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FWIW I always over estimate what I can get accomplished when I design a new course--don't feel bad about being overly ambitious.  (Do listen to the warnings others have given.)

Based on skimming your comments I wonder if you have too much emphasis on virtual worlds--It sounds to me as if you want to introduce kids to a broad range of skills to encourage them to think about electronic media related career opportunities.  A worthy goal, but I feel you can accomplish this while still providing some foundational lifetime skills for students who go on to careers outside of electronic media and making much less use of virtual worlds. 

I like getting kids into opensim/SL and making sure that they have the basic skills to function in them.   Building with prims provides a lot of opportunities for learning about problem solving and exercising creativity.   Many folks in SL are placebound and SL gets them "out of the house," which will be useful to some of your students later in life.  Others will need to attend lectures or meetings in virtual worlds as part of their future non-media job and being able to move around without frustration would be a benefit to them.

GIMP has a lot of features that are useful without any reference to virtual worlds. I suspect you could teach an entire course just on GIMP.   But how many folks actually need the power of GIMP?  Many of your students are going to want to be able to do basic photo editing (Picasa) or edit sound files (audicity) or video files.  Knowing what to do if one shoe ruins your family photo seems like a good skill to have. And having students create a photo of themselves interacting with some historical figure would go a long way towards teaching healthy skepticism of stuff you see on the internet. 

Many of the commercial game engines are available free of charge for educational uses.  Students could learn some simple world development-make a park or develop a historical view of some location. 

I love the idea of teaching basic programming skills, but I am unsure of the best approach.  I would want my kids learning concepts that generalize fairly readily and I am not sure LSL is the right way to do this.  I have heard of something called "netbeans" which I know some educators swear by. 

However, even if you teach topics, such as GIMP, as stand alone topics you can still have a few minutes of instruction on moving things from GIMP into a virtual world as one of the many things you can do with GIMP.  The same with other media development tools. 

 

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Well I see this thread has grown.

Just wanted to say that I didn't realize your students were so young so of course my offer of a classroom will not work but it doesn't sound like it is needed and finding a way to get your students in legally would be a very good plan.  I don't see how they could "change their do" if they can't log in.

Generally my advice would be to think simply. Forget the second nine weeks (what can I say?) and work with half to start with.

You also need to realize that tutorials from 2007 will likely have little relevance to the viewer of 2014 and will likely confuse more than help.

Figure out what YOU know that you can teach them. SHOW rather than talk if at all possible. Let them feel comfortable and moving around and I agree that building with prims -- just simple things -- teaches a lot.

 

DO YOUR EXERCISES YOURSELF TO SEE IF THEY ARE PRACTICAL.

 

 

After they feel more comfortable you can maybe talk and show all the parts that go to make up a virtual world. They could write a paper on which job they would choose and why and do their own research on JUST that job.

That I think you can handle successfully. If the fashion show gets in there great but it will be hard to get free things when you are that young and can't go anywhere so I am thinking another end project would be good. Maybe they could give a talk to the class using VOICE in SL.

Open Sim would of course work  (most likely no voice).

 

Good luck.

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Thank you VRprofessor! Sound advice - yes I do realize this is a bit ambitious but as you say, until you've taught the course once, you won't have a good idea what part of it is a keeper and which components are not practical. I imagine this run through will allow me to better focus the course for the following semester.

 

Unfortunately part of keeping a focus is using this VR platform as a way to tie together the other aspects of digital media. That's why that seems to be the focus although really, they are getting a broader range of skills (or that is the intent). Like with GIMP - I won't be able to teach all of GIMP, but they'll learn a few uses of it and if they enjoy using it, maybe they will take the initiative or learning more on their own. That is the thought, at least  ^.^

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I do still appreciate the offer Chic. Maybe if this class grows I can have them in SL their Junior and Senior year, where there is a broader range of content. As I was telling VRprofessor, you may very well be right - this may be (probably is) waaaaay too much. I will be seeing what gets cut as we get into it. Thoughts as to which topics might be the most tedious or least rewarding in terms of useful skills?

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8bitBiologist wrote:

Thank you VRprofessor! Sound advice - yes I do realize this is a bit ambitious but as you say, until you've taught the course once, you won't have a good idea what part of it is a keeper and which components are not practical. I imagine this run through will allow me to better focus the course for the following semester.

 

Unfortunately part of keeping a focus is using this VR platform as a way to tie together the other aspects of digital media. That's why that seems to be the focus although really, they are getting a broader range of skills (or that is the intent). Like with GIMP - I won't be able to teach all of GIMP, but they'll learn a few uses of it and if they enjoy using it, maybe they will take the initiative or learning more on their own. That is the thought, at least  ^.^

Don't listen to him, he is a known impostor, he won't even list his credentials!

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  • 3 weeks later...


Madelaine McMasters wrote:

Thanks for reminding me what we're capable of when we don't know any better.

Tell the kids that at least one middle aged SL(6+) and RL(44) resident is impressed.

There's hope for us yet.

;-).

I'd post a picture of the first outfit I ever made but I don't want to be responsible for destroying anyone's sanity.

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Perrie Juran wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:

Thanks for reminding me what we're capable of when we don't know any better.

Tell the kids that at least one middle aged SL(6+) and RL(44) resident is impressed.

There's hope for us yet.

;-).

I'd post a picture of the first outfit I ever made but I don't want to be responsible for destroying anyone's sanity.

It's been claimed that my sanity is already gone. Send me a copy in-world?

;-).

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Aww! Thanks everyone for the great comments! I'll be sure to share with the kids - they'll love to hear feedback!. As far as the avatars - its OpenSim, and I had to make sure to get some skins that had "underwear" - no nudity. These teenage avatars fit the bill, at least for now. But I will keep my  eye out for higher quality avatars.

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That is just totally cool. So much for my opinion that you were expecting too much too soon :-). Kudos to you and multi-kudos to the students.

I think they managed to glom onto the one great thing you can do with almost any facet of Second Life: have fun. That video appears to to me to show a bunch of people having fun.

Those yellow/black zebra bell-bottoms were fab ;-).

 

 

ETA: I missed your post saying it was OpenSim. Maybe having fun is a great thing one can do in all virtual worlds. Makes sense.

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I have to peel them off their seats to go to their next class every day! The love it. This friday the project is charades - they are learning to make poses and animations and will ahve to animate their character to pantemime using an object that another class has to guess.  I'll try to get  a video of that one too. What surprised me was that there were 2 kids that had already experimented with making animations prior to class!!

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I taught two evening division engineering technology courses years ago. I gave up after those two because I wasn't getting enough energy from the students. I was younger than many of them, who needed a "C" or better to be reimbursed by their employers.

Your situation sounds wonderfully different. I can't decide whether I'd want to be you, basking in the collective curiosity of your students, or one of them, pouring myself into something new and wonderous with nary a care in the world.

Instead, I've got to crawl out on my roof and paint my house. It's taking a terribly long time to do because I keep sitting down to watch the sky... which is ever new and wondrous, and imagine I've nary a care in the world.

I look forward to a video of their charades.

;-).

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