Sunday, September 6, 2009

Visitor to Second Life

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you all
View of Blogger's Hut
    Last year, I listened to Clare Atkins talk of Koru at the DEANZ Conference, Wellington. I watched as Nancy White met with Clare (or rather Choconancy1 met with Arwenna) on Koru Island, just one of many virtual islands in Second Life (SL).

    This weekend I ventured into Second Life as a first time visitor. Here are my first impressions.

Having done the requisite registration and created my avatar, I set off to visit ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Island.
I followed the link to Blogger’s Hut given to me by Scott Merrick who announced the nomination of this blog for Blog-o-the-Month sponsored by ISTE.

Getting the hang of a few mobility controls was easy, assisted by an easy-to-follow tutorial.

Blogger’s Hut sits among many other similar and some larger buildings, as well as stadia, conference centres and concourses on the island - an educator’s dream. The Island’s clean, freshly cropped grassy terrain and its shrubs and trees reminded me of Kinloch, a little village on the North Shore of Lake Taupo, New Zealand.

I felt quite at home walking about the precincts of the hut. I met Scott’s friendly ginger pussy-cat snoozing nearby.

Flying away from Blogger's Hut
I think I was extremely fortunate to meet up with a few very helpful ISTE Second Life members, among them PZ Zadark, from Mexico, who took me off to meet Snowflake and Aviva. After a brief conversation following introductions, Aviva invited me to become an ISTE SL member, which I accepted.

Exploring the Island was an experience. I enjoyed the flying – a far more efficient way of moving about from place to place on an island. Having got the hang of flying and then returning to terra firma, as it were, I happened to be soaring across the Monroe Public School building, when I decided to drop down to have a look.

Unfortunately, I stopped flying immediately above the swimming pool there, only to find that I dropped right to the bottom of the pool.

The Moon Mural
No problem. It’s SL. I started to explore underwater and was delighted to see that the pool designer had a sense of humour. Along the base of the pool is a lamp-lit street with a mural of the moon on one side and a couple of what look like vacant shop premises on the other.

One of the shops sports the sign, “Second Life Education Resources”! Now that’s funny!

At The Bottom of The Pool
PZ also gave me the teleport coordinates for the Science Centre, Info Island. I teleported straight to Info Island! Best ever way to travel.

Info Island
This was a most interesting excursion. I visited a memorial exhibition, Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts Gallery, in memory of author Philip José Farmer who died early this year. It features Cover Art from International Exhibitions of his works.

Memorial Exhibition
I recalled my experience in the swimming pool when I came across dolphins frolicking in the water outside Bradley University main building. I didn’t pass up the experience of having a virtual swim with the dolphins.

Swimming with the Dolphins
Living in New Zealand means that at certain times during the day there would be very few educators who would be visiting ISTE Island. Most of my time was spent exploring alone. But on one occasion, early on, and being new to teleportation, I happened to choose ‘Go Home’ when selecting a destination. I found myself at Bay City Airport.

Bay City Airport
This destination was not the most enamouring. Lots of people there. But like most airports I’ve been to, it made me feel I wanted to teleport out of the place, soon as.

( 7 ) ( 6 ) ( 5 ) ( 4 ) ( 3 ) <-related posts - > ( 1 )

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Caffeinated Weka said...

I was really interested to read your impressions of Second Life. My colleagues and I had explored it a few times this past year or so, at the recommendation of educational experts in the field (some on an international scale). We found some wonderful possibilities to support teaching and learning. We also found Second Life to be incredibly draining on our laptops, time consuming, fiddly to navigate (although the flying was fun), and wondering whether the benefits would outweigh the many limitations we saw. To this day, none of us are particularly sold on it. However, we don't want to sound negative and potentially dissuade other educators who are successfully using Second Life in a meaningful way to support their teaching and learning programmes.

First impressions can be great, but what are people's impressions after 2-6 visits? How do their student react? How does it affect their learning outcomes and processes? As yet, I haven't drawn a final conclusion, but personally feel that I need a bit more convincing.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora e Café Chick!

I'm with you and read what you say.

My impressions given here are as a visitor. I kept an open mind when I entered SL - now been there a few times.

I still have an open mind. So I will neither agree nor disagree with what you say, simply because I've never really explored the potential that SL has as a learning tool for young learners.

