Monday, December 10, 2007

Mark and Debbie's meetings

Here is the link to Mark's Elluminate meeting about the online game Travian.

Mark presented to anyone in the class who was interested (and several were) about an online game called Travian. Mark gave us an overview of why he got interested in gaming for his students. “Their attention spans are not short for games.” Romans, Teutons and Gauls are the three armies. Mark started using a web tour but we could not see anything apart from the login. So mark then used application share which worked a treat even on dial-up.

There were several villages eg Macdonalds, General Electric etc. It is a game of resources which accumulate as it is played in real time. Each village has to be built up and they get the idea that “nothing is for free. Mark showed us something of the game and explained how it worked, and then stopped to let people ask a question. He gave us plenty of time to think of a question. The silence did not seem to perturb him.

One of the philosophies of the game is it is a collaboration and group exercise. Game and how does it relate back to learning. Aspects have relationships back to real life eg. Communication skills. It is also a game of strategy. After Mark's presentation there followed some good discussion about games and learning. Mark is intending to use more technologies and games next year. For example, games which relate to real life – Theme Park – physics of rollercoasters. I can see the potential for a game like this to build communities - doing in action and actual community building in every grain of the game.

After the presentation, I also dipped into Second Life for Debbie's event where we visited some locations used for language teaching eg Kamimo and we got to meet some of the owners or members of the communities. We also got to meet some of the language students who were working on assignments in SL. It was a surreal experience which went on quite late and people were reluctant to part. Our last experience was to fly into a waterfall and we all met in a sauna-like room with log fires and places to relax - very cool! I certainly felt like I was part of a community during this event.

Branwen Trevellion behind a waterfall in Second Life chilling out.

I have to admit to not really knowing what was going on a lot of the time. The time lag we were experiencing meant I got a bit lost and separated from the group at times. Debbie was an excellent host and it was amazing to really explore the educational potential of SL and see it in action. Some of the buttons for things such as screens for presentations did not work for us but their potential was obvious.

I really miss not having sound in SL, but apparently there are problems with time delays for audio.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Course evaluation

  • The course evaluation is now open on Blackboard - these are the questions we would appreciate feedback on and this will help us make improvements for next year. These are standardised by MIT. If you do not have access to Blackboard, please email Lisa (see group email).

Facilitation events tonight

Don't forget there are two Facilitation events happening tonight at 730 pm to which you are invited - it is ok to jump in and out eg go to Mark's for the first presentation part and then trot off to SL or you can choose one to attend. I hope as many people as possible can support Mark and/or Debbie so we can go out with a blast - this is the last (official) week of the course. Remember to check the Group email if you have any difficulties accessing either session. my cellphone is 021735438.
  • Mark will be presenting about his experiences with the game Travian and facilitating a discussion about gaming in education on Elluminate. (Bron assisting.)
  • Debbie is facilitating an exploration in Second Life. Her SL name is Debzee Miklos and leigh's is Leroy Goalpost if you need assistance look for him and they will meet first of all at Koru. (Leigh assisting.) Leave plenty of time to load SL on your computer if you are not already set up.
"The plan is to find three or four locations in SL that I think could have potential for language teaching, and take members of the group (who would be interested) there, and arrange Q&A session with the owners or members of the respective communities, or
show them around a location.

and the others' names are:

Veronique -Tulip Debruyere
David's - Pertheus Ran
Yvonne's - Cushlie Blackadder
Mark's - Marcoski Gophellar
Bron's - Branwen Trevellion
Carolyn's - Dacary Dumpling
Sarah's - Petal Stransky

See you all there.