Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beginning to Build

Since most of us who are using virtual worlds in which to teach are sort of making it up as we go along, I decided that although I did want my newbies to see the island as a blank canvas, I would borrow an idea I had seen on the main grid. Some of the land available for educators to rent has been subdivided into smaller parcels divided by narrow waterways. As you can see in the video, I have done that. After briefly experimenting with prims, I gave my newbies their first problem. They were to build a sofa and matching chair with no formal directions. Thus, it was a problem they needed to solve and as you can see, they did not come to identical solutions.
The boys who were with me during the last trimester of the 2008-2009 school year were given the task of working in pairs to build a furnished house based on a floor plan. Again, I gave no formal directions so they could approach this collaborative problem any way they saw fit. They had to build from scratch unless they had an item they built last trimester in their inventory. I answer questions as they come up, but do not interfere with the process.

We have some very unfortunate crashing issues despite searching out the best versions of Second Life to run on the various computers. We are even running an old but grid enabled version from flash drives on our oldest desktops, but as in all things, we will deal with it. Today we dealt with a fire drill. How do you say, “C’est la vie” in Spanish? (See video below)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Return to PESD Island

Hi! My name is Nick and I’m an 8th grader at Lowell Elementary. Last year I was fortunate to learn about Second Life, and actually be a part of it. In this virtual reality world, I learned techniques that will help me in my future life. One of our assignments was to remodel a room. I had to learn how to use measurements and learn how to build beds, walls, floors, and a roof. You start out with a simple 3-D shape like a cube, sphere, or pyramids and shape it to look like the wanted form. You can also build vehicles, planes, motorcycles and more too. You even design how your avatar looks. In addition, you interact with other players throughout the game. You can work together and build something jointly or you can work separately. The presentations we did to show our work could be used for games, jobs, or school. This is a great educational adventure!

Hi, my name is Roberto. Last year, I had the opportunity to try Second Life. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever done. I'm now in high school, though. In Second Life, you build just about anything, make friends, and just try something new. Luckily, my class had Ms. Strehlow to help us out! Without her, I don't think we could've done something like this at all! Like I said, in Second Life, you can build just about anything. In my year, we were assigned into groups. My group was the mall/apartments. At first, I was a bit clueless as to how to build something. Then, with the help of Ms. Strehlow, I could build a basic apartment. I was happy when I finally built that apartment. It was thanks to me that I was able to provide every SL member in my class somewhere to keep their stuff. Another project was building a piece of furniture. I decided on a bed. It took me many tries before I made the bed I still have in my inventory today [By the way, you can buy it for 15 Linden!]. While taking SL, I found out that I wasn't always the perfect one to build things [for example, one of my SL Friends built a flat screen TV!]. But I always tried my best. You should try Second Life. It was one of the most amazing things I've done in my life!

I’m Myron and I really liked using Second Life. Even though the work we did was kind of hard, I enjoyed using the program and I can honestly say that I have learned a lot from it. Second Life has taught me how to be creative and how to build different objects. It has also helped me with my computer skills. It taught me how to work with others, to get things done, and how to share my ideas with others. I built objects by sizing different 3-D shapes and joining them together to create one object. To create more than one of the same shape, I used the shift copy technique. With Second Life, we used many different and unique shapes that were creative but also useful. As we finished our work we were given Linden which is the money of Second Life. We used our Linden to buy many fun virtual toys, but this was only if we finished our work. This taught me to be responsible in order to meet my deadlines. Second life was an exciting, cutting-edge experience and I was happy to be a part of this program that taught me how to be creative and learn architectural skills while having fun at the same time.

My name is Junior and Second Life taught me how to build objects that I didn’t know I could build. It was complicated but I managed to keep up with our instructor's help. Our instructor taught us how to create regular objects that were made up of basic 3-D shapes and form them into buildings. She also taught us how to put different textures on the shapes. We could also bend the objects and make different shapes from regular 3-D shapes. The objects that we built were objects that we could use in everyday life. For example we built an amusement park with rides and landscaping. Another group of students built a castle area, apartment buildings, and a shopping mall area. As we built different buildings and took snapshots of our work we earned Linden which is money in Second Life. Second Life was an advanced computer program and it was very much like real life. It was really fun to fly around in the virtual world and build things. Second Life was a cutting edge program. In the program we also learned how to communicate via chat instead of just talking to each other in real life. We had to chat/write our ideas to each other; otherwise we couldn’t make a building. We had the opportunity to use this program last year and we are fortunate to be able to use it again this year.

Hello! My name is Omar and I am an 8th grader at Lowell School. I already have taken Second Life which is a virtual reality world. Second Life is like reality because when you work and do all that you are asked to do you get rewarded with more opportunities and you receive additional privileges. And just like in real life you are rewarded with money which is called lindens. You get to work with other people and help them out by telling them how to do the tasks. In the real world you have to work with other people so it prepares you for this. When you are working you are already use to working with other people. This virtual game prepares you for the real world because you learn how to use measurement and how to communicate with other people and work with them. In this world you get to remodel your own space and put anything you want and in your space as long as it is appropriate. In an assignment your have to remodel your room so get to improve the measurements to make walls floors and lots of accessories to make your room look cool. So come and join the fun in this virtual world!

My name is Alexis and I am an eighth grade student at Lowell school. Last year I was fortunate to be in this class and learn how to measure and how to build things like a castle, an amusement park, a mall, and an apartment. Designing an apartment made me get creative. You can build vehicles and planes and ride around which isn’t really necessary because you can fly. You can also interact with other players in the virtual world. In this virtual world I learned techniques that will help me for life. This is a fun and educational game.

My name is Adrian. Last year Second Life taught me how to build objects that were not only useful but also practical. We made chairs, amusement rides, added landscape and other objects that my friends who were avatars used. I learned communication with messages by typing what I want to say and by speaking. I spoke to my friends next to me. When I finished an assignment I received Linden which was money. I would like to earn more Lindens this year and I can do that by being more responsible for my actions. This year I will complete my objectives. I can help myself by helping others and doing what I am supposed to do. Also if I ever have to do a job I might want to work my best.