Sunday, 27 January 2008

Global Kids Reports

Global Kids produced two interesting reports on the 24th of this month on one of their sites. They deliver an overview of the SL Community Convention Fall 2007 in Second Life. The reports are concise, an illustration of actual use of SL and give a nice number of points to ponder about. The summary gives a good overview, the examples are best of breed. I 'd have liked more examples, not only the best, but others too, good to follow. We have TeenNews every day at prime time on our TV-network. Would we send teens to Darfur? Of course not, but I would support all initiatives to copy paste GK's Childs' War in my country! The recommendations are well worth reading for newbies and experienced educational users of SL as a tool for learning and teaching.

Friday, 25 January 2008

The Metaverse Roadmap

Completely in line with the widespread belief that at least a part of the present web will transform into a 3d environment John Smart et al have developed a Metaverse Roadmap. This initiative delivered a vast amount of ideas, beliefs and scenario's about virtual worlds and its impact on a wide variety of industries. Opinion leaders of all sorts contributed to this. I only missed Bill G, Steve J. , Tim O', Tim B. and myself, of course. A must read, whatever ideas you might have yourself about this. Oh, and the invitation to contribute is still open: mail all your input to

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Interim results interviews

90 Avatars were invited to participate in an in-world interview. 2 refused and 22 did not respond to my invitation. I stopped pursuit of 30 potential candidates after I finished the 50st interview.
The approach of the interviews was based on the notion of 'likely effectiveness' and led by the assumption that educational users of SL will judge its likely effectiveness expertly in terms of a combination of (a) SL’s potential to be effective, (b) the perceived costs of achieving that potential, and the (c) perceived rewards or fringe benefits in applying that effort to achieve the potential. The interviewees were invited to meet 'physically' in-world at a chosen place. We used Instant Messaging (IM) for privacy reasons and sat down in a comfortable way to illustrate the illusion of a Real Life(RL) interview. The questions were presented as Notecards.
The questions of the 30 to 45 minute interview were based on Bernie Dodges' equation Power = Attention * Depth * Efficiency. First respondents were asked to score the different variables in 'an intuitive way, without too much reasoning'. Sometimes this lead to discussion about the approach and questions, overall almost all interviewees agreed to the method.
Then participants were asked to elaborate on the reasoning behind their scores and stimulated to 'write what they thought as in thinking aloud' about the beliefs, assumptions, experiences and expectations about SL as an environment for learning and teaching. The average scores for the variables Attention, Depth and Efficiency were respectively 7.58 , 6.75 and 5.98, which give a total score of 30.59 for Power. The table shows quite a gap between the lowest and highest score.
The standard deviation between the scores is considerable.I acknowledge that the numbers are not large enough to give a sound statistical result and from start rated the qualitative outcome more important than the quantitative.
Most participants praised the attention value of Sl, but also warned that there is much distraction. One responded that it had taken considerable effort to create a classroom atmosphere, whereas some appreciated the freedom and open environment as stimulating for learning. Creating your own avatar, making decisions about looks and personality was regarded as trivial as well as very important. I feel that this aspect is very much underestimated. Many pointed out that depth strongly depends on a sound educational concept and the use of SL without it is without meaning, where others stressed the importance of playful exploration and labelled this as extremely meaningful.
Efficiency strongly relates to age, both in real life ( younger than 18 or older) as in Second Life (time spent since birth). Many felt that the learning curve for mastering the SL - client was steep. Reading the transcriptsmy impression is that it is considered much more valuable to explore the possibilities of Sl from a perspective of playful, explorative and natural learning than to try to establish a real life school atmosphere. More detailed information from the 250 pages transcript will be published here the coming months.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Introducing Alter Albatros

A very interesting line of inquiry that came up in the interviews was 'working on your appearance'. Reckoned to be one of the SL - skills to be dealt with I gave myself a try. Working on your Avatar makes you think about who you are, how you want to express yourself, what you like others to make of you, what you would like if you had a chance to take it in your own hand or improve your own 'You'. Give him a chance when you meet him.

Alpine Meadow 247/104/97

SL is place that keeps amazing me!! The contrast with my previous visit could not be bigger. I visited this exhibition of medieval panels on Epiphany, the visit of the Kings to Bethlehem. Magnificent images in a appropriate environment. The image itself has not the quality of the web based copies to be found elsewhere on the Web. In this way this exposition leads us to more elaborate portraits of work and artists. Good job and what a joy.

