Saturday, July 21, 2012

Turning for Home

On the home page of the Moodle, Jane writes the following: "We are going on an adventure.
Think of this as a semester abroad. You will be entering a new culture, practicing new ways to communicate, uncovering unfamiliar norms of behavior, confronting new ways of thinking about how the world works. Some things will look familiar, some things will appear quite strange...You have chosen an excellent tour group with which to travel."
And so it has been an adventure. I was a reluctant traveler. I'm certain my early posts reflect that early anxiety. This was a required class so I pushed on, somewhat willing because of the requirement but anxious. Along the way, I learned to manipulate an avatar, put her in clothing (though my sense of style is in question), build objects (I spent hours building a grill, complete with grate and fire), insert scripts and travel efficiently. I saw beautiful landscapes and amazing use and demonstration of information (Serenity Falls, Genome Island and the Space Station)
I played World of Warcraft and gained a new respect for gamers and their abilities. I managed my backpack and other packs, because I had to in order to make room for quest items, and learned to use my acquired tools and clothing more effectively. I fought back my fear and the surge in heart rate as I battled combatants. I learned to follow the map and plot my course according to the topographical map. Sometimes the straight course is the least efficient!
I joined other VWs on my own - something I wouldn't have tried previously but now, I have the confidence to move in them without a guide. I learned nothing seems as sophisticated as Second Life but some have the potential to work well with our schools.
Possibly, the most important part are the connections I made with my classmates. We had students from Dubai, Uruguay and Italy, as well as the New England states. I was blessed to have been able to spend time with them and learned so much from their opinions in the forums, the resources they shared, and our experiences in the VWs - OliveTree showed me Harbinger's Haven in SL and met up with me in WoW a couple of times, Vermaelan gave me early pointers in WoW that I so needed but didn't know I did, Poem took me on an extensive tour of EduNation (and politely didn't laugh when I suddenly found myself in my underwear while donning scuba gear) and told me about her work, and Mikenfushdos met up with me in WoW for a quest - just when I needed it most (after our final meet-up in SL and I was sad to be saying goodbye).
The meet-ups with Thynka Little and Allyx showed me possibilities with projects and classes. I saw potential I would have previously dismissed before our journeys began. Now that we're close to pulling into the harbor, I have no desire to disembark and wish this could have been a longer trip. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Transformative Day!



What a banner day this has been! I met Poem O'Reilly, my classmate in TLVW, at her SL home in EduNation.  Poem told me that EduNation belongs to Randall Sadler, a professor with the University of Illinois.

We toured around Poem's area of EduNation which her university rents from Randall Sadler. Poem told me about her students and the simulations they do to help with learning English. One of the places she took me was a hotel lobby. There they have scripts set up to help students with appropriate dialogue. We also saw a library because, as Poem put it, students attend colleges all over the world. They need to know how to access libraries.

Later, we went to the aquarium where we met up with another language teacher, Heike Philip. Poem directed me toward the scuba gear which I immediately put on. Of course, it's packed so I'm wearing a duffle bag! How many times am I going to do that? I took it off and unpacked it on the floor. Once I was wearing it (and in the process, I lost my hair!), I immediately started swimming but once I went down the hatch, the script for swimming dropped off. Heike advised me to try removing the scuba gear. Now I'm standing there in my underwear and I'm bald! Good heavens! Virtual Worlds can be humbling! I managed to get the gear and the hair back on and I'm back to swimming. It was unbelievably beautiful and so detailed. There were mantas, schooling fish, a wreck and coral reefs. Poem told me her students love going there. I can see why.

