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Bree Giffen

If you were a teacher how would you use SL?

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37 minutes ago, Selene Gregoire said:

Chalk is cheaper. lol

Although blackboards may be more expensive than whiteboards by now, blackboards do last longer.

Dry erase markers, little square pieces of toweling, and the top of their desks. LOL .. can you tell I taught in a very poor district? No one had a printer in their classroom. We were all at the mercy of the one copier/printer per floor (25 teachers used it) and when it went out we had nothing for hours/days until the traveling tech got to our campus. The idea of having something as extravagant as a 3D printer was never even a consideration. I did have blackboards in my classroom. I used markers though .. not chalk unless I was doing a pastel demonstration and using the board instead of my desk cam and projecting it onto the board. Fortunately, most of us had the use of a desk cam.. for that I'm grateful.

If I had gotten permission to do the SL project, I would have had to sign-up for the laptop cart (one per floor). So yeah, it was a up hill battle all the way around. 

Edited by Blush Bravin
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"Finally! I get to teach a whole lesson all by myself. And I'm going to teach something relevant. Something modern. The internet!"
 

 

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2 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Build a puppet theater! I had one when young, and it was great fun to inhabit the pretend characters on my hands, while Mom and Dad did the same. At the very least, get a storytelling hand puppet and have her read the stories to your little girls. I do think they'll love it. You don't need SL to wildly express your imagination.

There's nothing wrong with using Second Life as a puppet theatre, a virtual world puppet theatre. It's another medium to express creativity and there's nothing wrong with using it that way. My little girls aren't little anymore. I think I mentioned that in my post or at least inferred it by talking in the past tense.

Edited by RachelWales

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12 hours ago, Arduenn Schwartzman said:

Number one would be Newtonian physics, imho. Physics prims are an excellent visual aid. They would help develop a better understanding of the relation between inertia and mass, applying forces, linear and angular momentum and potential and kinetic energy. Add a little llSetBuoyancy(1); to those prims and they can simulate floating stuff in zero gravity.

Astrophysics and cosmology would probably be another great one. Ad hoc rezzing heavenly bodies in SL for size and distance comparison seems more fun than boring Powerpoint slides, and clumsily handling oranges and paper mache props IRL. Although, I'm definitely not against letting students craft stuff IRL.

As far as teaching social subjects is concerned: it would be interesting to compare virtual social interactions with real-life ones. To me, it seems interactions escalate more often in flame wars online than that they do IRL, due to the lack of non-verbal communication and the tendency of online-communities to harbor a larger proportion of people lacking social skills.

I think that would be an interesting project for a teacher who knows something about scripting or a student who is doing a science fair project and who knows something about scripting. The great thing about a virtual space is that you can run as many simulations as you want and not have to buy new supplies!

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16 minutes ago, RachelWales said:

There's nothing wrong with using Second Life as a puppet theatre, a virtual world puppet theatre. It's another medium to express creativity and there's nothing wrong with using it that way. My little girls aren't little anymore. I think I mentioned that in my post or at least inferred it by talking in the past tense.

I missed the inference!

I would not recommend SL as a venue for puppetry for children. SL is very low sensory bandwidth, and sensory stimulation is precisely what you want for young children. Much of my puppet theater memory is lost to the fog of early childhood, but I have recollections of babysitting neighbor children with puppet-on-hand. Dad, who was 80-ish at the time, gobbled up the little neighbor kid with his dragon puppet, to the most infectious of belly laughs. That kid is now 24 (and my pseudo adopted son), and has (if I am to believe him) entertained many an adult friend with NSFW hand puppetry of his own.

If he ever brings home a puppet to be cleaned, I'm gonna burn it.

 

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11 minutes ago, RachelWales said:

I think that would be an interesting project for a teacher who knows something about scripting or a student who is doing a science fair project and who knows something about scripting. The great thing about a virtual space is that you can run as many simulations as you want and not have to buy new supplies!

https://www.physport.org/recommendations/Entry.cfm?ID=93341

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22 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I missed the inference!

I would not recommend SL as a venue for puppetry for children. SL is very low sensory bandwidth, and sensory stimulation is precisely what you want for young children. Much of my puppet theater memory is lost to the fog of early childhood, but I have recollections of babysitting neighbor children with puppet-on-hand. Dad, who was 80-ish at the time, gobbled up the little neighbor kid with his dragon puppet, to the most infectious of belly laughs. That kid is now 24 (and my pseudo adopted son), and has (if I am to believe him) entertained many an adult friend with NSFW hand puppetry of his own.

If he ever brings home a puppet to be cleaned, I'm gonna burn it.

 

It sounds like you have some very nice memories and I remember a puppet show or two myself as a child 🙂  Balance is really the key with anything for children and adults alike I think.

