Thursday, October 25, 2007
Our first venture into Second Life together, and a reminder about Facebook
Sarah Stewart initiated an impromptu meeting in Second Life this arvo - just for those who wanted to get their head around it a bit before we look at it more seriously the week after next.
Carolyn (pictured), Bronwyn, Sarah, Yvonne and I met up and just happened to bump into Aaron Griffiths from Nelson Marlborough Institute. Aaron's SL name is Isa Goodman (as in is-a- good-man :) and he briefly told us a bit about the NMIT project and SL generally, as well as helping the newbies get used to moving around and the like. Isa's a legend at helping people get used to SL, as well as a programmer and builder of environments in SL. He built NMIT and other places.
Pretty soon conversation moved to the "what can we do educationally in SL?", so with the little time we had left, and for those that weren't having technical issues (sorry Carolyn), we visited Virtual Hallucinations - a project from UCDavis designed to simulate everyday life for a schizophrenic. I was mighty impressed by it the first time I went through, but as Sarah pointed out - she was having a hard enough time just moving about in there before being able to appreciate the simulation, so as with all these things we need to have a good grasp of the tech before we can leverage the learning through them.
Isa started talking to us about the extensive community base in SL - much of it educational. (Well, all of it educational I 'spose - depending on your definition..). Isa pointed us to the Kiwi Educators group - who meet up in SL every Sunday to tour new venues or "sims" (simulations) as they're called. This Sunday they are meeting up to tour the new IBM sim.
You can subscribe to Aaron's blog to get updates on New Zealand projects in Second Life and the activities of the Kiwi Educator's group. I'd highly recommend connecting with Aaron and his work if you are at all interested in the potential and early adoption of simulations, virtual meeting spaces, machinima, 3D virtual worlds or any of the seemingly infinite applications for this platform.
More photos of our first meeting can be viewed here. Remember that we will be looking at Second Life as a platform for online learning communities starting week after next.
This coming Monday at 7pm NZST (that's Monday 6am UTC for our international followers), we will be hearing from Ellen Stewart, a young New Zealander who uses the social networking platform Facebook to stay in touch with international friends. Ellen will help us consider the question of whether Facebook has a sense of community within it, if it is or could be used for learning, and some suggestions on how we might consider facilitating learning through platforms like Facebook.