Here's the part I find amazing... Poem is from Uruguay and teaching grad students. I meet up with her in Second Life and find out about her work with students and I tell her about mine. Earlier this week, I met up with OliveTree (a classmate from Dubai) and we did a quest together in World of Warcraft. In addition to the engagement of this unique teaching/learning tool, I realize that it's not just the "virtual world" concept that's so intriguing; it's the fact that we can meet anyone from anywhere there, and learn from them as well. I am broadened by the experience and look forward to learning more!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Moving On


Trulytis
Level 13, new cape, new weapon (Stonesplinter Staff)

Just like that, World of Warcraft was done. This was the last week and we (as a class) are ready to move on. I look back at the first few postings - I see concerns about ineptitude and fear of battle. Later, I experienced many (did I emphasize "many" enough?) deaths and went to so many cemeteries, I became more familiar with the terrain in shades of gray than with it in color. Case in point, while on a quest for "Bigger and Uglier" in Loch Modan, I was having difficulty finding my quarry. They (the Stonesplinter Shamans and Stonesplinter Bonesnappers) were located in a cave - only I couldn't find the entrance. The map indicated I was right on top of it but I couldn't see it anywhere. When I died again after battling it out with the only cave dweller I could find, Gorick Guzzledraught, (I was sure the Stonesplinter crew was behind him), I actually chose to stay dead and proceeded to search other areas without any worries of being ambushed. I stumbled across the opening to the cave while I was dead. Once I knew where it was, I went back for my corpse and continued on the quest.

I've spent time learning about the backpack and Mage trivia. I learned how to read the map and that if it looks like the only way to get there is to go over a mountain, it might be worth my time looking for a roundabout way. Running everywhere was time consuming so when I received a quest to take a gryphon ride, a whole world (virtually!) opened up. I found the gryphon master everywhere I went so I could get around easily.  I learned (today, thanks to Esmeque) that guards are a font of information and I really didn't need to spend so much time looking on my own for inns, merchants, and trainers. I learned to use my weapons and spells to a certain extent but I'm reasonably certain I needed to be more efficient, judging by the amount of time I spent in a "dead" state. I learned to attack from a distance and that melee battle with more than one combatant usually resulted in my death - probably as a result of inefficient use of weaponry and spells. I began managing my backpack better but there's much work to be done there

I know I can go back and visit Trulytis but it seems the quest to gain an understanding of WoW and its potential for use in the classroom has been accomplished and somehow, that takes some of the need to learn more away. I miss it already - even the heart racing as I approached a fearsome combatant. I enjoyed Trulytis - she's brave, takes on an adversary that will surely beat her and learns to get herself out of trouble quickly. I wish I were more like her...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Preparedness

This morning, we (students from TLVW) had the pleasure of meeting Luann Phillips (SL Thynka Little), the builder of Grandma's Birthday Party . I was intrigued with this video and the winter safety project she had done in Second Life for her Capstone project at Marlboro.

I could see so many applications for the disaster preparedness ideas. Too many times folks head out the door unprepared for what they may encounter. Recently, there have been TV commercials addressing the same issue. They bring up the idea of having "emergency kits" with spare medications and other first aid items.

Not long ago (in the winter), a friend's college-aged son and a friend traveled home from their school. The college isn't far away and they weren't planning for any stops along the way. They dressed in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. Their apartment was always warm so they didn't feel a need to layer any more than that. Also, he had plenty of spare clothing at his house so, again, no need to bring more. About a half mile from his house, he slid off the road. A car had come to close to him and in his attempt to avoid the oncoming car on the icy road, he swerved and ended up in the ditch. Fortunately, he had his cell phone and was able to call his folks. They weren't far away and were able to get to him quickly. The possible "what if" scenarios are astounding and frightening.

Disaster plans are not meant to scare people but to help them work through emergencies. Technology is such a part of every day life and can be part of the emergency plan but they can't be the whole plan...

So, what do we need to do to address this? As educators, we can use/create/locate resources such as "Grandma's Birthday Party." We need to address these issues early with our students but we also need to target community members. Consider the number of stories we hear of people (adults) heading into the wilderness armed only with technology (cell phones, GPS devices). Sometimes the "wilderness" is a remote highway such as the upper areas of the Adirondack Northway.

