Learning in 3D: First Class Summer 2011

The first class we once again ran into some technical difficulties. Second Life is being strange on our one island, it keeps throwing visitors into a perpetual teleport. This is really getting frustrating.

One interesting thing we are doing this semester is to visit a number of different 3D virtual worlds so that students get a survey of a wide variety of these types of environments since more are being developed all the time.

Getting to know each other in the virtual world.

So we moved to a new location which worked well. The class had a chance to visit a virtual “green” house and saw how instruction can be embedded into an environment.

Building under way in Second Life.

The class also learned about navigating in Second Life and building in Second Life and how to use the camera controls, talk to other

Class Meeting in Second Life

We discussed some instructional strategies and what needs to be done as an instructional designer to create instruction that makes sense from a user perspective.

What were your impressions of the class? What did you like about the virtual world and what did you not like?

How can virtual worlds be used for learning?

Next week, we’ll be in the virtual environment of VenueGen.

Posted in: 3D worlds, 3D worlds lrn3d, Avatar, virtual immersive environment

Leave a Comment (27) ↓


  1. Thomas Fluharty July 20, 2011

    I was left with a wide range of impressions after the first class. Overshadowing everything was my inability to ever get the voice chat to work at all. I have spent many hours trying to resolve the issue to no avail so far. Past that major technical issue, I experienced some fairly bad graphics lag. However, I met or exceeded all the technical system requirements. Unless I can come up with another cause, I can only assume running Second Life via my current ISP is the major barrier to a smoother user experience. So, I was pretty frustrated with the class from a technical point of view. That being said, there were a number of things I liked and disliked about the virtual world irrespective of performance issues.

    As a person who plays combat-oriented 3D games, I actually had to get used to NOT having a targeting reticule and ammo counter and picking out the friendly avatars from the hostile ones. Once I got pass that paradigm shift, mostly what impressed me was the object manipulation. In fact, the idea that I could create objects for a virtual world really fascinated me. In particular, I was hooked by the ability to create and share environments with others. I have done some low level to moderately complex modifications to game-based environments, but the context is generally very restricted. Second Life is my first experience with an open system that supports creativity at the object and attribute level. While we were in class, my brain kept churning about the possibilities of behaviors for avatars and objects.

    I can’t say I was thrilled with the software interface though. I disliked the layout. As an aside, I would have liked to see the same level of customization for avatar action commands as they put into the other modification-friendly aspects of the world – like avatar appearance and the physical world. On the other hand, I am sure there are scripts out there that address that very issue.

    As former hardware and software technical writer, I was impressed with the possibilities for using virtual worlds for learning. I used to have spend a lot of mental effort and work time trying to represent 3D concepts in 2D media. For example, I created hundreds of graphics from different perspectives to show how to properly cable our devices together with a myriad of both custom and proprietary telecommunications plugs and connectors. An application like Second Life would have been a great fit for building all the interfaces, all the devices with their ports, as objects with behaviors and then showing how they assembled as completed systems by actually letting someone manipulate everything virtually.

    It seems clear to me virtual vivisection would play also seem to fit a virtual world paradigm very well – like an online anatomy and physiology class, for example. At the visual-spatial level, parts are parts whether they are biological or mechanical in nature.

  2. Ronald Wagner July 18, 2011

    Overall, I think the first class was a success. One of the key takeaways from the first class was the importance of allowing plenty of time for technical support issues on the front of the class. I am no stranger to Second Life; however, this was my first experience attending a meeting in Second Life. The step-by-step tutorial followed by practice was an effective immersive learning experience. My impressions of Second Life are mixed. I am most impressed with how easy it is to navigate environment. My least favorite aspect of Second Life is the building tools. While the tools are available to build “from the ground up,” I think that I am definitely a candidate for purchasing pre-built buildings and equipment.

    I am excited about the possibilities for using virtual worlds to teach athletic training clinical skills. In athletic training education, it is important for students to be able to make decision on patient care without the injuring the patient. Virtual worlds will allow the athletic training educator to create immersive media-rich scenarios in a non-threatening and injury free environment.