Catchya later

Nancy White said...

As an owner of an old computer, I realize I reallly need to experience SL on a fast computer. I used to think I was simply a clod, but learned it was my inadquate CPU! LOL

catkins_in_nz said...

Great to hear you have been visiting Second Life! I would be very happy to welcome you to Koru and to show you around some of the amazing educational things we have been doing with the SLENZ project ( We have built two major educational build for tertiary students both of which are free to use for any in the SL community.
Having been in SL for almost 3 years now and having been very involved with a number of communities and activities, I have become convinced that it (or virtual worlds like it) will have a major role to play in education over the next 10 years. I would go so far as to say I think they will transform online education - certainly at the tertiary level. In New Zealand alone I have now seen some incredible student work in architecture (Uni of Auckland) and medical services (Auckland again!), design and machinima (Victoria) Midwifery (CPIT and Otago Polytechnic), Foundation for Living (Manaukau Institute of Tech), visual arts (Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology) and of course my own IT students at NMIT too.
If anyone is interested I am happy to show them around and talk through some of the great things that SL can bring :).
Althernatively you might like to join us at one of our Kiwi Educators meetings (on Koru - Sundays at 7pm Kiwi time). Just email me clare dot atkins@gmail dot com or IM Arwenna Stardust inworld.
Thanks for the posting and the mention :)

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tenei to mihi ki a kōrua!

Kia ora e Nancy!

I upgraded through no real attempt at moving on at the beginning of the year. My PC died! A forced upgrade, so to speak. I guess SL works smooth for me because of that - hey, it's great to have you drop by Middle-earth.

Kia ora e Clare!

I would love to be shown round Koru! Just love it. I have been there. I did a search. Found the dodgems - that was a real laugh.

Hey, Auckland seems to be where it's at these days. My daughter is at AUT, doing Fine Art, and now enjoying it. So I'm interested too.

Thanks for the invite. I may be able to swan in to Koru this Sunday eve. I have family at home just now so time with them is precious esp Sunday, but if I can spare a while I'd love to drop in and meet.

Catch up with ya later

Scott Merrick said...

Hey thanks for coming in! This was a remarkably fun read and supports your inclusion in the competition along with three other excellent educational blogs. You showed great restraint in not advertising that your blog has been nominated for Blog-o-the-Month at the Blogger's Hut on ISTE Island! Fans of yours should certainly take the time to go vote. Voting is simple and continues until the last day of the month! Cheers, and see you in SL, I hope!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā koe e Scott!

Yes it was fun collecting the snaps for this post and finding out a few things at the same time.

I posted about the nomination and also put the notice on my side-bar. I understand, now, that perhaps there is a need to splash it about a bit. I'll see what I can do. :-)

Catchya later

Paul C said...

Thanks for this detailed glimpse of your journey within Second Life. Very interesting read.

Michael Hanley said...

Conas a tá tú Ken?

Great post; it's a well deserved "Blog Post of the Week" at Elearnig Planet.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora e Michael!

Thank you for alerting me to this announcement. It's good to share a spot with you!

Catchya later

Sarah Stewart said...

Congratulations on the nomination, Ken.

I have been learning lots about SL this year but I have been privileged to be part of the SLENZ team. If you're interested, Cafe Chick, I have posted lots of posts on my blog about my experience of developing and introducing our virtual birth unit resources to midwifery students - just look under the label "second life".

Long story short, I have never been able to 'bond' with Second Life until I got to the stage where I was involved with a role play resource. Looking around buildings and clicking on things does nothing for me. But being a 'real' midwife, making decisions, communicating with pregnant women is a meaningful learning experience.

Give me a shout, Ken, if you ever want to come along and play at being a pregnant woman or midwife.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Thanks Sarah! Kia ora!

Er . . . yes, I know what you mean. I have already become a member of the ISTE group of educators and associated groups. I'm looking into possibilities for using SL as an educational tool for secondary school kids. . . There is a meeting tomorrow on ISTE Island.

But . . . em, I think I'll pass on the midwife bit and, em . . . well . . . I'm not really into role-playing an expectant mother.

But . . .

I've had lots of practice at being an expectant father in real life!


No use?

Catchya later

Sarah Stewart said...

Had a funny feeling you'd say that :)

Great to catch up - take care :)