• Media Grid Talk in SL Today

3rd September 2008

Media Grid Talk in SL Today

The Media Grid Project is one that I’ve been following for quite some time, a worthy goal–providing a public 3Di platform with access for all. How’s that going to happen? Check out the Media Grid website to see for yourself.

Meanwhile, if you can get into SL TOMORROW, Thursday, September 4, at 9:00 a.m. SL time, 11:00 CDT or noon EDT (that would all be the same time, Pilgrim), you should come hear its founder talk about the project. I’ll be there, barring unforseen rw distractions. From the notecard announcement:

Aaron E. Walsh is founding Director and lead architect of the Media Grid Institute, which promotes the use of a public uility grid to develop and deliver high end virtual rality and 2-D simulation programs. He’s also a faculty member at Boston College and an international best-selling technology author. Aaron will tell us about one of the Grid’s central projects, teh Immersive Education initiative.

When: Thursday, September 4, noon-1:00EDT
Where: Train for Success

Can’t make the live talk? Take sixteen minutes and 55 seconds to listen to this great eWeek “TechRising” podcast interview with Walsh?

Cross-post from Oh! Virtual Learning by Scottmerrick Oh

Written by Scott Merrick

posted in Events, Learning, SL Events, Spotlight | 1 Comment

5th August 2008

2008 Metaverse Tour Video

SpotlightEver wonder how Second Life compares to the other social virtual worlds out there? Many of us do but it takes far too much time to download, create accounts etc to just get a real glimpse of graphics etc. in other spaces. Well, not any more.

Thanks to Gary Hayes at Personalizemedia you can now see over fifthy virtual worlds in one seven minute video. It’s a fast-paced tour that’s well worth a look. Worlds included in the video: Second Life, HiPiHi, Kaneva, Twinity, ActiveWorlds, LagunaBeach vMTV. There.com, Habbo, Google Lively, FootballSuperstars, Weblin, AmazingWorlds, CyWorld, Whyville, Gaia Online, RocketOn, Club Penguin, YoVille, Webkinz, BarbieGirls, Prototerra, IMVU, Spore, vSide, Tale in the Desert, SpineWorld, Stardoll, The Manor, There.com, ExitReality, Vastpark, Qwaq, PS3Home, GoSupermodel, Grockit, Croquet, Metaplace, Coke Studios, Dreamville, Dubit, Mokitown, Moove, Muse, The Palace, Playdo, Sora City, Voodoo Chat, TowerChat, Traveler, Virtual Ibiza.

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29th July 2008

ISTE Teachers Learn to Produce Machinima

ISTE VideoSpotlightISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) are by far one of the most innovative education groups using the world of Second Life to, not only learn with students, but also to help educated fellow teachers on the benefits and ins and outs of utilizing technology.  Recently, KnowClue Kidd (RL Marrianne Malmstrom) led a group of teachers through an experience to help them learn to make machinima using SL. Not only did each teacher in the project produce his/her own video, but together they produced a really amazing project.

Be sure to check out all the videos and stop by one of ISTE’s islands in Second Life. They’re great examples of educational community spaces.

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12th June 2008

Spotlight: Virtual Chemistry for Real Students

SpotlightIf you’ve ever seen a floating molecule in Second Life, chances are it was created by Dr. Andrew Lang, a mathematical physicist at Oral Roberts University, otherwise known as Hiro Sheridan in-world. Hiro recently demonstrated working prototypes of several different tools in collaboration with Jean-Claude Bradley, a chemistry professor at Drexel University, known as Horace Moody. The demonstrations included a molecule rezzer that allows a user to name a compound in text chat and watch as it builds itself in front of you atom by atom, and a docking simulator that demonstrates how molecules bond together to form more complex structures.

Molecules in Second Life

Molecule docking simulation. Image courtesy of Eloise Pasteur.

