Second life can help students to learn in their first life. What a great concept. I’ve been asked to explore this as something that we may look at in the future. I am a complete novice when it comes to online games so I’m in the early ‘research’ stage ( I love research!)
An online article here is a good place to start as is the fabulous third instalment of ‘Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0’ which is a really comprehensive list and commentary of ways to use the web for learners and teachers. A one stop shop really.
As far as Second Life is concerned I was discussing this the other day with my e-learning buddy at school (well really my mentor) and we were coming up with ideas for how to use it, I was thinking for English that it would be really useful to create a literary world, say Shakespeare or something that students don’t normally love as much as teachers (at least initially). You could have characters from the plays in there to interview and chat and students could walk around and experience the world and really immerse themselves in it.
I am learning to run before I walk, so more on this later. Sometimes the ideas run way ahead of reality, which is exactly what I love about using technology as a tool for school. However, I think I may need a second life just to get everything done!
Well, that really was an interesting and exciting thing to do. After the training session I promised myself that I would practice a few times in the room so that I could get familiar with the way everything worked. I really love optimists!
Anyway, I did practice for about half an hour before the room went live and I uploaded everything (twice!) and eventually it went to the right place. As people started to arrive I began to be nervous, especially as Wendy was so kindly giving me a big rap. I was so grateful to have Alan as moderator to fill in the gaps as I think I talked a million miles an hour through the presentation and I was left with a bit more discussion time than I wanted. It was amazing to see the potential of this form of conference as people were able to interact by placing ticks, crosses, thumbs up or down, or by raising their hands. Participants could also type messages in a message box, or raise their hands to ask for permission to speak, it was the best behaved class I’ve ever had!
I did not get to use all of the functionality of the tool, which was unfortunate, I would have liked to have built in more interactivity. They have break out rooms where groups of participants can go to work on things and then reconvene in the main room and there are more whiteboard functions than I used with my simple PowerPoint. I would definitely recommend having a look at their website as this could be the way of conferences in the future. Here is the url http://www.elluminate.com/ check it out.
Thanks so much Alan, Wendy and Janice for the opportunity, it was much appreciated 🙂
Thanks to the intel people and especially Alan for allowing me to learn how to use elluminate. It was a roller coaster ride at first as we had trouble getting online from school and then when we did Alan seemed to be kicked out by the moderator (who assured us that she hadn’t done this, it was a glitch in the system) The whole thing was amazing, it’s an online conference centre which remains open for as long as you’ve paid for ( I assume it’s very expensive) and then closes. Your conference can include all types of media files, including web pages running live and each participant can be given different levels of access, the general level being a microphone to discuss things with and a voting button as well as several emoticons. They can be allowed to ‘roam’ through the presentation, which means to view it in any order they wish (which could be very chaotic) or you can control the order that they see things in. There is a virtual whiteboard, on which, being the consummate professionals that we are we all drew mustaches on the face that was there and wrote our names graffitti style. It is a great way to have a conference without leaving your office, however, we did get some funny looks and some even funnier comments from other teachers who passed the room. One thought that maybe we were setting up our own call centre.
I will be presenting soon using this software and obviously I need a lot more training and so the Intel people have very kindly allowed me the time to play and practice. I admit to being nervous about the final presentation, but I’m willing to give it a go as much for the experience as anything else.
I would really love to have access to something like this to deliver lessons after school. I wonder if the budget is up to it???