Cetlment Island - A virtual Teaching and Learning space for the OU Centre for Open Learning of Mathematics, Science Computing and Technology (COLMSCT)
Centre for Open Learning of Mathematics, Science Computing and Technology (COLMSCT) The Open UniversityWalton HallMilton KeynesMK7 6AA http://cetl.open.ac.uk/colmsct
Basics • Movement • Teleport/fly • Chat/IM • Appearance • Buying objects • Earning Linden dollars • Audio (Vivox advantage)
Building • Uses a series of ‘prims’ ie basic shapes • Complex shapes are made up of linked prims • Called ‘rezzing’ an object • Size, rotate, skew and manipulate prims • Use Textures to generate effects • Good building practice means using as few prims as possible • Right-click on ground and choose ‘create’ and use pop-up menu
Scripting • Proprietary Linden scripting language • Straightforward but clunky - good for beginners • Scripts can be applied to objects and avatars
Video streaming Live concerts
Cetlment Island • Established by COLMSCT as a first SL space for the OU • Available for courses and individual tutors • Whiteboard for presentations • Boards to bring up wiki pages • Notecards for tutorial notes/information • Floating seating area for tutorials • Building allowed for all users • To build • Digilab with resources • Streaming video board for webcasts etc • Sloodle chatroom and chat bot facility • Automated building/scripted tutorials
Second Life and HE: • Own currency system (L$) - exchange rate to real world currencies • Campuses being built by many universities • IBM and others buying islands and running training courses for their staff • BBC hold concerts within Second Life and SL BigBrother house is just coming to an end • Increasing numbers of people are earning real world profits and salaries in SL
Educational possibilities • Technical and creative skills • Team building • Role play (eg counselling) • Historical simulations • Planning and architecture • Problem solving (group work) • Physics (gravity, vectors, acceleration but currently limited by Havok engine) • Chemistry • Health care/social care
Avatars and Identity • Research suggesting 3 models for avatar/RL connection; • Close resemblance - often ‘newbies’. Avatar is a younger version of self closer to socially constructed ideals and name bears a lot of resemblance to own name • Rejection - Some students have avatars that bear no resemblance to their real life selves. Their avatar is older, less socially appealling for example - but still the same gender • Morphs - these students have no consistent appearance at all. They relish the opportunity to continually change their avatar, changing from furry to robot to dwarf to old man as they wish.They spend a lot of time constructing the appearance of the moment. • Learning styles???
Role of tutor • Guide on the side… • Creating materials to supplement course materials • Interacting - group and individual (IM) • Questions/suggestions and encourage participation • RL conventions? • Relationship tutor/student is more equal
Two models for using SL • Environment as extension for tutorial activities/group activities/interaction • Activities making use of the environment such as simulations or activities There are often occasions to use both eg a simulation teaching medical students about a disease or syndrome and then a tutorial ‘ward round’ to diagnose patients Advantage of this environment is it allows both within a neutral space
Educational Community • SLED educators list • SL Researchers list • SL Teen Educators list • Health and Social Care educators list • Language Teachers educators list • www.simteach.com • Community>Education on www.secondlife.com • NMC Campus esp Teachers Lounge
Attributes for success in SL • Able to multi-task (e-juggling). • Interrogates a wide array of information source and media (see “circulating support material”)… • …consequently, is “beyond Google” in terms of information retrieval tools. • Can find information/knowledge that is not in obvious places. • Comfortable with complex online systems; does not differentiate between “online” and “offline”. • Comfortable with peripherals and unconventional data entry hardware. • Comfortable with online talk/chat systems. • No problem with spending colossal amounts of time online … so long as it is rewarding.
What’s happening cognitively? • Socially & materially distributed cognition • Collaborative problem solving, multiple problem spaces and communication • Coordination of people, (virtual) tools, artifacts, & text • Constellation of literacy practices across multimedia, multimodal ‘attentional spaces’ (Lemke) • Empirical model building and group building • Negotiation of meaning & values within community and creating social spaces • Authoring of identities within & beyond the community Adapted from Constance A. Steinkuehler.
Interaction beyond SL - activity May include: • IM to MSN • Blogs/wikis • MySpace avatar space • Machinima
Advantages for learners? • Anonymity (inc voice) • Physical appearance • Physical proximity • Greater transience (more weak ties) • Less established group roles (tutor/student) • Absence of social cues • Lack of RL expectations (eg doodling because bored)
Trust: we’re all in it together • Anonymity • Perceived similarity (levelling the playing field) • No social cues, so lots of uncertainty • Expectations of openness and honesty engenders a culture of mutual sharing • Relevant Social Psychological dimension of trust • Similarity of goals and values • Expectations of future interaction
Trust in virtual communities: Actions speak louder than words • You don’t go into virtual worlds to just “be” • These are task-oriented environments, with high levels of commitment required • With goal-oriented spaces, everyone has a role in the social fabric – ownership (Tutor/student role?) • Trust develops as a result of experience • Flexibility of level of contribution important • Open Source principles for HE
Sloodle • Where Second Life meets the VLE; • Chat in SL appears in Sloodle forum and contributions in the forum appear in the SL chat • Tools such as ‘chat bots’ record the chat and automate seeking permission to record chat • “objects” in VLE such as calendars and assignment deadlines can be rezzed as 3D objects in SL • SLBlog tool allows automatic recording of thoughts/images to VLE wiki/blog page from within SL
Research interests? • Learning styles and learning pathways in SL • - which models? • Identity construction and SL • Identity and community in virtual worlds