30th January 2012

ISTE Island to Close February 28

This is not an announcement, but rather a call to contribute to re-imagining ISTE in Second Life.

ISTE Island HQ in Second Life

Many of us in the educational communities in virtual worlds have heard rumblings over the past few months that ISTE is revising its level of financial support for its activities in virtual worlds. Historically, that has been made manifest through generous ongoing payment to Linden Lab for a region called ISTE Island. Indeed, there was one long run where ISTE maintained four separate regions in Second Life. The virtual heyday, as it were. The realities of today’s economy requires organizations to rethink financial commitments, and ISTE has done so.

As of the last day of February, 2012, payments will no longer be made to maintain ISTE Island, and ISTE Island will no longer be.

Andy Wheelock, aka Spiff Whitfield, currently Lowly High Grand Poobah of the Special Interest Group for Virtual Environments, has been leading a task force (yes, we do call it that) to investigate options. The group has coalesced much like any SIGVE group has, more or less come together on its own as interested parties have responded to calls for discussions and collaboration. Some configuration of the group has met a half dozen times over the past several months. Andy alluded to all of this and made the collaboration document available for one and all in the closing paragraph of his open letter in the recent publication of January 2012 issue of Virtual Education Journal.

Last week we met at the campfires on ISTE Island, for somewhere around the 5th or 6th time, to discuss our findings and preferences, this time with Jennifer Ragan-Fore, the revered original catalyst for ISTE Island in the first place. Here’s a pic from that gathering.

In the spirit of sharing, I “call to comment“–either here at this post or on the document itself (which you should by all means read before you make your own suggestions or comments either here or there). Do you have any notions about how SIGVE should go about best use of a $500 per year budget for a space in Second Life? Now’s the time to share them. A decision must be made by the end of the first week in February.

Please put Friday, February 27, all day and night, on your calendars: There will be a party. There will be fireworks. I’m putting out tissue boxes the day of. This morning, I set out a notecard dropbox at the welcome table at ISTE Island Headquarters. Do you have fond memories from your own experiences at ISTE Island in Second Life? We’d like to hear them. Feel free to comment here or type out your reminisces at your leisure, paste them into a notecard, and drop them in the box at ISTE Island in Second Life. It looks like this:

I’m working on an image repository we will have open by Feb 1 for collection of ISTE ISLAND MEMORIES, along with a wiki page at SIGVE for recollections, reminisces, and reflections. Sigh.
Thanks in retrospect for all you have shared with all of us at ISTE Island over the years. Thanks in advance for your sharing over this next month. Keep the faith, whatever it is for you.
Crossposted from Oh!VirtualLearning!
Written by Scott Merrick

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12th March 2009

Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education Event!

From the VWBPE site:

The VWBPE Conference provides opportunities for virtual world communities to showcase projects, courses, events and research that lead to best practices in education. The end result of collaborating, sharing, and co-construction of knowledge during the conference is the creation of innovative and immersive environments in which virtual world residents can learn, work, and play.

Program Chairs: Marlene Brooks (RL) Zana Kohime (SL)

The conference will take place in Second Life from March 27-29. Be sure to visit the site to register!

Also, be sure to check out Pathfinder Linden’s interview with the conference organizers!

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9th January 2009

Linden Prize Applications Due Jan. 15, 2009

Happy New Year!  I hope that one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to finish and submit your Linden Prize applications, because time is running out to be one of the top ten finalists we’ll announce, able to show the world what hard work, inspiration and creativity can achieve in Second Life.  Finalists will see their projects appreciated and utilized by Residents, written about by bloggers and press, and be eligible for the Grand Prize of $10 thousand US dollars.

Yes, the deadline of January 15 is almost here, so whether you’ve been procrastinating, gathering your documentation, or finishing up those final touches, it is time to get cracking.  And if you think a friend with a wonderful project may not have applied, suggest they do so! All the application information is still here at the Linden Prize, and the forum is open here.

We’ve added two features for our Residents who are more comfortable in other languages than English.

  • Need help translating your application into English? Right now you have help in German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Polish, French and Italian. Thanks to your fellow Resident Translator volunteers and Lexie Linden, you can check the Linden Prize Translation Project to submit your application.

Now, a personal message:  Some of you might be thinking, “Nah.  Linden Lab would never consider my little project.”   For example, I happened to talk the leader of an inspired project that supports servicemen and women in a way that’s uniquely Second Life.  But that leader hadn’t considered applying for the Linden Prize.

“Wow!’, I thought, ‘That’s exactly the kind of project that the world needs to hear about!”

So, if that scenario describes you—or your modest friends– take the next week to apply for the Linden Prize.  When you see your project announced with the rest of the Finalists, not only will you able to see the project you care about  receive well-earned recognition from a much larger audience, but you will be teaching us all about what hard work, inspiration and creativity can achieve in Second Life.

What a way to start 2009!

Applications due January 15th 2009
Applications must be complete and submitted no later than January 15, 2009.