“This shows the docking of one of our molecules in a malarial enzyme,” said Horace, “I collaborated with Rajarshi Guha at Indiana University for the coordinates, and Hiro did the rendering.” The molecules floating in air move together step by step, and students can control and replay the process by using chat commands. “This demonstrates a chemical reaction with all the intermediates shown,” says Hiro, “This is really hard [for students] to see on paper, but easy to show here.”

docking station

Molecule reaction mechanism. Image courtesy of Hiro Sheridan.

Hiro also built a 3D periodical table of the elements, based on a 2D spiral peridoic table created by Professor Theodor Benfey. The 3D table shows approximate relative sizes of the atoms for comparison, color codes each group, and when each atom is clicked, information about its atomic structure, chemical properties, and typical uses spits out from the device. A free copy of the 3D table is available on the ACS island.

3D periodic table of elements

3D periodic table of elements. Image courtesy of Hiro Sheridan.

Hiro and Horace are using these tools to help students prepare for exams or projects, but they use Second Life in other ways as well. Hiro teaches an honors course called Science and the Imagination, and he recently arranged to bring science fiction author Joan Slonczewski into the virtual world for a presentation to the class. “I give my ‘virtual reality in science and science fiction’ lesson in virtual reality, they get a kick out of it,” said Hiro, “That’s the kind of use that I’d like to see more of, really taking advantage of Second Life’s affordances.”

Hiro also built the presentation and HQ areas where the American Chemistry Society holds meetings, and discussed residencies for chemistry faculty available on the island. “Kate Sellar has started an ACS resident chemist program, she offers free land to ACS members to form a community of faculty collaborators and students get to build too as ‘resident helpers’,” he said. In addition to the cafe, Hiro has a number of science related freebies at the ACS HQ as well as a science fiction set at the Second Nature sim.

“As the technology gets better, so will the benefits of Second Life for education. Right now it is still in its early stages but I see it becoming mainstream in about 4 years,” he says, “The things that are possible already are almost unlimited right now, they’re just hard to do for the average educator. But Second Life is ideal for showing students 3D concepts that they just can’t get by looking at a static webpage.”

Be sure to stop by and check out Hiro and Horace’s work at the ACS island!

~Posted by Fleep Tuque

Written by Chris Collins

posted in Locations, Spotlight, tools | 4 Comments

28th April 2008

Places to Visit: Tintern Abbey

SpotlightThe College of DuPage’s interpretation of Wordsworth’s poem, Tintern Abbey is finished. It’s a great example of immersive interpretations of course materials. Be sure to go check it out! http://slurl.com/secondlife/Eduisland%203/195/69/23


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2nd April 2008

Santa Rosa Junior College in SL – A Campus:Second Life Project

SRJC Training SiteSanta Rosa Junior College has just established its first training site in Second Life! In RL, we’re located in Northern California, 60 miles up Hwy. 101 from San Francisco. My name is Walt Chesbro (SL: TheProfessor Wycliffe) and am a faculty member in the Computer & Information Sciences Dept. at SRJC specializing in Lego robotics design and programming.

The development of our site began in January, ’08 with a Linden land grant on Campus: Second Life (Campus(163,169,35). My proposal focused on my interest in robotics and the potential for modeling Lego robotics designs using SL’s 3-D building and animation features. Although the construction of Lego prims is not an overly strenuous exercise, the act of “snapping” them together is! The realization of how much work still has to be done before the amateur roboticist can truly “build” robotic models in SL has been my most humbling “reality check” thus far.

SRJC Training Site - Inside Shot Given the 16-week timeframe for this land grant, I built the training facility as a basic cube with SRJC campus images stretched over it for “branding” purposes. The interior is furnished with Lego art and a teaching arena. The exterior is primarily plant and tree varieties to reduce the “academic severity” of our site. This “quickie” building technique left me time to carry out more fundamental research in other academic areas such as SL training methodologies (synchronicity, role-playing, composition/de-composition, constructive play, and communication styles), acquisition and use of in-world teaching tools (faux PowerPoint viewers, movie players, whiteboards and land based “Web-on-a prim”), and LSL (Linden Scripting Language) skills for animating objects and SL group dynamics (their formation, roles and limitations). My second “reality check” was how much more I have to learn about design and construction and

It has been a fabulous journey and I’m currently working on our plans to purchase an educational island on which the SRJC Training Site II will be built.

