• SL-Education Events Calendar

14th August 2008

SL-Education Events Calendar

Hi folks. Here at Sl-Ed we’re getting geared up for an exciting fall! SLCC, campus openings, conferences, new student projects…there’s a whole lot to keep up with and we don’t want you to miss out so we’ve added a new feed to the top of the right side bar that lists upcoming SL education events.  This listing feeds from the SLedevents calendar graciously begun by Bruce Sommerville.

There are two ways to add your event to this calendar:

1. List your event in the in-world event listing and mark it as “education.” The calendar will automatically find your event and add it to the listing in the sidebar. Sorry, that’s incorrect. But, if you announce your event on the SL-Ed mailing list Bruce will add it to the calendar too.

2. If you’d like to share your event but you don’t want to add it to the in-world public event listing you can email sledevents at gmail dot com with details for your event. Be sure to allow plenty of time for your event to be added and include a SLURL to the event location.

Now you need never miss another great event!

If there are other features you’d like to see us add to the site please let us know!

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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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4th June 2008

Susi Spicoli’s Beginner’s Guide to Good Machinima

Bright IdeasSo what is machinima? Machinima is a film filmed in an interactive computer generated environment without the use of professional 3D animation software. Basically, a film filmed in a computer game or virtual world. Machinima started out on First Person Shooters and MMORPGs. Now, more people are using virtual worlds like Second life to create machinima because you can pretty much do whatever you want on Second Life, which is great for filming.

Now, what is good machinima? I (Susi Spicoli) myself have made quite a lot of machinima, and I’m going to share with you some tips and techniques on how to make a simple, but decent, machinima. Making long, very good machinima is a very complicated process, really not that different in many (but not all) aspects from making a “real” movie, but you can still make good simple machinima with not much effort and time.

So, first off you’ll need a script. This should have info on what the overall story is, but then also where the scene is and of course what an actor or narrator is saying, in subtitles or voice. Next up comes the filming. You’ll need filming software for this. For PC, a lot of people use Fraps and for Mac users (which is pretty much all I am using now) I would recommend SnapProX or Screen Capture.

Ok, now you have filming software you need to actually film it. If your filming a Story machinima then you’ll need actors. Often you can just ask some friends to help out. You’ll also need a decent set for filming. I sometimes build custom ones for the more complicated things, or I ask friends if I can use their scene (make sure you’ll give them credit in the film at least).

The rest is pretty much up to you in terms of filming but you will need to adjust your filming style to suit what type of machinima you’re filming, a storyline machinima, a commercial machinima or a machinima promoting something etc.

Here are some tips on how to avoid making your shots during filming look completely amateurish:

  • Don’t repeat the same type of shots over and over again. For example, don’t zoom in, zoom out, zoom in, zoom out, zoom in, zoom out etc.
  • Try not to confuse the people watching the machinima. Don’t randomly film someone else when someone is talking. Best is to think about what you want to accomplish (that’s what the script is for) and pick the right filming angle for that.
  • In making machinima, the one huge advantage is that it’s totally easy to film things that are very difficult and expensive to do in “real” film.  So-called dolly shots, crane shots, steady cam (the spooky angles you see in Shining), all that is child’s play in a machinima.  But as they say “a fool with a tool is still a fool”.  So if you don’t know what you are doing conceptually, your film still won’t be very good. 

Finally comes the editing.  Often this is where you really determine whether it’s going to be a good or bad machinima.  The raw footage is the basis, and you have to have some decent scenes, but you can even with bad footage improve the story a lot by what you do in the editing phase. Here you can use (I just know the mac programs), iMovie on the low end (but you can actually do a lot with it) and Final Cut Pro/Studio for the high end (and I really mean high end, big budget cinema movies are edited with this tool). Again, in editing, having these great tools, that are so much more powerful than what real film makers used to have, still doesn’t mean you’ll make a great movie. You still have to think, write, plan, work hard.

I am thinking to perhaps open a film school, with professional partners, in Second Life.  So people can learn about the concepts and practice.

Until then, if you want to come to see what others have done, bring your friends and come to my “machinima gallery”, in Ochreous.  Twenty different machinima makers all have their own invidual cinema there and can watch their movies there, or you come to one of my machinima screenings in my drive-in/fly-in movie theatre.

