Friday, 3 July 2009

The Naace VW Seminar

3D Virtual Worlds: from inset to classroom, a learning environment for all.

On June 30th in London Naace held a virtual worlds seminar. Gareth presented the day and speakers were ShamblesGuru, Eyebeams and Carolrb, all users of Second Life and /or other virtual worlds. It was a very enjoyable day.
Shamble's first presentation was showing opportunities within Second Life, he presented a video and talked over it before logging in and taking us to the International Schools Island showing the Towers and explaining that he is trying to make them the “Google” of education in Second Life.
Shambles did a second presentation with three people from the Teen Grid being interviewed. Graham Stanley, Peggy Sheehy and Marianne Malmstrom all talked about teaching in the Teen Grid which most of us in Second Life, even educators, will never visit. It is very locked down and a special CRB check has to be carried out on the teachers who enter, the normal UK one apparently is not enough, and one has to be attached to a project to get in even then. So if I managed to get in I could not travel around the Teen Grid islands to see what others are up to, they would be closed to me.
One example of student projects given was a role-playing activity set on Ellis Island in the mid-20th century. Some of the students played immigrants coming to America, some played the immigration officials, it sounded quite thought provoking, quite disturbing and something very interesting to have been involved in.
My session followed after lunch – a big section of it should have been presented in-world but we were dogged by sound problems so it was not as successful as I hoped but the audience still got a fairly clear picture of how teaching in-world is possible. Unlike both Shamblesguru and Eyebeams who spoke later, I rent space in Second Life rather than owning an island. It was probably good for the audience to see how it is possible to work with just a very small plot of land. Half way through the session the conference centre techie person came to change the sound system – but we had already abandoned Second Life so did not go back :-). After the session several people asked about renting educational land in Second Life, here are a few rental places: International Schools Islands http://slurl.com/secondlife/International%20Schools/70/90/24 contact Shamblesguru Vroom aka Chris SmithLearn4Life http://slurl.com/secondlife/Learn4Life/128/128/26 contact Eyebeams Electricteeth aka Leon Cych, , Education UK http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/225/36/22 contact Dickie Mint in world, and the place where I rent EduNation http://slurl.com/secondlife/EduNation%20II/21/222/22 contact Dudeney Ge aka Gavin Dudeney
Leon’s session focussed on other virtual worlds available through a browser called the Hippo viewer, download from http://mjm-labs.com/viewer/download.php and start browsing, resources belonging to oneself can be transported from virtual world to virtual world through the Meerkat viewer, download from http://www.meerkatviewer.org/faq.php.
Leon took us on a tour of educational builds outside Second Life, these are mostly underdeveloped at the moment, it is very early days. People who create educational environments here have to build everything from scratch, there is nothing there to start with – this is the biggest difference between them and Second Life at the moment. In Second Life there are resources, many free, land can be rented cheaply but to do a big build and buy land is fairly expensive to start off. However the open grids can be made completely private so schools could develop them for educational purposes.
The videos etc from the day are to be found at http://communities.naace.co.uk/secondlife/weblog/

2 comments:

Eloise said...

You can get onto the teen grid with a UK CRB check, although it's a bit more complex than getting their special check.

Basically, if the project is approved, and on a closed island, then the project manager can see your CRB check and say "this person is OK, and we have their CRB check on file" and you're OK. How willing they are to do this of course, is another matter, but I have two avatars in different projects on the teen grid, both on the strength of my UK CRB check.

Carolrb said...

So all I have to do is find a project to join :-) Hmmm - I may start to investigate that then, thank you!