Virtual worlds, Real Learning session

Posted on October 27th, 2010 in not yet categorised by Kirsty

After lunch session at the Southern Worlds event.
Roger Stack and Angela Cooke

We started with a “round the room” section inviting audience members to state where they are coming from in relation to virtual worlds.

Roleplay in a safe environment.
Access to history – immersive archaeology
Art gallery
Design on a human scale – architecture, engineering,
Fashion and jewelry

Potential for small business and employment in Second Life

Quest Atlantis is based on 7 core values and relationships, teachers and students are equals.

Credibility of teaching team was enhanced by a team member’s gaming prowess.

WOW, Neverwinter nights, Myst, Age of Empires, etc all offer possibilities for development of key skills.
Commercial games are more restrictive eg can’t build own areas and activities as easily as in other spaces such as SL, Open Sim, RG.

Future? Access is getting easier, including potential to access through a standard browser. Open grids opening up that are meeting the needs of educators including jokaydia grid.

Hillary Reader and Maree Swanson

Posted on October 27th, 2010 in not yet categorised by Kirsty Tags:

Hillary was working with Reaction Grid for Hosptiaity Training.
Studemts were able to make their avatars and clothe them and that worked fine, but when they started to go online into Reaction Grid the network would often crash. More time spent working with students who were not engaged, so they divided the class into those who were interested, and those who weren’t. Students staying in the online section were assigned spaces such as rooms, restaurants, front office and so on. Many of the students had not actually been into real life hotels (beyond restaurants etc) before so that was also a learning curve as they started to build their spaces.
Teacher issues were not having a clear enough idea about what the students would be doing in the world, how they would assess what was being done, and not enough preparation. Hillary felt she was spending far too much time putting out fires rather than making the most of the opportunity. Network issues were a major factor in disengaging students especially at the beginning.

Chris (student) “it was quite annoying as it would be so much easier to build in another environment and bring it in to SL using tools you already had.”

Maree Swanson (Virtually Here) presentation.
Networking in virtual worlds is one aspect which is an added bonus of her project. Maree gave a brief introduction to her project. A major reason for adding virtual worlds to her existing blended online program for Certificate 2 in Hospitality was enriching the social presence for her learners.
Maree showed us a video from EducationAU about virtual worlds and gaming. “Immersive Learning: it’s game on”
students were scattered around the state with Yr 11-12 students based in District High Schools, with a few Yr 10 students enrolled in Cert 1 units also.
Practicalities: informed parent consent, networking access, cyber safety education, updating of policies.
Students were in SL/RG for 90 mins per week for 10 weeks including getting started, role plays and assessment. Invited two hospitality experts to come as guest speakers who mainly joined in via Skype although one did already have an avatar.
Pods for reflection / discussion, tool purchased from Terra Incognito (UQ).
Would not be able to determine full competency from this activity, but there are a myriad of different ways in which evidence can be gathered from SL, and it is part of a broader blended learning delivery of the units.

Southern Worlds 2010 Conference Day:Keynote

Posted on October 27th, 2010 in Polytechnic,not yet categorised by Kirsty Tags:

Keynote: Angela Thomas “Are we there yet?”
Senior lecturer in English, the Arts and New Media, at UTAS.

Specifically talking about her journey through virtual worlds, and. Her discoveries about their potential for education, beginning in the nineties through to the present time.
Background as a drama consultant, first experiences were in The Palace (1999) which was then later part of PhD research practice (2005). The text transcripts were showing both the participation in the world and and awareness of the ‘performance’ of the scene through asides as narration comments. Happening through 2005. Seems to have heavy associations to script writing and film production with imagery and scene development activites. Students maintained character blogs to track their journey and weave the different elements of the story together. Fan fiction was one of the outputs from the participants (10-18 year olds) in Angela’s PhD research. Also significant off-campus work by students.
Then moved her work into Second Life.

Showed video “Second Life – educational uses” from You Tube

NMC did the SL Build for her of Virtual Macbeth. This was OzCo grant project to bring gaming, drama, multimodal experience to work with post grad students showing what could be done with a text from the literary canon in a new media world.
Angle then gave a preview of various elements of the virtual physical space and how they relates to scenes and states of mind in the play and experienced by the character.
Feeds any images or other media tagged with specified tag fed into the Virtual Macbeth wiki.

back to the question “Are we there yet?”
At the moment second life is probably the best space for educators. Yet there are issues also – eg technical, cost, set up, some limitations, on campus use… So some people are starting to look elsewhere such as Open Cobalt which is in alpha.
Slides from this keynote

2010 Projects Updates continued…

Posted on October 15th, 2010 in not yet categorised by Kirsty

Virtually Here

Maree Swanson highlighted how students were encouraged to dress in appropriate personal presentation for the hospitality industry when setting up their avatar. Learners are supported by a local workplace assessor to organise work placement as well. Learners were allocated tasks to complete within the environment of the Marksman Hotel in Second Life and Reaction Grid, and submit photos of their work, and fill out ‘notecards’ explaining what and why they chose to do things. There were a number of challenges eg accessing SL and RG, information sessions for parents and local schools with informed consent.

Dealt with a whole lot of implementation issues. Should be in report so would be good to have a copy for others to refer to. Created a real sense of class group and immersion with others in a virtual presence. Also got some of the support teachers to participate in SL but not all did. Where they did participate it made a real positive impact.

ELOTS – electronic library on touch screens

One of the issues with the workplaces Bruce Milne works with, is the low levels of access to computers, combined with low levels of IT literacy. They have loaded the necessary workplace documents onto the touch screen, organised under icons for different types of information. Bruce really stressed the simplicity of the interface and the usability. Future plans include using a server model for multiple touch screens on a site which is simplifying document management. Also looking at how it might be deployed on mobile devices.

Ralph Berry: Hydro wanted to use their own digital system rather than TSI – Learning Seat is what they are working with. ( not recommended) Designed from the outcomes to be assessed rather than what TSI wanted to teach. Flexbility to complete learning in the workplace looking at low bandwidth options. Talked about identifying duplications in the learning and assessment activities which meant they went from 8 to 5. Also issues with expectations of the Hydro’s online learning system.


Sean Crane explained how Scaffolding is a common course for many in the construction industry, and there are different height restrictions for licences. There is both a drag and drop interactive as well as a DVD version. 2 days filming to make a 15-17 minutes of finished footage. One positive Sean highlighted was the importance for the project management of setting dates and sticking to them. Animations are integrated within the video combined with footage. The interaction went down really well with the scoring aspect.

Creative Commons Roadshow

Posted on September 24th, 2010 in Learning Resources,Polytechnic,Reporting and Reading by Kirsty

23rd September 2010, hosted by UTAS for the Hobart part of the Creative Commons Australia Roadshow.

This was an interesting day – I was pleased to hear about the activities underway in other jurisdictions and some great case studies. I’ve recorded my notes in graphic form – click on the thumbnails for full images.

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