Learning in 3D Summer 2009: Class Four

Class visits the Holocaust Museum in Second Life.

This class consisted of three different parts. The first part we visited the exhibit at the US Holocaust Museum. The interactive nature of the exhibit and the interactions of the avatars with the exhibit made it a great educational place to visit.

Holocaust Museum has some really well done effectives like fire and falling glass.

We then had guest speaker Heather Gee. Heather provided a great tutorial on how to build a building within Second Life. She provide advise on creating phantom walls, how to make a roof and other key building information.

Heather describes how to build a simple structure.

We then sat at the conference table and we reviewed the educational field trips the students took as their homework. Each student described their favorite location and why it was good from an educational perspective.


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Posted in: Second Life 3D worlds

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  1. Jeeth August 8, 2009

    This was the most interesting class for me. i had technical difficulties with my computer, but i was able to catch up with the class. in the first part we visited the Holocaust museum. most of the objectives of the class looked realistic, and very useful information about the holocaust. we saw the glasses on the street, and building set on fire looked very realistic (class rooms, pictures, buidling on fire so on and so forth). It was amazing to see the use of SL in educational perspective.

    After that we learned how to build objectives in SL. It was very useful class about building the wall, and other objectives finally. It was very exciting class by Dr.Kapp, and Heather Gee. she walked us through the steps on how to build the wall, glasses,doors and roof, and assemble them together. again very useful experience on how to build basic structures, and if we practice we can build complex structures in SL.

    In the last part we went to a conference room in MSIT island, and had a round table conference. I had to stand in that room as we do in the real world when we dont have enough chairs for every body in a conference. then we discussed about the previous weeks assignment experience after visiting different places in our tour. i got lot of note cards, and information on these islands, we shared our experience in typing because of the audio issues we had.

    I also enjoyed the dance move by Ron Xenga. at last i learned how to build objectives, and customize them to hollow or fold them or stretch them according to our needs. very interesting and amazing experience of this course.

  2. Seth August 7, 2009

    Class four saw us visiting the Holocaust Museum. It was an interestingly designed structure with a very small anteroom filled with desks where pictures, first hand accounts, and reports were displayed on wall fixtures. Clicking on a glowing object at the far end of the room disintegrated the wall and gave access to the rest of the museum. This turned out to be a reproduction three buildings deep of a section of a city. The primary structure, and the only one that could be entered, was a synagogue. A visitor could key an animation sequence in which the windows shattered and fire sprung up in the building. While this was a neat effect I'm not too sure about its pedagogical value. Overall the museum was worth a cursory but apart from a few snippets of information dolled out on note cards either from clickable objects or keyed events, it didn't offer much. It would have been nice to walk through a time line of noteworthy events supported by graphical media, kind of like a real world museum, but instead it seemed to me that the whole place was built around one showy series of particle effects.

    Heather Gee's presentation on rudimentary object building using primitives was interesting and informative. It would have been nice to see more texture, lighting, and particle effects though, as well as how to construct practical structures like stairs and teleport locations.

  3. vines August 4, 2009

    The recent assignments to visit different locations in SL, including the Holocaust Museum during class made me think more about what makes virtual locations successful or not.

    A few aspects of some of the destinations that I found important include:

    1) having enough specific, interesting and maybe hard to locate information to draw on. For example I liked learning about planets and galaxies and their relationship to Star Trek lore, the history of earth and human evolution, experiencing an avalanche on Mars or a meteor striking the surface, experiencing a tsunami, facts/stories/artifacts from the Holocaust…

    2) built up locations with lots of options for accessing the information- like planetariums, teleporting to surfaces of some planets, walking the history of earth, movie theaters, various rooms housing different kinds of information, clickable objects…

    3) Creating some way to experience something… not just passively watch. Similarly some of the tours I went on weren’t always interesting. There are many places like Health Info island- you can walk the island and see different buildings where you can get different information. But it feels like a lot of time to search for information that I might just want more easily- especially if its not presented in an interesting way.

