Sail's Pedagogy

Sail's posts about her class, classes she is taking, and education.

All about my Avatar: Sail Wozniak

Sail Wozniak, named after my University and one of the founding fathers of Apple Computer. Sail’s been slowly changing for about a year now.


I think it is important to keep a fairly consistent look when you are a teacher. She kind of looks like me only thiner and younger. (Aren’t they all?) I have a very causal look, and usually wear clothes that I would wear to work.

Sail is my “teacher” avatar, I do have a “play avatar”, but she is a recluse.

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The Professional Avatar

The first time I starting changing my avatar, I searched for 2 hours for professional clothes. Why does Second Life clothes have to look like we have another professional (: that is not teaching?

Avatar appearance fascinates me. I introduce 15 – 60 students every month. Most of my students cannot do much of anything else, without first customizing their avatars. Just like in RL, our appearance is just as important to us as in SL. Since we don’t ask our students to buy anything, I have found some freebie stores that they can find clothes in.

I wear very causal clothes, a nice shirt and blue jeans. This is what I wear to work. I do have more professional clothes, in case I am giving a presentation.

This is also something I teach. In future classes my students will be giving presentations. I ask them to look professional, just like they would if they were in RL. But apparently what I feel might be professional is not to them. I think we need to teach our students about being professional in SL. We need to look at their outfits and be able to tell them if their outfits are not appropriate.

I have a second avatar, whose name only a couple of people know. I call her my “play” avatar. There are places in Second Life that I don’t want my students to find me in. Being anonymous is one of the greatest things about second life. Why can’t I have a fun life too?

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A Design of New Activity in Second Life

I have been thinking about this a lot. Not only for this assignment, but my University is about to get their own island. I hope that we can create Orientation activities around the different departments in the University.

I introduce students in our program to Second Life and I would like to create a more interactive, and helpful Orientation activities. One of the problems is some of my students feel that just visiting some educational places in Second Life is not enough. They feel they need to do more activities. But our classes are very intense and short in time, so I cannot have to do too much either. In future classes they will be presenting and creating more in Second Life.

I have created my own tutorial. And now hope to create videos out of these activities. I believe that you need to show students visually how to do something in Second Life. Especially the new ones who know nothing about Second Life. I would like be able for students to watch a movie in Second Life and also have access to the videos from a website, and then be able to complete the new activity. And it defiantly has to be fun.

Second Life Tutorial

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Teenagers’ Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing

The MacArthur Foundation has found that kids using MySpace and other social media sites are actually learning the technology and literacy skills they need for the future.

While online socializing is ubiquitous, many young people move on to a period of tinkering and exploration, as they look for information online, customize games or experiment with digital media production, the study found.

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Analysis of Orientation Spaces in Second Life

Before I start analysis Orientation Islands, I would like to say that I think, that you also need to introduce Second Life to Newbies, before they go into Second Life. I introduce Masters students into Second Life. It is very important to our program that these students have a good if not great experience. They are going to have to go into Second Life in several other classes, This is a requirement and they do not have a choice. Many did not know what Second Life as, nor has experienced any virtual world. Many think it is a game.

So it is up to me to find the best provide not only an introduction but instructions on how to move around Second Life. I have created a tutorial, which I will post soon. I need to take out some of the lessons that relate to my school and make it generic. Now I am starting to take this print tutorial and create videos so that students have both.

I first start with some YouTube videos that show Educational sites in Second Life. This way my students at least get to see what they are getting into. Then I have instructions on how to move around. I do link many of Torley Linden’s videos to my instructions, but feel I need to make them more personal to my class. I want them to jump in and start finding their way. But I do offer small group and/or individual instruction. Since we are in public places I do not use voice, but use iChat or Skype to actually talk to my students. It is too hard to text instructions. I also have a Wimba session with all students the second week which I go over how to move around and find things in Second Life. This helps as an overview of the instructions, and brings up many questions, which now can be answered with the complete class.

I am always looking for ways to improve this process. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Analysis of Orientation Islands

I have gone to all four of these Orientation spaces. I am always looking for great places to send my students. I actually start out at NMC Orientation Island, since my University belongs to NMC. But recently I have added Kuttara Zen is a Japanese garden that will test skills on moving around. It is much like Virtual Ability, RL Student Orientation Area, and Dore Orientation Stations where there is some interactivity. I feel this is what NMC is missing.

Reading notecards, or signs is first not easy to do if you don’t know anything about camera controls, and not the best method of instruction. Dore was confusing in which areas to go to next. I got lost.

