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Machinima for Education

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A group to support the development and use of machinima in education will begin meeting bi-weekly, starting on Monday September 16 at the Front Range Sim in Second Life.  The SLURL for the meeting is http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Front%20Range/108/26/35 and the meeting will begin at … Continue reading

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Teachers Tackle Machinima: A Week in The Life of the VWBPE MOOC

Teachers attend Machinima Monday at the Montmarte Theatre in Second LIfe.

The second week of the 4-week VWBPE Games and Education Tour MOOC had a Machinima focus.  What fun to watch and participate with fellow educators as they crammed an incredible amount of energy, curiosity, intellect, humor and talent into developing machinima to help us all learn to do it better and to help our students with machinima as a learning strategy.  The word that kept cropping up was FUN…and fun it was, sometimes funNY.

The week started with a Second Life Machinima Monday meeting with non-educators, an introduction to some machinima created by artists using this medium to relay emotions and ideas.  There was much discussion on technical issues…aspect ratio, capture tools, in world camera devices, editing software, special effects, space navigators to name a few.  Always a benefit to get a different perspective.  Our Hostess, the gracious and talented Chantal Harvey facilitated the conversation and welcomed teachers to join the digital artisan group.

Discussing a possible script with an alien avatar – the alien ended up in the movie Sand Surf Saloon.

The remainder of the week consisted of working groups, and some individual work on machinima with the of using the medium for teaching and learning.  The MOOC participants were all comfortable in virtual environments and some, though not all,  had significant comfort with creating machinima.  The week was an opportunity for educators to work together on a machinima project and reflect on the potential use with students and in delivery of instruction.  K-12 and higher education educators worked side-by-side, incorporating strategies, taking on a variety of roles (script development, actor, director, machinimatographer, builder, costume designer, sound editor, video editor, stunt actor, special effects editor), and collaborating to complete a project in less than 1 week.

Attendees enjoy teacher created machinima at the Gaity Theatre on Second Life.

The exercise served to help us understand what we can expect of your students and what skills our students will need and will develop as they participate in this kind of learning activity.   The culminating activity was a Premier held at the Gaity Theatre on Caledon in Second Life, a tour destination from week 1 of the MOOC.

As the ISTE Conference this summer draws near, this talented group of machinima educators will continue to polish off their work and encourage colleagues and students to submit their digital creations to the ISTE EDUmachinma Fest.  No doubt we will have entries form the growing number of virtual worlds and from a growing number of participants.

The VWBPE Machinima developed last week:

Sand Surf Saloon; Cowboys and Aliens
http://staff.tamucc.edu/jdoan/MOOC/Cowboys and Aliens.mp4

Learning is unveiling

VWBPE 2012 Volunteer Appreciation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT9awygCNWk&feature=youtu.be

SIGVE Machinima Promo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxAOVridPhA&feature=youtu.be

Mosel SL machinima
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TYn35BZPpM&list=UUsmGs7RECdj5gYym7t4ohVQ&index=2&feature=plcp

They Came for the Cavorite
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzj6oDfq8T0

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Take a Photo, Capture an Idea in the Virtual World

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We all take photographs but few of us know how to take the photograph that causes people to stare.   A weekly gathering provides virtual world artists, interested individuals, and  the curious  an opportunity to hone the skills of image/idea … Continue reading

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Pixellated Ballet Entertains Audiences in a Virtual Environment

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There is an exciting, affordable  potential for attending classical ballet performances even in light of educational cuts in the arts and curtailed field trips.  The creation of this virtual ballet art form does not come without an intense amount of work … Continue reading

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High School Students Create and Display Art Virtually

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The Digital Art Students at Skowhegan High School in Maine display art work from the ‘real’ world in virtual museums and galleries.  Approximately 50 students enrolled in Paul Skowhegan’s (all avatars use the last name of their school) art classes … Continue reading

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Choreographed Particles

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Some performances in Virtual Worlds are simulations of real world events, others are entirely unique and can really only be totally appreciated if attended “inworld”.  One of these is the work of Tyrehl Byk in Second Life.  Tyrehl presents more than … Continue reading

Learning the Music Business in Virtual Worlds

As I walked down 6th street in Austin Texas recently, I was met with an array of live musical performances, with the exception of the 104 degree weather it was not unlike teleporting around the musical venues in a Virtual World.  On multiple grids professional musicians, hobbyists, students, career changers and potentials all perform for an appreciative  live audience.  Setup in a virtual venue includes plugging equipment into a computer to provide a live stream and logging into a virtual environment.  Virtual worlds offer easy to access venues so the novice band  playing in a garage or the professional blues singer and guitarist in a practice room are able to logon and perform for a live audience from the comfort of their home or studio.  Musicians even perform with colleagues from another geographic location, appearing together inworld.

The Arts are experiencing cuts in education spending and students hoping to pursue a career in music, drama, or art related areas may need to access alternative arenas for exploring, practicing, and performing their talent and related skills.  Accomplished musicians perform in virtual venues, across virtual grids all times of the day, every day. Perhaps “virtual performances” will become a mainstream outlet for entertainment, at the very least it is a potential learning ground for aspiring performers.

In addition to performing, song-writing and employing technical tasks, aspiring musicians can practice skills necessary in the music business such as working with an agent and dealing with bookings,  public relations, promotion,  marketing, and even managing finances.  As the mode that we access music is changing, so is the way we provide and access entertainment.

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Digitally Amplified Literature in the Virtual World

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Rod Humble of Linden Labs recently described the Virtual World as “creative space”.  Jeddin’s Underground City sim on Second Life is a creative space melding the ideas of Descending Road author/creator with 3D artistry and SL scripting to make what the artist … Continue reading

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Living Literature in Virtual Worlds

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The use of Virtual Worlds to explore and enhance the literary experience is a useful activity for pre-reading, ongoing as a specific piece is read, and/or  as reinforcement after the reading is complete.    The value of a virtual world in … Continue reading

As The Virtual World Evolves

Many virtual worlds require the downloading of a particular viewer to access the virtual world and to interact with it.  Some require nothing but the web, a browser and a current operating system.  Jibe is one of those worlds which I was able to visit recently.

Walking amongst giant chickens in JIbe. They clucked and pecked but I survived.

The look  is similar to OpenSim or Second Life and the feel is like these worlds in MouseView, kind of takes getting used to.  Creating in the environment seems less laborious than the virtual worlds  I typically visit.  The creation/building tool, available as a free add-on, is reminiscent of what you see in a typical graphics program.

A flat terrain in JIbe is "brushed" with hills.

Changing the terrain is as simple as painting with a digital brush. Adding a field of ferns was a s simple as dipping the brush into the “fern” paint and then brushing the terrain in with ferns.

Ferns "painted" into the terrain do not require individual placement.

I  got the feeling that the creation and building within this web-base world was simpler than in the virtual worlds requiring a special browser.  The interaction was not as smooth or easy for me.  It seemed a little unstable but impressive that any of it could be done on the web on my Macbook Pro in Safari.  Perhaps the potential lies in the limitations and lack of complexity.

The Jibe Tools.

The registration was simple (name and password),  avatar selections are reasonable and there is an asset store with objects for free and for purchase.  The items can be imported into Jibe and placed, moved, and rotated as desired to complete the environment.

A Cart from the asset store is duplicated and added to the environment.

The simplified interaction and limited choices in this web-based world reminded me  of the new “basic” browser in Second Life.  Both types of virtual worlds are changing, maybe to accommodate an audience maybe to make a profit, maybe because people have a natural inclination to improve and change what they have.  For whatever reason, the end user will ultimately benefit.