Massively Multilearner 08

Conference Website
A useful day. This was the second of the MML events I’d attended.
Schome
Anna Peachey gave an update on the Schome project (which includes more than just SecondLife!) Some useful points – e.g. “Governance” both as learning & real (to work out prim counts, AUP etc). Much of final build (funding now finished) was student built; though initial build was by staff.
Problem based learning: Islands in the Sun?
Maggi Savin – Baden: Education currently very outcomes driven; students see staff as Knowledge patrollers; etc. Therefore looking at PBL (of which there are many different approaches) within SL. Aiming to organise round the scenario, situations with no “right answer”, students have to initially determine what they need to know. The learning, rather than the teaching is central. Currrently are looking at how this can be implemented in SL. In particular they’re looking at PBL for paramedics, Health & Social care.
They are currently working on the scenarios (rather that particular aspects of SecondLife) Some Information driven multiple screens – where the info changes depending on the choices made by the student(s). SOme are avatar driven events – using bots to interact with students.
Before, Beyond & Somewhere to the left of SL
Daniel Livingstone. Over view of History of virtual worlds & current alternatives. At present, all are changing – and also few are interoperable.
Blended Learning with 3D Virtual Environments.
Simon Bignell (Derby: Psychology) Started with SL for games (so students had top of the range PC etc) , now extending to generic issues (e.g. Essay writing – optional).  Looked at various aspects e.g. appearance / marketing/ pedagogy (e.g. US universities tend to replicate campus, UK unis tend to look at activities)

Findings: Innovation can be difficult. Many students don’t like SL. It’s important to relinquish control. Found that “traditional” (i.e. sit & listen to me) teaching doesn’t work in SL. (Not that anyone was particularly surprised!). Often the most useful spaces were empty “mega-prims” [remember a wall if it’s up in the sky, though!] – with tools e.g. Eloise’s spidergram. Things resembling classrooms not popular with staff or students.

Machinima Workshop.

Usi

ng Fraps for screen capture (free version lets you capture up to 30 secs) Make sure frame rate (shown in fraps) is reasonable (can drop when connection to server poor). Use Pinnacle (v. 9 perfectly good enough [c£3 on ebay]) for editing; or any other decent editor you have access to. (Not Windows Media Movie Maker!)

Can be used with students to work out good camera angles etc., as well as staff to create demos.

Plenary

Various issues arose, in particular, how to manage student expectations – e.g. if they’re gaming students, feel that SL a bit poor; need to stress its role as collaboration tool & not game. Also – how to encourage students to use SL (or whether we should…)

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