Perceived properties of SL in relation to ADHD-patients

On Thursday, January 20th Milo Spot and Viola Stonesoul from the “MILOVIOLA” group did their presentation and analysis of SL as teaching and learning environment for pupils diagnosed with ADHD. Both Milo and Viola have previously investigated more general use of ICT as tool for people with ADHD in coping with daily activities, and so were interested in exploring if and how this multi-modal medium could be applied with regards to such a target group. We started off in a sandbox up in the sky, where we were asked to switch to sunset setting, and Milo and Viola made it clear that they wanted to focus on different affordances of the teaching and learning space.


The  sandbox above the Danish Visions island

In the NE corner of the sandbox, Milo and Viola had set up several display screens with information about ADHD, and Milo gave us a short introduction, so that we could better understand the background for their design thoughts.


Milo explaining ADHD …

One of the major challenges for people diagnosed with ADHD is their problem with staying in focus if too many impressions are perceived simultaneously, and in the space depicted below Milo and Viola wanted to show us how multiple impressions could become overwhelming because of lacking ability to filter information – the many pictures sort of “coming toward us” in this space illustrated this point very well.


After this short introduction to some of the challenges involved in designing for ADHD-patients, we were asked to fly up above the sandbox to sit down and listen to Viola’s more theoretical presentation of using SL. Viola and Milo explained that it was on purpose they had chosen to place this part up in the air to illustrate the common perception of Theory, and as one of the other students subsequently noted it was hard not to think of Aristophanes’ “The Clouds” ;-)

Scaffolding (as depicted in the slide above) was one of the key words in Viola and Milo’s analysis, and in a related manner, they referred to a model illustrating the stages of learners’ participation in virtual worlds created by Dr. Mark Childs as part of his PhD dissertation. Childs visited the class in-world as Gann McGann on January 3rd, and his thoughts on avatar identity, presence, and embodiment really seem to have influenced the students (and me!).


Gann McGann and one of his alts visiting the MIL Class.


Childs’ model in the horizon …

Back on the ground in the sandbox, Milo and Viola walked us through some of the designs/objects they had considered as part of their teaching and learning design for this particular target group. ADHD-patients tend to become frustrated if their daily routines are disrupted, it is not a target group that handles change well, and as an example one of Viola’s pupils demanded there be a clock in a classroom – otherwise she wouldn’t enter the room.


Chess with its meticulous rules appeal to some ADHD-patients, and strengthen their ability to stay focused. Many ADHD-patients also need private space, even when in a social space, and the tipi in the background could accommodate this need.


In the next part of their session, Milo and Viola divided us into three teams, Red, Blue, and Yellow, and we were asked to enter the similar colored boxes/spaces set up in the south end of the sandbox. We all got note cards with case-scenarios each describing someone with ADHD. Our task in the boxes was to identify learner needs and write them in a shared document.


Petter and I writing in the typewith.me-doc that was shared among the 3 groups enabling us to see real time what the other groups were writing.

One of the concerns Milo and Viola expressed with regard to using SL in relation to their specific target group was the amount of information that the SL-user constantly is expected to cope with. To exemplify this they asked us to go to a freebie store and see if we could find and buy some doors ….


A typical example of a Freebies Store

and another example, which also includes sounds and animations  Tropical Paradise Designs


Lots of screen info – tuff .. not only for ADHD-patients …

Next stop on the tour was the holodeck on the Danish Vision island. In the setting below ADHD-patients could practice social and communication skills in a safe environment.

We ended the tour visiting the Al Andalus Mezquita, which could be used in teaching more general life skill and as a setting for discussing different perspectives on culture, religion, life, and death.


Al Andalus Mezquita

Finally we all went back to the sandbox for the feedback session. Through this highly packed program Milo and Viola splendidly showed how the space in SL can be transformed into meaningful teaching and learning places, and we all appreciated their effort to use different features in the environment such as audio-visuals and shared media. The connection between pedagogic underpinnings and practical use of the medium was very strong and well reflected. Furthermore, Milo and Viola clearly demonstrated how an educational setting could be designed with free objects found in various freebie shops in-world.