Announcement Dates
The Winner and Finalists will be announced no later than April 30, 2009.

Linden Prize Criteria
We have several core principles that will influence the choice of the 10 finalists and the winner.

  • Work in Second Life that also achieves tangible, compelling results outside of Second Life.
  • Distinctive, original work using Second Life that clearly demonstrates high quality, execution, function, aesthetics and technical sophistication.
  • Work that has the capacity for inspiring and influencing future development, knowledge, creativity, and collaboration both inside and outside of Second Life.

Links
The Linden Prize
Linden Prize FAQ
Linden Prize Application
Linden Prize Application Translation Project

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23rd December 2008

Year in Review Brag-Fest!

The year sure does fly by, doesn’t it? If you’re like me, you’re usually too busy with your own projects to check out some of the awesome work being done by our colleagues in Second Life. Well here’s a holiday gift from the Sl-ed community to the SL-ed community. A list of a few of this year’s projects that we can all learn from and enjoy. All of the projects here were submitted for the list by their creators.

Happy Holidays from the SL-ed blog crew!


Project Name: The Education Project Asia

Creator: Chris Smith aka Shamblesguru Voom

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/International%20Schools/64/90/24

Description: Chris Smith (Shamblesguru Voom) is a k-12 educator based in Thailand and working across S.E.Asia … teacher professional development and web 2.0 are two of his main focuses and, of course, virtual worlds. He established (S.L.) International Schools Island in the summer of 2007, it opened to the public in February 2008. One of the aims of Chris’s work on the island is to index S.L. locations for educators in S.L. itself and also to establish a repository of teaching and learning tools … most of which are open source.
This is being done is three towers and a Medical Centre …. Technology Tower, Curriculum Tower, Information Tower.

Project Name: Religion Bazaar

Creator: Helen Farley aka Rupert Uriza
School: Studies in Religion at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
SLURL: Not yet open to the public but will be soon!

Description: We’ve tried to represent as many traditions as we can squeeze onto one small space. We’ve created a church, a synagogue, a mosque but also a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple, a Freemasons Lodge (to satisfy my urge to know what goes on!) and some natural spaces too. One of our staff members is involved in researching spirituality and the environment. For her we have a rocky outcrop overlooking a sea full of brightly coloured fish. One of my postgraduates is investigating the ritual in ritual magic so we have some spaces to accommodate that intriguing and important research. Did I mention our very distinguished and ancient-looking Greek temple? Students will be able to adopt an identity and enter into one of our religious spaces to participate in a ritual or a re-creation. Students can swap roles; walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins. They must observe the traditions of that religion: shoes off, wash before entering, appropriate clothing only – male and female. And unlike real life spaces, there will be plenty of information and interactive activities to give students the information they need. We are not recreating genuine religious services – that’s not the point – but through them students can learn what they are like.

Project Name: Campus of Hope: Using the Virtual World to Improve Our World

Creator: Bruce R. Maxim aka BruceRobert Mizin)
School: University of Michigan-Dearborn
SLURL: UM Dearborn (http://slurl.com/secondlife/UM%20Dearborn/236/26/21)
(access is granted by sending email to bmaxim@umich.edu or in world IM to BruceRobert Mizin)

Description: A key component of the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Metropolitan Vision is Student Engagement, an effort to help students to see the point of the knowledge they are acquiring-the real-world impact that their knowledge can achieve. Students can increase the impact of their talents by learning to work together, to lend their talents to the needs of their communities, and to achieve real passion for the fields of learning they are pursuing. This project is a core element in furthering our vision of student engagement.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-Dearborn) is leveraging computing technology to develop and build sustainable communities that bridge virtual and real worlds to address a pressing social problem through the use of college and high school students, the Second Life 3-D (SL) virtual world and the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM).

Our general approach is for UM-Dearborn students to build a Campus of Hope that will provide a structure for future development. Students will work with the FBCM as a vehicle to build a community among their network of food banks, conceptualize the parameters of their problems (e.g. efficient distribution of canned goods), collaboratively develop and test solutions (e.g. minimal cost delivery route), and then implement the solution in the real world.

Initially, we are planning three projects to implement in Second Life for our community partner.  The first  will be the creation of a virtual food drive to educate people using the 3-D environment about how their donations travel through the system and reach people in need. The second will be the creation of a virtual exhibit showcasing the needs of the community partner and the benefits of collaboration in virtual worlds. The third will be the creation of facilities to support meetings held jointly in real life and second life. This projects will be fully implemented by April 2009.

The use of a virtual property or island as an engineering test bed has number of benefits. It allows geographically diverse stakeholders to interact with each other in real-time while working on a problem. The virtual island also serves as problem solution repository that can be used as case studies by educators and manipulated by stakeholders as parameters change. The virtual island can also be used to help build community awareness of the problems facing the community partner as it tries to complete its mission. The virtual environment may also serve to provide a realistic face on the people served by food banks in our state and create feelings of empathy on the part of its visitors.