Thynka addressed the need to "reinvent" the Cooperative Extension to be more relevant to today's society. I see all sorts of possibilities with the kinds of work she's doing to provide education to the overall community. Help in making plans for both personal and community emergencies can be part of that role for the Cooperative Extension and educators in general.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Impressions for Quest Atlantis

I went back to look at my first few postings for Second Life and World of Warcraft. I remember feeling "creeped" out by SL and terrified by WoW. Within a few visits, however, I was soon feeling more adventuresome and comfortable with the format. I'm hoping I'll feel the same with QA. Right now, I'm irritated, annoyed and feeling trapped.

List of annoyances:

  1. Here's me - I signed up with  "sbisaccio" not realizing it would be my avatar's name. Apparently, it will require dispensation from many people in authority to change it. I'm annoyed about that. 
  2. Help files require logging in again - except that it wouldn't allow me in while I was in world. I could log in to the help file while I was out of world. I'm definitely irritated now!
  3. I'm trapped in a loop. I went to Emissary Island - seemingly the only available venue at this time where a principal told me to view a slideshow (PowerPoint - not that!). I went through half of the slides and then it was apparently time to move on. I needed to talk to other teachers - this was all canned dialogue, mind you. I was eventually able to make my way back to the classroom where I was told to click on the terminal that would take me to the next step. Unfortunately, I was reminded that I hadn't finished the slideshow. I haven't been able to move from there.
Let's see how this compares with the other VWs I've been to...
On the right is Trulytis with nary a skill to her name.The only thing in her backpack is a hearthstone for Coldridge Valley. Down below is TisGirl with the wide open space of Marlboro Island. A maze awaits her and a tunnel to learn to fly through. Both feel intimidated, a bit frightened, but neither are annoyed!
Let's hope QA gets better since I don't know that there are too many options for elementary kids!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gaining Skills

This is my second week of playing WoW. I'm now at Level 8 and have completed around 15 quests. I've battled Frostmane Snowstriders and Wendigos. I've ridden on a Gryphon and last week I was on a Geocopter. It's been a busy couple of weeks.  A few observations/tips:

  • The more I do, the harder and longer the quests. There also a distance away on the map. That's to be expected. I have more expertise so now I'm capable of going farther and doing more. Also, there are more bad guys outside of Coldridge Valley and I needed to "level up" before being confronted by them.
  • Beings attack me now. They never used to attack first. Again, the safety of my starting point allowed me to gain a few more skills before going out into the world. Now every venture off the beaten path is fraught with danger. One tip I learned from the intro part of the game is that staying close to the road means it's less likely I'll encounter trouble from "bad guys."
  • When in doubt, ask. One of my quests required me to go to Kharanos. The only problem was I couldn't get through to Kharanos because of a cave-in. I killed the same Rockjaw Invader as I tried to go through again and again. I attempted to cross the mountains but this was too much of a challenge. They're so steep, Trulytis kept running sideways. After circling the area for an hour, I finally asked my son for some ideas who said, "why don't you just ask that guy?" Sure enough, there was a guy standing next to the tracks outside the cave who said the rocks had been cleared from the cave-in. I killed a number of Rockjaw invaders and I was on my way. 
    • On that note, I've learned to look on the Internet for answers. I've Googled a few of the quests when I couldn't find my way, and the descriptions from WoWwiki have been helpful in helping me change my focus.
  • "Dead" is a good time to take a break. When I first "died," I asked for my spirit to be released immediately. Now, I take a bathroom break, let the dogs out, throw some laundry in the machine. etc. By the time I get back,  I'm usually within 30 seconds of release. I was o.k. with "dead" one time because I was having difficulty getting out of "Grizzled Den." I couldn't seem to find my way out and I kept getting attacked by Wendigos. "Dead" put me back in Kharanos in the cemetery so I was finally out of the cave. Too bad my next quest has me right back in there.
  • Try not to play too close to bedtime. Because of work, I didn't have much choice as far as to when I had time to play. The only problem was some of the quests were so frightening to me that my heart would be racing while I was battling the bad guy of the quest. I'm usually so wound up that there's no possibility of going to sleep right away. Also, and I noticed this with Second Life, I find myself being "Trulytis" or TisGirl all night long which means I'm either on a quest or I'm trying to build something. Either way, sleep doesn't seem that restorative.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

WoW: 2nd Thoughts

This is why it's good to reflect at the beginning of an adventure. My first foray into WoW was not noteworthy. I was happier in SL because I was having success. I didn't see the point of WoW, my skill set was negligible, so therefore, I wasn't having any fun.

