Sunday, March 29, 2009

Last day of the VWBPE 09 Conference

Due to the phenomenal efforts of the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Committee, this year's conference was a great experience.

I was delighted with this year's conference. The huge turnout resulted in full sims and great conversation.
Lag happens, and still people connect, meet minds, share ideas and establish strong social networks. Highlights for me were Kim Pasturnak's session on Process Drama and my trivia game session on Identity and Culture.

See the Selkie in the photo on the left? Kim blends storytelling with generative drama to evoke strong opinions from each participant.

Both Kim Flintoff's slides and my Identity and Culture game slides are available on Slideshare. I'd like to say that I took a host of lovely photos, but I was preoccupied while chatting with the game participants. I had as much fun as they did! *grins*

Zana Kohime's tireless efforts during the conference were recognized at the Closing Ceremonies. A limited number of residents are seen on screen to increase performance, so you cannot tell from the photo that the sims were full.

Afterwards, we attended the closing ceremonies and a party. Again, thanks to LoriVonne, Phelan, Pooky and Marty as well as the many other conference staff who made this year a success. See you next year at Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2010! *cheers*

More information on my conference session follows in the next post.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday at the VWBPE 2009 Conference


Carolyn Carillon asked if I was liveblogging the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference (VWBPE) in Second Life this weekend. Ack, I must confess. I've been participating, listening and jotting down dozens of ideas for future research.

*chuckles* I'm having a blast at this conference, sharing insights and gaining so many new strategies from a wealth of educators and new friends.

Classroom on Demand?

Earlier, the session on using the Builder's Buddy to create learning spaces that render a temporary learning scene was a fun, productive session. Yes, I've used the tool before, but enjoyed seeing how Bonbon, Alpha and Cvetka made it easy for educators to use it to create two projects in 40 minutes.

The educators' group session with Maggie Marat (Peggy Sheehy), Pathfinder Linden, Claudia Linden, George Linden, Stella Costello, Pipsqueak Fiddlesticks, Carl Metropolitan and Saxet Uralia was excellent. I must confess; I don't always enjoy panel discussions, especially when the topic wanders or is too general to be useful.

In their session, they posted web links for getting more information (that's liquid gold during a conference!) and important tips. For the folks who cannot join one more group (25 is the maximum), but want to know about group events and activities.

Subscribe-o-matic
is now free for groups under 500 users. See the post from September 2008 for more information.

The Immediacy of Online Communications - Instant Feedback


Ted William Gross (RL), also known as Kitviel Silberberg in Second Life, is discussing the history of online communications.

Oddly enough, the more immersed we become in online tools, the less time we have for responding to the hundreds of messages we receive each day.

Twitter is not a favorite of the speaker's, yet I find it useful for lurking at the back of a real life conference session, listening to others offer insights to the speaker's research and cool tools. That insider view of the researcher's work offers an intimacy with the conference audience and I miss it when access to Twitter is unavailable.

I know what you are thinking. Second Life has it all built within it. Twitter offers a favorites feature that allows me to remember people and their links in the context of time and what we were doing when they posted it. This is very useful, but again, I not use my Twitter account mostly for research collaborations and sharing the state of the research from my small end of the world.

Loved the audience discussion during this session. Silent sessions set to a presenter's monologue makes me restless. All this discussion and controversy is exciting and makes us think. What a wonderful meeting of minds!

Thanks for a great day of sessions! More to come. Visit the VWBPE schedule for more information on the remaining events for Saturday and Sunday.

VWBPE.org Conference 2009

Friday at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference was excellent. I must confess to some cognitive overload due to attending Pathfinder Linden's keynote at the VWBPE and the New Media Consortium's TCC Worldwide Online Conference special event on their Horizon Report 2009. *eyes spin in her head*

Both sessions were excellent and no one noticed a momentary delay in my responses in the various chat logs. *grins* Yes, the storytelling, creativity and Vogon poetry sessions were fantastic, too. In fact, I may have to weave some comic books into my future lessons. Won't that be fun? *laughs*

Throughout the day, I found myself racing to gather the chat logs, links, take photos, click on content givers, and study the presenter's content to digest it all. The remaining sessions, such as Dr. David Gibson's session on game assessment, kept me so busy that I am still digesting the content.

Some ask what attendees get out of an online conference. Aside from attending vicariously in your jammies, you can share ideas, collect information, photos, notes, research for additional content on the web, meet old friends, make new friends and twitter about the session to your colleagues.

Not a Twit?

You don't use Twitter? I did not for the longest time until I saw the value in it at an NMC conference session two years ago. While listening to unfamiliar content in the presenter's research, I surreptitiously glanced at my neighbor's twitter and was fascinated with the purposeful, condensed content.

He posted several links and some insider information about the presenter's research that made me feel as if I had assumed a spirit form and stepped into the lab to witness it firsthand.

Want to know more? Visit the sessions and papers that are being published in the Journal of Virtual Studies after the conference. Many thanks to the organizers of the VWBPE 2009 and their commitment to great educational experiences in virtual worlds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Games, conferences and a keynote address

My, how fast time flies! After hurting my hand, I took a break from blogging and now have so much information to share.

Over the past four months, CS 820 in Fall 2008 ended, CS 820 in Winter 2009 began, and between those experiences, the Global Learning Forum welcomed me warmly to their educational game simulation activities.

In November of 2008, I presented at my first Global learning Forum and learned that an old friend is part of a team that designed a rather cool game simulation and their first game is Operation Relief Worker Rescue Challenge.

January 25-30, 2009 featured the Second Life Education Support Faire with over 3785 unique visitors from over 93 countries. Visit my presentation on Using Second Life in Your Online and Campus Classes for more information.

February 19, 2009, the Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP) invited me to give a keynote address on the IT implications of virtual world use. Visit the AITP Keynote Address on Virtual Worlds for more information on the issues that challenge IT professionals. It includes a comparison of some popular virtual worlds and statistics that include the fact that there are over 200 teen appropriate virtual worlds that are active or in development.

In February 2009, the design team performed an alpha test of it after Judy Brown and I gave a session on the Current and Future of Mobile Learning. I'll cover the highlights from these sessions visually in my next post.

Images and briefing notes from the game and the results of an alpha test that my CS 820 doctoral students conducted on March 9, 2009 are included my presentation Evaluating a Game Simulation Kit in Second Life on Slideshare.

Will continue with more examples in the next post and highlights from the NMC Symposium. *waves* It is time to give my presentation!