Project Name: Student Creative Arts and Research Symposium

Creator: Catherine Dutton, SL: Catherine Soderstrom/Lishi Nishi
School: Texas Woman’s University
SLURL: Research Symposium Greeting Area: http://slurl.com/secondlife/TWU/184/27/24
School of the Arts: http://slurl.com/secondlife/TWU/184/210/23

Description: Distance students presented research posters and conceptual builds on the TWU island as part of the university’s annual Student Research Symposium. Poster topics ranged from SL Libraries, to qualitative research in virtual worlds to a conceptual build of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory. Included in this is an art studio for dance, visual and theatre arts students. New posters and research will be released in April of 2009 when the next research symposium comes around!

Project Name: Hotel & Tourism Management – PolyU Resort Island

Creator: Paul Penfold [RL] Paul Allandale [SL]
School: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/HKPolyU Resort/121/167/26

Description: We used SL for orientation for 400 freshman students joining our Department. Started 3 weeks before the new semester, with 16 SL workshops in our computer lab first, then the last 2 weeks fully in SL. The program consisted of 7 individual learning activities: learning styles, multiple intelligences, active learning, academic honesty, classroom etiquette, citing references and hotel room design. Plus 3 competitions – parachuting, through the hoops and fashion show, and 8 live sessions on learning challenges, plagiarism, library and open Q&A finishing with a dance night and fashion show.

For details of the program see: http://virtel.shtm.polyu.edu.hk/sotel/

We have been using a couple of chat bots to help with some of the activities and also employed some student helpers to assist and support students on a roster basis so someone was always around from 9am to 9pm every day.

Project Name: Object Oriented Programming Course

Creator: Barry Spencer
School: FE PAL Bromley College
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Maritime%20Greenwich/109/9/21

Description: I work in FE/HE in the UK and one of the courses I teach is OOP (Object Oriented Programming), and for the project this year, I decided to task my students with writing an application that would calculate the energy in Watts that could be extracted from the wind by a turbine. I started with a lecture on the basic physics involved, and then presented them with a formula, the idea being that they would be able to assimilate the various values (attributes) and any associated calculations into appropriate classes, and generally this has gone well. The next stage will be for them to code and test this in Java. Once the applications are working I will then send them of in a research kind of way, to place their devices, in an imaginary kind of way, at various locations across the UK for which average wind speeds are readily available, should be good.  I had the thought, how about getting them to create a wind class that emulates the way in which wind can vary over time, as indeed it does? Then I thought, the wind blows in SL, so why not get them in-world and have the experience of design / modelling? Of course the Java code will have to be translated into LSL, but as I found this is not a major problem really. Anyway I placed my own working version on a small islet kindly provided by Tony Lusch at Greenwich Maritime, thanks again for that Tony, and now its just a matter of waiting for the student turbine crop to grow. If you would like to include this project and know how my students get on, then please feel free to visit over the coming month or so at

Project Name: RezLibris – The Magazine for Librarians

Creator: Debbie De Lousie aka Dulcie Mills
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cybrary%20City/146/152/24

Description: RezLibris is dedicated to becoming a vehicle through which information professionals can inform, share, inspire and encourage each other as together we face the challenges to librarianship in this environment.

Our staff is pooled from a host of information-related occupations – public librarian, academic librarian, research librarian, educator, bibliographer, documentalist, software developer, even scientific informatics analyst – all very enthusiastic about the future of librarianship in SL.

RezLibris Magazine currently has a staff of 12 on its Board.  This staff consists of 5 managers (the Publisher, Associate Publisher, Website Manager, PR Director, and Advertising Manager); 4 editors (News, Features, Arts, Multimedia); and 4 assistant editors (News, Features, Arts, Multimedia).  Note that our Advertising Manager is also editor of the Arts section.

Project Name: Virtual State Fair (Morrill) and Virtual County Extension (Morrill2)

Creator: LuAnn Phillips aka Thynka Little
School: Cooperative Extension System

Description: The Virtual State Fair is home to the Cooperative Extension System, a collaboration of over 70 colleges and universities in the USA, providing educational outreach to communities and individuals via a network of county-based educators. Originally agricultural, the programs have expanded to include a broader range of topics such as personal finance, parenting, disaster preparedness, natural resources, and more. Faculty, researchers, and community educators are currently using the Morrill islands in Second Life to explore the potential of virtual worlds for collaboration, new teaching methods, and to extend outreach to a global audience. The Virtual State Fair offers a combination of entertaining activities and useful information for the general public.