I will be presenting the first SRJC faculty training in Second Life on April 4th from 1:00 – 4:00 PST.

Questions and comments may be sent in-world (IM to TheProfessor Wycliffe) or to my e-mail wchesbro@santarosa.edu.

Written by Walt Chesbro

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13th March 2008

Spotlight: Georgia State University

SpotlightEvery university that purchases an island in Second Life has to grapple with the question “How will we use the space?” Some campuses build recreations of their real world campuses, others allow students to create fantasy spaces, and others may just create ampitheatres and other similar spaces to extend campus events into a virtual world. Georgia State University has done something slightly different. They’ve created an island that functions as a resource for educators who are interested in learning more about how to use Second Life.


Intellagirl talks to Downtown Bloch (aka Paula Christopher Project Manager, eLearning Group, University Educational Technology Services (UETS), Information Systems & Technology, Georgia State University)

 GSU’s island, Five Points (SLURL here), is adjacent to GSU’s other island which is still private. Five Points is a great balance of resources and whimsy. From the resource library (shown below) to the beach, Five Points offers educators information and entertainment.


The books in GSU’s libary offer notecards with helpful tips on common Second Life skills.


Tree house meeting spaces offer a less formal meeting option. 

Be sure to pay Five Points a visit.

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13th March 2008

Spotlight: University of Sussex in Second Life

SpotlightThe University of Sussex recently opened a new island (SLURL here) I recently spoke with Sussex Shepherd (aka Tom Shaw, the graduate intern on the University of Sussex’s Web Team) who built the island.


Sussex Shepherd standing in front of The Falmer House building at the University of Sussex

What makes the University of Sussex island unique is their dedication to recreating their real world campus down to the tiniest detail. Every building was constructed from satellite photos and photographs.


The view of campus from the teleport location.

 Sussex is still in the early stages of development: constructing the island to recruit new students, encouraging faculty to explore new technologies etc. Their island is a great example of a build meant for recruitment. Walking around the island gives you a real feeling for what the real campus grounds must feel like.

If you’re interested in exploring a Second Life campus built with a fine eye for detailed recreation be sure to check out the University of Sussex.


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10th March 2008

Music Appreciation Course Uses Second Life

    Associate Professor Robert Walker wanted to take advantage of the synchronous learning opportunities that Second Life offers in teaching an online version of his Music Appreciate course. In the planning stages, he identified a key skill in the course that students found particularly challenging – learning to listen to a composition critically – and then developed period appropriate locations in Second Life to house the music files students otherwise would have listened to alone.

Read more about his experience Using Second Life to Enhance Teaching and Learning, including early data and assessment results.

Instructional designers often talk about using the specific affordances of a technology to achieve a specific course objective, and this is an excellent example of how one instructor is taking advantage of Second Life to provide an enriched learning experience for his online students!

– Posted by Fleep Tuque

Written by Chris Collins

posted in Articles, Spotlight | 0 Comments

11th January 2008

US News & World Report – SL for Higher Ed

SpotlightA Second Life for Higher Edhttp://www.usnews.com/usnews/v3/images/global/usn-logo.png
A virtual world offers new opportunities for teaching

When Prof. Jeremy Kemp entered the classroom to find a student transformed into a giant bowl of Jell-O, he didn’t bat an eye. “I remember one class when a student arrived in a gorgeous monarch butterfly costume complete with gently fluttering wings and bulging eyes,” says Kemp, assistant director of the virtual campus of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science.

~ Jeremy Kemp | Jeremy Kabumpo

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