Got Social?

Education Fair on EDUIsland II

I already have plans for when this takes place, but if I were going to be anywhere near a computer I’d attend a few of these sessions.

” Digital Storytelling” – In this session, Celestia Cazalet will give a brief overview of the different types of digital storytelling, explore its uses in the classroom, share examples and reveal some of the many resources available to assist every digital sage. 15 people max.

“Things I Would Like to Learn: Tools and Resources for Teaching in Second Life” – This session will provide you with some of the necessary tools, resources and information needed to effectively teach or present in Second Life. As well as being given a list of items and landmarks, you will be able to find out about some of the interactive tools people are using in SL (what it is, how to get it, how it is being used). This is a hands-on workshop in which you will be able to explore teaching methods, presentation tools, and how to create visual aids . 10 people max.

“Your Inventory IS NOT Your Junk Closet” – Do you dread clicking on ^Inventory^ when you’re in SL? Can’t find those shoes that went with your ‘Look At Me’ outfit? Remember getting an educational tool, but don’t remember what it was called or where you put it? Then this workshop is for you. Learn some tips and tricks to manage your ^Inventory^ and actually start to organize all those objects. This will be a ‘working’ workshop, so come prepared to dig in and get dirty!

“Podcasting In Education” – Using Podcast People, you can learn the steps of setting up, recording, and hosting your own podcast online. We’ll explore the what, why and how to use a podcast in an educational setting. 10 people max.

“Multimedia Works” – Multimedia is proving a great way to engage students and enhance curriculum. Come see and discuss a variety of projects being created in elementary and middle school classrooms.

“Promoting Your Profession/Your Programs in Second Life” – This session covers how set up an educational center and promote a project on Second Life. This includes how to create and set up informational displays, how to create and run video, and how to build and modify objects that will enhance your center. We will also discuss ideas for “getting the word out” in Second Life. 20 people max.

I can’t think of a good title (suggestions encouraged)

I think everyone should read the following blog by my incredible colleague, Laura Nicosia.

Laura strikes the nail square on the head with this. I was present to watch her work with seemingly techno-handicapped students who begin to learn something new while learning something new.

I had a similar experience this last Thursday in my Introduction to College Writing class. I have been talking about SL since the beginning of class and encouraging students to sign up for SL on their own. About 10 days ago I had everyone sign-up, or sign-in, in class. Unlike Laura, I only have 19 students and we meet in the writing lab, so access to the computers during class time is easy and there are far fewer students in this class to work with.

Following Laura’s lead I set down blocks of 30 minutes and posted the times in our blog on Blackboard. Students were asked to go to the blog and sign up for a time. I locked out the blog thread when the group hit two. I preferred more groups of fewer students. Like Laura says, it required a lot of extra time, but I will do it this way from now on. Watching the genesis within the students, coming to see and understand what a metaverse is (and what it isn’t), is worth the time dedicated.

Last Thursday I devoted the first part of our class to our usually opening writing exercise followed by some discussion on images, especially those produced by the media, and how they intentionally (or unintentionally sometimes) impact our lives. In class we’re talking (writing) about the creation and perception of identity and self. This is where the SL fit comes in.

Anyway, back to last Thursday. After our writing and discussion I wanted to meet with each student briefly, individually, to go over what might be missing, how things are going, etc. I told the rest of the class to sign in to SL, help each other, hang out, do things.

Nearly the whole class ended up in the Residence Hall area of the CHSS Island. That is when near pandemonium broke loose. It only too a few minutes before students were shouting across the room to each other, interacting, hanging on the beach, riding the jet ski, trying the first pieces of exercise equipment I put in the Student Center (more to come and some games, like darts, air hockey, and pool – interactive, avatars can actually play them!), comparing notes on avatars, and helping each other learn things.

I had to tell them it was time to go. Not one student had packed up his/her stuff a few minutes before the end of class. I walked out of that room with such great happiness and pride.

I will be at EDUCAUSE in Seattle from the 22-26th of October. Instead of canceling class I will be holding them from Seattle, in Second Life. I have to get up at 5:45am to do this; I told them I expect them to make sure they do what it takes to get online. We’ve had plenty of time to work out the kinks. I haven’t had to push too hard on this, each of them seems to be into it. We’ve been figuring out the technical problems together. And unlike that mysterious printer break down or hard drive crash or sibling that deleted the file, they are coming to me BEFORE the fact to get help figuring out how to do it. They are, well almost all of them, are genuinely interested.

I’ll report back after the two classes.

An interesting exchange

I was glancing though a couple of the gazillion Google Alerts I get for my “second life” alert when I found this blog posting:

I decided I wanted to explain that I can see why a gamer could get bored with SL but still make the point that SL is an exception tool, when used properly and in the proper context. So I responded:

There are some additional responses after mine that were positive also.