  3. Katherine Hinkle July 18, 2011

    My first experience in Second Life was an interesting one. It started out with me not being happy at all with my avatars appearance, and my failed attempts at fixing it let her with her hand up in the air for most of the class. Not a deal breaker, but annoying. Second Life I felt was very cool, to say the least. It was worlds better when it came to giving people in the class the “feeling” of actually being in the classroom, way more then centra, which I liked. It was also nice to be able to explore on our own. I liked that you would give us brief instructions and then let us roam or fly!
    What I did find difficult was the building part. I felt like I couldn’t make a symmetrical room to save my life, but I guess that comes with practice. Overall my experience in Second Life was an eye opening one, and I look forward to using it in the future!

  4. Jamie Weaver July 18, 2011

    My first class experience in Second Life was an exercise in technological frustration. I had successfully created my virtual “sock puppet” and got to the assigned location on MSIT Island the week before. I experimented a bit with teleporting to other areas and chatting with avatars I met. But on the night of class, I had trouble logging in and getting to the class location. Once there I had no sound. I tried with and without my headphones to no avail. I could only gather bits and pieces from the chat box and watching other classmates.
    I did manage to move about and build a structure successfully. I found the tour of the green house interesting. The concept of a self-guided tour with note cards to explain the features prompted me to consider the possibilities for several corporate training ideas. I have been involved in taking and creating several courses that would have benefited more from a 3D view of the subject and a self-guided tour with features highlighted along the way. These courses had been presented as CBT which functioned exactly like a very dry and boring powerpoint presentation. I have watched co-workers let this training run in the background while they answered email or talked on the phone. Using a 3D virtual world would require their active participation rather than clicking the start button and ignoring the “training.”
    I can easily see how many companies could benefit from the ability to eliminate the concepts of distance but still allow participants’ interactivity. Even with conference calls, it is easy for participants to mute the call and have other conversations – thereby not remaining focused and immersed.

  5. Asma Almaghlouth July 18, 2011

    Living such a second experience is beyond my expectations. Exploring this world in which create avatars and interact with these avatars in real-time, in a variety of environment and ways. However, simulations, virtual tours, and other visual and group-based learning activities are attracting students by collaborating and cooperating with partners enhancing quality of education.
    The view option is actually terrific! the handle design grips your need by controlling the camera view. The Focus button lets you view any object from various angles. It allows you to change the position and direction of the camera freely, independent of your avatar. If you are skilled, you can manipulate the camera as to follow a path, allowing you to view into corridors. In effect, it’s like you have a remote controlled floating camera that you can send to snoop things while you standstill.
    Otherwise, I found building tool is consuming too much time so I really believe listing ready-made parts is a great idea and it could be available through collecting points instead of buying and wasting money over unreal objects.
    An instructor who studied visual and aural presence in online courses, who found that “students feel more satisfied in their online courses when they feel engaged through human presence design….students who find intrinsic satisfaction in their human presence courses tend to complete them at higher rates and with higher levels of academic success.”

  6. Jim Dougherty July 18, 2011

    I was looking forward to seeing how Second Life was used in a teaching and learning environment, and I wasn’t disappointed. I had explored Second Life previously as a corporate learning tool and been a little frustrated and daunted as a new user, but coming in on a private island certainly improves the end user experience (after the initial ‘random teleportation’ bugs were ironed out).

    There’s certainly potential here as a teaching tool, but overall my impressions of SL weren’t markedly different than they were years ago when I first experienced it; I feel like it’s a tool with boundless potential that is hamstrung by a host of unpredictable (but persistent) technical issues. I haven’t done enough research to know conclusively if SL uses the same client it’s used since its inception, but the front end feels very dated and clunky compared to newer 3D engines, and I noticed a lot of strange graphic clipping problems on both the Windows 7 PC that I used for class and the Mac that I tried later. There were also some issues with custom content that I discovered that just seemed very odd; I went to the NOAA island to watch the hurricane demo, and aside from a klaxon ringing, nothing seemed to happen after the demo began. Similarly, I tried to take a tour on a hurricane-chasing plane, and the software instantiated about two dozen planes which overlapped and filled the screen. As an instructor, I couldn’t imagine relying on such unstable software as a teaching tool in a classroom environment where time is limited.