If you want to see a few examples of machinima, here are some of the ones I did:

A music machinima, for the launch of a RL CD by Fabrice Collette
A documentary, commissioned by the NMC about a SL sculpture exhibition  (including my own music)
or, in general, about my activities .
And, finally, my office is here.

*Written by Susi Spicoli and posted by Intellagirl Tully

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27th May 2008

Bright Idea: Playing YouTube Movies in Second Life

sl-youtube.pngIn yet another handy video, Torley Linden explains how to get YouTube videos to play in Second Life. This is awfully handy for education applications such as tutorials, displaying student work, etc. How do you use video in Second Life? Give us your creative and useful ideas for integrating videos into Second Life education experiences.

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28th April 2008

RezEd: A Resource for all things Virtual and Educational!

BrightIdeas The incredible folks over at Global Kids have just launched a new network dedicated to education in virtual worlds. RezEd should be useful to K-12 practitioners as well as higher ed folks. The site promises lively discussions, monthly themes, interviews and podcasts with experts as well as an innovative community of like minded people all sharing the goal of improving education for all. For the site’s launch, RezEd features an insightful interview with Larry Johnson of the New Media Consortium regarding his congressional testimony. Go check it out!!

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2nd April 2008

Second Life Mixed Reality: Green Screen in RL and SL


BrightIdeas The Centre for Digital Media at the Great Northern Way Campus has posted a great video about the possibilities of creating mixed reality media by combing real-world footage with Second Life footage using a green screen in both places.

Joanna Robinson (SL: JoannaTrail Blazer), Virtual Worlds Research Associate at GNWC in th Masters of Digital Media Program, along with Nadia Aly (SL: Naly Heron), a student in the program, created the video.

It’s definitely worth watching.

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24th March 2008

Centralized Student Center for ALL students in SL

Wouldn’t it be great to have a location where all students know to go in order to get information, meet other students, hang out when not in class, and basically do what students do in the RL Student Center’s on all of our campuses?

This is very close to becoming a reality and here is your chance to have a part in the planning.

A number of folks who have taken an interest since it was first discussed have added their input to a blog posting dedicated to talking about this.


Larry Johnson (a/k/a Larry Pixel) over at NMC is one of the folks who has also shown a great interest in this idea.  He has very generously agreed to dedicate a portion of the NMC Orientation Island for this project, should things continue to work out.

A crucial initial meeting is planned for tomorrow, Tuesday March 25th, at 11:00am PDT (Second Life Time).  We’ll be meeting at the proposed location on the NMC Orientation Island

(click the SLURL or LM and follow the “red beam of light” to the location.)

Anyone and everyone has been encouraged to attend.  In this critical phase of development, input from as many folks as possible will only serve to make this great project even better.  In addition, students who are in SL are also being encouraged to attend, if they can.  The student perspective is what will truly make this project successful.

Questions and comments can be posted to the blog listed above.

Written by AJ Kelton

posted in Bright Idea, Events, SL Events, Students | 0 Comments

24th March 2008

Bright Ideas: Using the MyNotes Profile Tab for Class Management

BrightIdeas Sometimes a little thing can mean so much. If you’ve taught in Second Life then you know how aggravating it can be to try to remember which SL student is which RL student. As if remembering all their RL names wasn’t tough enough! Add to that all the notes about class participation, project progress etc and you’ve got a whole lot of information to store somewhere. Here’s a tip that some of you might have already discovered. But hey! If you haven’t, you may just find it useful.

On each avatar’s profile is a tab called “My Notes.” This last tab on the profile allows you to type up information about another person which will only be visible to you.


Using the My Notes tab to keep track of RL names and other class info can save you a lot of headaches. And rest assured that no one  else can see it so you can feel comfortable storing student grades etc.

Using the My Notes tab for class information? As Martha would say, it’s a good thing. 😀

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10th March 2008

New HTML Page Viewer Can Save L$ on Image Uploads

BrightIdeas You’ve probably heard about the new page viewing abilities in the most recent Second Life software update. If you haven’t, go check out Torley Linden’s awesome video explaining how it works.