This was the fourth and final student presentation in the course – and I do think that Milo and Viola managed to leave us all with a very good impression of the teaching and learning potentials of SL – not only in relation to ADHD-patients, but in general.

/Mariis

Thinking out-of-the-box … from inside the box!

Monday, January 17th, Inge Qunhua & Severin Nordenskiold from the second group in my current SL course, “milis” did their presentation and analysis of SL as teaching and learning environment. The theme for Inge & Severin’s presentation was various types of remediation, and we started off in a respectful remediation of a classroom on the Innovative Learning Island.


All seated in the classroom on Innovative Learning.

Here Inge and Severin asked us to reflect upon our experience with being located in such type of setting. The notions of avatar-friendly and innovative design were also discussed. After this we were asked to go outside and ride the school bus to the next location.


Severin was driving, and in mouse-look it felt like being on a roller coaster ;-)

Next stop was on the island Danish Visions,where we were asked to enter a flying tea-cup to transport us to the next location.


For unknown reasons – avatar-overload ;-)? – the tea-cup refused to fly!

Inge & Severin then sent us tp’s to the next location that turned out to be quite a surprise …


The MIL-group located somewhere in white space!?

Being immersed in what seemed to be infinite space was really a peculiar experience – the lack of orientation struck me as being both appealing and frightening. In this space Inge & Severin now asked us to co-create our own classroom. First off we had to build “chairs”, and Inge instructed us.



For some of the features in the building menu, Inge & Severin had prepared slides.

And so the “chairs” ended up being colorful building blocs with illuminating glow.


All seated in a NpIRL classroom.

Subsequently we were asked to turn our settings to “midnight”, Inge turned off additional light, rezzed a Mega-prim presenter, and then we were all set to listen to Severin & Inge’s presentation in what turned out to be a very intimate, powerful and truly radical remediation of a “classroom” setting.


Inge talking in the dark …


Severin talking …


Inge & Severin’s analysis of Genome Island.

For their analysis, Inge & Severin had chosen to look closer at the teaching and learning potential of the Genome Island, since Severin works as teaching associate professor in the field of Medical Biochemistry. Professor Mary Anne Clark of Texas Wesleyan University (Max Chatnoir in-world) created the island with a special focus on teaching genetics – the video below gives a short introduction to some of the possible activities available.

In preparation for their analysis, Inge & Severin had managed to get an interview with Max Chatnoir, and so were able to share some interesting insights gained from student feedback on the use of the island. Their presentation also focused on different pedagogical strategies underpinning different fields/subject matters, and Severin finished off by explaining the next steps where we were to go to the island to try out some of the activities. When their presentation ended Inge turned on the lights, removed the texture from the space, we had been located in, and much to our surprise, we had actually been inside a wooden box!


Our classroom setting turned out to be the inside of a wooden box


Exploring molecular structures …


and mating cats.

Back on Inge’s island we were introduced to some of her learning designs, and this was also where we had the feedback process. Inge & Severin had organized a packed program based on different examples of both respectful and radical remediation, and thus succeeded in bridging theory and practice very well. I found the fact that we had to build our classroom from inside a to be an especially clever detail, and they also succeeded in demonstrating that a playful approach to learning can be very efficient, something that truly resonates the nature of SL.

Uh, and big thanks to Max Chatnoir for taking the time to talk to the students :-)

/Mariis

Additional resources on Genome Island:

Dr. Mary Anne Clark on Genome Island in Educase Review

Dr. Bertalan Meskó’s interview with Max Chatnoir

In-world presentation @ “Internet – New Media – Culture 2.0” conference

Friday November 5th, I was invited to speak at a Polish organized in-world conference about “Internet – New Media – Culture 2.0“.


Conference site at the Second UMCS island

The conference was organized by colleagues from different departments of Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskie – some of whom I’ve previously worked with in the EU funded research project COMBLE. I was very pleased to get the opportunity to talk about some of my findings, and there were some great questions and comments on especially immersion and media convergence.


Talk about the new assessment method I implemented in my 3rd research cycle.

As promised to the participants, I’m hereby uploading my presentation.

Special thanks to Raf Moczadlo for inviting me :-)

/Mariis