    That said, the boundless nature of the environment is really appealing to me personally; I just feel like it would be incredibly frustrating to sink a significant chunk of time into custom-creating prims and building an entire virtual learning space only to have it behave erratically because of some faulty back-end code that I couldn’t access or control. As several others mentioned, I found the 3D building interface to be clunky and not particularly intuitive, but some of that may simply be the learning curve; it doesn’t follow many of the same conventions I’m used to, but that could just be my own inexperience with this particular platform.

  7. Yousef Alshrari July 18, 2011

    I have to admit that I was worried a lot about our second life class and asked myself many times what this class will be about? The instructions that Dr. Kapp has provided for us on Bolt helped me a lot with downloading the program. I had difficult time of how to let my avatar fly and run. I could not even know how to edit my avatar’s shape in second life. In our first class I realized what this course is about, and learned a lot from our first class about how to move, fly, talk, build objects, and find new locations.

    I liked the idea of being together and seeing everyone’s avatars. I felt that I was inside the class with my classmates unlike Centra. In this environment students can go and work with each other as if it is in real life. I also loved the idea of how you can express yourself such as smiling, and dancing. I learned a lot from the green house that we walked through in our class. I liked being able to go and discovered the new information and techniques that the green house had. Since, I just have started learning about the virtual world I liked every thing about it.

    In my opinion, virtual world is a great tool to use in e-learning environment. It can be used to explore new things such as world history. I used to be a teacher and knew how important to let your students explore new things. For that reason, I really want to know more about these virtual worlds, which can help me as teacher to explore and explain everything to my students.

    I am really excited and willing to know more about Second Life.

  8. Rachied Blythe July 18, 2011

    To be completely honest I really enjoyed using Second Life. Second Life in my opinion provides a very realistic feel even though you’re not physically there; I think that creating any type of instruction in a 3D world is limitless. For example, the green house that we walked through was extremely well detailed and most importantly it provided an abundance of useful information. When I think about this from a learners perspective I think that learning in a 3D world would be engaging and more beneficial because the learners can actually see some of the things they might encounter on the job. The only downfall to this would be everyone actually being able to use the different 3D virtual worlds. Learning something new sometimes can be a bit frustrating and if you cannot get technology to function the way you want or even be able to understand the way the virtual world operates it can cause a great deal of problems. Overall I think that learning in a 3D setting is very interesting, but could 3D learning meet the needs of any type of training program.

  9. Eric Sellix July 18, 2011

    I first used Second Life in September of 2006. Back then it was a mostly barren wasteland, with none of the development seen today. Linden dollars, and other micro transactions, were almost unheard of. Land rental was mostly done by people wanting houses and store space. I hadn’t been back to Second Life since that initial exploration. The greenhouse, along with the small amount of time that I got to spend on the DIT main island, is such an amazing use of the technology.
    I was a bit surprised that the interface hadn’t really changed. The build tools are still the same, and the entire interface has the same design aesthetic. The sidebar interface was something new, and an interesting way to present information.
    Virtual worlds are very useful in learning from a holistic viewpoint. In the example of the greenhouse, you could teach someone why this type of insulation is best, or what the radon gas chimney was for, but putting it all together in a 3D model lets learners view everything at once. At that point, they can learn at their own pace.

  10. Eric Newby July 18, 2011

    I was first introduced to Second Life during the spring semester and honestly, my initial thoughts of the virtual reality program were kind of on the negative side, as I am not really into computer gaming or anything like that. But once I began getting into it, it began growing on me. One of my first assignments for my GA project, I had to furnish an office building in Second Life, and I had free reign of being in different types of chairs, desks, copiers, etc., and that part was pretty cool.
    I feel like Second Life is a good tool towards setting up meeting places with groups, as was seen last Monday for our class, when we all met on a specific island. Being able to see another person’s avatar, and being able to communicate via the microphone on our computers is better than other online courses where communication is available, but interaction is very limited.
    Second Life can be a great tool for learning because it allows and almost at times forces students to go explore different worlds and or islands, and find specific information that the professor is seeking. There are many different functions, tools, etc. in Second Life, and it should be very interesting to see what else we as students are capable of when entering into this virtual world.

