April 2014 vej
Meet the Avatar Generation in "My Avatar & Me Stories." Interview with Gordon Holden and much more. Digital Anthropology at its best!
Apr i l 2014 Me e tThe Avat ar Ge ne r at i on MyAv at ar&Me VEJ Vol. 3 Issue 3 Virtual Education Journal April 2014 In This Issue An Interview with Gordon Holden by Scott Merrick • Minecraft: An Overview by Noah Constantine My Avatar & Me • Introducing Lorraine Mockford, aka LoriVonne Luster • Introducing William Schmachtenberg, aka Dae Miami • Introducing Vasili Giannoutsos, aka Bluebarker Lowtide • Introducing Trevyn Slusser, aka Aubrey Ghoststar • Introducing Scott Merrick, aka Scottmerrick Oh • Introducing Kim Harrison, aka Thunder Insippo • Introducing Kristina T hoennes, aka Kamoreo • Introducing Beth O’Connell, aka Beth Ghostraven • Drawing Out Student Potential Through Live Roleplay and NLP Theory by Fleet Goldenberg • Reflections on Becoming Delightful by Barbara Truman • Journey of the Avatar by Trevyn Slusser • A Minecraft-‐like Virtual Mining Program by William F. Schmachtenberg • Backstage @ VWBPE 14 by Bluebarker Lowtide • The Maieutic Process of Editing by Angela Rizzo • 9 Hours and Counting: Coding a Virtual Environment by Chris Luchs • Hello and Welcome to Minecraft by Trevyn Slusser • An Interview with James OReilly by Roxie Neiro • Inevitable Betrayal Holds S pring Fashion Show • Fingernails on a blackboard. . • . by Matt Poole, aka Cyrus Hush Coming in Next VEJ Issue – Guardians of the Grid • Hello Everyone! Spring has arrived – FINALLY, and have w e got a VEJ issue for you worth gobbling up and sharing with everyone you know! This has to be the MOST FUN issue that we have ever published! Why? Because in this issue we are introducing you to members of the elite AVATAR GENERATION. As we all know, avatars are still foreign to the majority of the population. Yet, in this issue of VEJ we have 10 of some of our best friends and mentors in Virtual Worlds who open up about the person behind the avatar. . . or, is it the avatar that fronts the person? You tell me! LOL If I wasn't an educator, I would probably have chosen anthropology and archeology as my career (something you probably didn’t know about m e). Perhaps that is why I find the stories about who the virtual trailblazers are and what they do and learn in virtual environments so fascinating. One of the m ost important purposes for VEJ and a reason I am so passionate about our existence is that we are able to document and archive the culture, the people, and the artifacts – through what I call Digital Anthropology. Whether we are talking about the nomads traveling from virtual world to virtual world looking for a better life, the tribes that have started to put down roots, or settlers that have established communities of practice or built a highly sophisticated metropolis, there is a story to tell. That is why I am so excited about this issue of VEJ. When we were planning this issue I wasn’t sure if people would open up and share themselves and their avatars with us. As Kraus, Zack, and Striker (2004, http://tinyurl.com/mqbqtc4) write, there is a whole new dimension of social behavior when looking at text relationships that includes what they call disinhibition, or when “people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t in the face-‐to-‐face world.” For example, often people either want to remain invisible and anonymous or believe they are. So, I am thrilled to have 10 educators speaking candidly about themselves and their avatars. It is inspiring to learn how the avatars we know and admire are alike and different from their owners – and what they have learned from each other! Barbara Truman/D’Lightful captures it wonderfully when she writes, “My avatar has made my life rich and blessed with a network of colleagues and friends from across the globe that I can access at almost any moment.” I am confident you are going to love reading all of these stories as much as I have! A HUGE THANKS to our Me & My Avatar authors for sharing themselves with us. In addition I am especially proud that one of the fourth grade students at my school is sharing his work/play in “Minecraft: An Overview.” I would love to have m ore students of all ages sharing what they do and what they learn in virtual worlds, so please send those stories our way. As always, devour this issue of VEJ and share it with your friends in whatever worlds you travel! Keep Smiling J Roxie Neiro (SL) Rosie Vojtek (RL) Cover Photo by Vasili Giannoutsos, aka Bluebarker Lowtide To Read VEJ online visit: http://www.virtualeducationjournal.com/ For more information about ISTE SIGVE/VEN or to join the fun, visit: http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/ Follow us on Twitter @VEJournal or #VEJournal 2 