Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Educator's frolics and the perils of the group task

Group tasks assigned: 1 (good); Group names assigned: 1 (hmmm); No. of hours after midnight spent landscaping, chatting etc.: (would rather not say)

Was v. pleased to be invited a couple of months ago to become part of Educators Coop and have blogged a little about it already. Is led by North and his colleague Bluewave, and others are renting bits of land in the Educators coop sims for educational purposes. Is interesting mix e.g. one person teaching GIS, another music and so forth. Think others are all from USA, with range of jobs.

Can get v. interesting discussions and good to be with group who you gradually get to know. Main down side is that earliest that meetings ever start is 10pm UK time, and usually more like 1am, so am pushing further into zombie like existence.

Anyway task has been set, namely to develop some empty bits of Educators Coop for group use. Did not initially get involved, since missed start-off meeting and also have enough to do at moment, what with missed deadlines, marking, students arriving etc etc. However got drawn in at next Coop meeting and found myself in 3rd group, consisting of people who hadn't attended first meeting.

Now know from experience how this kind of group turns out. People email each other to arrange meetings to which only a random selection (any 2 from 4, for example) turn up, normally with different people at each one. At some point one group member will decide that she can't face getting a fail. She will attempt to pull things together by doing lots herself, but forget to reread the assignment briefing. Gradually others will join in but by that time it's too late. Something is submitted but the Emergent Leader will moan that it's not fair because if she's done it on her own, it would have got a better mark, and she just had to rewrite things that others did, especially X. X will complain that Emergent Leader was so bossy she didn't listen to anyone else so all sorts of good ideas got ignored. X will come along to complain with fellow group member Y, who will nod a lot and and spend the rest of the time texting. The fourth member of the group, Z, will simply keep a low profile as she really didn't do anything much except sign the Joint Declaration of Collaborative Work.

OK well obviously this is NOT how this project is proceeding. Must be said was a bit worried at first, however now seems to be getting along swimmingly. Swimmingly is good word as although is land-based idea, currently land has cute swimming channel all round the edge. Have had useful talks with Lorri, Grandma and Pirate and we have a Plan for 3 level design, aimed at orientation esp. for library and information people. Have done some landscaping, since as readers will know, find landscaping most fun in world aside from other things that don't talk about on this blog.

However will need to curb impulses, since as wrote on shared Google Doc just now:

"Sheila - damaged one level by mistake*; dug water channel (forming figure of 8, if you include channel on neighbouring land) so that you might be able to go all round in an inner tube; added a duck, frog, crane, some willow trees, cushions, patchwork rabbit-chair; tree stump seating arrangement and a useless loud watertube in the air. Am donating to group where I have permissions, except for the tree stump."

* fortunately Grandma was forgiving about this.

Frogs, ducks, trees, cute chairs: same old, same old. Must try to channel rusty tin cans, ambitious sky sculptures, minamalist mountain builds etc.

Have not mentioned group name. Is, ahem, Sheila's Sheisters. Perhaps will be bonding factor since I am embarraassed to have own name there and others are not sheisters. Or perhaps not.

1st pic taken by Bluewave shows whole Coop meeting playing round on land when was still under water. Other pics are by me. You see that funfair is the other theme.

Sunday, 21 September 2008


New pictures displayed: 6 (good); Colleagues galleries visited: 1 (good) ; Hours spent with Juicy label on head: several (bad)

Exhibition in shop was rather overdue change, so took time to upload 6 pics which have nothing in common except were taken by me and have been subject to fairly heavy photoshopping. Is more dramatically colourful than usual, and therefore restricted set dressing to a bath (as featured in one of the pictures: experience the picture, then experience the bath! though now I think of it, bath is wrong way round to view Bath picture).
Well, also added butterfly emitter, which is leaking in a bit into 2 next door shops, but only with odd wingtip so hopefully is not objectionable. Also butterflies drift onto street but see that rather as a plus in attracting people in.

Minor issue was that in order to do stuff in shop have to activate Juicy group tag, Juicy being sim where shop is. Then forgot to change tag, and only realised at end of an educators' coop meeting that still had "Juicy!" written over my head. Not so embarrassing, but a bit, since are other kinds of group which "Juicy" might describe, enough said.

