Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Socio-technical Diversity

Tonight's CTU class discussion focused on how companies strategize, evaluate new endeavors and plan for the future. These socio-technical systems included Media Bars at Starbucks and third-party partnerships at Amazon.

Some of the Media Bars are gone now, yet a handful remain scattered around the country. My family and I visited one in San Antonio during the recent ISTE NECC conference and remarked at how cool it was to browse and enjoy tunes while socializing over a favorite beverage. We proudly brought home a souvenir CD that included our favorite tunes.

Now, we have iPODs and iTunes, but the convenience, coupled with browsing while socializing, was fun. The lack of widespread adoption was attributed to iPODs and competing technologies. I was surprised and gratified to visit one, as there are only four remaining sites (according to a Starbucks' employee).

Tonight's Second Life skills included avatar customization and shopping. Prior to touring, several students demonstrated their diversity by changing into Batman, Mr. KoolAid, different genders and robots.

Some were new to setting up a folder for our avatar's normal shape, skin, hair, eyes and clothing. Two students lost their hair, skin and shapes, but after searching for a few moments, were restored.

IF you misplaced your body or hair, do not despair! We will find them. *grins*

One class took a field trip to the NMC Orientation site. After moving through the tutorials and past the trolley car, we flew over to the southeast corner to visit the Educational Center. We picked up a set of academic robes, thanks to the New Media Consortium (NMC) and Stella Costella.

What a great place! Inside, we were able to buy for $0 a host of great educator free items, including educational tools, builder's toolkits, clothing, books and custom looks. We even picked up academic robes in preparation for graduation.

We used the game design group's instant message window to communicate while touring. While voice was successful, mine disconnected for a few minutes, while I continued to chatter. *grins* Note to self: Make sure the Talk Button is lit when traveling.

The second class wove Desire2Learn's conflict with Blackboard and a recent decision by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

We discussed OpenGrid architecture and OpenSim, then speculated on the barriers to operating a virtual world server on a home PC and connecting it to a worldwide grid. The ensuing discussion ranged from system requirements to the issues associated with digital rights for virtual world content.

We ended the night by rezzing some of the NMC Games, then set up a mahjong table to discuss rezzable game pieces in preparation for next week's class.

We will meet again next week to continue reviewing the class content, play with rezzers, and distribute a guide to exploring Second Life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Think Tanks and Second Life Gestures

In Tuesday's CS 855 Futuring and Innovation classes, we explored the similarities between our think tank activities and the innovations predicted in Technology's Promise. After reflecting on the technique that we used to identify likely innovations, we asked how our results differed from other think tanks?

For Second Life skills, we activated a set of speech gestures and inserted slides into a preloading slide viewer for giving presentations in Second Life.

In both CTU classes, we discussed the podcast assignment, noting that some students used their podcasts to talk about predictions while others evaluated the podcast technology. For using open source or custom-created mp3 content, embed it with a photo into a video and upload it to your blog.

Congratulations go out to the one-month-old birthday of our newest class member and his proud papa (depicted in this photo).

Both class sessions stated that the use of Second Life helped them to connect, share ideas and learn virtual world concepts in a relaxed setting. Students who are graduating this term asked us to hold a virtual graduation in Second Life as many of them will not be attending the next residency. I'll contact Stella Costello from the NMC Virtual Worlds team to see if we can use the NMC cap and gowns. *grins*

Next week, we'll continue our discussions on futuring and innovation, and take our first virtual field trip.

Monday, August 18, 2008

CS 855 Next Class

On August 19th, we will examine the advances and trends from Technology's Promise, continue our discussion of socio-technical futuring and learn a few more virtual world concepts. Class times:

6:00PM Mountain, 7:00PM Central, 8:00PM Eastern
7:00PM Pacific, 8:00PM Mountain, 9:00PM Central

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Aug 12th CTU Class Activities - Two sessions

Technology, tools and the risks associated with making predictions were among Tuesday's class discussion topics.

We tested our knowledge about entrepreneurs and demographics in the U.S., then looked at how our textbooks Technology's Promise and The Fortune Sellers organize and discuss trends and innovations.

At the end of each session, we examined a variety of free Second Life technologies. The early class studied aircraft and vehicles, learning to render and use their objects.

