VWBPE 2011 Machinima Finalists Announced

The First Machinima 4 Educators Appreciation Contest finalists are grouped into 3 categories with a fourth being the “People’s Choice”.  VWBPE participants will be able to cast their votes for this last category during the VWBPE Conference beginning on Thursday March 17.  Screening of all submitted videos will be on Friday, March 18 at 8 pm SLT on Machinima (East 1) East 1/2  http://slurl.com/secondlife/VWBPE%20East%202/56/116/32.  You can see ALL the entries and cast your vote  for the people’s choice on the electronic Ballot.

Best Educational Machinima

Each of the following three entries uniquely demonstrates educational media.  Muinji Becomes a Man, written by Chief Mi’sel Joe is aimed at preserving and sharing the history and culture of the Miawpukek people of Conne River in Canada. SWIFT Virtual Genetics Lab is a product of University of Leicester and depicts the use of a genetics lab in the virtual world used to orient first year students in the safety and best use of the lab to prepare them for the use of the actual lab.  The lab also provides opportunities for students to use the lab for what is impossible in the real world.  Kansas to Cairo Projectis a blend of Machinima and traditional video and allows the viewer to become acquainted with both the real-life participants and their avatar representations in this depiction of cross-cultural collaboration between university students in Los Angeles and Cairo solving real world problems.

Best Production

Machinima  production incorporates traditional as well as new digital and animation techniques in both capturing action and in the editing process. Click: Immersive & Interactive Art, written & edited by Lori Landay for University of Western Australia Imagine 3d Art & Design Challenge, zooms in and around stunning examples of virtual art that is immersive or interactive.   Munji’j Becomes a Man is a beautifully crafted Machinima with traditional language and music of the Miawpukek people, English subtitles translate  much of the dialogue.  The build eloquently depicts the habitat, the animation and color provide a sense of being, and the voices of the young boy and his mentor are realistic and well synchronized.     The skillful blend of cinema and machinima in Kansas to Cairo Project allows the viewer to see architectural students and their avatar representations in their collaborative work in a virtual world.

Best Story Line/Narrative

Each of these machinima entries had a compelling story.   Muinji’j Becomes a Man is a story about a Miawpukek boy coming of age.    WB Yeats – An Irish Airman Foresees His Death is a narration of the story of the Yeats poem with the same title, filmed on the  flight sim, Rise of Flight with vintage war planes. Time Travelers – Episode 1 – The Time Machine is an adventure story about teenagers, a time machine, and fighting evil in the future with sequels to describe scholarship and funding opportunities for college.

Be sure to attend the screening and vote for your favorite.

Machinima Learning at the VWBPE Conference 3/17-3/19

The VWBPE Conference has a number of events to support machinima endeavors for both novice users and experts.  The sessions are being held at different locations on the VWBPE 20 sims built in a Steampunk motif, just for this event.

20 Sim site on SL built specifically for the event 3/17-3/19.

March 17, 2011

March 18, 2011

East - Location of Screening of the VWBPE Machinima entries (popcorn is included)March 18, 2011

  • 3:00 – 4:00 PM SLT-  Machinima 4 Mere Mortals: Machinima Working Group – Intro. to Machinima East – EM 1/2
  • 3:00 – 4:00 PM SLT How 2 Use Machinima as Part of Your Class: East 1 – East 1/2 Teen Fair
  • 8:00 – 9:00 PM SLT-VWBPE Machinima Screening: East – EM 1/2

March 19, 2011

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Build a Virtual Biome to Master Science Standards

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Environments in virtual worlds can be realistic or fantastical, each has benefits for students both as visitors and as creators.  National and state educational standards require that students can identify, describe and understand the differences in both land and water-related … Continue reading

Virtual Worlds Provide Opportunity to Participate in Global Events

On December 10, the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, an event was held in his memory.  This particular event took place in the virtual world at the Second Life Imagine Peace Tower and attended by an international group of avatars.  Chat reflected languages from around the globe both in the language used and in the content.  Despite the fact that the event was held in the evening SL time, people from  the Americas, Europe and Asia attended.  No airfare, no hotel stay – we all teleported onto the sim – sat and watched as the lights of the Peace tower went on, listened to the beautiful music, chatted with our global neighbors and then danced for peace.

The Second Life Imagine Peace Tower has a daily lighting schedule – 15 minutes after SL Sundown each day – so if you cannot get to the real one in Iceland, consider a visit on SL.  There is a short machinima depicting the event this past week posted on Metacafe.

