“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

“Historiens Hus” visit – review/log

On Monday September 1st NoEL members meet with Charlotta Jenkins to learn about her House of History, and her ideas on design and work in SL.

A side from some minor problems with clothes/body parts not rezzing and voice falling in and out (you know!), we had a great evening visiting Charlotta. TY :-)

We started outside in the garden, where Charlotta had set up a screen for the occasion. Via a few slides Charlotta told us about her background (MA in Nordic Folklore), her RL job (Webeditor, freelance writer), her interest in e.g. authenticity, history, genealogy, cultural heritage and her design and work in SL.

After the presentation, incl. Q-and-A we moved inside the house, where Charlotta talked about the different objects and showed us how the interactive ones function.

Our final location was outside on a neighboring field, where Charlotta currently is building a replica of an old farm.

During our visit we had some interesting discussions on especially the educational use of SL. All of us have met potential users (students, colleagues, friends etc.) who for many different reasons are against the usage of SL. We found several explanations for the resistance:

  • Conservatism – people are creatures of habit and many do not appreciate change
  • General fear of new media, new technology
  • The Press’ constant belittlement of SL and its residents
  • Fear of exposing yourself (e.g. as a somewhat helpless newbie)
  • SL’s steep learning curve

Even though I personally think that a steep learning curve is expectable if we appreciate SL as a world and not as a simple application, this issue is recurring among many residents and most certainly constitutes a real problem for those of us, who have students, clients or visitors in-world regularly.

I know that Heidi Ballinger, who’s an official Linden Lab SL Mentor, is very concerned about this (especially the so called Help or Orientation Islands), so I encourage you to contact her for advice and/or read her blog. Other explanations for resistance can be identified, and for sure we’ll return to this topic in forthcoming meetings.

Focusing on the positive we discussed the following means in trying to solve some of the above mentioned problems:

  • Act as role-models, communicate our own/shared examples of best practice
  • Do f2f workshops to facilitate the birth and infancy of new residents
  • Design in-world newbie-events (legitimate peripheral participation)
  • Possible creation of avatars that students, clients and visitors can use for a short period of time
  • Use the NoEL group to help and assist each other – also IRL

Many more things were said, but this was my take on the most interesting parts. Feel free to object, agree, or just comment.

In a related matter, this was the first time I got to use my “meeting log”. As expected the actual use resulted in some changes, as new topics dawned on me while trying to fill it out. I sent it to Charlotta for review, and I want to thank her again for helping me filling out the blanks :-)

I regard the “meeting log” as a work in progress and would very much appreciate feedback. Hopefully others will find it useful too :-)

You’ll find a pdf-version of the log here:
sl-meetinglog_house_of_history_090108

/Mariis