One aircraft worked beautifully for demonstration purposes, but did not cooperate for students. In the hour between classes, another student joined us and we studied cooperative movement in a UFO multi-person vehicle (depicted in this photo).

The last class discussed the course concepts, then looked at particle scripts, some devices that use them and the castle rezzer. Students received an additional staff with particles and an animation override on it. Check with Lyr Lobo to get her staff and a UFO vehicle.

For next week, grab your Technology's Promise book by William Halal and we will discuss Chapters 4 and 5. Focus greater attention on pp. 45-52 - Online Societies, pp. 53-56 - Virtual Reality and on the advances and trends listed on pp. 57-62, 66 and 72-78. Note how this content compares to the results from our technological forecasting activity during the residency. We will also weave more Second Life concepts into our activities.

See you in Second Life!

Monday, August 11, 2008

CS 855 Classes on Tuesday

Second Life Class Sessions

8/12/08 at 6PM Mountain, 7PM Central, 8PM Eastern
and an encore session at:
8/12/08 at 7PM Pacific, 8PM Mountain, 9PM Central

Agenda: Modeling Tools and Technologies, Gadgets in SL

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Science Friday in Second Life

August 8, 2008  Topics: Pacific Time = Second Life Time (SLT)                                  
Join Ira Flatow of National Public Radio's SCIENCE FRIDAY in Second Life, for a lively two hour discussion of cutting-edge science. Ira will be taking questions from Second Life avatars during the show.

Location: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Science%20Friday/220/192/28

Missed the show? Visit SCIENCE FRIDAY to enjoy the podcasts from the show.

MGM 845's Week 5 Class in Second Life

The MGM 845 Strategic Thinking class met in Second Life to discuss the BSG, decision making concepts and the class activities listed on Moodle. Delft Andel led the session with facilitation and notetaking by Lyr Lobo. *waves her magic pen*

Observations and Questions During Class
  • Fear is a barrier to creativity.
  • This is your opportunity to "run" a multi-national retail company.
  • Enjoy the roleplay activities and envision what it takes to be successful.
  • Does everyone feel comfortable with the rotating CEO perspective?
  • Are there other roleplay games like this one used in classes for electronic negotiation?
People will imitate your success!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Creativity vs. Innovation in Second Life

CS 855 held two excellent class sessions in Second Life tonight. We borrowed the Take a Position concept from Global Kids and examined some common myths about innovation from the books The Myths of Innovation and Ban the Humorous Bazooka: And Other Roadblocks and Speed Bumps Along the Innovation Highway ("Ban" is available from Books 24x7 at the CTU Library).

Students discussed the concepts and myths associated with creativity and innovation while standing on platforms that represented Myth or Truth. After examining nine myths, the class observed that the definitions tend to blur as a series of small creative efforts contribute to innovation.

Both classes ended with a short building session that covered intermediate building skills. Next week's classes (at the same time and location) continue to weave the class concepts with social media experiences in a virtual world.

Check out the Week 5 News forum post for more information on how your futuring and innovation assignments are being evaluated.

Let me know if you are interested in prototyping your class project or need a Second Life session at another time.

How to use voice in Second Life

Tip: You can hear others speak even if you do not have a microphone and you can continue to hear and speak even if you lose connection so long as you do not close your SL software.

  • ctrl + P for preferences
  • Voice Chat tab
  • Enable Voice Chat
  • Check the box for voice from the avatar position - to hear around your body
  • Push-to-talk mode and toggle
  • Select the Apply button and Ok at the bottom of the Preferences window
Look at the bottom right of your display screen.

Click the Talk button if you have a microphone enabled and wish to talk.

If you have problems, revisit the Voice Chat tab in the Preferences at ctrl P and check your Device Settings and Voice Chat Settings.

To hear other speakers better:

Click the Active Speaker List (the button to the left of the Talk button). Highlight a name on it and use the slider at the bottom of the window to turn them up or down. Move the speaker window up if you do not see it. Only the names in this list can hear the Voice chat.

Tip: If you do not see names in the Active Speaker List, you are not connected to the voice server. If you Enabled Voice Chat in Preferences and you have a working microphone, headset or speakers, then log off and reconnect to Second Life.