Colleague from Education has also set up own art gallery, v. cool on own plot of ground with nice green/white setting.

Educators, change

Educators inducted into SL: many (good); Buildings deleted: 2 (sad, but good); Buildings erected: 2 (good)

Have omitted to blog about induction session for people in School of Education at my RL university. Was heartening to see new people on the island and more tangibly Education will be funding half of next year's rent on the island, should LL see fit to bill us for it.

Gave tour of island including dropping people off at mountaintop hot tub. Scarcely anyone has used this so was nice to see it occupied. Down side was that realised had become too emotionally attached to various bits and pieces on island, since am used to treating it like my own land. Am also used to the "wow, awesome" reaction that have mocked in past but now realise have become accustomed to. Realised also that this was FIRST event on island where had not actually been lead person.

Thus was in need of short meditation break with Mitsy in my office after induction, but ended up feeling better. Old CILASS building is now Education's, but stripped down to wooden ground floor. Have created new tiki-type space for CILASS (see pic) which hope they like (as yet is worrying lack of feedback).

Other deletion/creation was of the houses on my personal land. Felt was time for change and have replaced one of the classic Asian buildings with more contemporary Japanese home that mostly consists of a bathroom and a patio.
Here you see the patio and in particular rather lovely hanging basket which have just acquired at no little expense.

Thursday, 11 September 2008


Ludic lives lived: 1 (complex)

Had jotted down at end of draft of previous post something from the streamed RL talk by GlobalKids Bixby, Why Second Life Can't Tip: The Power and Perils of Living La Vida Ludic. Was listening to this whilst photoshopping pics from last talk if remember correctly and had noted "bring in full sense of self but with the ludic life", "The Ludic Life Continuum", "we [educators] are comfortable with this ludic life tension" and "Ludic luddites". Hmm. Think need to view stream again to expand on this.

[10 mins later] OK, no need to do that, have found Rik Riel's blog post summing talk up in 3 sentences. Why exercise own brain when another has done the work, eh? Rik says "Barry Joseph, director of the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids, delivered a rapid-fire, funny, and challenging talk on "Why Second Life Can't Tip: The Power and Perils of Living La Vida Ludic." His talk described how Second Life is part of a larger revolutionary trend toward the integration of "life" and "play" that he calls the "Ludic Life." His central thesis is that until the larger culture shifts toward appreciating the power of integrating play into all aspects of life, that Second Life can not truly "tip."" http://www.rikomatic.com/blog/2008/09/barry-joseph-ta.html
Pic shows me being ludic at the social at the end of the first day.

Incacerated youth and SL

Unfinished blog posts: 3 (bad)
Still have to catch up with posts from SLEDcc conference. Took various notes at time, but now seem too detailed or not detailed enough. Have decided to cut losses and try to cram remaining thoughts into two posts.
Think that all this is from the second day [have checked now, yes it is], but has already become something of a blur, not helped by a RL cold. Upside of cold from point of view of this blog is that finishing blog posts seems less demanding than finishing ppt for talk on Web 2.0 tomorrrow and various work chores, and can use cold as excuse.
Bluewings Hayek talked about Access for All: Working Online with Incarcerated Youth. She started working at the detention centre with a book club, and things developed from there, bringing in more technology for work with the teens related to the public library. They tried blogging and had a digital camera, which detainees used e.g. to film a puppet show for their children.
From there it stepped to Teen Second Life. There are weekly workshops and there is a venture plan initiative, funded by by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The current venture is about "keeping younger kids in their neighborhood off the streets; basically, as they have put it, they don't want younger kids to end up like them." They have to develop the idea, pitch it and get seedcorn money, which they can tap into to work on the project while they are still in detention. They blog on the Global Kids website http://www.holymeatballs.org/ ("DIDI initiative") and they've also done a podcast.