Fortunately, there were assignments to do so I really needed to get back into the fray. I missed the class on Sunday, due to Fathers' Day activities so I went in on my own. There was OliveTree! Ah, a friendly face - even if she didn't look the same. Actually, she looked like me (except her hair was different). Still there were assignments to do and I couldn't linger for long.  I embarked on my first quest, killed a Rockjaw Invader but I didn't know how I did it. I went up against one of the other bigger dudes and ended up dying. That was interesting - a cemetery and creepy music.

My son stopped in about this time and gave me a few quick tips about attacking. Soon I was attacking with some skill. I began moving up in levels and I discovered I was having fun. I learned how to sell goods and buy other things. I learned to follow the map which I'm sure was the point of the 4th quest I did.

In my earlier blog, I reflected on whether I didn't enjoy WoW because I wasn't successful. Today, I had success, I enjoyed myself and I understood the game better. What does that say about learning?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Humbling...

Well, this was an interesting evening. My first real experience in World of Warcraft and I hardly set the world on fire with my skill. In SL, I use my arrow keys to move; in WoW, it's "W," "A," etc. That shouldn't have been that big a deal but when you're running into walls and going up the side of the hill instead of forward, well, that's just downright embarrassing.

Another thing to get used to in this virtual world are the sounds. Constant sounds of creatures yelling and grunting is a bit disconcerting - not to mention the body falling at your feet. There seemed to be a lot of those and that was o.k. with folks. I couldn't be sure as to their intent in the killing. Then there's the music. Clearly music is used to indicate the type of area, changing in intensity so as you pass into darker places, you can't help but feel a frisson of danger. I appeared to sustain damage at some point but moved on anyway. No idea how that worked!

There are quests to do and the one I was given (but I didn't know what it meant) said to "hold the line." I'll need to do some research to figure out how I go about fulfilling a quest. A few other things I need to research are the chat feature. I had no clue on that one. I also couldn't figure out to exit. Well, when in doubt, Alt + F4 is always an option!

I must admit I'm not as riveted as I was with Second Life. It might be because I'm not much of a warrior. Then there's the possibility that I didn't like it that much because it didn't come easily to me. This is also a humbling thought...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blending RWs with VWs

A few observations as I continue to navigate the virtual world...

  • Yesterday, when I went to get my haircut, I noticed a lovely bowl of lemons sitting on the table in the waiting area. I had seen that before in my other trips to the salon so the bowl itself was not unusual. What was unusual was my connection to it. Now, I thought of it in terms of assignments and that if I were to click on it (not that it can be done in the RW!), I would get a menu.  Weird connection, but there it was.
  • Second Life now figures in my dreams. I was dreaming that Tis was cold and I kept thinking I should find her a jacket. The reality was that I was cold and I just needed to pull up the blanket!
  • Today, we went on a tour of different destinations. Esme gave us a list and we went to Genome Island and the Space Museum. We took a flight to the Space Station. Our rocket disappeared when we arrived, which was a little unsettling. There were paths around the space station which I was fine while walking on them. I flew up to inspect the rest of the station and while I was up there, I saw Gibson plummet! Now I had a pit in my stomach and carefully navigated my way back to the path in order to land safely. It was an odd reaction on my part, although I have experienced the same sensation while playing Wii Fit. There's an obstacle course that's up in the air. I rarely play it because I have a fear of falling off of it. Esme explained that if I had "fallen," I would have simply fallen out of the box and gone "splat." Avatars simply dust themselves off after a "splat." Whew!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Second Life in the Classroom...