  11. Scott Stahl July 18, 2011

    When I first received the email about setting up my avatar I was thinking oh no. I am not really an avatar kind of guy. I was thinking the class was going to be more gaming oriented with an avatar that we created.

    I was way off. The first class proved to be quite interesting and combined with the drill video I now have an appreciation for 3d learning environments and the value they can add to an educational experience.
    I liked the immersion factor supplied by 3d learning environments. We were able to explore the green home much more thoroughly and interactively than we could have if it was just a picture or by reading about it. The 3d learning environment allowed us to get a better feel for how the green energy components were actually used in the house system.

    I will say the building part of Second Life is rather clumsy. After having several drafting courses in college and high school I found Second Life to be a little cumbersome. Although I will admit there were many features in the build tab that I did not get a chance to explore. I did begin using the x,y and z size boxes to type the dimensions of my walls instead of dragging and guessing each time.

    As a teacher I can see the value of using virtual worlds. I teach about green energy. You can have kids memorize different green energy production methods and uses, but a virtual world would allow students to make a more personal connection with the content. They could actually explore a home and see how green products are used in an actual house. They may even recognize something they are using in their own homes!

  12. Lauren Dyer July 18, 2011

    I wasn’t able to attend the first class due to a vacation scheduled that week and lack of internet where I was, so I can’t comment on what my impressions were of the class.

    However I can say that when I downloaded Second Life, I took a little time and went exploring. It was my first time ever using it and i found it to be very interesting. I actually enjoyed it and had fun meeting other people around the world. I know we will be using it for educational purposes, but I thought it was very neat that you could be chatting with people across the country and overseas, in a more personable way using the avatars. This is amazing for companies that have to have meetings with representatives or potential clients, that find it too difficult to meet in person. You can create your own world and invite them to join or tell them to join and have a business meeting.

    As for using Second Life for learning, you could easily create a world where you can hold class and the students can attend. It is a lot more fun and enjoyable for the students because they can be more interactive which will lead them to become more engaging in the “classroom” and in class.

  13. Dan Kreisher July 17, 2011

    I was impressed with the capabilities of Second Life. I had previous knowledge of what Second Life was but had no idea you were able to create objects right in the world. I can definitely see the power in using such software to run training and education. Rather than conventional teaching, students and learners are able to actually experience the learning process.

    As far as first impressions of the software; at the start of class I was a little discouraged due to technical difficulties. First the perpetual teleport was a bit confusing until we changed locations on the island. After logging back in as an advanced user, I had no audio or microphone capabilities which was odd, because I had both earlier in the basic mode. After a complete restart of my computer I was back up and running. By this point i was a bit put off by the software, but that was negated when the software worked flawlessly until the end of class. I like how you are not just a warm body sitting in a room. You are able to interact with objects, other people, walk around and ‘experience’ the learning process.

  14. Alyssa Genovese July 17, 2011

    My first impression of second life was thinking how fun it was going to be to have class in a virtual world. I thought the “green” house was a great, interactive way to teach information. Not only did I love the subject matter because i am really into renewable and sustainable energy and conservation, but how the information was displayed was really fun and interesting. By going up to an area of interest in the house and clicking on the information bubble–you can take a card that has all the information about whatever “green” feature was used. I thought it was a great learning tool that was interesting and fun!
    Like mentioned in the blog there were some problems initially with class–such as not being able to stay in the island without being transported or somehow dying. I could imagine there is always technical problems when it comes to software and things of that nature, but the fact that an avatar is just randomly thrown from an island seems like a pretty large problem that should not be occurring in the second life world. however after Dr. Kapp did find a new island there were only a few minor problems–like Beckie being in water for the entire duration of class. Besides those things the only other issue I had was trying to make my box building tools work. I had the main idea of how to build, but I think it involves more practice time with the building aspect of Secondlife.
    All in all I think Secondlife is a fun, interactive way of learning and I actually get excited to come to class!

  15. Beckie Brisson July 17, 2011

    As everyone could here last week I had difficulty with the class because the entire time I was over water and not in the virtual classroom. It was hard because I really wanted to see what everyone was doing and building but I couldn’t so if I had one complaint it was just I had difficulty with the software. However, while just listening I could tell the instruction would help in regards to virtual worlds and understanding the concept. I was very excited to take the class and Im hoping everything works out this week.