But respectfully, I feel that Second Life can be used in some very creative ways and can be a good tool for educators as well. This is what the original question was about, if you were a teacher, how would YOU use SL, what applications can you see. I see SL as a medium, it's a 3D virtual environment that can be applied in a number of different ways. It doesn't have to be done in a way that overstimulates the child.

Edited by RachelWales

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I entered SL in 2007 as a newly-retired university senior administrator, having spent a long time as a professor before that.  I came to SL on a dare, having been told by a colleague that this was the wave of the future for higher education.  I was sure that it wasn't, but had to see for myself.  It turns out that I was right, but I was addicted by then and haven't left.  ;)

During my first two years here, I wrote a 50 page report -- what else do administrators do, after all? -- that described all of the college-level efforts that were going on in world at the time. That report is now way out of date and buried deeply in forgotten archives at Linden Lab and a few universities.  The bottom line was that very few universities with a "presence" in SL were actually doing more than having students wander around a bit, attend lectures in simulated classrooms, and maybe build a simple structure.  Most administrators were unaware that their faculty were even here. With a few exceptions, it was great fun for faculty but not doing much for students.  There was very little serious research being done by the faculty, and very little that could be classed as "outreach" or public education.  I concluded that the most effective programs were aimed not at college-age students in classes but at adult learners, studying one-on-one with individual faculty.

The reasons for ineffectiveness were basically the ones already listed in posts in this thread, the steep learning curve being at the top of the list. SL is a particularly bad environment for doing group education, because people simply wander off, get confused, or get lost in overlapping chat and voice conversations -- unless trapped in seats a boring lecture hall.    I am still mildly convinced of the potential for tutorial adult education, but not for anything like traditional college-level classes. I am even less sanguine about high school level classes.  Despite my personal enthusiasm for SL, I would not recommend funding support for a classroom presence if I were still an administrator.

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1 hour ago, RachelWales said:

And as I said before, SL is another tool and if it can be used for science, why not?

Because it's a dreadful tool for teaching science. Tools purpose built for education place a much smaller load on teachers and deliver a much better experience to the student. Educators did come to SL years ago, and quickly left (see Rolig's response). The SL learning curve is steep for everybody, students and teachers alike. There's simply no time to climb it.

And, if the young engineering students I've met are typical, those who learned basic science via simulation are woefully behind those who burned, pinched, cut and bruised themselves by tackling the laws of nature head on. So I've even got a bone to pick with purpose built science simulations of things one can easily experience directly.

ETA: I love SL, mostly because of the people who populate it and the fantasies they create. It's becoming less attractive technically as the rest of the world catches and passes it. You can still gather a bunch of people around a virtual campfire to build something collaboratively, but it doesn't feel as magical as 10 years ago when today's RL maker's clubs are hosting free weekend build parties.

I do hope SL survives and thrives for those who can't do such things in RL and benefit from the socialization that occurs here. This place is still magical.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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2 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

And, if the young engineering students I've met are typical, those who learned basic science via simulation are woefully behind those who burned, pinched, cut and bruised themselves by tackling the laws of nature head on. So I've even got a bone to pick with purpose built science simulations of things one can easily experience directly.

Sadly true.  A decade ago, there was a brief fad of creating virtual chemistry, biology, and physics experiments on line as a way to combat the high costs of building and maintaining science lab facilities on campuses.  There were other considerations as well, like the ethical issues around raising animals to be cut up in sophomore physiology labs.  The thought was well-intentioned but overlooked the fact that virtual labs are a limited, pale replacement for the real thing.  A half-century ago, when I took my first quantitative analysis lab, I learned not only the fundamentals of stoichiometry and the principles of titration but also some vital experience with what happens if I wasn't careful to keep reagents pure and weighed out precisely, and to make multiple equally careful measurements of everything.  No simulation is a substitute for finding out what happens if you haven't cleaned your glassware properly or recalibrated the microbalance.  Many of those brief campus experiments with virtual labs have been abandoned now, in favor of the real thing. I'm not sorry.

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1 hour ago, RachelWales said:

It sounds like you have some very nice memories and I remember a puppet show or two myself as a child 🙂  Balance is really the key with anything for children and adults alike I think.

But respectfully, I feel that Second Life can be used in some very creative ways and can be a good tool for educators as well. This is what the original question was about, if you were a teacher, how would YOU use SL, what applications can you see. I see SL as a medium, it's a 3D virtual environment that can be applied in a number of different ways. It doesn't have to be done in a way that overstimulates the child.

Roblox is like SL for kids. Many opportunities for creation. 

Kids are not allowed in SL.

