Monday, October 02, 2006

Adventures in Second Life - a lecture

Following Brent's lead in his post Corporate eLearning Development: SL inworld presentation: How People Learn, I decided to sit in on John Bransford's lecture.

The experience reminded me of the issues many teachers and students had during the first week of an interactive video course:
- getting familiar with the technology (especially for the teachers)
- learning new classroom etiquette
- figuring out how to structure the class to take advantage of (or minimize the disadvantages of) the technology.

With Second Life - both teachers and students have to get past the initial "playing with the technology" stage. For a structured course within this environment, time/exercises to get all parties familiar with the medium will be useful.

I've been toying with Second Life for a month now and, thus far, have figured out how to change my clothes, touch things, fly, land and teleport. I'm not terribly good at any of these tasks. As a result, I found myself distracted by the technology (people flying, interesting monsters, figuring out how to get a better view using the camera controls, getting kicked out during the presentation) and did not pick up as much of the message as I should have.

What I got from the presentation - "We should all work together." A solid sentiment since we are all still trying to figure out how to apply this technology. One of Branford's suggestions - simulations. The movie Dr. Bransford played during the session was an interesting example of how people can work together in a virtual environment to communicate information and solve problems. Note: the movie is in QuickTime.

I know that there was more to it than that. Right now, the transcript is filled with a lot of side-chatter. I'm sure they will clean it up soon.

The picture above is my avatar - Raven Tsuki (on the right) and some of the folks who attended the lecture. My next goal in Second Life - figure out how to build glasses..... Please say "Hi" if you see her lurking around Info Island.


bschlenker said...

your experience is very common. I'm still learning as well. I still feel very noobish. I have had many conversations with others in Learning about this, but with time UIs will improve, and we shouldn't let the tool distract from the real power of its potential for learning.
I've offered Raven friendship inworld I hope you will accept :)

Wendy said...

Looking at Second Life I definitely see the potential. Particularly for simulations and soft skills (esp. customer service. Things that would be tough or expensive to replicate in Real Life.

Since my audience is not very tech-savvy, I know that if we incorporate Second Life into some of our education I will HAVE to spend time getting people past the UI. Heck, my audience is still distracted by the SmartBoard in my face-to-face classes :')