  16. Jessica Christ July 17, 2011

    Since I am knew to the IT program I was completely unaware of what I was getting myself into with this Second Life class. I must admit I was a bit worried (and probably still am) of what to expect but initially I really enjoyed the class. As a math teacher, you tend to only believe in formulas and concrete information, so to have the ability to fly and build a house with the click of a button this was very intriguing to me. Getting to experience really made my creativity start flowing and just start thinking of all the ways this could be incorporated into the classroom. This is a world that I knew existed but never thought I’d be a part of, and now that I am I am excited to see what all we can do with it.

    I didn’t “not like” anything but there were a few things about the class that make me nervous, I guess is the best way to say it. First there were a few technical difficulties but once everything was fixed I thought class ran very smoothly. Next, I am worried about the group project(‘s) and how we are going to pull them off in an online class, but I think once we all get a little more understanding things will be fine. And lastly, this is the most important one for me; I can completely see the use of Second Life in multiple academic areas like history and science! However, I am a math teacher and I am wondering how this world can help me get the Pythagorean Theorem across to my students better? So far I do see the value in this world; I just hope I will be able to use it as a math teacher!

  17. Shannon Humphrey July 17, 2011

    I was initially very worried about coming into this class when I heard that we would be using the Second Life program. I had some troubles in downloading the software but after researching through some troubleshooting websites, I was able to successfully install it. I think that this is the type of program that you need to learn just by doing it yourself. You can spend time watching tutorials and reading through manuals but it really makes the most difference when you are just figuring things out for yourself through trial and error. Upon entering Second Life I was confused as to where to go and what to do but began exploring to the different areas. I really like the fact that we can personalize our avatars to represent our own personal style or depict someone that is completely opposite from ourselves. I really thought that it was cool to be able to travel quickly from one area to another by flying around; it’s neat to see the perspective you get from up in the air. Before our first class I didn’t realize that all of the infrastructure within the program was actually built by people from within it. I enjoyed the fact that we were given time to explore the island and get a feel for our avatars while also learning from the information dispersed throughout the house. I also liked the fact that we would congregate with one another as a class and then we were given the opportunity to try out the activities for ourselves. It was so neat to create our own building with a partner because we were able to talk out issues or complications that we had while working together to build something. I think that after some more practice and experience working with the program that I will really enjoy learning about ways that this could be incorporated into learning and teaching methods. It will be beneficial to learn about and work with programs such as these because they are continuously growing in popularity as a means of social networking and ultimately as a vehicle to enhance online teaching methods.

  18. Fred Mealia July 16, 2011

    I thought class was pretty cool, especially being able to fly…….and the fall to earth, then just get right back up haha. i like the fact that we could see things and learn about them without being at an actual place, yet feeling like it because we have all of the things we would actually see right in front of us. being able to build things was really cool although i got very frustrated because i could not get a darn thing to line up correctly hahaha. i enjoyed it.

  19. Matt Thomas July 16, 2011

    My initial experience with Second Life was a bit lukewarm — probably because I’m used to learning game-based interfaces rather quickly. There’s definitely a learning curve with Second Life, but that’s probably to be expected. The performance was a little shoddy as well — so I had to switch from my Windows 7 machine to my Macbook Pro (performance was just fine on the Macbook pro).

    Once we were able to actually start our class, I became a little more comfortable with the interface and was able to actually focus on the virtual environment. Sitting around the campfire while Dr. Kapp lectured was a really nice touch. It was engaging, and immersive. More importantly, exploring the house was an outstanding experience. I liked how there were unique learning modules “built in” to the house (i.e. powerpoint slides, note cards, etc). I also liked that there were physical objects with tooltips explaining what those objects were (i.e. the deck outside being made from a composite material).

    It was impressive that we could actually create objects within the world. This could be very useful to customize training and instruction. However, I found the interface for creating objects to be a bit cumbersome. It took way too long to figure out how to create primitive objects — at least for me.

