Tuesday, 21 October 2008

YAOEE - yet another orientation experience for educators

Linden Lab and ISTE have combined forces to launch a new educators pilot programme - essentially a new SL registration and orientation experience, targetted at educators.

Quite nice... though I'm slightly struggling to understand how it differs from the work that NMC put into their education orientation experience?

Here's my latest alt - Hughling Wulluf - created using the new facility (note that checking whether your chosen name is already in use is slightly tedious using this interface because you have to re-supply your password (twice) each time - I wanted Howling Wulluf but it wasn't available).  Hughling is watching the introductory video in the new ISTE orientation area.

Good to see that the Sloodle tools are available in the resources area :-)

As I mentioned when I reviewed the NMC orientation experience, one of the problems with this kind of generic approach (less generic than the main SL registration admittedly but still pretty generic) is that it doesn't cater well for national (or more local) requirements - there is nothing here specifically for UK educators for example.  Should there be?

One final thought... the most valuable part of any orientation experience is meeting and chatting to helpful people.  When I used this new facility there was no-one around to talk to.  So although the content I found was education-specific, the experience overall was rather disappointing.  IMHO the most useful thing that these kinds of initiatives could do would be to create a rota of willing educational volunteers - people who are happy to hang around welcoming new avatars to the world.  My guess is that doing so would have much more impact than new builds and resources.  That said, I appreciate that setting this kind of thing up isn't going to be easy.


Peter Miller said...

I haven't tried the orientation but "having someone around to chat to" is surely what ISTE excels at in the shape of its docents. OK, it's not a 24x7 service, especially as far as the European time-zone is concerned, but it's a docent start :). There's certainly a case for having a notecard with UK-oriented info on it, e.g. pointing at the newly revivified UK Educators Group, the EduServ snapshots, though I think "collapsing geography" is part of what SL is about?

Ethics and Transparency In Politics said...

I'll have to visit and check it out. I think it is meant to have staffed times - but again kind of US centric in when you'll find volunteers there.

Ilene Frank said...

USA-centric? "Volunteers" seems to be the operative word here. Why don't some SLers from the UK volunteer?

Leon Cych said...

yes there should be a portal for UK and Europe - local specific but would there be enough synchronous volunteers?

Alan said...

Good points, Art, and I agree with Peter that ISTE does well with its docents. Part of the reason we at NMC made ours were the large numbers of educators who were dismayed by their first entrance on Welcome Island, where it has the opposite problem, too many people.

We've long talked over getting some volunteers at NMC (and I have a start of a list), it has just been a matter of finding time to set it up. We would implement a facility we use at our Conference Center Help desk- a display board with pics of mentors, and if they are in world, a person at NMC could page them by clicking their pic. I was also thinking it would be nice for some volunteers to hold maybe their in world office hours there.

As far as the US centric-ness of it, I'm grasping at what could be done. I am not sure if it pertains to basic orientation, which to me is not geographic specific (beyond being in English) or are you referrng to adding "u" to "color"?? In theory, one could see an option to offer language versions of the content (which are mostly textures and notecards), but again, it is a stack of work to do... and where do you stop dividing it? Do we need a Scottish version? It is an interesting concept to think about localizing content, beyond the Sl interface, could there be a convention t load textures based on a language pref of the user??

To flip it around, what is to stop a group in the UK from doing one? The RegAPI is not that complex (if I can figure it out...) and its a matter of doing a design...