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6 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

Sadly true.  A decade ago, there was a brief fad of creating virtual chemistry, biology, and physics experiments on line as a way to combat the high costs of building and maintaining science lab facilities on campuses.  There were other considerations as well, like the ethical issues around raising animals to be cut up in sophomore physiology labs.  The thought was well-intentioned but overlooked the fact that virtual labs are a limited, pale replacement for the real thing.  A half-century ago, when I took my first quantitative analysis lab, I learned not only the fundamentals of stoichiometry and the principles of titration but also some vital experience with what happens if I wasn't careful to keep reagents pure and weighed out precisely, and to make multiple equally careful measurements of everything.  No simulation is a substitute for finding out what happens if you haven't cleaned your glassware properly or recalibrated the microbalance.  Many of those brief campus experiments with virtual labs have been abandoned now, in favor of the real thing. I'm not sorry.

Exactly. It's impossible to simulate the law of unintended consequences, which is, I think, the first law of physics.

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50 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Because it's a dreadful tool for teaching science. Tools purpose built for education place a much smaller load on teachers and deliver a much better experience to the student.

It is indeed.  Someone earlier in the thread advocated SL for teaching Newtonian physics.  I don't think SL's physics is an accurate model of the real world at all.  

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I would make sure it was a private estate, not for using Second Life as such, but using the anon aspect of it. Each student would have an account and the only other person to know what student was which account would be the teacher. All students would look identical no gender no newbie, just identical. Then they would introduce themselves without any reference to identity, they would then be paired up with a different pair each day and everything would be done in open chat, IMs would be locked. They would be sectioned off 10m so chat did not overlap, and they would have to get to know each other, basic questions might be provided, but everything would be just about learning more about the person. Then after a few days, they would not be paired up, but have the option to choose who they wished to group together with and so on, introducing projects they have to do together and how the dynamic would work, who would be the leader of the group, and if that is a big difference in how that may have played out if everyone knew who everyone was.

It would be a chance to see if the lesser popular may be more popular, the stereotypes that may not go near each other usually would find they have a lot in common and so on, then at the end reveal who is who and see if it would actually change the classroom dynamic afterwards, because they actually got to know each other. I understand it could be completely compromised day one with students telling each other who they are outside of the classroom, but it would be interesting if they didn't.

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6 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

I don't think SL's physics is an accurate model of the real world at all. 

I do think it's accurate enough to convey most mechanics concepts. And with a bit of scripting on the side, the tool becomes even more powerful.

But then again, I understand that in the US, education is in such a state that teachers have to sacrifice a significant portion of their personal and not so impressive income to buy school supplies for their students--basic things such as pencils and paper (and not even get reimbursed), making the original question sound a little like "would you let them eat cake?"

https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018097.pdf

Edited by Arduenn Schwartzman

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After seeing the responses, I think that getting the entire class into SL would be expensive and the students would get distracted. Essentially, you are sitting kids in front of a gaming ready computer connected to the internet.

It might be possible for the teacher to be the only one in SL and using a projector to show their screen. The teacher could just set things up in SL and show it to students. It would be just like watching a Twitch stream...if Twitch allowed SL streams.

Edited by Bree Giffen

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2 minutes ago, Bree Giffen said:

After seeing the responses, I think that getting the entire class into SL would be expensive and the students would get distracted. Essentially, you are sitting kids in front of a gaming ready computer connected to the internet.

It might be possible for the teacher to be the only one in SL and using a projector to show their screen. The teacher could just set things up in SL and show it to students. It would be just like watching a Twitch stream...if Twitch allowed SL streams.

There are ways for teachers to remotely monitor what every student is doing on their computers, and close programs/windows or lock the computer if they're too distracted.

Besides, if we're going to go with "what would probably actually happen," almost none of us should be saying "I'd do X" because most of us have zero experience in being the teacher. The premise supposes that we'd be in charge and capable of doing it, why wouldn't it also suppose that the kids would sorta pay attention? (I also think some people here massively underestimate the newer generations' ability to learn computer-related things like programming or navigating SL.)

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1 hour ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

(I also think some people here massively underestimate the newer generations' ability to learn computer-related things like programming or navigating SL.)

I honestly don't think students would have any trouble learning the basic skills needed to run around in SL.  I think that's the least of the problems associated with using SL in the classroom. I know if I was having any issues with my tech, be it hardward or software, my students could always help me. 

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On 2/13/2019 at 8:20 AM, Bree Giffen said:

If you were a high school teacher or maybe a college professor, what kind of project would you have students perform in SL? What kind of project would make good use of the virtual world?

I was a teacher until recently and I do not see SL as a good platform for traditional classroom teaching. The presentation tools we have are simply too crude.

I know many teachers used to use in-world building with prims as an important part of their teaching. There's a lot of potential there but with no real update in in-world building, it's all rather dated by now.

