Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Monday, 27 August 2007
Sunday, 26 August 2007
When finally got back in, was talk on Salamander project (see ppt here), aiming to index educational objects, builds etc etc in SL, with people joining in on this, indicating what the objects etc. a useful for and evaluating them. It builds on Merlot which has been a project to archive, index and evaluate educational resources in the real world. In fact think that I have something nominated in Merlot, but to be honest have not used it myself. Am always a bit sceptical about this "reuse of learning objects" business. Is interesting to look at what others do, but have not found much would want to reuse directly (mean more generally, not just Merlot). The actual wiki is at http://www.eduisland.net/salamanderwiki/index.php?title=Main_Page I wondered whether library and information professionals were involved, and someone said they were.....
In the break I zoomed round the area near Ishbel's and Citril's looking at the possibilities and what sort of neighbours there were. Some looked promising, some ..... possibly didn't e.g. the owners who mostly seemed to belong to sex groups.
Anyway, back at the conf. it was the session on SL library and Info Island. Barbara Galik, Bradley University, US (RL name) talked about what they have done for students and staff at her university, where it was sounding like they have been pioneers in their institution & have got a Dean involved in SL. Dewey Jung (SL name) talked about his involvement including with school librarians. He mentioned the Elven Institute "The ELVEN Institute's mission is to assist preK-12 educators and librarians to envision, construct, and use engaging virtual learning environments in order to demonstrate and document their value in increasing student achievement and growth." (http://elveninstitute.org/ this didn't have anything except a home page & list of board members when I looked)
I crashed out in the final session and just came back for questions at the end. Some people in the RL conference said that the conference had seemed rather transmissive (though that not actual word used) and that interaction with SL would have been good. I said I thought that there could have been more in SL perhaps with participation from those who couldn't attend RL conf. Also thought afterwards that ideally would be reciprocal - some sessions in RL where they observe/hear SL sessions and engage us in discussion. Would have to be short "presentation" part, though. Would seem odd to be in SL conference session where can't immediately zoom off to web or indeed zoom off for coffee or a RL chat without anyone at the conf. noticing.
Apparently there was no coffee at the conference. Cannot conceive of conf. in UK being organised without tea/coffee breaks, riot would ensue. Not saying this is good thing, of course, but golden rule for organising events in UK is to make sure refreshments turn up on time and preferably exceed people's expectations.
After conf. was finished flew round NMC conference island. Interesting, lots of nice inlets and mountain paths, would like to have similar on my island. Means there is less usable land, but think make sit lot more exciting. Discovered there was the Darumi Picnic "A capella" artwork installed (see pic with coloured objects). This is the 3rd place I've seen it, it gets everywhere. Also v. good conference shop with immense no. of freebies making up for lack of SLCC conference bag. Took one item with innumerable dresses, and another which included female academic gown (see pic, think I would look cuter in academic gown if had blue hair like this). Think can only get on island if at conference, so took copies of male and female academic gowns for various Friends, can have fun parading round in them. Wonder if Ede and Ravenscroft exists yet in SL (this is UK firm with gown monopoly in RL).
Left this freebie-grabbing orgy to meet Harumi (in Luna - see 2nd-last pic- , then Bedfordia after we got trapped in the basement of a sinister looking factory) and then have chat at Ishbel's house. Ah, the social whirl.
Saturday, 25 August 2007
Have backlog of entries, namely further adventures in clothesmaking and slightly strange session at Second Life conference (SLCC). However will now blog on pleasant social outing after exit from conference session which was meandering to close.
Was invited to visit Ishbel and Citril in their ajoining homes. At 3rd attempt managed to teleport across (one of those situations where say goodbye to everyone then it goes ping and you fail to transport and are hung there like a lemon still in the same place).
Ishbel has rebuilt in style and had fun going round remodelled house and esp. using bathroom. Enjoy baths in RL so no surprise that enjoy them in SL but interesting to be sharing bathroom with Citril using, as they say, the facilities.
After brief struggle with doors also visited Citril's house next door, and the 3 of us are shown outside it. Other 2 had moon in background, and at time was asking "where is this moon you see" but of course realised afterwards that had Forced Sun so no wonder moon not in evidence. Ability to make it time of day (light-wise) you want in SL is useful feature but means that have no idea what time it is for people you are with, v. confusing.