    I happen to be interested in education that targets affective domain- I understand that probably most instructional designers are not. Often this area of education isn’t built around concrete learning objectives or at least concrete behaviors. I’m not always sure if instructional design is a good match all the time actually and I’m still trying to think about what the value, use, and effectiveness is of a location in SL like the Holocaust Museum. The actual museum in Wash DC is innovatively designed- replicating and simulating locations… very moving. I can see how deciding to build an environment in SL could have been logical. And of course it is useful for people striving to understand and research the holocaust who can’t go to Washington DC. It’s interesting to think about the thought process of the designer of the virtual Holocaust Museum. I would like to find out from the designer and educators how they intended to use it and how do they organize people to visit.

    I’ve wondered about how to use SL to affect people’s emotions that may allow people to change their attitude or opinion… The Holocaust Museum is one of those rare places that makes collecting and organizing people’s life stories central to it’s mission. I wonder if there could be a way that there was a section of the SL museum where you were forced into a roleplay of an actual German or Jewish person and you witness/experience life up to and though the time of the holocaust.

    It is difficult to imagine how to make role playing effective in a self-paced, independent situation where the point is to get familiar with a role that is not currently imaginable. And you aren’t relying on other avatars to act out different roles. You can’t just rely on the participants’ own devices. And you can’t just rely on notecards at each step of the way in a story. I am not sure how far scripting can take you.

  4. Adam Yerger August 3, 2009

    I particularly enjoyed the class preparation exercise we received and were expected to “follow” for this class meeting. The note cards we received from Dr. Kapp had a list of links to various Second Life addresses on them. It was our job to follow these links, scout the locations, and report back to the class with what we found.

    There were a number of very interesting Second Life locations, but my favorite one was the NOAA site. I felt that this location had the most to offer students and curious travelers in Second Life. There were interactive “games” and simulations of natural phenomena like tsunamis, hurricanes, and global warming’s effects on a glacier/water levels.

    We also began class by visiting a very interesting Second Life site: the Holocaust Museum. I can see, upon visiting the museum, yet another effective use of Second Life’s unique ability to spatially recreate a scenario (in this case, a historical one) to immerse the learner in a situation that would be very difficult and expensive to recreate in real life.

    Another very useful activity that we engaged in was when Heather Gee, a guest speaker, showed the class how to create a building using primitives in Second Life. Some of the key concepts were grouping, applying textures, and creating “phantom” walls. Afterwards we met at the conference table and discussed our homework.

  5. Anup Sharma August 3, 2009

    This class was interesting for me as I happened to have technical difficulties in the first part of the class. I wasn’t in town so had to use one of my friend’s computer and not the usual lab computer I use for my class. Because of not meeting the technical requirements, I lost the audio in Second Life for the first one hour of the class. However, Dr. Kapp was helpful in providing information in the text chat. Overall, the knowledge and information I gained from the class was amazing.

    We started our class with a visit to Holocaust Museum. It’s just fascinating to see how much real life experience the Second Life can provide in conceptual orientation learning archetype. It’s something I would have never imagined to be possible other than virtually in Second Life. We had a guest speaker, Heather Gee, who talked about building in second life.

    We also talked about different places we visited in Second Life as a part of our assignment from our last class. We virtually sat down in a conference table and started discussing the educational implication of those places. We all liked the real life experience we had visiting those places in Second Life. I talked about the educational implication of the hospital I visited. I was happy to have too many freebies in my account after visiting those places. However, the information that the Second life experience can provide was amazing.

  6. Bittner August 3, 2009

    The class was a very interesting one which I also really enjoyed. It was nice, once again, to really see SecondLife in action being used for some very interactive and educational purposes. The Holocaust Museum was really cool because it truly brought to life the real setting and emotions that are associated with this historical event. It was much more real to me than if I were simply reading about it in a book. The rooms had posters and papers all over on the bulletin boards which were very informative and educational regarding places, people, or events during the time.

