Experiments with Classroom settings

Due to technical difficulties on Wednesday, I decided to postpone our 2nd in-world Didactic Design Discussion to Sunday.  My co-facilitator, Mew is in charge of the 3rd discussion set for Monday, and since we’re both using the Zebra presenter and he has already set up our teaching and learning area for this, I decided to experiment with an alternative classroom setting up in the air over our sandbox.

Now, who would want to go to class RL or “in” a conventional web-conferencing system, when instead you can be in a beautiful place like this??


We’ll also experiment a bit with The Opinionater on Sunday, but I’ll wait with setting up that, since it does seem to steal the attention of the participants once it has been rezzed :-)

Mew likes to build and script and he has set up an interesting display for his discussion combining a conventional presentation with … well, something else :-) I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I’m looking forward to seeing it “in action” on Monday …

Mew also has some sort of a surprise in store for us up under the roof … very exciting!

More to come on this for sure …

/Mariis

“Wonderful Denmark” – review/log

On Wednesday September 10th the NoEL group visited Dr. Asp on 3 Danish islands to learn more about 5 specific attractions.


Wonderful Danish Island Complex, including Heidi Ballinger‘s PowerMatch and the Virtual Worlds Research project’s island; Research Island Denmark.

As usual some of the NoEL members meet at 20:00 at the town square on Wonderful Denmark for informal chat and sound rehaersal. Here we also had the opportunity to welcome a SL newbie, Preben Mortenwold and invite him to join our group :-) Don’t give up, Preben – you’ll get the hang of it .. it is a whole new world!

Here Dr. Asp told us a bit about his SL-based company, his work as a realtor and the services he and his team have to offer in-world. Please see the log below for further information on this.

Then we headed off to our first location, Holodækket (The Holodeck), which offers 9 different settings/contexts.

We were all quite baffled when standing inside the uterus of a pregnant woman looking straight at the fetus – what a surreal experience! Imagine the learning potential if the different stages of a pregnancy were made like holodecs. A great example of using SL to create things NpIRL!

In fact we all agreed that the holodeck technique has a huge pedagogical potential – both in terms of respectful and radical remediation, role-playing, living history and more traditional informative purposes.

Next location was e-lærings huset (House of e-learning), where Dr. Asp showed us different 2D and 3D techniques applicable for e-learning in SL.

A recurring topic in our NoEL conversations is to what extend educators should remediate RL into SL. There are no easy answers, but in my opinion the overload of respectful remediation, doesn’t necessarily stem from lack in pedagogical imagination, but is also a consequence of the steep learning curve. I think most educators will experiment with more radical remediation as their building and scripting skills improve … but I may be naive …

Our third location was Baltic Sea Solutions, which serves as a Community for Testing Facilities within Energy and Environmental Studies build also with the upcoming Climate Conference in Copenhagen, 2009 in mind. On location Dr. Asp and his team have build a Hydrogen test facility (RL), and on the ground you’ll find orange dots, that will guide you through in the most pedagogical/informative manner.

Looking through the lens of climate change we continued the tour to Science on a Sphere, a respectful remediation of NOAA’s similarly named project;

Science On a Sphere (SOS)® is a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere which is used to explain what are sometimes complex environmental processes, in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.

As I understand it the RL SOS has been extremely expensive and complex to build, so there is a reasonable cost-benefit argument for re-building in-world and potentially more people will have access. This is a project in progress, and Dr. Asp hopes to be able to animate the Sphere in more ways (based on RL data e.g. wind, temperature, demographics) in the future.

Finally we went to see one of Dr. Asp’s personal favorites, Mariager havnekran (Crane of Mariager Harbour). Dr. Asp is fascinated by old buildings and enjoys rebuilding them as authentically as possible in SL.

Dr. Asp’s SL version of Mariager Havnekran and below RL

All in all it was a very inspirational tour, and even though I personally was jetlagged, I sensed that the NoEL group had a very nice evening. Dr. Asp and his team often build new things and we only saw a few of the many possibilities these islands have to offer, so I’m pretty sure we’ll return!

Thanks to Dr. Asp for not only guiding us, but also for helping me out in filling out the blanks in the sl-meetinglog_wd_091008 :-))

/Mariis

Note:

At the town square on Wonderful Denmark you’ll find landmarks to all sorts of interesting locations

3D Sweden in SL

On Ogle Earth I read about an interesting project in SL, where an accurate map of Sweden had been made, so I decided to go see for myself ..

And wauw .. Sweden 3D Map is worth visiting!


Here I stand in Germany looking at Scandinavia!

The creator is Magnuz Binder/Magnuz of Sweden an engineer, scientist, teacher, programmer, designer, artist and much more, from Stockholm, Sweden. And lukcky me! While I was walking around taking pictures Magnuz himself showed up, and I had the chance to ask him about the project …


Chatting with Magnuz of Sweden

Magnuz tells me that he spent about 50-60 hrs. building the map, and he continues:

But I’m still working on it. The neighboring country flags are new for today, as is the possibility to walk around here without stumbling on all those sculpted prims that forms the topography.

I aim at adding a search/browse and marker function for the municipalities/cities markers. I already added the capacity in the markers, but the interface isn’t done yet.

Plus, I hope to be able to add animated models of the major traffic routes, like railroads, roads, coastal carriers and airlines.

I ask Magnuz, how he expects people to use his map, and he answers:

Well, it could be one example of a tool in geography classes. I aim at building a small portfolio of interactive teaching aids here in SL, to give people some inspiration about what can be done.

I especially like the possibility to build “4D models”: 3D models where the watcher can slide the time ruler to see how things develop. I hope to be able to build some of those soon. Like cell division, evolution of buildings or cities, and such.

Magnuz has other ideas with educational puposes:

One idea I have is to build animations of reactions in enzymes. Only the active site then, since the whole molecule would cost too many prims. And of course the viewer would control the pace of the reaction, giving possibilities to stop or rewind it at interesting steps.

Magnuz also gave me some details on his scripting process, but since I don’t know anything about that, I suggest contacting Magnuz for further info on that topic ;-)

Magnuz has build other things in SL, e.g. a planetarium and it turns out that he’s quite interested in astronomy. You’ll find a newsletter about this on his website (click on Second Life).

I really was quite happy when leaving Magnuz – it’s just so great and satifying meeting people, who seriously try to use SL in both innovative and educational ways .. Yeah! I’ll be back to visit more of Magnuz’ creations :-)

/Mariis