Sunday, 28 March 2010

A quiet evening in

Rubber ducks bought: 4 (good); Ducks floated: 3 (good)
In RL have had long train journeys, so felt in need of some relaxation, and what could be more relaxing than soaking in a warm tub with 3 assorted rubber ducks? They are from the gatcha at Theosophy, 25 Linden a go, and I ended up with 2 Ninja ducks (that's a Ninja duck poised on the rim of the bath tub), so Dimitrova has got spare one of those.

Am thinking of moving, because my mainland area has got hugely laggy from a place that SELLS nightclub gear, so it has enormous warehouse filled with glitter balls and the like going all the time. Still am fond of my bathroom though, which created in line with RL fantasy for huge bathroom with flowers, candles, view of sea, etc etc actually fear this is pretty standard girly bathroom fantasy.

Of course key difference from RL is that do not have to remove clothes or indeed hat. At least ducks seem indifferent to non-standard bath wear.

Procastinating whilst summoning energy to write posts about ESRC, VWBPE and Inf6011

PhDs examined in RL: 1 (good); PhD students taking successful viva this week: 1 (v. good); PhD topics consulted about: 1 (good); Articles written: 0 (bad)
Last week was Phd-y sort of one in RL in that first part of week was spent in whirlwind trip to Thessaloniki to examine PhD, then one of my own PhD students also came through viva successfully, and someone else chatted to me in SL about possible PhD topic. Somehow is all reminder that ought to be doing more research myself, and is not that lack material for same, nor indeed is there lack of pressure since my Department is already having Awaydays to prepare for the next research assessment exercise, so that we can retain current status in field ("Number One for 24 Years" as it says on our website).

So, probably ought to be doing less of this kind of writing and more introduction-methods-results-discussion-conclusions kind of stuff. Realised recently that one unfortunate fact is that, whilst rather enjoy rereading own blog entries, find that after having gone through n drafts of an academic article, and then reworked it to fit in with nitwit comments from referees, can scarcely bear to revisit it once published. This contrasts with some colleagues who get buzz from seeing own names at top of scholarly article. Wonder whether there is some kind of attraction therapy so will suddenly get amazing thrill from seeing own name on journal title page.

In meantime (to get back to serious matters) bought new Eva skin from Tuli. Tuli’s Elizabeth has been my main skin for ages now, being only one with the right level of paleness and (lack of) makeup. Will persist with Eva for a while, since makeup is OK, and skin detail is satisfying, but the Eva Tone 1 (which am wearing in 1st pic) is really a little bit TOO pale, whilst next colour up is a bit too rosy. Since hair is blue, have to keep to neutral skin tone, otherwise am v. restricted as to clothing colours. Anyway, Tuli’s remodelled sim is cute (as shown) with floating islands in sky and volcano on ground. Sim is called Journey. Think that this has no connection with T. Blair’s autobiography of same name, but is doubtless dollop of fantasy in both.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Searching, shopping, sightseeing: literacies in virtual lives

Event title: Searching, shopping, sightseeing: literacies in virtual lives
Thursday 18 March, UK time 8pm, Second Life Time: 1:00pm (see for times elsewhere)
This is an official event in the ESRC Festival of Social Science (ESRC is the UK's funding council for social science research) - the only Festival event being held in SL!
Venue: Infolit iSchool in Second Life, the virtual world: the venue is pictured below

Researchers in information and digital literacies (Sheila Webber (i.e. me) and Dr Julia Davies (DrJoolz Smythe in SL) will talk about their research, with the emphasis on drawing out advice on more virtually literate approaches to everyday SL. The session will be chaired by Professor Jackie Marsh, Head of Department in The School of Education, Sheffield University, UK (Jackie Darkstone in SL).
Sheila Webber is Director of the Centre for Information Literacy Research, a Senior Lecturer in Sheffield University's iSchool, and an international speaker on information literacy. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Dr Julia Davies is Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, Sheffield University, and co-Director of the Centre for the Study of New Literacies. Her research focuses on online digital practices and social learning. Her numerous article and chapter publications include Pay and Display: The Digital Literacies of Online Shoppers in Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices, edited by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel (2008)
ESRC Festival of Social Science: see for information on the festival and
for the ESRC press release on this event