PowerMatch 143/166/27

It is a lonely walk. It is a narrow road that leads to these rotating circles. I am not sure about its meaning, its purpose, but it is a powerful experience. This futuristic sim is an intriguing place to visit and must have been a joy to build.

SeaTurtle Island 46/26/22

January the 12th, 2008 at 12:00 pm noon SLT on Music Island, Sea Turtle Island Akito Kuramoto will perform Romance in F Major Op. 50 for violin and orchestra by Ludwig Van Beethoven and Partita II in D Minor BWV 1004 for solo violin by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is his fifth performance in SL, apparently. More about musicians in SL can be found here. And what a beautiful spot to listen to Bach and Beethoven, my favourite composer.

Monday, 7 January 2008


Some of the educators I interviewed complain about the complexity of the present software that is needed to get into SL. One of them called it appalling, others praise it. Anyway there is always room for improvement. OnRez claims to be more user friendly. It is, in my view, in a certain way. The look and feel is a bit more elegant, the back and history button for teleport is handy and the embedded browser to view web pages is convenient, especially when you do not have two flatbed screens next to each other as I have. The browser does not support all plugins. The Loop informs you on events in-world, commercial and non-commercial. The button Shops opens all opportunities to spend your L$'s!

Cedar Island 130/84/24

I enjoy looking at works of art. Not necessarily in a museum, although I appreciate the efficiency. A selection of works from one artists is more to my liking. This young man makes beautiful watercolours and combined with a 'sunny disposition' the result enlightens the heart. To be seen at the Cedar Island Docks. More of his work can be viewed here

Friday, 4 January 2008

Virtual Parks and Recreation Service

The VPRS has a website, click on the image and you will get there. The search engine enables you to find intriguing spots in-world. New members of this network of parks, gardens, theme-sims, etc. can register online and place an information kiosk in their sim. So far, so good, bon voyages, mes amis!! Btw: I am in Africa when I write this.

This site is closed

Discovering the World

Fernandez Armesto published two books recently on the activities of discoverers, explorers of the Unknown. He calls them: fanatics, romantics, losers, adventurers, visionaries and sometimes genuine scientists. They seemed to have two things in common: bad food and living conditions all the way and! ... never knowing where you are. I recognize the last bit, and some of the epitaphs. Isn't that what we ask the first few moments when teleported to a place whe have never been before InWorld?


A dream for developing journalists, it must be. Isn't that what you want to become: a CNN reporter? Well, if not it is at least an opportunity to learn some of the skills needed, and in a realistic setting too. Many contributions over the past days: on skating, parties, art, and many other items. No in-world politics yet, but who knows. The editor in control keeps the CNN - site alive and kicking. Have a look now!

Lighthouse Learning Island 86/36/24

Tidy place!! A handful of open spaced, open aired school buildings. Tables, chairs, couches: the works. Kathy provides teacher training for several schools in their own building in SL. The training is on SL - teaching skills. which will not be a dramatic change on what they know or are able to already. But the environment is new, with other challenges as well. And that is a major step to take. I decided to become a CNN reporter for a while. I got the press card and the kiosk. I ll keep you posted on my progress.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Just a framework of wires

A lot of you new this already. There is nobody home upstairs. It is just wires!! People that work with AutoCad, or played with Google Sketchup will not be surprised by this image. As you can see all you see in Sl is built like this and then the surface of all these facets gets a texture and a colour. The rest is ether, empty space, nothing, does exist but cannot be seen by the eye. The bigger elements in this framwork make handy objects like sand, sea, sky and sometimes a little star. The keys ctrl-alt-D in the client will open this option for you.

Among fish

The documentaries of Cousteau made a great impression on me when I was a child and when I get the opportunity to watch one again, they still do. Underwater life is a mystery world to us, the people that do not dive, I mean. I would not mind doing it a bit, in a warmer climate anyway. Sl takes all these barriers away. It s not reality, but does it come near or not?

Education UK 21, 142, 136

Some educators complain about the thin layer of attention when addressing their students. There is a lot of distraction, and much more interesting too, in SL when you are teaching. The University of Derby was not afraid of that but decided to build this sandbox to make sure not much distraction came from the neighbouring parcels. It is a neat place, focused on its purpose: constructing knowledge.

Minerva 64, 82, 30

A perfect blue sky, a tree weathered by the wind, a few pillows and an equivalent number of sitballs. That is all you need to create a group meeting point, a meditation area or a ground for play, discours, a lecture, silence. Ellie did well building this space. Less is more in SL, I think. Her new course starts this month in SL. Students will attend online classes twice a week, and complete coursework on an accompanying website.