• SLedupotential – a hands on workshop

2nd July 2008

SLedupotential – a hands on workshop

FLEventHow do you demonstrate the educational potential of second life?

* bring together people with various sl teaching and learning experiences?
* create a wiki with tons of resources?
* demonstrate immersion?
* demonstrate social networking?
* demonstrate the power of creation as a constructivist tool?

This was the goal of the Monday NECC workshop called SLedupotential. Nine talented trainers, forty hardwired computers (that all connected to SL flawlessly!), thirty interested and tech-savvy participants, three hours. What more could you ask for?

But did this session really fulfill its promise? Is it possible to convey to new users what SL is all about by showing it or even encouraging them to explore it – in just three hours? It was a fun workshop; we got accounts worked out; we shared our own positive experiences with teaching and learning; we provided the context of muves in which sl exists, we played with the new avatar appearance and we visited a wide range of sims.

But I am left wondering if there are better ways to do this?

~Posted by Esme Qunhua

Written by Esme Qunhua
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 at 3:26 pm and is filed under conference, Critical Perspectives, FL Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 6 responses to “SLedupotential – a hands on workshop”

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  1. 1 On July 3rd, 2008, admin said:

    I assume that the folks who participated already wanted to be convinced that SL could be useful. Were there any naysayers in the bunch? How did the less tech-savvy folks handle the workshop?

  2. 2 On July 6th, 2008, Kieser said:

    I was a participant in this session. I would be what you called a “newbie” to SL, having only created my avatar approx 24 hours prior to the session. However, I have done a lot of reading about SL and virtual environments and wanted to hear from the experts how it was being used in education.

    Did the workshop meet the objectives? Yes and no. In terms of showing and demonstrating some very useful sims and learning the very basics of design – yes, the objective was reached. Prior to the workshop, I was a bit hesitant to enter into the SL world after reading some horror stories in the media. I am now confident and comfortable entering into the SL environment, making the workshop a beneficial experience.

    In addition, ALL of the trainers were very welcoming, helpful, and encouraged us to contact them in the future with any questions. They willingly shared their experience and knowledge. I know that I will be contacting some of them in the near future.

    My personal preference would have been to also delve more into the learning theory, current research being done, etc. I am beginning to make those connections online through different blogs and sites.

    Are there better ways to do this? Perhaps the immersion and demonstration of SL as a constructivist tool might be taught or presented through an actual SL meeting. The model lesson or activity might be created for the participants as if they were students meeting with their instructor in SL to discuss different objectives.

  3. 3 On July 6th, 2008, Scott Swanson said:

    One interesting thing is that there was simply far, far too much material. We had made a conscious decision to tailor the course based on who was attending. We found out very late in the game that about half the attendees were *completely* new to Second Life — which took our old playbook and more or less threw it out the window. With a bi-modal distribution as we had, we could have split the class in half — run two workshops within the workshop — but then that means that half the students would lose half the presenters, and we didn’t want that richness to be lost, as we felt it was one of the key points. Could there have been better ways? Sure. I think if you ask ten people, you could have come up with at least 11 great opinions. This was, however, the first time this had been done in such a fashion, and even opening this door was a step unto itself, which can pave the way for more honed, specific, tuned events in the future. I look forward to see how this concept unfolds — both in the potential of of SL for edu, and workshops/events like SLedupotential to support it.

    In the end analysis, though, for me, there just wasn’t enough time — and there never is. :)

  4. 4 On July 7th, 2008, Intellagirl said:

    Scott,
    I know what you mean. Every time I run a training workshop I wish I had twice the time to do it and I think the students agree. A few hours is enough to get lots of folks up and running but then they’re actually ready to play with ideas, explore etc and it’s time to leave.
    I’m sure it was an awesome workshop. The fact that folks wished they’d had more is a good sign.
    Intellagirl

  5. 5 On July 15th, 2008, tim said:

    hi,

    just found your blog and thought i would say hi and that i enjoyed reading it. 6 months ago i was turned on to SL and, as a corporate trainer, was immediately struck by the potential of this environment.

    i’m really interested in learning more about educational uses inworld and will be a regular reader here.

    blog on – tim

  6. 6 On August 1st, 2008, scottmerrick said:

    Hey, everybody. I read these comments with bemusement and a welcoming eye. This workshop was so completely innovative that I honestly admit that I’m myself still pondering its effectiveness: In the broad view, I believe that’s a good thing. As the workshop’s primary presenter, I was motivated to propose it after a wonderful evening at ISTE Island, chatting with others, colleagues met in Second Life, and yes, it took considerable work and focus to put together a collaboration with 9 educators from 9 different states in the U.S. Am I glad we pulled it off the way we did? Yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Would I make it different the next time? Certainly.

    I’d say the best product, which continues to grow, is the wiki we used to try to focus our 9 brains on the task at hand. And Scott S. nailed the delivery problem on the head with his comment about our last minute realization that we had more n00bs (not a diminutive term, btw) than experienced attendees. To our credit, we dropped back and punted, and did so in the best of learner-centered ways. I was truly more of a master-of-ceremonies than a presenter, and also I want to take this opportunity to thank the one of our group who couldn’t make it to San Antonio and so took on the huge job of responding to the inworld attendees, of whom there were many. Thank you, Ravenphoenix/Vera!!!

    Over the next couple of months, I’m hoping to do some serious soul-searching about how to deliver good teacher experiences at venues like NECC. At this point I’m leaning toward two half-day sessions or maybe one full-day one. There’s a huge need for low “teacher-student ratio” sessions for “teacherstudents” new to Second Life, and there’s a very serious need for more in-depth examinations of education in Second Life and other virtual environments. I’ve also proposed a new SIG, SIGVE, to help facilitate communication and learning about all things Virtual Environment. Won’t that be fun!!!

    Your comments here, and your help developing the wiki at http://sledupotential.wikispaces.com will help all these efforts. Let’s keep up the dialog!

    Cheers from Tennessee and from ISTE Island, my little home-away-from-home…

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