    The implications for learning in Second Life are infinite! The most important thing is that the virtual world can provide actual context. It would be a better — more engaging — learning experience for let’s say an architecture class to practice building structures on a specific type of terrain to see how those structures work within an environment. Rather than watch powerpoint slides or listen to a teacher lecture on architecture — they could experience the architecture (well, as close as you could get in a 3D environment).

  20. Marcus Valeriano July 16, 2011

    My first second life experience extremely interesting and displayed a way of learning that I’ve never experienced before. This type of learning reminded me of playing a first person video game because its up to the person controlling the avatar to find their way around and learn or enhance the virtual world.

    Exploring the “green” house was such an amazing way to learn about information regarding a home and learning ways to become more environmentally friendly when building a new home or enhancing a current home to go green. There were a few different ways that we could figure out ways to learn which, to me, made second life so incredibly rich for a learning environment. If I was sitting in a class discussing greener possibilities for a home, I don’t think I would have been as interested because of not being able to interact with the learning as if I was actually seeing in SL where and why you could implement a greener home environment.

    It was also very interesting to learn how we can move around SL as well as actually create and build objects. The flying feature is very useful and fulfills everyone’s dream of being able to fly. The build feature is a great way to develop new ideas in second life. Starting off with experiencing hands on development of creating four walls was a fantastic way to learn a little bit of the capabilities second life offers. I’m sure there are many more ways to build and I am anxiously awaiting building more complex ideas in the future. I feel that the build feature could be more user friendly, but remember I am a first time user and I could compare this new learning experience to the first time I began using software like Dreamweaver or Illustrator. It was a new experience that will take time to build experiences and knowledge of the SL software.

    Once again the “green” house was such an awesome way to learn. Interactive buildings are a great way to learn. I can see the development of skyscrapers to farms which speaks volumes to SL’s adaptability from urban to rural environments all within one piece of software. I’m not sure if you can learn about animals but after seeing the green house I feel anything is possible with SL. Technology, historic learning experiences (social studies), mathematics, sciences, honestly everything seemed fair game if you are creative and motivated to develop learning for any of your audiences that you teach or instruct.

    I am excited to learn more about SL as we progress through the course and develop more knowledge and experience of the possibilities we can take advantage of.

  21. Jessica Andrezze July 16, 2011

    I was slightly apprehensive about using Second Life, or any virtual world software for that matter, for our first class because it is something completely new to me. I first entered our SL island in the early afternoon of the first day of class and quickly grew frustrated because I kept being teleported to different places when I wanted to stay on our island. I thought this was just how SL worked and it was very discouraging until I found out that this was a glitch with our island and this was not how SL actually operated. Once class started I found SL to be a very engaging and interesting venue for class. I loved being in an environment and seeing everyone’s avatars, as opposed to being in a program like Centra, where all we see is a name. I think the possibilities for using virtual worlds for learning are endless. I like how a whole world can be built and used to teach a concept or concepts. For example, the green house that we walked through used a variety of techniques for providing information. I also thought it was very cool that we were all able to walk through the house at our own pace and look at things as we pleased, and yet we were still all there together and able to chat with each other. It really gave me the feeling that we were all there together, even though some of us may have been hundreds of miles apart.

  22. Tracey Turnquist July 16, 2011

    I thought that our first class in Second Life was very frustrating. I missed, it seemed like, half the class. I don’t know anything about virtual worlds so this was all new to me and so with the technical difficulties it made my first experience not the best. After I got acclimated to what was going on, I found it very interesting. I was impressed by how Dr. Kapp could just come and talk directly to me and show me some of the things that I missed.

    I know there were others in the class that were just as new to this as me because I watched one person stand in the fire the whole time Dr. Kapp was lecturing. Little does she know, but that made me feel so much better. That made me feel like I was not alone.

    I have always felt like we should create more learning games the way they game makers create games like Grand Theft Auto. If we could make educational games as interesting as some of these entertainment games then I believe this could really help our failing educational system.

