Thursday, April 1, 2010

Learning to Walk...

Above you can see teacher Hilary Reader making some final head adjustments before taking her avatar to the hairdresser. On the right on the big screen one of her Tourism students flies over Jokaydia in Reaction Grid while on the desktop a Hospitality student walks her avatar through a forest on the Island Campus of the Tasmanian Polytechnic in Second Life.

Over the last week 4 classes (60 students) have been introduced to virtual worlds - well virtually introduced... we had a few technical issues but we are almost there.

The students are from a range of courses in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management at the Hobart and Drysdale South Campuses. They will explore and work in both Second Life and Reaction Grid - and perhaps some other virtual worlds.

Evidence for assessment including photo's, movie clips and reflective journals will be displayed in ePortfolios that all the students have now set up in the Polytechnic's Mahara. The students have all joined a 'Virtual World' group in Mahara that contains links to help and tasks, and most have added classmates as 'friends', customised their profiles and made comments on each others 'walls'.

Avatars have been registered and some students have begun to learn how to walk, talk, sit down and fly. After Easter they will learn to eat, dance, teleport and take photo's.

Some technical issues with graphics cards and ports meant that some students used Open Sim on USB memory sticks to practice customising their avatar's appearance. To make the USB world more interesting some of our buildings from the Island Campus in Second Life were copied across to the USB world using the Meerkat Viewer.

More classes will be joining these students after the Easter break.

And in news just in... We've heard that funding has been approved for the project: Virtually Here by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. Project descrition:

Virtually Here

"To improve opportunities for collaborative interaction and communication for students who are geographically isolated, using the virtual world of Second Life (for adult learners) and Reaction Grid (for students who are under 18 years of age) as the primary learning platforms."

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