Media. This is SusNy's place. It has a laptop and a screen to show how to use media and textures to create and deliver content. It also contains an object that allows to navigate and visit SusNy's blog.

Station 4: Scripting. This is a very interesting station designed by Alpha and Narci. It provides many tools to create content by using scripts and animations. It is quite interactive.

Station 5: Media and animations. This station was designed by PeterGeorge. It is a fantastic music house which offers several opportunities for the visitor to try by him/herself many different ways to teach music through the use of content media and animations.

Station 6: More tools and resources. This is the last station, here we provide many interesting Web links to further readings, resources, RL and SL tools that may be helpful to create content.

We finally included a circled rug as a playground area in the center of the circuit , so visitors could have the opportunity to practice with the different tools provided during the tour.