Large international conferences always create a buzz, feeling of excitement and lots of talk about “where do we go from here?” Often it dissipates over the following weeks, not with ISTE’s SIGVE. The ISTE SIGVE 2012 Playground at the annual … Continue reading →
Sign-ups for “A Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour” MOOC begins today March 7 at the P2P U site. The 4-week open and free course aligns with ISTE NETS standards for teachers and gives VWBPE Conference participants more time to deepen knowledge regarding … Continue reading →
I’ll leave predictions and trend reporting to others, but I can assess my activity and plan for what I hope to learn and do this coming year. Perhaps it will be helpful for teachers with ambitions in innovation for teaching … Continue reading →
Learning communities (LC) are active in the virtual environment, consisting of like-minded individuals who have a common interest and get together regularly over long periods of time to both share and gain knowledge and skills. Many of the learning communities … Continue reading →
Mathematics may be one of the most obvious ways to use a virtual world for teaching and learning, particularly when students are in the building capacity. Students can practice applying mathematical concepts, while being creative and having fun. Geometry comes alive as an avatar creates and moves 3D shapes around to construct a real or imagined structure, graphical representations are concrete rather than theoretical.
A geodesic structure in SL
A bridge in Reaction Grid
The tools in the virtual world are simple enough that even elementary school children can use them. Learning to use these tools may even provide some preliminary knowledge and skills for future use of more complex engineering CAD tools. Once the students create the shapes (which takes seconds) the 3D polygons can be moved about, enlarged or reduced in size, stacked, linked, rotated, twisted, tapered, even suspended in the air at the click of a mouse. Students can adjust shapes and angles to fit ‘building blocks’ more precisely, they have the use of coordinates and measuring tools to support their building and learning. The most important part is the process, not the final product, though the final product may contribute to discussion regarding the feasibility of the structures in real life. The process of building and solving the problems of fitting virtual shapes together to construct a planned structure is what makes students think and apply the mathematical concepts.
'Building' a block
Adjusting dimensions of the cube.
Rotating the adjusted cube.
Here an avatar creates a cube and then transforms it to a thinner taller rectangular shape, then rotates it to get it in the correct position.
The syllabus of an educational technology class at Boise State is an example of prospective teachers being provided an opportunity to learn the skills necessary to use this medium for future instruction in K-12 classrooms. There are multiple examples of K-12 teachers providing ‘building’ opportunities on the SL Teen Grid and on Reaction Grid to their students. As these students apply mathematical concepts and address required standards they also practice some 21st Century skills such as innovation, collaboration and problem solving.
Accessing virtual worlds via the iPhone with Pocketmetaverse is possible but there are limitations. Yes, I do have the new iPhone 4 and yes I have downloaded an array of apps to test out my new toy. I have found that I can enter the virtual worlds of both Second Life and Reaction Grid, chat locally and in IM mode, teleport and be teleported, see what friends are online and view profiles, search for people and places, look through inventory, listen to media and even move my avatar, no flying.
the inworld view on an iPhone
The experience is somewhat outer-body, however. On the iPhone you cannot see the action, you cannot even see your avatar beyond a yellow dot among the green dots. A friend told me I was like a zombie, there but not there, not knowing when I was bumped and not being able to interact beyond chat. This access relegates the experience to a web social networking one.
The application is available on the iPad, I have not seen that one in action. If it is possible to view the visuals in the 3D worlds there could be some educational potential to interact in and to consume the virtual world, without that view the virtual world becomes a flat one.