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Get Inspired in the Virtual World

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Inspiration Island on Second Life is a visual and auditory treat that you will want to return to. Be sure that you have QuickTime loaded onto your computer, have audio and video streaming enabled, your speakers turned up and then … Continue reading

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Machinima in Education

Creating films for learning is not new in K-12 education nor has the strategy  been limited to magnet programs or exclusive schools that offer high-level technology classes and/or broadcasting.  Teachers have used filmmaking  as a way to help students learn … Continue reading

Architecture for the Virtual Environment

When people build in the virtual environment they create structures that resemble ones in the real world.  Buildings, offices, houses, castles and classrooms have standard walls, doors, windows, and furnishings that replicate the real world.  Perhaps it is because building what we are familiar with provides a frame of reference and feeling of comfort. In her blog,  Avril Korman refers to Virtual World architecture as virtuatecture and discusses this desire for a home that looks familiar.

Virtual world “physics”, almost limitless creative possibilities, and avatar abilities suggest a more innovative architectural approach.  Accommodating avatars who transport or fly in for a meeting requires a space that can be easily accessed with wide doorways, minimal walls or open rooftops.  You can still have the familiarity of RL spaces with the added benefit of virtuatecture to accommodate the unique qualities and possibilities of the virtual setting.

The rooftops at CLIVE in Second Life allow for easy access.

The buildings at CLIVE (Center for Learning in Virtual Environments) are generally standard looking buildings, with the exception of large openings in the rooftops for avatars to be able to fly in and exit easily.

The iSchool classroom on Mellanium in Reaction Grid

The iSchool classroom on Reaction Grid is an open air classroom, easy to access via either a teleport or flying in, yet the space is somewhat traditional with the students desks in rows facing the instructor station and presentation area.

These two spaces illustrate the best of both worlds.

A wide ramp helps avatars to make their way into Gridizens market on Reaction Grid.

Rails keep an avatar from falling off a steep ramp.

Another feature to keep in mind is the ground  (stairs/ramp) access to a facility.  In real life we typically have stairs with a narrow ramp for wheelchair use.  In a virtual setting avatars generally do better with wide ramps or rails with narrower ramps so they don’t fall off.

XSS Bucky Fuller on Mellanium in Reaction Grid and Museum of the Globe are two builds that take full advantage of the attributes of virtual environments.  This virtuatecture looks unlike what we would encounter in the real world yet it works effectively in the virtual setting with large attractive spaces that can be reached via teleport and used in a variety of ways.

XSS Bucky Fuller in Reaction Grid

Museum of the Globe on Second Life

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Can a Paracosm in a Virtual World Contribute to Creativity?

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According to a recent Newsweek article, The Creativity crisis, the Creativity Quotient (CQ) among American children has been dropping steadily since 1990.   This drop in CQ correlates with the exclusive focus on the teaching of standards and the preponderance of television … Continue reading

Visual Arts in The Virtual World

The virtual world is of course a visual art in and of itself, but there is potential to provide learning experiences in a virtual setting that would otherwise be impossible in the real world.  In my experience, the world of visual arts can be brought to students to consume in 4 ways.

First the traditional way of walking around a museum and looking at the art.  One of the most extensive museums in the virtual world that I have seen is the Dresden Museum on Second Life (Dresden Gallery 120,128,26), which houses 750 masterpieces of European art.  An avatar can walk around the museum  and see the famous art, clicking on it to get information as it is desired. This method of learning about the art mimics a strategy used in the real world.

An avatar floats down Rumsey's Map Museum tower

The second method takes the display and viewing of works to a different level, literally.  Here an avatar can view a large collection of artwork in a “museum”  that can be traversed only in a virtual setting.  A wonderful example of this is the Rumsey Map Museum on Second Life ( Rumsey Maps 2 (193,201,715)).  The avatar visiting this museum  can fly through a tower to view the extensive map collection, stopping to click on any of interest to get additional information.

The third method of  learning about art in a virtual setting involves becoming a part of the art.  Art Box (Klaw 5,21,46) on Second Life has selected pieces of artwork with human subjects.

An avatar becomes a part of a famous piece of art in Art Box.

Participants are provided an opportunity to choose a painting and then click on a poseball to become the subject in the art.  The owners offer props and costumes for some of the art work.  Laguna Beach California has a real life, annual art show reminiscent of this strategy of enjoying art.  Actors dress and pose while backdrops and lighting are used to duplicate a painting in real life.   In the virtual setting the participant gets to make the art selection and become a part of it.  Certainly more immersive than just looking at it.

Sitting in Van Gogh's room. The builder created an elongated room to ensure groups of visitors had a correct view.

Finally, an avatar can visit a location and be completely immersed in the art.  In the case of Arles (168,23,29) on Second Life.  This amazing sim allows avatars to walk around Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings as they may have been seen by the artist.  The paintings are a 3D form and allow complete interaction.  An avatar can climb one of the famous yellow haystacks, sit in a cafe and enjoy the “starry night”, or even sit in Van Gogh’s bedroom.

The many museums in the virtual environment  each have policies regarding the use of the images they display.  It is best to experience them by visiting the location.

The places described here are not available to students under 18 years of age, but the methods may be used to create art locations in the Opensim grids so that students may interact with art and thus learn about it.  Better yet, students may become the producers and create these environments with art work in the public domain or even their own art work.