...or how to change a stance in 6 weeks... Yesterday, I had the pleasure of riding up to Montpelier with our district's tech director for a meeting on 1:1 devices. He asked me how Second Life was going. Six weeks ago when someone asked me that question, I rolled my eyes (such an adolescent gesture on my part) and said something that made it clear I was in this because I'm part of the Master's program. My response yesterday? "Oh, it's fun - you would not believe how much fun."

Frank thinks about this for a bit and then played "devil's advocate" in asking me of what use this would be in education. I explain the classroom concept of gathering around Esme, sitting on seats (or the ground) that are really little red disks, the challenge of keeping track of the various threads of conversation, the field trips, and the assignments that push us to learn both on our own and with the help of our new friends.  We talked about different ideas for class discussion in virtual classrooms and why this would work for teachers and students. As our conversation went on, I was a little startled at the strength of my advocacy, considering my previous opposition to it.

My position now, 6 weeks later? This is a wonderful tool, one of many that today's teachers are fortunate to have at their disposal. Just like any sophisticated tool, however, it takes some practice, creativity and commitment to figure out how to use it effectively. It doesn't satisfy every circumstance and every teacher. Find me the tool that does!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Discovering New Skills

Last night was an interesting experience for me. Let's think about that statement for a moment... Isn't everything interesting right now in SL? The answer is a resounding "YES!" because it all seems so new to me. While I was talking to Gibsonstratman in the Classroom in the classroom last night, I happened to mention the Money Tree on VAI. I encouraged him to go look for it because you can get free money from the tree but only within the first 30 days as a newbie. We teleported down and gosh darn it, I couldn't find it. So annoying! Gibsonstratman had to leave but since I was determined to find it, I continued to look. While on VAI, I saw all kinds of structures and equipment like swings, slides, and boats. I hadn't paid any attention to those before but since I'm braver now, I tried them out. So, the swing really swings and Tis really looks like she's swinging. I put her in a boat and she started rowing - fascinating! At one point, she rowed into a bridge. I thought she would go through it but no, she continued rowing - and hitting her head on the bridge. I turned her around and toured her around the island in the boat. What fun! After I took her out of the boat, the script said that if I no longer needed the boat, it would disappear in one minute. I was intrigued when I considered the script that accompanies that object. Now, I don't want to just try building, I want to learn some scripting.

By the way, while I was rowing around the island, I found the Money Tree! I would never have found it just walking around. I had to be in the boat. Another thought occurred to me... is it possible the Tree is moved from time to time? The area I found it in was really only visible from the water. Curious...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Little Help from My Friends

Tonight I decided I wanted to try building something - anything! I didn't want to work on it in the classroom because, I figured I would need a little space.  I flew up, up, up and landed on a platform I thought was the zoo. It turned out to be Technotooltim's platform and he was making these wonderful pillars. I had made a box with a picture in it but nothing like I was seeing on his platform. He taught me to spin boxes until they sort of  resembled the nice twists he had. It was an interesting exercise to try and follow his direction based on what he saw me do and what I was describing on my "build" menu. Between that, Barbarathelibrarian's share of jeans, a trip to the free store for clothes, it was a very satisfying day... that is, once Esme bailed me out of the jam I was in with all of those boxes...


Changing an Identity

Tuesday was an optional class night and since I wanted to meet other students and I needed the practice in the topics being discussed, I decided to attend. One of Esme's topics was that of clothing. I'm fashion challenged in the RW and while I know learning how to manipulate clothing is part of this whole avatar thing, I did not look forward to the challenge of clothing selection. Also, I'm not daring with clothes so there was no way poor Tis would be either. When I first started working with Tis, I selected a few items and quickly reverted back to what I would be comfortable wearing - black shirt and capris. I daringly selected the color purple for her pants and that's as far as my creativity could go.