    I also had fun learning about how to build in SecondLife. Heather was very helpful in laying down some foundational knowledge for us to get started with building. From there on it was fairly easy and intuitive to create and modify objects using the tools provided. It was very helpful that she touched on a little bit of each tab of the tools panel because it gave us a very wide base of tools to build from. I did learn in this part of the instruction though that if you do need to build objects/places for your instruction, it can be an extremely time-consuming task to complete to a high degree of quality.

    We then moved up to the conference room area of the island to discuss the places we had been from the notecards that were handed out in the last class. It was great that we could all sit face to face to have our discussion because it made the conference room discussion feel very realistic. The only thing that was rough was the fact that the pace of the discussion was very slow due to most people typing their responses. Sometimes the discussion moved forward while someone was still trying to add to their previous statements. There was a very good mix of destinations that people had enjoyed and found educational for themselves. Everyone had different interests and learned best in different ways at each destination. Destinations in SecondLife can be incredibly powerful for the simple fact that anyone can visit them. Places you could never go in real life due to distance, economic factors, or danger, can become a reality in SecondLife.

  7. Susan L August 3, 2009

    We began class this week with a quick visit to the Holocaust Museum. It was interesting to see how historical events can be turned into an experience. Although it was a bit crowded with the entire class walking around at the same time, it was still a good experience.

    We also had a guest speaker come and give us a crash course on building basic structures. Heather did a good job, but I felt this might have been one time that a handout with the instructions written down or else a video tutorial may have been helpful. Shortly after the class it was already becoming difficult to remember all of the tips and steps she had told us for completing this process.

    Finally we all got to sit around the conference table and discuss our homework. Two of the more popular locations on our list seemed to be Virtual Morocco and the StarTrek Museum. We discussed ways that such locations could be used in educational situations, and had some very different ideas, such as preparing a person for a different culture in a more realisitc way than just giving them a printout to read. Also, everyone seemed to agree that even though it was an OK way to have a meeting for people who were geographically spread out, it had a very discomforting effect. Once the avatars have all taken seats, they cease to animate. Personally, I found it quite boring to have the limited camera angle and to be staring at 13 other avatars that suddenly looked like someone had hit their "off" switch. Also, most students declined to use their mics inside of SecondLife, which kind of broke one of the effects of using such a program in the first place.

  8. Christine August 3, 2009

    This class was so much fun. I really enjoyed touring the Holocaust museum in second life. It really gave me a chance to experience the holocaust in a way that I have never before. I went to the Holocaust museum when I was younger and I could remember walking through the exhibits and feeling so much emotion. While experiencing the virtual environment of the Holocaust museum I received the same reaction. The creators made you feel like you were there. That you could explore the dangerous environment from the comfort of your home. I thought it was so creative how by clinking on the folder the wall turned into the city entrance and everything down to the graffiti was detailed to emerge you into the environment.

    I really enjoyed Heather Gee’s instruction on how to build a building in second life. She really helped me to understand the creating tool in greater depth. After the tutorial I was able to create a building on my own. The last couple of week while I was experimenting in second life I was curious of how the creators made some wall to walk through and others that did not. Heather showed us how to create phantom wall which allowed avatars to walk through them.

    The last part of class we talked about our experiences exploring second life. All the places we visited during the week gave us a wide range of learning experiences. It was great to hear which learning environments were preferred and why. Some reactions made me look certain environments from a different viewpoint. I even went back to one after class because I missed an attraction the first time.

  9. Steve Gaydon August 2, 2009

    In this class, we took a tour of the Holocaust Museum, Learned How to Build 3-D structures and had a roundtable of what we discovered while touring Second Life.

    We first went on an instructor-led guided tour of the Holocaust Museum. Dr. Kapp had previously explained how virtual world work best for affective domain (emotion) because of the element of rehearsal. The Holocaust Museum was an example of this as it appealed to emotion with many of the exhibits and the building catching on fire. It was a very interactive 3-D site filled with excellent education materials.