Challenges include the fact that the population is transient, and they can't go online at will as they have to be monitored by someone while they're online. However being able to go online at all is fortunate - in RL I met someone who was working with detained teens in the US and even she couldn't use the internet there. Bluewings' email is kczarnecki@plcmc.org

Monday, 8 September 2008

Library tour, marshmallows, cave

Libraries toured: 5 (good); Marshmallows consumed: (well none, actually); Caves created: 1 (same old, same old)

As part of SLEDcc conference there was a library tour. Assembled on ISTE and could take a library hoodie and a notecard with LMs of places to visit. Also encouraged to join ISTE Tours group so that could get group IMs with info on where to go next etc. Good idea except that various Group functions weren't working so in end although managed to join group, still the organiser Corinne (who worked v. hard BTW) had to go round saying "meet in library XX in 10 mins" and so forth (here she is in 2nd pic, while I'm upstairs in McGill's library).

In terms of libraries main thing that came out for me was that I need to do library tours more often. Although there were libraries where ... there wasn't much to be frank, although some of them looked quite cool, are certainly a lot more then when I last toured round and some of them with more stuff, new layouts etc. etc.
Ended up (after various exploits inc. crashing out, reentering as vapour cloud, losing tour etc etc) in Stanford Uni library, which was basically a giant hall of links to library catalogues and so forth (hmmm).

Our tour leader tried to tp to next place and inexplicably landed in strange subterranean area under library. We all joined her, and when we found a hidey hold with a fire and crates, Georgette produced some marshmallows and we had a pleasant social interlude until it was time for the official social interlude at the end of the day.

Decided that would be nice to have a similar bolt hole on Infolit and did TRY to create one, but turned into idyllic rather than grunge - seem to be drawn inescapably to waterfalls, mossy ferns etc. Will have to give self talking to and try again. In fact in terms af getting steep walls have worked out what need to do landscape-wise ie need to start with flat land and raise spikes of land around it (rather than trying to burrow into side of existing hill as did here.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

I have 100 Friends

No of Friends: 100 (somewhat excessive)

Have made various jottings about sessions attended today, but in meantime will note major landmark. Today Friended 100th person. Was actually serendipity that found out, since haven't counted them for ages and didn't realise there were so many. And, to be honest, not sure I remember who some of them are, but there are 100 of them, so, hey, what does that matter.
Am shown about to Friend a new person after chatting to them at the post-conf party tonight.

Modified rapture

Presentations delivered: 1 (good); No. of attendees: Over 30 I think at one point (good)

Had left readers on cliffhanger, or rather me dangling in uncertainty as to where, if anywhere, was going to deliver presentation. If you remember, original venue had disappeared into v-space together with the island upon which it stood. When logged back after calming break found that
a) Fortunately no longer just appeared as whispy cloud and
b) Was message saying that talk would be in Rockcliffe X auditorium.
Went along to auditorium & set stuff up. Some people were in there testing out a media clip which provided some distraction. Eventually notice went out about change of venue, and, as noted, was quite good turnout. Some people also hung round for questions at end. Had a couple of compliments about way presented so that was gratifying. Also ppt did not fall over, people could here my Voice and altogether seemed to have snatched alrightness from jaws of defeat, or, as organiser Kittygloom said, I was able to "roll with the punches."
Main trouble with was amount of time hanging round: in the end didn't really to get too much apart from own talk. However, after talk went home to bathe and change and attended most important event i.e. social at the end of the day.
Here is the ppt on Slideshare.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Mills on Panoramas

Panoramas viewed on slides: many (good); Panoramas entered: 1 (good); Panoramas created: 0 (must do better)

Have evidently not managed to cram all notes about SLEDcc into two posts, so will continue with this brief one plus one more. In fact recollected actually having MADE some notes about Graham Mills' talk on panoramas, but when opened draft post all that was in it was:

However this is v. useful in itself. Graham showed us various types of panorama and talked about what they might be used for. Pic is from his talk, obviously. His blog is at http://tidalblog.blogspot.com/ . So far have followed up by downloading Photoshop plugin that may - or may possibly not - enable me to make a panorama on a sphere. Though am not sure what I'll do with it, yet. Perhaps should work that out first.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Sort of ready .. but is SL?