On class night, Esme was dressed in beautiful gown. As I listened to her discussion on clothing our avatars, I watched the graceful flow of her dress. Could I get something like that for Tis or would I feel self conscious putting her in that? Esme referred us to a clothing store where I experimented with a few outfits. A lovely, formal black dress was available and since I love the simplicity of black, I dressed Tis in that. I turned her around and, whoa! A little low cut there! That won't do - I'm not about to let her be seen like this. Let's see what else there is... A conservative dress later and we're ready to rejoin the group.

This brings me to Esme's second topic for the night - our virtual identity - and Jane's bullet point on her "Quest for Virtual Identity" page. What virtual identity characteristics would you want to present to your students? Professional? Playful? Warm? Sexy? (Honestly this is debated!) Tall? Athletic? I'm not presenting to students right now but I know it would be conservative - which is how I've chosen to stay (for now) with my classmates. Over the years, especially when I was younger, I wanted to be someone other than myself (i.e. prettier, smarter, more outgoing).  Here was my opportunity to make Tis into something I wanted to be. Yet, there she is, pretty much like me... conservatively dressed, reserved, and tall (or at least she seems that way to me). I realized something in seeing her. I'm comfortable with her being as she is.  There is one change, though... her hair. I wanted long hair in the worst way, when I was a kid. Braids and pony tails looked like such fun. Esme shared long hair with me. Tis has lost it a few times when changing outfits but I always find it again and return it to her.


I discussed some of these ideas with a co-worker and he asked me an interesting question. Would your avatar be an extension of you if you didn't know these people and you weren't in a class. Would you be completely different if no one knew who you were? Hmmm... I don't know. I'll need to think about that.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Personality Extension

My conversation with my son about VWs continued over the next few days. As I was catching up on forums in the Moodle before going into SL, my son sat down with me and asked if he could see it. Well, gee, I never had one of my kids express that much interest in my work or classes so of course, I agreed. I was a little self conscious as I logged in and attempted to maneuver TisGirl around. My son is so adept and I felt clumsy and awkward. Still, he was a patient observer and made a few helpful suggestions.

I showed him some of the other areas of Marlboro Island such as that zoo in the sky. Somehow, and I can't remember how, I teleported TisGirl to a beginner area for newbies. As we were taking in our new surroundings, we were confronted by a tiny avatar - some kind of greeter? As I less than deftly moved TisGirl away, my son said "Wait, he talked to you." What?! I generally "blow past" strangers who talk to me on the street in unknown towns, so of course, I was doing the same in SL. "A little anti-social, are we?" my son remarked mildly. Whoops... That was unkind of me. The little man had said "hi" and was asking if I was new. Surely, I could give him the courtesy of a response. Was my son "schooling" me on proper etiquette? As it turned out, the little man gave me a nice tip: always be sure to organize my inventory as it will be too hard to deal with later. I thanked him and after chatting about exploring the area, I moved TisGirl on.

Lesson learned - it's o.k. to respond. I already knew that from the travel guide Jane posted but when confronted "in the moment," old habits and a shyer personality overrode the tips listed in the guide.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who Will Lead?

Unsurprisingly in this connected world, all of my children have spent hours interacting with all sorts of media - computers, game consoles, iDevices of one kind or another. My youngest has spent the most time interacting with virtual worlds such as Gears of War and Halo. As a parent, I worried about how much time was spent in front of a screen. That fear was somewhat mitigated by a rather interesting development. He acquired an interest in history and an amazing ability to remember historical information - thank you, "Medieval Total War." Hmmm... I may need to rethink.

He came home from college tonight and at dinner, I told him about my class. I described SL and my novice efforts in the virtual world. He gave me a big smile, "That's Awesome!" he said. I told him I had "leveled up." Unlike me, he immediately connected with what I had just said... a big hand shoots up and it's a high five for Mom.