    We next learned how to build structures in Second Life. Heather Gee, our guest lecturer, showed us how to build a house. Unfortunately, learning was made a little bit difficult since in Second Life you cannot actually see someone clicking the menu. I felt that although building requires practice and precision, there were features (such as the copy and transparent features) in Second Life, which simplified the process.

    We next held a virtual conference or roundtable in which everyone discussed what they liked about their tour of Second Life. Some of the sites that people mentioned as their favorite included Virtual Morocco, London Hospital, and the Star Trek museum. Virtual Morocco was praised because of its similarity to the actual country of Morocco. It was almost like traveling there. The London Hospital allowed users to familiarize themselves with the rooms of a hospital and gave useful information on procedures. Someone even mentioned that a site like this in a school setting could have been helpful in orienting 8th graders into high school. The Star Trek museum appealed to many people who are not even “Trekkies” because of its amazing detail and futuristic exhibits. Among the most disappointing sites was the Dell site, which was difficult to navigate, and provided no educational value. It seemed like they wanted people to become familiar with the inside of a PC. However, I just got stuck and had trouble really analyzing the site as whole. The Nissan site was no longer active so it also got thumbs down. The virtual conference was a good experience because even though everyone was physically in different locations, it felt like we were in the same space.

  10. Liz Jenson August 1, 2009

    The US Holocaust Museum was an awesome educational resource. Students would really be able to relate to the history of what transpired. I would use this environment to reinforce some introductory material that was previously covered in class. I think the environment help students understand what occurred in a more meaningful, personal way.

    It is mind boggling to think about the time it took to develop the environment. It is so detailed and very impressive. I am assuming they imported 2D images and then created the 3D structures based off of them. I also imagine that scripting was used for the fire, breaking glass and wall that slid open. Building in Second Life can be quite extensive.

    Heather Gee made building look easy. It is so neat that she was teaching us online and then we were able to practice and ask questions.

    I think it is important to understand the difference between phantom walls and non-phantom walls. When I visited one of the field trip locations I kept falling through the floor into the ocean when I would try to get close to some signs I wanted to read. It was very frustrating. Someone must have had Phantom selected when they created that environment. In another location, I got trapped in the corner of a room behind a screen. It would have been nice if these walls had been set to phantom.

    I liked learning how to copy and align walls. I also thought it was neat to learn that you can make objects hollow and transparent. I would love to spend hours in Second Life developing my building skills.

    When we sat at the conference table it was interesting to read everyone’s comments about their favorite places. Next time I intend to use the talk feature because I now see where the lock is that you were referring to. It was funny to see some avatars repositioning themselves in their chairs. It made it all seem so much more realistic. I do have to say, I think my favorite part of the conference was when Ron Xegena (sp?) got up out of his chair and did that little dance.

  11. Brandie Shatto July 31, 2009

    During our fourth Learning in 3D class, we visited an interactive museum, learned how to build structures in Second Life and discussed the previous week’s “homework.”

    The first part of class involved taking a virtual field trip to the Holocaust Museum in Second Life. The purpose of this trip was to demonstrate how the interactive features of Second Life can be for educational purposes. Throughout the environment, there were many clickable items and when clicked, the items provided note cards with information about the Holocaust. This, I thought, was a great way to provide students with information about the Holocaust. Much more interesting than taking notes from a PowerPoint or video. In addition, some of the other interactive features really helped to create a “mood” for the environment. One of the most fascinating interactions is that the town synagogue explodes and glass shards rain down on the avatars present in the location. These interactions helped me feel as though I was really there. It was, in my opinion, a really immersive experience and really brought the Power of Presence (one of the seven sensibilities) to life for me.