Citril is still adding furniture, but already has impressive 4-poster bed in bedroom with fine view through large picture window. Tried out bed. 1st time this was successful (see pic) but when tried 2nd time ended up on top of 4-poster and when stood up was in loft. Unfortunately turns out loft has no exit so batted round like baffled moth in lampshade until Ishbel took pity and offered to transport me back to room. V. hilarious. Well, it was at the time.
Finished by tour of neighbouring land of which much is for sale. Am contemplating buying hideaway to use to escape from students (nb if there are any students reading this of course I do not mean that) but must work out finances first. Turns out all you do in SL to buy land is right click and select BUY just like for frocks and boots etc. V. different from RL. Probably just as well NOT so simple in RL, to be honest.
Thursday, 23 August 2007
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Decided that must follow custom and create freebie clothing to publicise Centre for Information Literacy Research. Have decided that if create clothes of any merit will offer them free as incentive to visit office.
In RL never wear t-shirts with round necks or t-shirts with logos and have felt no need to start in SL either, however seems de rigeur to offer logo t-shirt. Therefore sought out info on how to do this.
Found good powerpoint on how to make a customized t-shirt on that excellent resource Slideshire, namely http://www.slideshare.net/trottahe/making-a-tshirt-in-second-life by Heidi TeeCee and Corwin Carillon.
This led to link to their v. good "Hit the ground running" page http://sl.nmc.org/wiki/NMC2007_Hit_The_Ground_Running which will bookmark for use by students & colleagues. Includes link to template of a shirt (for use in Photoshop) http://www.heiditrotta.com/second_life/rswt_shirt.psd and also Robin Wood's Second Life tutorials site (template is his) http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Technical/SL-Tuts/SLTutSet.html
Followed through Wood's tutorial for creating t-shirt with logo in Adobe Photoshop. Already use Photoshop a lot, but only in elementary way e.g. had never really bothered with Layers. Found tutorial v. good and easy to follow. Would recommend it.
Had not previously realised that if don't want garments to look strange swirly mess have to use templates which have garment elements on them. Having created the template with patterns and colours of choice in RL, then import image to SL and use it as Texture when creating garment.
There is the SL official collection of templates http://secondlife.com/community/templates.php, their Texture Templates http://secondlife.com/community/textures.php and Chip Midnight's templates http://goodies.onrez.com/shop/chipmidnight/ Also useful areTexturing Tips forum http://forums.secondlife.com/forumdisplay.php?f=109
Made some mistakes e.g.
- When using Linden Labs template forgot to hide background layer initially which led to garments all having strange lines on them. Photoshop Layers were in fact mystery to me before now and still have not quite got hang of them.
- Still can't work out where different parts of the sleeve end up (front, back or side of arm)
However, reasonably satisfied with first efforts. Pictured here are:
1) A Nigl Forder t-shirt (Nigl is one of my colleagues). There is also a Sheila Yoshikawa t-shirt.
2) Centre for Information Literacy Research t-shirt. This is female version (as with Nigl t-shirt - men's versions have higher necks and are longer)
3) Black Dept of Info Studies outfit. LL provide a black leather jacket template, which customised with Sheffield University logo on lapel, name of Dept on back of the jacket (not seen), Information Managers written on sleeve (not quite in position intended) and Information Managers down side of trousers. Also made clumpy black leather shoes.
4) and 5) Patterned shirt with no logos on (me lounging by the pool in Bedfordia, as in pic 2) It is worn with White Lily trousers, a white camisole from an ICING dress set (just seen, as they say in women's magazines), and some of the Earthtones jewels that I bought in their sale.
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Held 2nd discussion session in Centre for Information Literacy Research ( Eduserv Island 200 240 43 – the SLURL is http://tinyurl.com/28ef2t ) Search within Second Life: challenge or disaster? Decided not to publicise meeting too much, as still learning about facilitating discussions in SL, also only just back from a few days on RL holiday. Meeting was at 9pm UK time, and had brief panic when took ages to login via computer in student lab which has better graphics than mine (sigh).
Attended by 3 people from UK, one from USA and one from France. Had prepared notecard with questions for discussion and put notecard in Butterfly picture for people to retrieve.