See you in Second Life! *waves*

Monday, August 04, 2008

Futuring and Innovation: Myths, Metanomics and Social Media

While preparing for this week's Second Life class sessions, I flagged a few topics worthy of further discussion. Don't forget to check out Howard Rheingold's video at http://tinyurl.com/6ymbnr

The Myths of Innovation

Futuring for visual/spatial learners

Futuring and innovation in a virtual world
Metanomics in Second Life

Futuring and innovation - cancer research towards 2015

Futuring and innovation for non-profits - social media

Second Life Getting Started Guide

Use this guide to learn to Move, Look Around, Use Objects, Teleport or Change your Appearance.

Moving Your Avatar - Navigation
  • Move your avatar by using the arrow keys on your keyboard. Up = forward, Down = back, Left = turn left, Right = turn right
Looking Around - Camera Controls
  • Lock your camera on an object by holding the Alt button and left clicking it. (Mac users: Option key + Mouse click).
  • Hold down the Ctrl + Alt + left mouse button (all 3 together) and move your hand slowly to the left, right, forward or back. While you hold all 3 down, your camera moves around the object.
  • Return your camera to your avatar - press the Escape key twice.
Interacting with Objects
  • Touch or left click an object to use it. Not all objects are usable.
  • Right click and select the Sit option in the pie menu - Sit is located at the 10:00 location on a clock).
Tip: Sometimes the name of the Sit option is redefined by a script to another name, such as Relax, Pose or Up. "Sit" means "attach the avatar to an object and use it."
  • To Stand: right click the object and select Stand or use the Stand button in the bottom center of your display.
Teleport - Navigation between Regions or Sims

You can teleport using the Map button, a landmark, a teleport request from a friend, or by clicking a slurl (SL url web address). Second Life is a grid of 3D graphical websites that your avatar can visit.
  • Map: click the Map button at the bottom of your display. On the map menu: enter the name of the region (sim or island) that you wish to visit and click the button to the right to load it. Use the Teleport button in the menu or double click on the map to move to that location.
  • Landmark: click your Inventory button and open the MyInventory and Landmarks folders. Double click the landmark to teleport to that location.
Want a friend to join you? - Teleport a Friend
  • Click your communicate button in the lower right corner, the Contacts tab and the Friends tab. If online, highlight your friend's name and select Teleport on the right or Profile, then Teleport.
Appearance - Change Clothes via the Inventory Menu

Your clothes, body shape, skin, hair and eyes are in your Inventory under several folders. At first, you are wearing a new avatar look in your Clothing folder.

To change your look or clothing, you can wear it or add new pieces to your outfit.
  • Right click clothing, hair, skin, shape or eyes and select Wear.
  • Right click a folder name that has wearable items in it and select ADD TO OUTFIT.
Tip: You could Remove clothing or Replace clothing, but both of these options bare your avatar, then add only the new items, leaving the body parts that are missing from this folder bare.

Tip: To reduce the likelihood of being without clothing or hair, use ADD TO Outfit to replace only the items that are in the folder. You can manually remove any excess items.

Appearance - Customize Your Avatar - the Appearance Menu
  • From the Edit menu on the menubar, select Appearance -or -
  • Right click your avatar and select Appearance
In the Appearance Menu, you can make a new look, create new items of clothing, customize the color and texture of clothing, change your shape, skin, hair and eyes. The new items you are create are storied in either the Body folder or the Clothing folder of your Inventory.

Tip: Create a folder for your normal look.
  1. Make a new Inventory folder - right click on a folder and select New Folder.
  2. Rename it and move your inventory items into that folder or copy/paste them.
  3. To restore your normal look, right click the folder and use ADD TO OUTFIT.
Tip: Purchased items are often no modify.
  • Look for items that allow you to modify them.
  • Make a copy of our item before customizing your look so you have an unaltered original.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Learning to fly!

The third CS 855 class session in Second Life was such fun as students learned to fly!

Aside from reviewing SL basics, we discussed research in SL and evaluating alternatives for simulating the class project.

Who said SL is only for techies? An MGM 845 student installed the software and set up his voice, practiced a few camera and motor skills, then took off flying in his newly rezzed airship. Fast work!

By popular request, we will hold two one-hour class sessions on Tuesday, Aug. 5th at 6:00 PM Mountain, 8:00 PM Eastern and an encore session (same day, same agenda) at 7:00 PM Pacific, 8:00 PM Mountain. See you on Tuesday!

The figure depicts Lyr Lobo demonstrating Percival Ogg's Airship in Second Life.