Second Life residents have been begging for real, interactive HTML on a prim (being able to view, click, and actually navigate a web page from inside Second Life instead of in a browser pop up) and this new page viewing option is certainly an awesome first step. In the past, to view a web page inside SL, you’d need to take a screen shot of the page, upload the image, and apply it to a prim (primitive shape, the basic building block in SL). But not any more!

This development is exciting enough but Milosun Czervik (aka Ross Perkins of Virginia Tech) has found a new bonus to the recent update…the ability to view multiple images without having to pay for and upload each image. Milosun recently posted his discovery on the SLED mailing list and explained it so well that I’m copying it here with his permission. Thanks, Milosun!

As you know, the capability to scroll JPG’s already exists (partly) in any of the low cost/highly useful whiteboards created by Eloise or AngryBeth. Dedric Mauriac has a scripted “web browser” that does it as well, which is nice as it’s easy to set up and displays the URL as hovertext.

BUT… the added step (and cost) has been that one must take screen shot, then upload to SL at a cost of L$10 each. For one of my famous 112 slide presentations, it’d cost $L1,112 to upload (US $4.21), and a great deal of time wasted waiting for them.

Now, however, FreeView/QT seems to do this with JPG images as well. This means we can do this with NO uploads whatsoever (provided you have rights to change the media texture for a given parcel):

1) Save all slides in PowerPoint as JPG images (a nice folder is created on your computer with all the images in it). PPT does this all at once or slide by slide.

2) Upload those images to a web directory (ex: http://www.host.com/slides/)

3) If you want, use Excel’s concatenate function to create a list of all slide locations (ex. Slide1 to Slide112). The syntax example is:

*Note… I don’t have ‘.JPG’ at the tail end, but it doesn’t matter.

4) Copy this list from Excel and paste onto the Bookmark card in the FreeView flatscreen tv object.


Slide 1 Title|http://www.host.com/slides/Slide1
Slide 2 Title|http://www.host.com/slides/Slide2

Slide 3 Title|http://www.host.com/slides/Slide3

* note the PIPE SYMBOL between the title and the URL (shift + backslash)

5) Using the video controller dialog box for the FreeView screen, one can scroll back & forth through bookmarks (slides). This allows you to view the “slide show” at NO cost!!

It’s a bit slower than the other options because the UI for FreeView is a bit clunky… but it’s free! The other very cool thing I’ve noticed is that the media texture on the screen does not seem to be slow to rez as I’ve seen other textures on prim.
The potential drawbacks:

a) On group owned land, the FreeView TV is set to group, so anyone (in the group) can scroll and change the screen. This is great if you have stand-alone tutorial slides, and not so great if you don’t want people mucking about with your presentation as you give it. It’s moot point if you own the land… and no others can view the controller. It’s also a non-issue if the group is very small.

b) it does require your audience to know enough to set their preferences to automatically place media content. With noobs, this can take a bit to set up. At ISTE and other events, I’ve seen tutorial cards around that help with this.

This, I’m sure, represents a decrease in revenue for LL (shhh) – but it’s great for those who have students who want to show off reports or pictures or whatever, but do not have scads of L$ lying about to upload.

I’ve tested the above on group land at the ICT Library on Info Island and it works perfectly.. it’s on the rooftop garden.


You do *not* need the new candidate browser to make it work, but you will need to be in the ICT Wunderkind, Ltd. group (free to join) to use the controls. Leave the group when you’re finished experimenting.”

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12th January 2008

13 Tips for Virtual World Teaching

BrightIdeasCampus Technology is the glossy magazine for university IT managers and technology wonks. This January story does an excellent job of laying the concepts out cleanly.

Don’t look now, but multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) are gaining momentum as the latest and greatest learning tool in the world of education technology. How do you get started with them? How do they work? Arm yourself with these 13 secrets from immersive education experts and educators, and you, too, can have real success implementing these new tools and technologies on your own campus.

Campus Technology coverpageThe thirteen tips:

  1. Understand the Basics
  2. Explore Your Options
  3. Observe
  4. Collect Best Practices (with a plug for simteach.com)
  5. Try It Out
  6. Plot Your Curriculum
  7. Make It Different
  8. Make It Fun
  9. Make It Count
  10. Be Inclusive
  11. Be Available
  12. Encourage Exploration
  13. Keep Growing

~ Jeremy Kemp | Jeremy Kabumpo

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