BTW if you want to read no further we agreed the answer to question posed by title was "disaster", point proved by fact that inworld search function was mostly down during our session. Have posted discussion, with permission of participants, on web at http://sleeds.org/chatlog/?c=70. This is using a nice publishing tool created by someone at Leeds Metropolitan University.
Blurb and questions in notecard were as follows:
1. What are the strong and weak points of the inbuilt search function in SL?
2. What are the types of search where it is invaluable?
3. Are there good inworld search services developed by others?
4. Are there types of search where you always have to go outside?
5. Are there search engines on the web that people turn to repeatedly?
6. How could Search in SL be improved?
7. How can residents be encouraged to search effectively?
As can see from chat transcript, we identified a few strengths in inbuilt SL search e.g. that can do different types of search with tabs, and no. of visitors does give some indication of sites worth visiting. However, identified more weaknesses e.g. that search very crude, can't refine search, a good number of "stop" words that can't search on (which is not obvious), also people not always good at putting meaningful words in titles and description thus making stuff harder to find.
Since we didn't know of a good place to go for advice on SL searching, the official help site being generally agreed to be rubbish, have decided will try to set something up e.g. a wiki. Don't want to duplicate others' work so will do a few checks first.
Also in notecard (which can be obtained in CILR office) were links to pages on the web, as follows:
Second Life Resident Resources (links, with descriptions supplied by suppliers): Search tools: http://secondlife.com/community/resident_resource.php?category=6
Second411: http://second411.com/ - search on the web and inworld using the search HUD (Ishbel had tried this but it wasn't functioning)
Second life search toolbar: http://secondlifesearch.ourtoolbar.com/ (I just downloaded this, will report on its utility)
Second life search blog: http://secondlifesearch.blogspot.com/
Sloog: http://www.sloog.org/ - can add tags (keywords) to sites etc that you have found
An article on search engine optimization in SL: it's interesting to see things from the seller’s perspective: Berkowitz, D. (2006) Second Life optimization. October 24th. http://blogs.mediapost.com/search_insider/?p=387
Forgot to take photos til near the end of the discussion, so grateful to Harumi W for 1st photo. Last photo was taken after the meeting when was overrun by cats having discovered had 3 living and one deceased in inventory (Mitsy usually ends up falling out of the office to the ground below and being returned to my Lost and Found Inventory). One Mitsy is quite enough, frankly.
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Yesterday held first Information Literacy (IL) discussion in office. Not publicised much at all so no surprise that v. few people turned up but was what wanted really as enabled it to be Learning Experience though also hopefully not waste of time for others.
Was based on IL research map created for RL conference earlier in year. Map is on wall in office and can also download it from http://www.slideshare.net/sheilawebber/
Had created v. large version of map in advance and positioned it under office so could slide it up around to highlight bits was talking about. Had wondered about positioning it in air above office, but wondered if this might be too difficult for others flying about it. Think will try this out with colleague Yuxuan who was one of those to attend, to see which he thinks is best.
Was question early on about Delphi study (is type of survey, used when you want to get expert consensus, 3 pairs of students have done studies quoted on poster) so actually spent lot of time explaining that. Will put up extract from the explanation when get back to office, am currently away) On going back see that Yuxuan actually picked up on a particular point on the poster and I just steamed on regardless. Note to self: need to improve “SL listening skills”.
One question that came up was IL research and Continuing Professional Development for practitioners. At legal librarians conference that spoke at in June, when talked about legal librarians’ ideas of priorities for IL, a couple of people said that the Delphi method sounded interesting & they might use it. Thought this was encouraging in showing that learning about research methods can be interesting to professionals, when can see application in their own RL.
Also raised was whole issue of literacies. Yuxuan (shown in final photo) said “I think there is a danger in presenting literacies (e.g. computer literacy, e-literacy ... even information literacy) as if they exist in some objectivist way. It seems to me that [ultimately] everyone has their conception of a particular literacy, although there seems to be more agreement about some literacies (e.g. information literacy).” Also later Tiana mentioned SL as vehicle for literacy and possible interest in looking at overlap between IL and ICT literacy. Apart from twisting Yuxuan’s arm to lead a discussion in future, also thought that having session(s) on “literacies” might be interesting crossover event IL/education/ICT people.
