Thursday, 27 September 2007

Visit, look North

Visits to other teachers: 1 (v. good); New skills learned: 2, joining land and selling land (good)

Had heard North Lamar talk at CITASA conf about the Educators Coop island he runs, and then met him at the SL conference. We IMed each other in friendly fashion when we realised we were both in information Departments. This week I IMed him to suggest meeting.

After small concern about time of meeting (time zones are v. confusing and he lives somewhere in USA) he offered me a teleport. In particular was interested in the class he is running, in which a good deal of teaching and learning happens in SL. Curiously (or not) it has the same module code (inf315) as one of our modules here. North is a doctoral student and tutor at a US university and also does consultancy which is where running his own islands also comes in.

His module is in fact focused on virtual worlds, so is more obvious rationale for using SL than for my semester 1 class. There are (I think he said) about 20 students. I arrived near the sandbox area, then teleported down to the beachfront. There was an attractive block of flats which were the students' residences. In front of that there was a display of benches: each student had just had to build one as a SL task.

The use of the students' flats was v. nice. Each student had to tell the story of his/her life by arranging and assembling. See last pic for one example, Another student had been a pro surfer and his room had water all over it, plus pics of him and surfing friends etc. I had already intended to give each 1st year student a basic room to name and occupy and customise, but hadn't thought of giving a purpose to the customisation. Is obviously good idea. Would really have to focus task around their lives and information ... need to think about that.

North's students get marks for blogging each week and for the SL tasks, as well as a project. It all sounded v. good. I said a bit about our 1st year classes and my Dept. From what North said it sounds like there are fewer information studies faculty teaching in SL than had thought, though perhaps more will pop up this year.

North has meetings on education for his tenants in the Educators' Coop island. I gave him a notecard about the CILR meetings. Altogether a good visit and we plan to meet again.

Afterwards celebrated by learning how to join adjacent pieces of my own land together (for no particular reason, really) and selling off a small piece of land - or at least putting up for sale to next door neighbour who said was interested.

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The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.