Thursday, 5 February 2009

End of E-safety Session Tour

We finished the e-safety course in Second Life Tuesday night with a tour of some of the places we thought our new SL members may enjoy.

A tour may sound easy but many of the avatars with us are new to Second life, they are getting expert at teleporting to where we are meeting, voice and video controls and camera controls but we have done very little on flying :-)

We visited 6 well known places:

1. - The Second Life Louvre - and every bit as interesting as the real one.

2. yes they really stage SL Shakespeare plays here! Welcome to the SL Globe Theatre, the most historically accurate replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the Internet, made into a working theatre for live Shakespearean performances in the metaverse. Walk or zoom around to explore and take photos! Be sure to grab a playbill for showtimes! Please visit for more info.

3. head due north to find a long building housing the tapestry. You enter a virtual display of one of the most amazing cultural artefacts from the end of the eleventh century. The Bayeux Tapestry, which is in fact embroidery, depicts the story of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, and was composed soon after these events took place. It disappeared from history until 1417, and then again until 1724. After near-misses with destruction in the French Revolution, and successful avoidance of being carried off to Germany after having survived D-Day bombings, the Tapestry remains an awesome example of exquisite craftsmanship. Perhaps not in the way gold illuminated manuscripts or later English embroidery is exquisite – its colours, fabrics, figures are rough and occasionally cartoonish. But it should be considered one of the cultural and artistic wonders of the world. It is digitally displayed to you here in a way the real embroidery has not been for over 1600 years, if ever, around the inside of a long room.

You see the digital Tapestry in about life size, if your avatar is a standard height. First-time visitors to the embroidery in Bayeux often experience a tinge of disappointment at its ‘small’ scale, as do viewers having queued to see the Mona Lisa. However, the beauty of the technology allows you to zoom and view much larger than you can do in real life. The embroidery method used is known for its ability to create quite a relief effect, which is no more visible than on colour plates. However, it is a recreation which we hope will do a very good job of transporting you to Bayeux and from there back to the Norman Conquest, the lands of England and Normandy and that fateful day on the battlefield of Hastings which changed British history forever.

Chairs have been provided, so that you might sit and use your camera rather than walking.

4. Read the texts in this Customs House for information about how the sim is run. Welcome to ROMA: Check out our blog for sim and roleplay info: . In Roma - one of the group dressed in a toga, one rode a chariot we looked around, saw the Christian eating lions etc.

5. The International Space station - we visited space in a rocket, met and talked to a vampire family... and were given garlic necklaces :-) Most of us visited at least some of the planets – this is one to go back to when you have time to explore!

6. Macbeth - experiencing ghosts, riding a huge bird, the moor and the maze, we spent a long time there. The Macbeth wiki is probably the best starting point for this build

So the last session, nothing to do with e-safety at all but very successful and the group decided that they want to meet monthly to catch up, keep up, see new places etc.

Delegates were willing to offer comments towards the article that we are using to advertise this course to teachers across the county, we are hoping that as it is no cost to the school, done out of school time in the comfort of their own home, is a very sociable experience as well as being useful content, that more Oxfordshire teachers will be willing to take it up and try it out.

Comments from teachers who took part:

From Nonella - Each session, I was activated (my controller logged in to Second Life) and I chose a comfy bean bag to sit on for the duration of the course. There were fantastic opportunities to chat with other avatars about the course content, view videos and PowerPoint presentations. One of the really unique features to taking a course in Second Life was the ability to facilitate small group work. At points during the course we were sent away to another level in the sky to work collaboratively on a task before feeding back to the rest of the group. We didn’t hear other groups and they didn’t hear us – something difficult to do in Cricket Road I believe!

From Aristotle: My experience was extremely positive. Having attended many courses in real life over the years, and having also attended many meetings and other events using technologies such as video conferencing and instant messaging, I can honestly say that Second Life is an extremely effective mechanism for use in training.

The course consisted of PowerPoint presentations, content delivery by speaker, watching videos and also discussion, both as a whole group and in small groups. In the latter, the discussion documents were edited and shared by all the people taking part.

I am grateful to Carol for the opportunity to take part in this course for two reasons. Firstly, it has been a most valuable opportunity to use Second Life for a serious educational purpose. In that, it has been extremely successful. Secondly because I have greatly improved my knowledge and understanding of e‑safety as a result of attending the presentations, videos and discussions with colleagues that the course involved – and this is despite my already fairly complete knowledge of the subject. In my opinion this shows the value of Second Life as a serious medium in which to undertake educational business.

From Just Monday

I found the e-safety course a real eye opener. We all think that we are net aware, but the course highlighted the amount of potential unsafe areas and practices that children could find themselves participating in. Even the most innocent of sites seem to be open to cyber bullying, inappropriate material and abuse of personal data.

The seminars were delivered through the virtual world “2nd Life”. I had no previous experience of this environment but quickly became comfortable with the basics of moving around and communicating with the other delegates. The delivery through the use of power points, video clips and discussions worked well. I also liked the way you could post thoughts without interrupting the main flow of the discussion. The content was in some ways quite disturbing but very relevant and will enable me to present “Internet Safety” workshops for parents.

There are more feedback articles etc., once the report is published in Ox-on-line I will post the url here.

Thanks to everyone who took part, I really enjoyed it and learned so much from it, to Nick, colleague and support trainer for aiding and abetting, to Anna Begonia ( SL name) fro filming and photos and to Gavin Dudeney who makes the facilities on EduNation available to us for for educational purposes.

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