College faculty, researchers, and educators are meeting regularly to collaborate on projects both in SL and RL.  SL projects under development include family caregiving, turf grass, and integrated pest management. Classes on consumer education topics will be taught by extension educators in-world during 2009. A short video of the Morrill islands can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm96vfC-YY0. And a blog about the Family Caregiving project can be read here http://extensionfamilycaregivingslp.blogspot.com/

Project Name: Timeline of Earth

Creator: Adrienne Gauthier aka Ourania Fizgig and Chris Impey aka Cosmo Priestman
School: University of Arizona Department of Astronomy
SLURL: http://slurl.com/LivingintheUniverse

Description: The Timeline of Earth project is a product of 2 semesters of ASTR 202 “Exploring Life in the Universe” non-major astronomy class at the University of Arizona. Students in the class create, research,
build, and script exhibits for ‘spotlight times’ during the Earth’s 4.6 billion year history. Walk the timeline in a spiral pattern and click posters and models for information about the Earth and life of Earth during that time period. Keep an eye out for local tp links to ‘immersive boxes’ where you can listen to the Moon landing or watch a dinosaur bite the dust! We’re going on our 3rd semester of building content in Second Life during Spring 2009, come watch us grow!

Project Name: InSLed (International Second Life Education)

Creator: Suzie Medders aka Mirt Tenk Clemson University, Annie Jeffery aka MissAnnie Ducatillon University of Southampton, Christine Crawford aka Silver Tomorrow University of North Dakota

Description: The InSLed (International Second Life Education) Intro to Second Life (SL) class met for six weekly sessions in-world and face-to-face at separate university labs at Clemson and Southampton from June 9 through July 21, 2008. The combination of simultaneous virtual world and real world gatherings developed both long-distance, virtual relationships and real-life relationships among enrolled faculty. Interestingly, although students interacted with each other inworld less than we expected during classes, they all expressed a desire for more international training classes and said they valued the international component of the training class. Taught collaboratively across four time zones, three institutions and two countries by three instructors (one remote for ALL students) and several assistants (both remote and in-lab), Clemson and Southampton faculty learned basic SL skills and were introduced to examples of effective teaching in Second Life. One faculty member in the class wrote, “[this] training class gave me the start I needed to begin exploring what’s in Second Life, how it is already being used for education, and how I  might make use of it myself.”

Project Name: SnelgroveGallery Virtual Gallery education project

Creator: Gary Young aka Dependent Binder
School: Art & Art History, University of Saskatchewan
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Teaching%206/100/50/20

Description: The SGVG education project is a gallery build at the University of Saskatchewan parcel on NMC’s  Teaching 6 island. It is purposed to support instruction and self-directed learning in creative exhibition design and artistic inquiry in a virtual world platform.  We look forward to utilizing this platform for adding virtual dimensions to student course projects and graduating exhibitions as well as instructional support to our Professional Practices curriculum.  This term we started with real world emulation of basic gallery architecture and investigated issues of site specificity, viewer navigation, exhibition coherence and image preparation and placement.

Project Name: Teaching English in Second Life

Creator: Nergiz Kern aka Daffodil Fargis
SLURL: No specific region, meeting point was on the Islamonline.net sim but we went to different places from there.

Description: Sometime, at the beginning of this year, I decided that Second Life is worth exploring and has a lot of potential for teaching and learning languages.  Last summer, I planned and gave a free 6-week General English language course in Second Life. It was my first experiment with teaching in SL. Therefore, I decided to make my lesson plans public and started a blog where I reflected about how the lessons went hoping to engage other teachers in a discussion and motivating them to try it out themselves: http://slexperiments.edublogs.org I enjoyed the course very much and feedback from my students was extremely positive, too, so that I decided to continue teaching in Second Life. I gave a public presentation about my experience the recording of which is still available: http://snurl.com/8u4k5

Project Name: SLexperiments language teacher group in Second Life (teacher development)

Creator: Nergiz Kern aka Daffodil Fargis
SLURL: We usually meet on Theconsultans-E sims “EduNation” http://slurl.com/secondlife/EduNation%20II/151/93/22

Description: When I started my Second Life, I didn‘t know any language teachers in SL and it was a very lonely learning journey. Then, I finally found two like-minded colleagues, Mmvcentro Jewell and Wonderalicia Alturas, who were also interested in teaching languages in SL. We started meeting regularly and sharing our knowledge and exploring SL together. We created a wiki to share our resources and lesson plans which we called SLexperiments. There are many educational groups in SL but as far as I know ours is the only one dedicated to language learning and teaching. Therefore, there has been a lot of interest in it and our group has over 80 members now and we still meet regularly every Friday at 11 am to discuss language learning and teaching in SL, demonstrate and experiment with tools, go on field trips, work on projects together and, of course, socialize.  All educators interested in language teaching and learning are welcome to join us. http://slexperiments.pbwiki.com Group in SL: SLexperiments Language Teachers.

Project Name: Republica Dominicana Virtual

Creator: Jan Herder aka Pausanius Raymake
School: Funglode (Foundacion Global Democracia y Desarollo) of the Dominican Republic
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Ontos/82/114/23/?title=Funglode%20Virtual%20Campus

Description: Republica Dominicana Virtual is a multi sector project to bring the power of virtual worlds to the Dominican Republic.  Full time residents include ITLA, The Technological Institute of the Americas
which has a campus on Ontos with 20 faculty introducing Second Life to its students and learning the platform themselves; USAD, Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, the oldest University in the new world with their Philosophy Department, Funglode’s virtual headquarters, art gallery’s, some historical landmarks and a library.

