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. 

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