No of slides uploaded into SL: 44 (bad, probably); No. of notecards created: 1 (good); No. of hours in advance that set up ppt etc inworld: 3 (v. good); amount of access to island where am supposed to be giving talk: zero (v.v. bad)
Have spent long time putting together ppt, putting text into notecard, adding links etc, loading notecard into poster, uploading ppt to Slideshare and setting whole thing up in SL conference room on ISTE.
Started to try trick recommended by Sirexkat, namely creating a little object for each ppt texture, so that by the time you came to that slide people's computers would have already picked up teh texture. Neat, but it was taking *** ages to produce them and afraid gave up after the first 8.

Anyway was feeling moderately hopeful despite earlier pear-shapedness of some technical things, namely that streaming inworld didn't seem to work properly, one key speaker couldn't get inworld and had to postpone and I couldn't get into one of the venues. Hey, that's SL. Also felt it was pity that was manifesting only as cloud of vapour (so presumably people with earlier viewers were seeing hideous Ruth avatar), considering amount of time planning wardrobe. All that cute pinkness and purple, and all one can see is mist.

However became not inconsiderably concerned when realised that all efforts to get onto ISTE islands, any of them, were failing. ISTE as in, where am supposed to present. Decided to do something constructive, so set up ppt etc. on Infolit as could get there no trouble and presumably so could others. IMed one of organisers who confirmed that ISTE 1 had gone missing. Not something that happens in RL unless is some sudden natural disaster or you find self in middle of Dr Who episode.

Anyway am now out of world in sanguine mood. Organiser seemed to have preference for me moving to another set up venue elsewhere, but frankly would prefer to be on home ground. Hey Ho.

Before got into WTF mode I did manage to drop in on Baldric Commons talking about some quests. Interesting. Attention was caught by one about the Giant's Causeway in N. Ireland (I've been there! one might appropriately say that it rocks) where people have to find the salmon of knowledge. I can think of a few people who could do with finding that. Students have to take their pic with the salmon when they find it, to put in teh Hall of Heroes, and the overall goal is to increase interest in the English texts (Baldric is with the British Counil in Barcelona). There was also a time travel quest, in which scenes are set up which have anachronistic objects and people have to identify which ones they are.

In fact this session is only one have actually managed to follow so far apart from hearing some of the Lindens opening speech via the web. What will the next few hours bring? Who knows. By that time there probably won't be an audience left.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Preparation, unreadiness

Days since last blogged: 23 (v.v. bad); Papers being presented at SLEDcc in 2 days time: 1 (good); Amount of preparation for paper: zero (bad); No of papers presented in other RL countries since last blogged: 3 (good) (well, I hope so)

Having been whizzing round world in RL (not exaggeration in fact since have been in 3 countries and 2 continents in last 3 week, though that does include the UK as a country which is perhaps cheating). Also in SL have been demolishing and building, shopping, attending discussions, chairing discusions and so forth. Actually have really done rather a lot so perhaps is no surprise that this blog has been languishing neglected. However, have to confess that in that time have done 2 (or is it 3) fashion blog posts in the http://iheartsl.com/ blog Perhaps should feel guilty about that.

Anyway, one of these fashion posts was of the outfit that intend to wear whilst presenting paper at SLEDcc (see pic of me pretending to practice speaking). Outfit will need to be good as at present is all that I have prepared for people to look at during 50 mins am scheduled to present. Am not in a parallel session either, so as far as SL conference attendees are concerned it's me or --- all the other things they could be doing in SL or RL so will probably attract modest audience and be OK.
Have never given a presentation with Voice and ppt in front of large audience before in SL. Thus, although have given oodles of talks in RL to audiences of various sizes and persuasions, and led oodles of discussion in SL, am starting to feel odd twinge of what might be described as Nerves.
2nd pic is arty shot which may symbolise feelings after gibbering at audience (I mean "sharing experience and engaging with audience to stimulate debate and reflection", ahem) for just under an hour. If you are registered at SL SLEDcc and wish to watch my humiliation, the time is Friday 5th at 1pm SL time and the theme is: Using first and second life to develop inquiry skills in the freshman year at a UK university: a happy blend? To save your breathless anticipation, will be saying "yes, a happy blend indeed".
Conference wiki is at http://sledcc.wikispaces.com/

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