  23. Frederick Bloss July 15, 2011

    The first class was definitely an enjoyable one. I play video games so I’m no stranger to virtual worlds, though I have never used Second Life before. I liked the building feature, it seemed complicated at first but the basics are easy to get the hang of. I also enjoyed the avatar customization and the myriad worlds that the aforementioned building system makes possible. The main thing I don’t like about Second Life is the internet speed needed for it. I’m taking the class from home and my internet isn’t that speedy. I had many difficulties at first but managed to get it to a point where it ran reasonably. I feel this is one of the obstacles encountered with learning in 3D worlds.

    Virtual Worlds are useful to learning for quite a few reasons. One of the best ones is making distance irrelevant. When learners meet in a virtual world like Second Life, they are receiving the same experience (barring technical issues). An example would be the Green House. We were all logging into Second Life from different places, but we were all touring and learning about the same house. Also, as I said in class, 3D worlds provide a holistic picture of a subject. Instead of a slide show where one slide is about solar panels and then the next one is about a heat pump, the learners receive one interactive model which contains all of those elements.

  24. Desiree Eddins July 15, 2011

    I thought that the first class was very interesting. I have always been curious about virtual learning environments and therefore am excited at the chance to actually learn using the different software. I enjoyed being able to design my own special avatar and walk/fly around and chat with classmates. I really loved having class by the camp fire and exploring the green house. I had fun trying to build in second life, however found it extremely difficult to create objects of the same size and line them up. Maybe with more practice I will understand the different tools that second life has to offer and be able to work with them correctly.
    There are many different ways that virtual worlds can be used for learning. For example, second life offers tutorials on how to use some of the functions it offers. It also had notecards that could be picked up throughout the world to gain insight on some of the features offered in the world, like in the green house on the world we were in. Virtual worlds can also be used as learning tools because they can give students a hands-on learning experience. Students are able to get up close and personal with different items that they may not otherwise be able to. For example, a virtual world might be created for a zoo. For students who live in the country far from a zoo, this can be beneficial because they will be able to get a real life experience of a zoo through the virtual environment. Lastly, virtual worlds are fun and give students a real life experience to keep them engaged and make the learning experience fun.

  25. Linda Brown July 15, 2011

    The pre-work assignment of signing up for SL and creating your avatar in advance of the first official meeting was helpful. After spending a little time before the class began navigating, I felt a little more comfortable when class officially began. While it was a little like managed chaos, it gave us time to play in a safe environment.

    It was fun to watch classmates changing their appearance and discovering new features (built in gestures). I picked up a few things as I watched others.

    I liked the free time we had to tour the green house. It gave us an opportunity to see and experience the learning potential of SL. The note cards were content rich and could be saved for future reference.

    My least favorite part was building, perhaps because it was all new and unfamiliar. After touring the house, you gained an appreciation for all the aspects of building it. Perhaps practice makes perfect.

    Regarding learning, I liked the aspect of exeriencing or being emersed in the concept. Not only did you have the content shared in the notes, but it was in the context of where the concepts were applied. Learners could also work at their own pace. The potential to collaborate with others was a big plus as well.

    Can’t wait to see what our personalized avatars look like in VenueGen.

  26. Van Domov July 13, 2011

    You can try new virtual world for education vAcademia.
    It is free now.



    The key advantage of vAcademia over other virtual worlds is its option to record classes in “virtual space”. Students can go into the recorded class meeting and discuss it afterwards.

    In vAcademia teachers and learners have all necessary tools for effective collaborative learning activities: interactive whiteboards; pointers, “clickers”, screen sharing, application sharing, webcam support, slide presentation.

    Web site http://www.vacademia.com provides administration and management of classes and class activities in virtual world, gives easy access to recorded classes, supports communities of practice.

  27. Ken Boland July 13, 2011

    I thought it was a very interesting class that was highly interactive. While I enjoyed walking or flying to different areas to explore the virtual world, I was not as impressed with the building features that are available. If it is possible to import 3D content from other programs, I would much rather prefer doing that, than building the content directly in SL. Despite the building features, I still think it is a great instructional tool with a high amount of potential as it is an engaging and unique experience. There were several ways that learning could be accomplished in the virtual world. Note cards were used to provide textual information, images and slide shows can be uploaded into the environment, and most importantly, content can be delivered in the exact context as it would exist in the real world. In a classroom setting, it is difficult, if not impossible, to deliver content in the same context as the real-world.

Karl Kapp
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