Project Name: Darton College in SL

Creator: Robby Dittmann aka Robby Kowalski
School: Darton College’s
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Teaching/83/80/21/

Description: Robby Dittmann (Robby Kowalski in SL) has greatly increased Darton College’s presence in Second Life.  Robby has attended college fairs in both the Teen Grid and the Main Grid, as well as redesigning the college’s parcel into an informational recruiting site.  Robby is also helping Darton explore ways to use virtual worlds to help realize the University System of Georgia’s vision to prepare students for a global and technological society.  Robby, who serves as the Enrollment Counselor for Darton’s Division of Online Learning, was invited to speak at the Alliance Virtual Library’s College Fair on the topic of “Common Myths About Online Education.”  The talk was very well received by its international audience.  Robby continues to seek new ways to apply Second Life to both the academic and student service areas of the college.

Darton is a two-year college of the University System of Georgia, located in Albany, the hub of Southwest Georgia.  In addition to its excellent on-campus programs, Darton provides a wide variety of programs that can be completed totally online.  For more information see the Darton College Web site or visit our SL parcel.

Project Name: The Splo

Creator: Paul Doherty aka Patio Plasma
School: The Exploratorium
SLURL: Exploratorium  http://slurl.com/secondlife/Exploratorium/146/118/21/
Sploland http://slurl.com/secondlife/Sploland/183/78/26/

Description: The Exploratorium runs interactive museums of: science, art, perception and humor in Second Life. The museums feature dozens of exhibits plus several large experiences. People learn while having fun at the exhibitions, they may explore with their friends and they do explore at their own speed. Avatars visit an amphitheater to watch video of total solar eclipses, watch an asteroid impact on the surface of mars, ride a galaxy cluster away from the big bang, ride the cannon ball envisioned by Newton in the Principia, ride a pollen grain in Brownian motion, toss a ping-pong ball into a large tank full of mousetraps and balls to envision a nuclear chain reaction, become Leonardo’s vitruvian avatar, view 3-D models of eclipses evolving in time and space and much more. The Splo museum is the oldest interactive science museum in Second Life and is a founding member of the Scilands Archipelago.

Project Name: Learning Gardens and Floating Worlds

Creator: GrandMasterFoo Woodget
Brock Dubbels
Johnny99 Gumshoe
Anonymous
Miso Tiramisu
School: Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and vgAlt
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/MNSCU/55/150/27

Description: The build is based upon a theme from Japanese Iconics about the leisure world of Japan in the Edo Period of Japan, where destinations within a district were considered floating worlds away from daily life. The build was conceived as a garden to move away from the constraints of buildings and typical academic symbols to create a space that would be flexible and powerful, promote interactivity, but connecting the more familiar worlds where we participate everyday: worlds of text, presence,  and network on the World Wide Web, with the opportunity for fantasy, innovation, and imaginative production.

Floating Worlds
To support individual work and small group collaboration we created floating worlds, linked to an automated web based reservation and group messaging system that provides extreme ease of use and administration. Worlds are accessible through a teleportation system that provides access to 30 individual private spaces,  each equipped with a Flick2SL screen that is chat controlled and allows users to display images from group or individual accounts on the Flickr image sharing service.

By integrating access to immense photographic archives and the collaborative power of the virtual world to support group work and compel engagement, floating worlds promote artistic control and empower participants to present their own visions of the material world, the world of the WWW, and of their thoughts and imagination.  The explicit absence of a learning context supports continuous evolution by allowing the space to grow and change with the needs and visions of the community, and to inspire new community to share content and foster ideas, exchange, learning, and innovation.

Learning Garden
The Learning Garden and Floating Worlds installation is envisioned to create a space that is flexible and powerful as it promotes interactivity and engagement by connecting the more familiar worlds of the everyday, the worlds of text, presence, and network on the World Wide Web, with the potential offered by virtual environments to provide opportunities for imaginative production, identity exploration and collaborative innovation while learning.

To realize this vision, we chose elements of peaceful space and openness to expand consciousness through practiced reflection and activities such as music, art, dance and meditation. A zen garden theme combines an inviting sense of calmness with exquisite detail and the softness of a garden with interesting terrain. Visitors can practice the ancient art of Tai chi chuan while a waterfall whooshes on a running stream complete with coy fish, soft breezes and jack lights at sunset. The garden is designed to calm the mind, support reflective practice, and expand creativity that can be then be displayed by members of the community through the use of shared spaces such as the group area in the garden or a photographic holocube environment suspended high in the sky.