Monday, 15 March 2010


Animotos created: 2 (good); Subscription paid to Animoto: 1 (bad); Hi-res conversion payments to Animoto: 1 (bad)
Have succumbed to Animoto's cunning marketing strategy, paid up exorbitaant $30 (that's real US dollars, not Linden) to be able to make longer Animoto slideshows, plus $5 to make one into a high resolution MP4. Sure, could do all the things you can do with Animoto for free, with a bit of extra effort, but then, life is short and credit card payment is easy.
Have made 2 Animotos so far about the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference, one with slides of the exhibition ( and one with pictures of the sims that were specially created. Spent rather too much time playing with lighting and water effects, whilst taking pics, and then a bit of time photoshopping. Think I got a bit too carried away with the Mirror Water effect at the end, but on the whole am pleased with this landscapes Animoto, which is a tribute to the team that did the landscaping and building:

Friday, 12 March 2010


Exhibits catalogued: over 40 (good); Calendars created: 1 (good);Times crashed: 2 (good, considering)
A quick post after extraordinarily long day in SL. Am at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference (, where am one of the people looking after poster area. Spent most of day creating catalogue of exhibits, taking landmarks and putting them into a notecard. Followed up this activity by taking some pics and creating a calendar using the IntelliCalendar, for promotional purposes.

Intend to distribute these 2 items in almost-spamlike way (but not quite spamlike, obviously) tomorrow, to try and boost visitors. These are the February and (I think) March pics from the calendar. As can see, February is actually my build, but, hey, I paid the 100 Linden for the IntelliCalendar blank and spent an hour making it.

Monday, 8 March 2010


Flamingos bought: 2 (good); Exhibits mounted: 1 (in progress)

Am working on exhibit Inquiry based learning (IBL) in Second Life for the Virtual Worlds best Practice in Education conference. As usual this is taking aeons longer than anticipated, but is interesting exercise.
Am trying to make 3D visualisation of conceptual fromework for IBL developed by colleague Phil Levy (RL name) from research study done at Sheffield.

Attraction to Animoto ap has lasted more than usual 24 hours, so provide below a glimpse of some of the stages it has gone through so far.
Realise that in haste to throw Animoto vid together have got 2 of the pics out of order [added later: no I haven't, I got confused by perspective change], but the last one is in the right place. This last one was taken after had decided that whole thing needed to be turned 90 degrees, as most people likely to be approaching it from that direction.

First pic, above, shows back of exhibit, where have positioned a slideshow and (installed after this was taken) a screen streaming a youtube vid about IBL. Second picture shows Educational Informatics village, and more specifically pair of pink flamingos that have put there. Have included this since when I looked at this picture, reminded me that I had bought them, and so have positioned one of the flamingos (with shadow removed to bring it down to 3 prims) on my exhibit ("If you want a laugh, bring on a flamingo") If you concentrate really hard you can see it (a flash of flamingoid pink) in bottom right hand corner of last Animoto slide. Whole exhibit has to come in at 100 prims max, which is challenge. Have 35 left at the moment.

You too can can create your own cheap and hasty video slideshow at

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Picture perfect

Animoto slideshows created: 3 (bad)
This Animoto thing seems to be addictive, though doubtless by tomorrow will have forgotten about it altogether as move on to next shiny new distraction.

If you have time to waste, you too can create your own video slideshow at

30 seconds of something or other

Minutes spent tinkering with Animoto when should have been writing report: 35 (bad)
Distracted tonight by Animoto, a free way of creating slideshows with music. Animoto is pretty blatant in aiming to extract dosh, since end up with inadequately short video in low resolution, being reminded at each point that could make it longer, whizzier and legible if only willing to fling dollars in direction of Animoto's owners. Have resisted so far. Here is initial effort, which is still sort of cool. At least it seems like that at 3am.

Create your own video slideshow at

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