The 1st Question 10 April 2011

My appearance on The First Question was an experience welcomed in order to better understand Virtual World possibilities for teaching and learning.  It was fun…but I do have to admit I was a little nervous, it was a “publicly broadcast” show.  Once I got over the very real feeling of “how do I look, how do I sound” I played my role and enjoyed the moment.  Implications for education are obvious.  Of course there is the game scenario with factual questions, a common strategy for quizzing and reinforcing curricular knowledge.  But more subtle was the actual experience that students could benefit from.  Essentially all the behaviors employed to make the show work; public speaking, taking part in a studio show with a live audience, following a set of rules, preparing, listening, being a cordial loser, being on time, following direction, collaborating and communicating effectively.  All skills and behaviors helpful in any workplace.  The one that really stands out is public speaking.  In all of our standardized testing of reading , writing , math and science – we never really assess public speaking.  Not that I advocate yet another test, but providing instruction and practice in this necessary skill is clearly lacking.  Just take a listen to some public figures, company chiefs, spokespeople and even some news reporters.  We often hear inadequate articulation of ideas, distracting verbal tics, and poor grammar.  So maybe a fun virtual TV show giving students a chance to play different roles, articulate ideas, converse with each other and instructors would provide some valuable practice in the language art we take for granted, speaking.

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Teaching and Learning Options in the Virtual World

The virtual environment offers students alternative ways of learning concepts.  Educators understand that differentiating instruction is important and that we should not limit ourselves to telling and explaining.  The information in a lecture or demonstration is magnified when students are given an opportunity to actively engage in an activity that provides a way for students to practice, apply or even play with the new content.  A community college professor demonstrates a virtual world activity designed to follow a lecture and provide  students a chance to “build a molecule” in virtual space.

VWBPE Conference Begins with Authentic Enthusiasm

The Virtual World Best Practices in Education Conference  began on March 17 with over 200 attendees either on one of the 20 sims,  watching on treet tv, and/or following on Twitter.

Botgirl Questi and her alter ego presenting the Keynote Address.

Botgirl Questi and her alter ego delivered the keynote address discussing identity, multiple personality capability and the use of virtual identity for positive change.  The session was recorded and can be viewed at Treet TV.

Following the keynote, educators from around the world transported their avatars to multiple venues and grids to learn more about the use of virtual spaces for education.  Two more days of expert presentations are scheduled.

A variety of social events including multiple person bicycle rides and music and dancing at an Irish pub are available all 3 days.

The builds, a collaborative effort of  many hours, are elaborate and imaginative creations in a Steampunk theme.  All 20 sims will be dropping into the pixel sea at the end of the month so teleport over to  http://slurl.com/secondlife/VWBPE%20Central%202/3/19/42 and fly around while it is still there.  Take some photos, capture some video and sit in on a session or two.  You may just learn something.

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.

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Virtual Learning Communities Flourish

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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

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Machinima As An Artifact in A Virtual Portfolio

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Assessment is a necessary part of teaching and learning.   Although standardized testing is a piece of the evaluation picture, other evaluation strategies add to the data and provide a more comprehensive view of the success of teaching and learning. … 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

Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge

An open challenge to create the most innovative and interactive solutions in virtual environments.

http://www.fvwc.army.mil/

  • $25,000 in prizes
  • Focus on AI
  • Open to everyone
  • Submission due date Dec 6 2010