However, there are two fields in eduation where SL really could shine.

One is decentralized teaching. In SL a lecturer can meet students from all over the world virtual face to virtual face. Of course, it would only work if everybody were willing to let go of their high lag avis for an hour or two...

The other is interactive learning experiences. Examine the inside of a volcano and survive! Learn about skylifts by actually taking one! Both of those demos do exist at Bowness along with several other. There are endless possibilities there but somebody has to build those experiences and somebody has to finance those projects - and market them. It's probably not something individual teaching institution can or should do on their own. Bowness was an early attempt to create an interactive learning center in SL, or more precisely, a demo how such a learning center could be made. Outdated as it is, much of it is still very impressive and I wish somebody had picked it up and continued the work.

Edited by ChinRey
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I have used sl as an educational tool, although primarily for homeschool children (mine, and others', of course). In our case, students are rather restricted in where they can go, and what they can do, and certainly aren't simply set out into the world on their own.  We have used sl for all kinds of purposes, for a myriad of subjects ranging from mathematics, to the sciences, and everything in between. We have had buildings in sl we've used as classrooms, where the students simply "sit and learn", as it were, a replica of the rl classroom most of them have likely never been in (being homeschooled, and all that).  We have had "field trips" to various locations inworld, including places one might deem an appropriate field trip if it had been in the real world, and some one might love to visit but would be far too cost prohibitive. Most of the students are not local to one another, so our classrooms are global, in a sense, which is something not easily replicated in the real world. Students are NEVER invited into the sl classroom without parental consent and guidance, more often than not with the parent right over their shoulder, actually, or playing alongside on their own character.  We've also used OpenSim for the same purposes, although we primarily use OpenSim for classes and experiments involving creation-lack of cost and other inworld-y interruptions make that a bit more appealing than SL. 

We have had cultural classes, language, science based, mathematics, social studies, history...really, just about every course possible. My oldest kiddo in rl is no longer a kiddo, but I started doing so when she still was, our little group of students only grew from there.  Currently, we don't utilize it nearly as often as we used to, since many of the students involved have since "aged out", in a sense, quite a bit of them now being adults. Some of them still play sl now, as adults, some of them never stepped foot in world again, lol. 

For high school students, I think it can be a fabulous tool, but for college students it is nearly always "advertised" or utilized as a social experiment more than anything else, and quite poorly at that. Unless the professor gives ample instruction (yes, even social experiments need them) and has a vast knowledge his/her self, it is more likely to be a failure. As a college student myself (for the last, oh 6-ish years with multiple degrees under my belt, and more to come) I have seen more than my fair share of people who use places like SL for assignments.....I have yet to see one done very well, though. More often than not, people do a very, very piss poor job, make "surveys" which are crap, cannot seem to take whatever information they've garnered and place it into a proper assignment (including references, formatting, hell even simple grammar and spelling)...Honestly, I would never recommend ANY college professor or instructor to utilize sl at all, for any reason, unless it's some sort of elective course on like creation within a virtual environment, or something. I don't think most college courses, students, or instructors, are prepared to utilize SL for any other type of course. I have seen far too many failures that tell me it's simply not an appropriate medium for things like that. It fails more than it succeeds, and while that may seem like a challenge, it's truly not, at least not one for which the vast majority of people seem up to task. 

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1 hour ago, Tari Landar said:

I have used sl as an educational tool, although primarily for homeschool children (mine, and others', of course). In our case, students are rather restricted in where they can go, and what they can do, and certainly aren't simply set out into the world on their own.  We have used sl for all kinds of purposes, for a myriad of subjects ranging from mathematics, to the sciences, and everything in between. We have had buildings in sl we've used as classrooms, where the students simply "sit and learn", as it were, a replica of the rl classroom most of them have likely never been in (being homeschooled, and all that).

Oh yes, that too! It is a very good point.

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I really look forward to VR or augmented VR where a virtual classroom works but I've never seen SL as this platform, just as it was never going to be a business to for virtual conferencing.

Anyone either in IT or who takes part in such activities soon realises that the lowest common denominator in such things is universally a web browser. Even getting a full quora with webcams is considered a huge result, 50% is even an outstanding win.

The idea of adorning a headset and sitting in a virtual classroom is lovely but we're not there yet and many other more appropriate tools exist.

It'll take a few more years of the involvement of the sex industry to advance the technology as that's what it will take as the driver just as weapons development drives other technologies.

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9 hours ago, Bradford Mint said:

It'll take a few more years of the involvement of the sex industry to advance the technology as that's what it will take as the driver just as weapons development drives other technologies.

What a sad state of affairs if this is indeed true. I hope not.

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