Project Name: Project: Counselor Education in 3D Virtual Environment

Creator: Victoria Walker aka Zeana Tammas

Description: This project involves testing the use of 3D virtual learning environments in graduate level counseling courses in traditional, blended, and online programs. A counseling training facility was created in Second Life providing student counselors a location to practice and develop their counseling, interviewing, and diagnosis skills with avatars that display many of the physical and emotional features students may encounter once practicing in their communities. The counselor training facility simulates the features of a community counseling facility or a school counselor’s office while providing instructors with access to observe without distracting the student counselor or the “client” avatar during sessions.

Project Name: SLEnglish pronunciation

Creator: Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak aka Wlodek Barbosa
School: Adam Mickiewicz University
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Virtlantis/202/196/21/

Description: English is not only grammar and vocabulary.  EFL (English as a Foreign Language) is not only syntax and lexicon.  Second Life EFL (SLEFL) is not only text chat.  SLEnglish (http://slenglish.ning.com/) offers tutorials and consultations on EFL pronunciation in-world.

– If you want to improve your speaking skills in the voice mode,
– If you need some information or advice on English phonetics,
– If you are still not certain how to pronounce some English words,
– If you have been wondering about the differences between Britiha and American pronunciation,
– If you need to know exactly what RP (Received Pronunciation) is,
– If you have heard about Lingua Franca Core (LFC) pronunciation for EFL, but want to know more,
– If you need some additional information about SLEnglish and Virtlantis
– If you simply want to talk about English and Second Life,

…come to my launchroom at Virtlantis (slurl.com/secondlife/Virtlantis/202/196/21/) every Wednesday at SLT 12 noon. You’ll find Wlodek Barbosa there (web2 at: http://ifa.amu.edu.pl/~swlodek/) ready to serve you. You can also drop me a line (by IM in-world or by email: e-mail: swlodek@ifa.amu.edu.pl) to ask a question or fix a meeting. All suggestions for enhancing SLEFL pronunciation profile are most welcome!

Project Name: SLENZ Project

Creator: John Waugh aka Johnnie Wendt
School: Funded by New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission in conjunction with Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), Wellington Insitute of Technology (WELTEC)Otago Polytechnic, and the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Koru/143/151/30

Description: The New Zealand virtual world education group, Second Life Education New Zealand (SLENZ), has set up a research project in the on-line virtual world of Second Life for  New Zealand educators to pilot  at least two projects into determining how multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) might benefit New Zealand education and how  this can best be done.
Using the multi-user virtual environment Second Life, the project aims to delineate and demonstrate to New Zealand educators and students the educational strengths or otherwise of learning in a virtual world.
The project team has chosen two groups of educators to work with the project team on two pilot projects, one in foundation learning and the other in midwifery. The project’s SL Literature Review is available at: http://slenz.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/slliteraturereviewa1.pdf

Project Name: Really Engaging Accounting

Creator: Steven Hornik aka Robins Hermano
School: University of Central Florida
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Teaching%204/68/158/22

Description: I’ve been using SL to teach a financial accounting course.  I use SL asynchronously to help students learn basic concepts related to the accounting equation: Assets = Liabilities + Stockholders Equity; to learn how to manipulate the equation using debits and credits; and to become debits and credits themselves (well their avatars) in what I call the T-account game.  The reason behind the project is simple, to engage the students in what is normally a very non-engaging course.  I have done this since the fall of 2007 when class size averaged 250.  This fall class size was close to 900 students in one section, with 75-80% of them completing assignments inside of SL (folks if nothing else we can say the platform is stable).  Data I collected from the spring 2008 are amongst the first statistically significant empirical data showing a relationship between student engagement using SL and student performance.

Project Name: Republica Dominicana Virtual

Creator: Jan Herder aka Pausanius Raymaker
School: Sponsored by Funglode (Foundacion Global Democracia y Desarrollo) of
the Dominican Republic  www.funglode.org
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Ontos/82/114/23/?title=Funglode%20Virtual%20Campus

Description: Republica Dominicana Virtual is a multi sector project to bring the power of virtual worlds to the Dominican Republic.  Full time residents include ITLA, The Technological Institute of the Americas
which has a campus on Ontos with 20 faculty introducing Second Life to its students and learning the platform themselves; a Community Technology Center, USAD: Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, the oldest University in the new world with their Philosophy Department, Funglode’s virtual headquarters, art
gallery’s, some historical landmarks and a library.

Project Name: The Hopkins Tibetan Treasures Multimedia Archive Project – The WylieWriter

Creator: Bill Magee aka Wam7c Macchi
School: Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan, Funded by
the Taiwan National Science Council.

