Building in SL – language learning in context?

One of the things I love doing in Second Life is attending the Second Life Academy group’s building classes . I haven’t been to many, but all the ones I’ve been to have been highly entertaining and educational. You can also learn a lot about how best to teach people in SL, and it’s a great way to meet avatrs who are serious about SL, rather than those who are just there to waste time or looking for ways to make easy money.
The last class I attended was on building a  fountain, an intermediate building class. In the picture below, you can see the whole group with their fountains, at the end of the class:

It struck me during the class that this was a great way of teaching language – you take a group of students, especially if they have an interest in SL, and you teach them how to build something. You can easily see if they understand : if they do, then they’ll end up building what you ask them to.

I think this should definitely be a feature of our Teen Grid island project as it’s highly motivating. I had the opportunity to try it out two Mondays ago (Monday night, btw is ‘SL Fun night’ for me – I’ve been regularly meeting a friend there at 22.00 GMT, and we explore SL together – come and join us if you like). I showed a friend how to build a lamp, which really helped me understand the best way of giving text instructions.

Of course, an easy way of doing this, and one that some of the SLA instructors use is to utilise a device that lets you pre-load lines of text – you write the instructions beforehand, and wear this HUD device. Then by clicking one of the buttons, you deliver the instructions step-by-step. It also allows you to keep an eye on what’s going on (if you don’t do this, then you spend a lot of time typoing and thinking what to type next), and you can better respond to people’s comments and help out those with difficulties.

The Spanish Kitchen

On Tuesday, I was kindly given an interesting tour of some of the interactive spaces and games that Kim Anubis and her colleagues at the Magicians have created.

One of these was ‘The Spanish Kitchen, made for languagelab. com which was truly amazing.

You sit in the chair, and the abuela starts to prepare one of many meals that are loaded into the game. She asks you (audio with subtitles) to collect various items of food from around the kitchen, and slowly the dish is made. And when it’s finished, she gives you a plate of the food!

The player can select one of 3 levels (Easy-Medium-Difficult) which relate to the type of instructions you receive.

Virtual Morocco – Grand Opening

posted by Baldric Commons on Casablanca using a blogHUD : [blogHUD permalink]

Trying out the blogHUD here, bloggingdirectly from Second Life. I did this while attending the grand opening of VirtualMorocco, a fabulous space in SL that was created by a group of university students after their trip to the real Morocco.

One of the things I love about it was the information system – you collect a fez at the entrance, and wear it. As you wander around the island, there are information points and you automatically receive comments about the places that you visit. Wearing the fez also makes the island fun, especiallyif everyone is wearing one!

Blog Hud

Blog Hud allows Second Life users to blog easily from within the virtual world.

The avatar-wearable Blog Hud allows you to post an entry to the bloghud web page in the form of a blog and includes a “map location of where you posted from in Second Life, along with RSS feeds to subscribe to for your favourite people or places in Second Life.”

You can search the bloghud page by person or place.

SL is Web 2.0

I’ve been thinking about SL and whether it’s Web 2.0 or showing us what the Web 3.0 will look and feel like.

Perhaps, it’s a bridge between the two. One thing that makes Second Life so Web 2.0 is that it embodies what the new Web is all about: users coming together in a community and making content.

Almost all of Second Life has been made by the residents of the virtual world itself, something which makes it a very attractive and appealing place to visit. It is in such a state of flux, with so many people changing so many parts of it, that there’s always something new to explore. Unlike other online games, where I suppose the spaces don’t change.

Of course, what SL is really about is meeting other people, and this is so easy in SL. I find people really friendly in general, and I’ve bumped into neighbours and friends of neighbours, as well as many other people, and found it quite easy to strike up a conversation. Strangely, I rarely know my RL neighbours.

E-commerce evolving

How e-commerce is evolving:

Web 1.0 = static web-pages, product photos
Web 2.0 = user-reviews, blogs, podcasts about products, services
Web 3.0 (perhaps better described as Web 3D) = walk in 3D shopping experience. You can chat to avatars in the aisles, to avatar sales consultants, etc.

Welcome to my blog

Baldric Commons lives at the English Garden in Second Life. He is very interested in the educational possibilities of Second Life, especially for language learning.

He is going to use this edublog to document his investigations within the virtual world, and hopes that you will share your observations and comments with him as he settles in.

You can see his photo album at Flickr, and also hear what his alter ego has written about him at blog-efl