I am working on a research project where we are trying to work out how CQ University can make use of 3D immersive environments to improve learning experiences for students.
Second Life has emerged as a major player in the world of immersive 3D environments and has a considerable following in terms of application for education. It is well established and one of the better providers in terms of usability and maturity. Therefore, it makes a good starting point for
academics to get their hands dirty with these tools and to think about how they can leverage its benefits for their own students.
So I am going to be developing a seminar to this end for our teaching staff. A major objective is to have participants able to navigate their way around the immersive world and some basic skills in terms of how to interact with it and others. The hope is from there, they will be able to conduct further discoveries themselves and see how the technology may assist them and their students. This is in addition to examples provided in the seminar itself.
Following is an initial list of tasks for me to get started. I’ll be refining these as I go.
Background & Literature
I need to take a look around and see what information there is regarding the application of Second Life to education. Hopefully there will be a taxonomy for this.
Take a look around SL and identify disciplines that are well represented in Second Life with examples, and would be good examples for teaching staff. Then target teachers in these disciplines as the initial participants for the seminars. The idea is it will be easier to illustrate to these groups the potential based on current activities of others.
After running one or two sessions, then maybe move onto less represented disciplines as these will be more challenging and the added experience of running previous sessions will help. May also be potential for some innovation in doing things that haven’t been done before.
Don’t re-invent the wheel
This is not a new problem to solve, and finding out what others have done, particularly in higher education will hopefully save time and effort, and result in some great ideas.
Examples, Examples, Examples
I love examples when I learn, even if its to seed further ideas. But moderation is the key to life and so I’ll keep this to a conservative amount (yet to be decided). Will see what I find and decide from there.
Activities, Activities, Activities
Need to come up with a list of activities for participants to complete to as to help them achieve the main objective of being able to navigate SL. Ideas thus far (unsequenced):
- Have participants teleport to a given location, search for and purchase (free) certain articles of clothing, and then dress themselves.
- Have participants interact with each other using the communication tools, and then hopefully with others in the environment. Help island and the initial training in SL will be good places for this.
- Run through the commands for navigation such as walking, running, flying, touching, sitting and so on. So provide some objects for participants to use these skills.
I have a time-limit for posting to my blog, and I have just exceeded it. So this is it for now. After further reflection, I’ll add more later.
You might like to check this out… I’ve also stored it on our cddu del.icio.us. The slides provide an overview of examples of use in education.