I have really been thinking about these areas, not just because of this paper, but because my University may have an island soon. So how would I design an orientation area? Then I hope I will not only be teaching students about Second Life, but teachers.

I am not sure yet, but ideas are floating in my head. I would love to involve several of the areas or departments in my university, plus use Gardners Multiple Intelligence skills in presenting the information. I hope I can find a way to use little video instructions, plus notecards. Students need some interactivity where they can practice these skills.

I also really need to find a better way of getting my students to go in together, either a pair or small group. I really think this helps students feel more comfortable. It is really like any one of us going to a foreign country by ourselves which we know nothing about. I will always be there to help, but I feel it would be better with a peer, so that they would not be so afraid of making mistakes.

At the end of my class we all get together at NMC, play the drums and dance. My students are getting their Masters degree online and this is a way of meeting and talking to everyone at once. I think it makes learning online much more interesting. Some of my students suggest that I hold more of the class online. We do use Wimba for group meetings, but I could do at least one in Second Life. I also hope to have an office area when we get our own place, so that I can meet students.

Again, if you have any suggestions on helping students start in Second Life please contact me.

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List of Virtual Worlds

Wiki on Virtual Worlds – Feel free to edit.

This is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable guide to virtual worlds. So far we have 76 entries on virtual worlds written and edited by people from around the globe. Check out the Help page to see how you can edit any page right now or the Project page for more information about us and getting involved. Please note that this wiki is semantic-enabled and uses various properties and templates that make editing easy and uniform. Please see our Introduction to learn how this wiki is different than most.

Virtual Worlds List

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Ancient Rome comes to Google Earth…looks like Second Life to me.

RomeGoogle announced that they now have Rome in Google Earth. An actual a3D model of the city as it existed in 320 AD.

YouTube Video

This project was a collaborative project between the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) of the University of Virginia, the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Laboratory (CVRLab), the UCLA Experiential Technology Center (ETC), the Reverse Engineering (INDACO) Lab at the Politecnico di Milano, the Ausonius Institute of the CNRS and the University of Bordeaux-3, and the University of Caen called Rome Reborn

Original Post at ReadWriteWeb

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CCK08 – great posting on Connectivism in Middle Grades

Many of my students wonder how we can teach about the internet to younger kids. Here is a great example of one teacher’s classrooms and how his students had a great experience.

Remote Access


muv08 Assignment: My first experiences in Second Life

What did you feel about the avatar you chose?

I first had the basic “Ruth” avatar. But I need to change my looks and I also needed to look professional, which is not very easy. I had to search for clothing for a couple of hours. I soon bought skin, hair and clothes. Sail has evolved over the last year. I usually wear jeans and t-shirt, which is much like what I wear in real life every day. But now I don’t wear shoes, which some of my students feel is odd. If I can fly, then why do I have to wear shoes.

What was orientation island like? Could you find help as needed? Where did you go? Did you speak to other avatars? What previous knowledge and skills helped you?

I explored Second Life for hours and hours. I quickly looked at a couple of orientation sites. I went to all of the educational sites I could. I went though Torley Lindens’ videos and try to learn as much as I could. I meet many other people, some friends of my mentors. I started going to educational talks and conferences in Second Life. I also went to the NMC Conference at Princeton University.

I am still working on improving orientation in Second Life. My University does not have an island yet, but will soon. I need to improve my students introduction to Second Life. I have created a tutorial, with links to videos. I am also working on videos myself. Besides NMC Orientation Island, I am also sending my students to Kuttara Zen which is a Japanese garden that will test your skills on moving around. I think this helps getting students to feel more comfortable. I then send them to 4 other sites, and they need to find 5 educational sites. They then create a presentation of all of their experiences in SL.

If they have trouble I go in with them. Since most of the areas we are in are public, I use Skype or iChat to talk to them. I think this helps quite a bit. I also try to get them to find someone in class that has more experience. This is also more fun than going in SL the first times alone.

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Al Gore at the Web 2.0 summit

Web 2.0 has to have a purpose. The purpose he urges us to consider is to bring about a higher level of consciousness about our relationship with this planet.

“The electrifying redemption of America’s revolutionary declaration that all human beings are free and equal, would not have been possible without the additional empowerment of individuals to use knowledge as a source of power that has come with the Internet,” Al Gore said during his speech at last week’s Web 2.0 Summit.

Link to his speech. You may also find it at the Web 2.0 Summit Conference.

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