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Enabling tools and tips for Second Life

Page history last edited by Peter Miller 13 years, 1 month ago

SL can seem a forbidding, pointless place for newbie teachers and students alike. However, many have coped with the technical and inter-personal issues and here are a few of my tips.

 

  1. Don't go in-world on your own; go with a friend or join an in-world group that interests you and that runs events, e.g. aimed at newbies. Educators (and educated) are fortunate is so far as they usually have a goal to guide them in their choice of group. Friend with other educators and do the fun things like treasure hunts and feebie shopping. They're good vehicles for socializing and they give you a chance to practice SL skills. Remember that a trial account costs nothing and lasts indefinitely.
  2. The SLED email list frequently carries details of events, some aimed specifically at newbies. You don't have to subscribe (it is high-volume and allegedly hard to unsubscribe from) -- you can search the archives. The SLED blog and rezed.org sites are also useful and keep an eye open for the forthcoming SLEDcc in-world education events running alongside the SL community convention (follow via rezed). Bear in mind time zones: SLT is 8 hours behind GMT.
  3. Consider using an orientation other than the busy one run by LL. NMC, in particular, runs one directed at education.
  4. There are a reasonable number of guidebooks now worth consulting for general use of SL and many touch on social and cultural aspects as well. A little background research never did any harm.
  5. Librarians on Info Island run a helpdesk as do ISTE educator docents on their island (SLURL) and, more generally, SL mentors on Help Island Public (SLURL).
  6. Experienced educator avatars were novices themselves once and can generally be expected to be friendly towards newbies. Bear in mind, however, that just because an avatar appears immobile does not mean he or she is not busy reading IMs (instant messages), etc.
  7. Unless you are adventurous, you may want to limit yourself to education sims initially. Linden Lab (who run SL) have their own showcase which may suggest other sites, as does the blog NPIRL.
  8. The MOOSE project at Leicester is developing training guides for staff and students.
  9. Do hunt out useful teaching tools, not only for their utility but also as a topic for conversation with other avatars! Many are free but others you will have to pay for (usually a trivial amount). Useful sources are ICT Library on Info Island (SLURL) and Dudeney Ge's collection on EduNation II (SLURL). My personal favourite is Eloise Pasteur's spidergram tool which is available from her vendor in the ICT Library.
  10. Do consider renting a small parcel of land on an edu sim so you can build, get to know your neighbours and learn from and with them.
  11. Don't be afraid to push the envelope of your SL skills; find out how things are built or scripted, modify them and then create your own. Just remember to start small and expect the unexpected!

 

StoryMachine

This is a tool I am presently developing. It is like a dynamic spidergram in so far as it creates nodes with hovertext linked by particle streams, the main differences being that it is less flexible but on the other hand driven from simple instructions contained on a notecard, i.e. no prim-handling skills required. Details.

 

Knowledge Tower

This is intended to provide a structured multi-platform environment for student groups to deploy posters. Avatars teleport to the top platform and enjoy a fun and challenging walk to the bottom, all the while passing the posters they created previously (a little repetition never did any harm). Details.

 

Also mentioned: Sky Pen (SLURL). Enables freehand writing/sketching in mouselook using temporary prims.

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