Description: Wamlabs of Shipley and the Eepaw Shop of Smoky have developed a way to write Tibetan in Second Life. We call it the Wall of WylieWriters (Wylie the standard Tibetan transliteration method). Tibetan presents a challenge for Second Life educators because Tibetan words employ complex stacked ligatures. The Wall of WylieWriters overcomes this problem.
Using the Wall of WylieWriters is simple. The rezzer creates a wall of 44 WylieWriter panels. There is no limit to the number of WylieWriter  panels that can be deployed, but 44 is sufficient for most lessons.
Each WylieWriter is composed of three sections, allowing for main consonant stacks to be superscripted or subscripted by vowels. When a WylieWriter receives a command it parses the string and sends vowel
information to the appropriate section. Then it sends the remaining information about the main consonant ligature to the central section for display. The result is a Tibetan ligature. In addition to being able to write directly to a Wall of WylieWriters, Wamlabs has also developed objects that can be preprogrammed and
deployed with simple commands to write to the entire Wall simultaneously or to erase it all at once. We call these objects WylieShouters. WylieShouters complement the Wall of WylieWriters by giving teachers the opportunity to prepare lessons in advance. A Wall of WylieWriters and a set of WylieShouters comprises a complete innovative teaching tool enabling fully-functional Tibetan language classrooms in Second Life.

Project Name: MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH

Creator: Dr. Beth Kattelman
School: The Ohio State University
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/TELRport/59/93/21

Description: he students in my Theatre 693 class created an automated “production” of Edgar Allan Poe’s MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH on The Ohio State University’s TELRPort island. Visitors can now hear Poe’s story while being automatically transported through Prince Prospero’s castle to encounter the various rooms and scenes.

The class was composed of eight graduate and undergraduate students who had little or no prior experience with Second Life. Two acting students recorded the voice-overs and other students contributed by working on set decoration, character creation and costuming. One student who became very interested in the technical capabilities of SL programmed the tour.

The purpose of the class was to explore how Second Life can be used to support collaboration and performance by discovering the ways in which it helps or hinders the ability to present a “theatrical” text. The class was part of a Second Life Pilot Project currently being conducted at Ohio State.

Project Name: “PD in 3DV”: The Bookhenge on USDLC’s Beautiful Star Island

Creator: Cris Crissman /2B Writer and Bill Lovin / Ajax Quinnell
School: United Star Distance Learning Consortium (USDLC), NC Dept. of Public
Instruction, NC State University
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/USDLC%20Star%20Island/122/89/30/

Description: We’ve “disrupted class” twice – once with co-author Michael Horn, practiced a little Presentation Zen, and heard “Cool Cat Teacher” Vicki Davis and Robotics teacher Joselyn Todd in our “PD in 3DV” project on USDLC’s beautiful Star Island.  Since August, we have held a monthly event, either a book club or a presentation by a well-known, innovative teacher.

Our goal is to explore online immersive environments as a medium for professional development, preK and beyond.  At our conversation with Michael Horn on Dec. 16th, we had a range of elementary to middle/high
school teachers, school and central office administrators, community college teachers, and university professors.

Response from long-time residents and newly-minted ones who joined hours before just to participate in a session has been gratifying.  This evaluation response sums up what we’re hearing so far:  “I was impressed
with ease of use and interactions. Have done many webinars- just not in SL. Similar, but the virtual world made it more interesting” (an assistant superintendent, Center Valley, PA).

Interesting and engaging is what we’re after.  We enjoy the affordances Second Life provides for production value.  At the end of conversation with Michael Horn, a classically-trained jazz pianist, a grand piano rose
from the central fire pit, and Michael played us out with a hauntingly beautiful classical piece.  Then he flew off into the sunset.
We have a ball planning these events.  Please check out our calendar of
future events and archives of past ones at www.Literacy2Learn.org

Project Name: SL Education Roundtable (SLER)

Creator: AJ Kelton aka AJ Brooks
School: Montclair State University
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Montclair%20State%20CHSSSouth/128/156/22

Description: In the early months of 2008 the SL Education Roundtable was born.  The founder, AJ Brooks, was looking for a place for educators to come together and have a focus and guided conversation on topics relevant to education and the use of Second Life.  The meetings started small but eventually grew to as many as 50 visitors.  The SLER has become a weekly staple for some folks, meeting each week on Tuesdays at 2:30pm SLT in the CHSSSouth Amphitheater.  Even if they don’t plan to speak, visitors are encouraged to sit around the round table we use for the meetings.  A part of the full-version Mystitool, the roundtable can be adjusted for the size of the group.  Transcripts of past meetings are available in The HUGE Bldg Library, which is located right outside the CHSSSouth Amphitheater.

Project Name: Aggie Bonfire Memorial Candlelit Ceremony

Creator: Rochell McWhorter aka Rachelle Munro
School: Texas A&M University
SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Land%20of%20Nephi/28/153/23

Description: On Sunday morning, November 16, 2008, the Texas A&M Student Group came together at 2:42 a.m. to remember those Aggies lost in the Bonfire Collapse of 1999.  The candlelit ceremony was held at the newly constructed Virtual Aggie Bonfire Memorial representing the Memorial built in real life on the Texas A&M University Campus in College Station, Texas (see: http://www.tamu.edu/bonfirememorial/).  The Memorial houses the history of the Bonfire as well as the Biographies of those who perished in the collapse.

