• Creating Authentic Experiences

10th January 2008

Creating Authentic Experiences

by Beth Ritter-Guth/Desideria Stockton

CMN 112 @ SUNYLive

Alan November is one of the best speakers I have ever had the privilege to hear. His “Teaching Zach to Think” tour was amazing, and his call to provide “authentic learning” resonates somewhere in my soul. At the end of last semester, students in CMN 112 (Professional Presentations) at LCCC had the good fortune to speak to educators in the SUNY system. Marcius Dowding and Crash Tibauld (SUNY) organized the entire conference, and the students became “experts” on learning in SL. They were honest; some liked it, and some hated it. The ones that hated it cited the top two reasons we all know about (technology curve/frustration and lack of personal contact). But, after their presentation, all of them thought that the notion that we could present to faculty 6 hours away was rather cool and, indeed, a cost saver for organizations.

My personal challenge this semester is to create authentic learning experiences for students. Syllabi are posted here. In SL, we are building an all-out ghost town for Spoon River Anthology, working on the Cryptology Project with Hiro Sheridan, and working on an interactive multi-media poem (“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou) using magic scripts, WAV files, and student voices. All classes are open to the public, so please feel free to stop in and “be a student” at any time.

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8th January 2008

Sweet Tools in the Virtuasphere

Update:  Just a few tweaks here and there (learning the whole WordPress thing :-)

Desideria Stockton’s (AKA Beth Ritter-Guth)  Hot List

I am not entirely sure that Virtuasphere is a REAL word, but, hopefully, y’all will grant me poetic license. In building the plots for Literature Alive!, Eloise Pasteur has created most of our builds and scripts (how she does it, I have no idea…she is, indeed, a goddess of such things). Even still, we are always on the hunt for cool tools to use. Here is a list of ten tools I love (and where you can get them):

10. Hiro Sheridan’s Molecule Rezzer (IM Hiro Sheridan) -The only reason this is listed as 10th is because I don’t teach chemistry. If I did, it would be #1. Sadly, I know so very little about chemistry, but I know that cutting-edge chemists like Dr. Jean-Claude Bradley (Drexel University) use it for classes.

9. The Pooping Llama (IM Max Chatnoir) – You wouldn’t think that an English teacher would NEED a pooping Llama, but Max’s creation (used to teach Genetics at Genome) was a HUGE asset in building Dante’s Inferno. If you are familiar with the text, you know that many levels are covered in, um, poo.

8. The Media Hub (Eloise Pasteur) – This is a new product in the Eloise line. It is a ONE PRIM (you heard me!) video screen that can hold like 50 .MOV Urls. It is a little bit like the lovely ACHUB screen (Chris Hambly), but it is less prims and works with any texture. Also, it is boat loads cheaper.

7. SlickrView (AKA The Flickr Thingy)  (Eloise Pasteur) – I am fairly certain that The Flickr Thingy isn’t its true name (note:  it is called SlickrView). I know that you click on it, it gives you a prompt, you type in a tag, and WALA!, pictures from Flickr appear. This is really sweet if you are helping students create projects. They can work off of one on your plot. The Googler (NZTech – Available in The School Store, EduIsland II) works just like the Flickr Thingy, but it searches Google instead. Again, students can Google right from SL.

6. Custom Laptops (Neoznet Watts) – These little wonder machines are custom built for faculty. My students can send and receive email from RL; they can go right to the class blog or wiki; and they can access a whole assortment of links. Best part? They can generate notecards from the laptops.

5. The Eloise Holodeck (Eloise Pasteur) – Literature Alive! received a wonderful supprot grant from The Foundation for Rich Content for the Holodeck Project. Eloise created a sweet Holodeck to use for the rezzing of small Literature Alive! projects. This is nice because it means we can go on the road with builds, OR we can pass out builds to people who wish to use them.

4. Salamander SLoog HUD (Wainbrave Bernal) – I love this cool new tool for archiving wicked cool stuff. I wear it all the time, and when I am somewhere worthy of recognition, I simply have to click on the HUD. The directions are really easy and walk you through exactly what to do. It is a great tool for student scavenger hunts, too!

3. The VIT Mind Mapping Tool (IM Butch Dae) – I LOVE THIS TOOL! I have used it many times for research on SL , and my students have used it, too. You simply click on each level to get the information you want or need. It is really simple to use.

2. Puzzle HUDS (Eloise Pasteur) – Eloise creates custom HUDS for various scavenger hunts. My favorite? She has created one for the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. As students find pieces of the text, an albatross appears on their HUDs. At the end, students receive a special key that unlocks a treasure chest with a prize in it.

1. The Spidergram Planner (Eloise Pasteur) – This things is sooooooooooooo cool. It is like a mind map, but I use it to teach outlining for papers. It is colorful and easy to use, and students LOVE it!

There you have it! Eloise’s materials can be purchased directly from her, at her shop, or at the School Store on EduIsland (or the sub station at Drexel).

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7th January 2008

SL Collaborative Learning International Project

The students in Beth Ritter-Guth’s (Desideria Stockton’s) CMN 112 class will be doing something a little different this winter. Instead of simply building speeches, they will crack secret codes and learn about the art of Cryptology. Partnered with Dr. Andy Lang (Hiro Sheridan) and his Cryptology students at Oral Roberts University, students will learn about how the world has used coded communication to succeed in war, politics, and terrorism.

Visit the Wiki!

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7th January 2008

Spring 2008 Syllabus Links!


Are you teaching a course using Second Life this semester? If so, we’d love to see your syllabus. Please leave in link in the comments along with the title of the course and the campus which is offering it.

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