The discussion turned to a more serious note as we discussed why educators would be interested in VW. He talked about the game play as an exercise in collaboration and strategy (in addition to the fun!). One of his games puts him in random groups and he and his teammates work as a team to accomplish their goal (i.e. take over territory). Like any VW or RW, there are strategies for achievement. I couldn't help thinking their strategies and collaborative work were like any group project in a the physical sense.

In years past, teachers have led the way. We have found the books, opened the doors, created opportunities - it's what we do but in this, the concept of gaming as a valid teaching tool, it appears to be a case of "and a child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)." He was busy learning while I was busy thinking he was playing. I can accept that but I still want him to get outside now and then. I am a mom, after all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My First Encounter

As I open SL, I see I'm still bald... Darn, I thought the hair would just come back on its own, although Esme said it wouldn't. While I'm struggling with my lack of style in picking out another hairstyle (why can't I find the original one?), I notice another avatar (technotooltim) - quick, look him up in the handy dandy "Worthy Questions" doc. Yes! He's one of ours - logically, who else would he be? He approaches TisGirl and as I'm watching, the word "Hi" appears. Oh dear, another challenge...consult the "how to" section which indicates the "chat" button. You'd think I would have seen that before.  Fortunately, technotooltim is patient and waits for me to figure it out. He offers some tips: using the scroll wheel on the mouse to view words to blurred to read and the location of other assignments. He also shows me where other parts of Marlboro Island are. I have to fly to get to them. This is so cool... uh, I should probably concentrate on TisGirl's landing skills. She just fell into a bunch of rocks. Not to worry, though. She's shockingly resilient!

Overall, an excellent adventure. My first encounter with another avatar has been very positive. This was more fun than I expected!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Eureka! Marlboro Island

After being absent from SL for a few days, I've rejoined TisGirl in her quest to find Marlboro Island. The reality is that this isn't much of a quest since Jane sent me an invitation. Once I teleported there, I experimented with all sorts of cool assignments. I realize these are meant to help me acquire some skills that I need to help acclimate TisGirl to her environment. So far I've learned to fly, after hitting the sides of hoop several times. What part of "ascend" did I not get? I tried on a hat (losing my hair in the process), sent an IM and a request for a friend, and experienced a sunrise and sunset. It was a full day. No time for Dublin, though. It's a beautiful day in the physical world and it's time to be outside in it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Holding at Arm's Length

"...to move ahead toward the degree you could take MAT616 Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds." With those words from Marlboro, I was signed up for something I had always chosen to avoid. While I revel in  many technological tools, I was never interested in virtual worlds. I include Facebook/Pinterest in this avoidance - anything that (I feel) expects me to reveal what I'm doing or explain where I am was something I held at arm's length. In the virtual world, as opposed to Facebook, it would be more that I didn't want to be put in the position of carrying on conversations with strangers or going places where I didn't feel I was in control. I'm not sure why I consider the virtual world as an "out of control" scenario. If I analyze this too deeply, it might be considered a topic worthy of psychotherapy! Suffice it to say, the virtual world seems scary and indeed, creepy, as some of the members of our class have already stated.

Ever diligent and feeling somewhat intrepid, I chose to soldier forth. I made my account in Second Life (without waiting for the oh, so helpful instructions), downloaded the viewer, and proceeded to spend an hour attempting to make an account. Does the word "infuriated" mean anything to anyone? [Note to self: do not make accounts or try new programs on an empty stomach.] Once the account was finally created, I began working on making my avatar (TisGirl) move, sit, the usual stuff. I walked around in a museum with questionable content on the wall (oh, my word!). Time to take a break. I made my avatar sit on a wall and beat a hasty retreat.

On my second venture into SL, I found TisGirl still sitting on the wall where I left her. Her environs were not the same as when I left, even though she was still sitting on the wall (wonder why that happened?) I was soon joined by another avatar, wearing only a thong. That's it! Another hasty retreat and a quick adjustment to the profile to reflect "General" preferences. So much to learn... I'm a long way from making anything along the lines of "Grandma's Birthday Party." My respect for the author grows.