The ceremony was attended by current students, faculty, alumni and Aggie friends. Each one in attendance placed a rose in the center of the Memorial and held a candle as the group viewed a short video presentation that remembered the 27 Aggies who were injured and the 12 Aggies who lost their lives to build the 90-year tradition, the Aggie Bonfire.

Project: jokaydia

jokaydia have had a few biggies this year… links are below and lead to SLurls, articles and more info.

And of course our end of year Edublog Awards bash is on Sunday – http://jokaydia.com/category/edublogsawards/

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1st December 2008

President Elect Obama Appoints Two SL Innovators to his Team!

Wagner James Au has scooped us all, of course, and thanks to @malburns of twitter for posting it there, but I’m sharin’ out here. According to New World Notes posted minutes ago, President Elect Barak Obama has appointed two experts on virtual environments to his real world team for creating an “Innovation Agenda,” a promising innovation in and of itself!

According to Au (citing a news item in the Washington Post), New York Law School professor Beth Noveck and Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a Chairman Emeritus of IBM, have been announced as key members of the newly appointed group.

Hold onto your lecterns, change-resistant 19th century educators: It’s going to be an interesting ride…

Read the entire post!

Written by Scott Merrick

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21st November 2008

Nudging the Adoption

I know. This is an odd title. But I had the opp today to “present” to a group of Web developers at Vanderbilt University, a truly marvelous institution–more like a massive city of learning–that has not yet set more than the random exploratory toe into Second Life. Thanks to the Vanderbilt Web Spiders and particularly to good friend Melanie Moran for inviting me to share.

I blogged it madly at both my main bloggies, scottmerrick.net and Oh! Virtual Learning, so I don’t need to repeat it all here (there’s powerpoint at scottmerrick.net). I do, however, feel like I need to give you an embed of my little “shadetree machinima.” I was so tickled to hear applause for it today that I’m encouraged to share it out here:

Thanks to my friend and new landlady, Kathy Schrock, and to my friend and long-time “boss” Ginny Shepherd, the visionary leader of the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach, for contributing to our entry into Second Life. It’s going to be a long, lovely journey…

Written by Scott Merrick

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13th November 2008

Second Life in Education via SimTeach

Everybody knows about SimTeach, I’d wager. If you made it here, you certainly do, or at least you certainly should .

In preparation for a brief presentation about Second Life next week at the Vanderbilt “Web Spiders” (Vanderbilt University’s informal community of Web developers) meeting, I came across a very rich resource I need to share. Seasoned educators Jo Kay (aka jokay Wollongong) and Sean (aka Sean McDunnough) are working overtime on a wiki-based set of resources all about education and educational projects in Second Life. It’s a must see for anyone interested in the topic, and it resides at http://sleducation.wikispaces.com/educationaluses. Of course the other main resource for introducing the vast majority of educators who are clueless about SL is the SimTeach wiki. That should keep everyone busy enough. Check back with me when you’ve explored all of both of those sites, like in the year 2108.

Then I’ll send you to SLedupotential. :)

Written by Scott Merrick

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30th October 2008

College Fair on Info Island

There’s still time to sign up to represent your school at the College Fair to be held on Info Island on November 16.  Each school can build a booth at the fair site with information about your school, landmarks to your SL presence, web links to admissions and program sites and other information, which will remain on the site as a display until 1 week after the fair date.

For more information and sign-up form, see: http://infoisland.org/2008/10/18/college-fair-coming-to-infoisland/.

Contact Beth Kraemer (Alice Burgess in SL or kraemer@email.uky.edu), Kelly Czarnecki (BlueWings Hayek in SL or eye4youalliance@gmail.com), or Rhonda Trueman (Abbey Zenith in SL or abbeyzen@gmail.com) if you would like more information.

Written by Lori Bell

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28th October 2008

CBS Shares a Clue!

I was working at home for Vanderbilt yesterday and had the tellie on for company, not watching, until I heard the lead-in for this video spot. Is big media suddenly getting a clue? /me wonders if it’s the dollars that perked up their antennae? Whatever the case, it’s a nice, positive spot; and about time, I say. What do you say? Comment here!


Watch CBS Videos Online

Cheers,
Scottmerrick Oh

Written by Scott Merrick

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27th October 2008

Working with a class in Second Life

Working with a Class in Second Life
Join Dr. Bryan Carter (Bryan Mnemonic) in this course created to help librarians, museum professionals, and educators learn how to work with a class in Second Life including hardware and software requirements, orientation, faculty and student mindset change, establishing course objectives, finding and creating content, creating meaningful projects, evaluating student work, action learning, grants, managing a sim-island, and collaborative opportunities.
Wednesdays, October 29, November 5, 12, 19 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM SL (US Pacific) time

For additional information and to register: http://www.lis.uiuc.edu/programs/cpd/VW/class.html

Marianne Steadley
Continuing Professional Development Program Director
501 E. Daniel St. Champaign IL 61820
217/244-2751
Fax: 217/244-3302
Written by Lori Bell

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