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.

National Workshop in Learning in Immersive Worlds

Just in case you haven't seen this announcement via other routes... live footage of the National Workshop in Learning in Immersive Worlds will be streamed on to Coventry Island in Second Life on Thursday 23rd October from 10am (UK time).

Unfortunately, I won't be able to be there because of other commitments :-(

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Virtual World Watch

Virtual World Watch is officially launched today - well, as 'officially' as we're going to get anyway! VWW will continue the series of snapshots that have been undertaken by Silversprite Helsinki (the latest of which will hopefully be made public tomorrow) as well as broadening the scope of the work to information about:
  1. Alternatives to Second Life, especially alternatives that do not have some of the technological, logistical or financial hurdles that some feel Second Life to have.
  2. What is currently being researched in the application of virtual worlds to education. The peer-reviewed publication system means it is difficult to determine current trends.
  3. Where more research or survey data concerning virtual world use in education, or other such proof or evidence – of academic quality – can be found.

VWW is funded by the Eduserv Foundation.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Teaching and learning with MUVEs

This looks like an interesting peer to peer learning programme (whatever that is!) for those who wish to grow the use of MUVEs in their teaching practice:
The European funded MUVEnation project is now launching 'Teaching and learning with MUVEs'. This is a one year postgraduate programme, delivered online, for future and in-service teachers who want to use innovative methods and tools to address learners motivation and participation issues in compulsory education.
For full details see the announcement.