Event v. useful in thinking how could do things better. Obviously can ask people to look at notecard or outside-world item like pdf or ppt, but not everyone wants to do “homework” before an event. This one was actually flagged up as me explaining, so think it was OK me saying a fair bit. Am thinking about ways to make next one more interactive, though also some people just like to listen and shouldn’t be forced.
One thing I thought was that could identify some colleague in group to IM with questions about SL basics e.g. for people who aren’t sure about moving round or touching things so can ask privately. First photo shows Tiana, Kristina (typing), Yuxuan and me (standing up)
On a more serious note, as you will see, wore almost same outfit as to CITASA conference. Different black top had shorter sleeves, exposing wrists and neccessitating trip to EARTHONES store to get bracelets matching necklace.
Monday, 13 August 2007
Attended the CITASA conference in Second Life. Was a 3 hour event, which started at 10pm UK time. Talks were about identity in Facebook & SL, women & gaming, teaching in SL, Facebook & surveillance and some other related topics.
Slides are going up on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/citasa/ and will not attempt to summarise talks esp. as now is 1.30am (i.e. conference has just finished). The actual programme is at http://www.slideshare.net/citasa/citasa-mc-30-program/
Sussed out venue beforehand (see first pic with me wearing New Shoes That Fit), but when tried to reenter 10 mins before start, SL seemed to hang, then RL friend phoned and in end was 10.20 before arrived. However organisers still fiddling with the data projector, so lateness not a problem. Some interesting points emerged, and also (as with previous conferences) useful to attend event to learn about how events run in SL. Somewhat depressing that found once more that, as in RL, when don't know anyone, more difficult to chip into conversation.
CITASA is the Communication and Information Technologies section of the American Sociological Association and although have something in common as researcher and educator, am not sociologist. Therefore worry more about appearing idiot - also quite a few people seem to already know each other - some attending RL event in the USA. Plus side is, of course, that (like BlogHer) this is conference which couldn't attend in RL, so experience is valuable and is first contact with community that may want to get to know better.
Certainly overlap with information science/management agenda in terms of privacy issues, social networks, and very interesting to hear research approaches described by others. Magellan Egoyan said that "In the Embodied Research Group [which he's part of], we have identified at least four scientific methodologies in use by different members of the group – behavioural experiments, a quantitative means of study ; conceptual design approaches ; computer simulation studies ; and qualitative research." He noted that to get rich picture, would use all of these, so collaboration between researchers valuable.
JoannaTrail Blazer's talk on “Participatory Pedagogy: Challenging ‘Real Life’ Practices of Educational Institutions in Virtual Worlds” identified useful points about student behaviour. Since don't intend to use SL for transmissive type teaching, useful to hear from those using facilitative or challenging approaches.
Some other references etc. are the website for Educators Coop (where educators can get little plots of land) at http://educatorscoop.org/ , and a reference from Joanna, “101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroom” (Conklin, 2007 http://facstaff.elon.edu/mconklin/pubs/glshandout.pdf). Similarly, have started to compile thoughts on things to do or avoid when organising SL conferences, but shall save those for another time. Final pic shows me in obligatory freebie t-shirt from conference bag plus badge which was originally stuck in rather unfortunate position so good that now know how to move objects about.
Sunday, 12 August 2007
Have managed to buy pair of shoes which successfully modified (i.e. stretched) after purchase.
Had initially thought was doomed to life of slippers and men's shoes (see first pic) which are actually OK for some outfits but lacking in certain delicacy.
However managed to buy pair of flattish shoes which even go with outfit and have cute dragonflies on which stretched to fit nicely.
Bought same style in red. Name of maker is IDENTITY and there is actually a dress to go with shoes, but decided against purchase.
Made alarming discovery when walking round under office by Art's secret cave, namely what appeared to be Mitsy on her side stiff and motionless.
She had evidently fallen out of office and used up all 9 lives in one go. As can see from second pic her eyes had strange glazed look, but to be honest she always looks like that. Stared at her for a while and appeared to discern movement so took her into inventory, moved to office and them placed her on floor. However she remained inert.
Saturday, 11 August 2007
The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.