Tag: SL (page 2 of 2)

Reconfiguring Campus2 in SL

This is primarily for those Pellissippi State folks with an interest in our presence in Second Life.

Things languished the last year or so, as we anticipated. We were all overwhelmed with moving to a new Course Management System, a new Content Management System, a new Student Information System, budget cuts. overwork, etc. Along with others, I found myself having to track my time and energy into other things. That situation has improved somewhat, and so we are looking at that potential again.

As we’ve mentioned in other articles, Second Life has fallen off the radar of the mainstream media, but since I’ve gotten back into it I’ve been impressed with the continued growth of educational endeavors there, and the ways in which people are figuring out how to use it to foster learning, along with the serious research that is being conducted on SL as a medium for education in distance and hybrid situations. The University of Texas system, for instance, has announced a system of around 50 islands to provide significant space to each of their 16 real-life campuses. Plus, we have people working on an open-source version that can reside on our own servers and potentially hook into the larger metaverse, part of a larger world-wide effort that is likely the next stage in developing a virtual universe that might be considered Web 3.0 or 4.0.

Several faculty were interested in the possibility of SL at one point. We would like to completely rebuild the island known as WindingRiver Campus2 to make it more useful for learning, given SL’s unique capabilities. We’ll have a meeting to discuss this when we get back from fall break, probably at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, but subject to rescheduling depending on feedback. If you are interested, please drop an email to dking at pstcc dot edu to make planning easier. Thanks!

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Second Life Web page update aids functioning

Linden Lab seems proud of their new Web site, and so far it seems justified to me. They have aggregated several useful features on the Web that makes using SL itself easier, and that enables some quick functioning without having to log into the grid.

One of the neatest seems to be the dashboard, reachable by http://secondlife.com/my. This page brings together several of the most popular pages of information as well as account information.

For instance, at the very top you find What Next, World Map, Shopping, Buy Land, Community, and Help. What Next has several items like the Quick Start Guide and links to video tutorials (which are also linked further down the dashboard, which seems redundant to me, but heck, I’m old-school).

The World Map actually is a piece of the SL Search Engine, enabling you to search for both places and events and, once you’ve located the point on a Web-based map, teleport directly there.

Following the pattern of “more there than what the label would suggest,” the Buy Land tab certainly lets you buy land, but also gives you link to information such as the location of land owned by groups to which you belong, and the location of land that you own.

Other widgets on the page give you access to your account information, your Friends list, the Linden currency exchange, XstreetSL (including merchant tools, and several other informational links.

And that’s just the dashboard. Linden Lab also says they have streamlined the registration process (and God knows it needed streamlining–the new page is accessible via http://join.secondlife.com/), and they’re planning to improve the orientation experience as well.

I’m personally looking forward to seeing what’s involved in the Viewer 2.0 thing. Tateru Nino wrote about the plans back in June, which is forever in SL terms. Back then, the major change was a rearrangement of menus in an attempt to be more intuitive. Lots could have changed since then, of course, and I’m hoping for the better–not that the interface is bad now, but that could just be because I’m used to it. Anyway, I’ve not seen recent updates on its design or status, and I couldn’t help but notice it was the one thing on the LL blog page that was not linked to another story.

In any case, it does look as if they are trying to make things easier for experienced users as well as n00bs.

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Current marketing take on SL

Aliza Sherman notes the cycle of Second Life hype, followed by SL bashing, followed by more hype, followed by declarations that SL is dead. Not so, she says, in “Second Life Is Social Media.” It’s not about education, but it is about the nature of the medium, and much of it has implications for education and other activities in SL, including the downsides. Take a look.

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NPR features SL educator

NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday featured Michael Demers, a geography professor at New Mexico State University, talking about how he uses Second Life to help his students learn more effectively. You can listen to the segment online.

Of course, so far I haven’t been able to get it to play myself. [sigh] Your luck may be better.

Update: I managed to get it to play. Worth listening to!

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PSTCC faculty to conduct SL workshop

One of our own will be conducting a workshop for faculty across all of Second Life interested in using SL for teaching. This notice went out yesterday from the Community Colleges in SL group to all its members:

Group Notice From: Pipsqueak Fiddlesticks

Hi Everyone,
We are canceling this Wedneday’s meeting in favor of a teachshop on Monday 12/8/08 by Travis Willsmere of Pellissippi State Community College. Travis has wide experience in-world and will be sharing some of his knowledge with us. Landmark will be sent soon so watch for it. 🙂 I hope you all are well and surviving finals! Pip

I will post a link to the site, along with the exact time, when it becomes available.

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Community college resource in SL

You know, I can find more in the first five minutes I’m awake every day that needs doing than I have time to get done all day.

Without going into all the links involved in finding this (thanks, Greg, for getting me started!), I want to share with you a great resource especially for the community college faculty who read this blog. If you have Second Life installed on the machine you’re sitting at, you should be able to go to the CCSL presence by following this link:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Eduisland%203/81/151/25

You need to also find the group and join it for free.

They have a lot of resources for teaching in SL, and as nearly as I can tell, they are somehow connected with the EduIsland folks who can provide space for teachers who want to use SL, but whose institutions do not yet have Island or other space for them. I am way behind on how this works, but I will post more information when I get it.

In the meantime, you probably also want to check out their Web site, a Wiki with tons of useful information.

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SL wiki useful resource

I sometimes miss the obvious. The SL wiki has been under development for quite some time, but I forget to refer to it. As with most wikis, it is useful because it is a single place for users to pool their experience and expertise. It includes some basic “help” sort of pages, but also include reference pages to things like the LSL scripting code (the language scripters use in SL).

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Facebook group started

Jumping right onto the vibe that existed right after the SL Workshop at IPC, we have started a Facebook group for Tennessee educators interested in using Second Life. I have linked to it from the “Links” list in the navigation bar, and you can also get to it from this post.

Update: the link in the navbar and in this post has been updated.

If you haven’t joined Facebook yet–it’s easy, and it seems to be a better way to keep all of us in touch without adding to the glut of email. Yes, if you set your settings that way, you still get an email notification. The thing is, later when you try to find that email buried among the ads for Viagra and Swiss watches, you won’t be able to, whereas you can always find Tennessee SL info in Facebook, and can even add a feed to your RSS reader.

Plus, it’s a good place to be able to link back to this blog, and to the others that have already sprung up around SL and education.

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Best place for educators to get SL accounts

I just came back from helping do a workshop on Second Life for educators, and of course today I would find a good resource. If you don’t already have an account in SL, or you’re getting another one, rather than use the orange button on the main SL site I recommend you use the Educator Programs page on the SecondLifeGrid.net site instead. The reasons are twofold:

  1. Instead of getting dumped on the wide-open, griefer-strewn Orientation Island, you will go to the orientation island for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), complete with docents, tools, and tutorials to help you get started as an educator in SL.
  2. You will find at this Web page a very clear and useful listing of resources for educators, as well as a succinct explanation for how SL can help educators.

Even if you already have your account (as do all of the people who took part in yesterday’s workshop), it’s worthwhile going to this page.

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