    After the virtual field trip, a guest speaker provided instruction on building basic structures in SL. She explained how to build walls, make them transparent or phantom and how to build a roof and doors on the structure. At first, building the structures was difficult for me. I could not get the objects to stretch the way I wanted them to. However, with the help of some SL friends, I began to get the hang of it. What I took from this presentation is that, with some practice, one can create almost anything in Second Life. For educators, this is a really powerful tool. Being able to build structures and objects opens the door of possibilities for what can be accomplished in the virtual environment. Whatever you need to teach your lesson in the virtual world can be built. However, it certainly could take a great deal of time to build structures of complexity and this would need to be considered if you were planning to teach lessons in Second Life.

    Last, we sat around the conference table and discussed the “homework” from the previous week. I really enjoyed visiting the list of locations that Dr. Kapp provided. I had no idea such complex environments existed in Second Life. Prior to this course, I viewed Second Life more as a game than anything else. However, the homework showed me what can be done with Second Life in an educational context. There are so many locations in Second Life that can provide an enriched learning experience for students because it allows them to actively interact with content. I think one of the most powerful things about Second Life is that is very difficult to be a passive learner. There are so many opportunities to interact with information. The locations we visited for homework made that very evident.

  12. Tony3394 July 31, 2009

    This class was alot of fun! We started off class by going to the Holocaust Museum in Second Life. This was fascinating!I loved the way they made everything within this "exhibit" feel so real. Everything from the photos and bulletin board postings in the class room, to the exploding synagogue during Kristalnacht.It was amazing to see all the detail that so many people came together to perfect.

    The second part of class we learned how to build more advanced objects in Second Life. Heather taught us how to build basic buildings, how to make the walls, the roof, and how to make them phantom objects so we could walk through them. This was great cuz i hate getting stuck at certain areas when all you're trying to do is walk around.

    The third and final part of the class was held in the MSIT "conference room" on MSIT Island. Everyone in the class took turns is explaining what they thought was particularly interesting about the places they had visited over the past week. It was really interesting to see everyones perspectives on what they had experienced.

  13. Michelle Campbell July 30, 2009

    In the beginning of our class, we visited the Holacaust Museum. At this place we went through a room where they had documents that acutally looked like the real documents that were from the Holacaust. We then visited a building that caught on fire when all of the students were in the building for a while. In Second Life, we learned that the learners can experience with these things and objects in Second Life that we may never be able to experience in the real world or real life so experiencing these things in Second Life is very important to understanding the world that we live in (if we cant visit that part of the world).

    We then learned to build a basic house in Second Life. A visitor taught the class how to build basic walls and stain glass (transparent) walls. She showed us how to design the walls to be vertical or horizontal and how to group the objects (or walls) together so we were able to move them together instead of moving each object separately. We then formed groups and built walls on our own (at least tried to build the walls, in my case) The walls are really hard for me to build for some reason.

    After this, we met around the table and discussed what each student thought about our homework that we had last week. The homework definitely opened up my eyes to the world in Second Life, I really didnt realized there was so many sites out there that had a site within Second Life. I really enjoyed the homework because it took me to so many places where I would have never gone in real life.

  14. Amanda Golasa July 30, 2009

    This was my favorite class yet. I really got to see what Second Life was capable of. The first part of class consisted of us going to visit the Holocaust Museum in Second Life. This was surprisingly very realistic and informational. The Holocaust was such a serious time for a lot of people and Second Life captured the event and information perfect within a virtual world. I have always been a little set back by going to the actual Holocaust Museum because I feel that I would be very overwhelmed and sad. The Holocaust virtual world was an easier transition for me. It was amazing to see the building on fire and glass all over the street to resemble how those times really were.

    The next part of class was learning how to build in Second Life. Heather Gee walked us through step by step on how to start from scratch. It is defiantly an in depth but fun process. The choices are endless and I cannot wait to start building!

    The last part of class was sharing our thoughts on the note card destinations which we had to visit as a part of our homework. Each Avatar took a seat at a conference table which was a neat setting for a discussion. The only thing that I disliked about this part of class was that most of the students in the class did not have microphones so they had to type their opinions in the chat area. It would have been more realistic if everyone had a mic and could converse freely.

Karl Kapp
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