Classrooms Now Available for Colleges, High Schools, or School Districts: An interview with Gordon Holden Heritage Christian Online School, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada By Scott Merrick Hi, friends. One Friday afternoon I called my good friend in Courtenay, B.C. I’m so glad we used Skype, not only because it was a free call, but because he could share his screen to demonstrate what we were to talk about – Gordon Holden’s promising work in two 3D, interactive platforms for immersive learning environments. Gordon first shared some exciting news he told me not to share, then we got down to the subjects of this interview—Active Worlds and Unity3D. Go-‐go gadget, Gordon: GH: So I’m sharing my screen. SM: Yes I can see it’s beginning to update. There ya go. SM: So just so I get the context right this is the college campus that you are working on? 3 GH: Yes, that’s right. We have two P-‐30 Worlds. One serves as a conference centre, the other for 15 or more individual classrooms, for 15 different concurrent classes. GH: Okay, so this is our entry place to the conference part of the campus. Here one finds all the necessary information, everything from how to move around to where the conference rooms are. It’s probably a little bit bigger than it needs to be—I kind of wanted to create an airport kind of place where people will come in and there will be signs saying what classroom to go to and who’s giving the lecture and that sort of thing. GH: Let’s go into a classroom. GH: So here’s the classroom. All these chairs can be filled [this room has about 40 seats]. In Active Worlds there’s a very, very powerful presentation program that no one seems to have been using. I think everyone who has been doing presentations has gone to other platforms and remain unaware of it. SM: (laughs) 4 GH: I’m going to go up to the presentation tool and click. I can click on the live screen capture [button] and then click on any window open on my monitor. It’s now displayed inworld in the middle of the screen of each attendee. SM: I see it. Cool. Yes. GH: So any slide I want to show I can just display on the fly. There’s no need for uploading or converting or anything else. Within the platform you can also convert PowerPoints to slides, select them for a presentation, and show it. Here’s what that looks like. I’m going to go “Query Server” and “DL Presentation.” GH: Here, you may have a presentation that you might normally do but only want to use maybe 20 slides from it, or 60. You can just choose. The nice thing about it is you are able to see what you are bringing up, which is always a problem when you are used to dealing with Slide01, Slide02 and you don’t know what they are (laughs). 5 SM: That’s wild. GH: You can even click “Browse Images” and navigate to the one you want in a pop-‐up window on your computer, click it and that’s going to open up, right inworld. SM: So it gives you a whole set of tools for presenting, and you can even create your presentation on the fly from a folder on your computer. GH: Yes, and 500 people in the 15 classrooms are viewing and hearing it. Theoretically we could scale that up to 35,000 participants spread across 70 conference rooms, each one of these linked to breakout rooms for Q&A etc. 6 GH: When it comes to videos, I simply paste a link to YouTube, or any other provider, click on that and it comes up on a Web viewer frame. SM: The web window within Active Worlds. GH: Yes, anywhere on the web. The nice thing about it is that students can control this too, so the instructions can be “I want you to watch this 7 up to two minutes then we will stop and we will discuss it.” So that’s one way to do it if you are doing it to the conference. There is a whole other set of tools in the classrooms that I’ll show you in just a second. But the other thing is that I think is quite interesting, Scott, is that when you show anything in the Web window the links are all live. So you could bring up your lesson plan for the day and the students can work their way through it. SM: Yeah, that’s way cooler than uploading a PowerPoint in Collaborate (Elluminate) and having all the links die. I remember the ISTE Leadership Symposium when a chief Blackboard officer told us “Our content isn’t very good. Then he added, it’s the best there is, but it isn’t very good [referring to the lack of interactivity]. I found that refreshing. GH: Yes, despite their resources, they’ve dropped the ball. But moving on, with the many controls available you can lock the room when it’s full so students can’t come in and they can’t go out. We can force zoom for the audience, so that instead of looking around they are all looking at the screen, which of course is going to help with the bandwidth and such. SM: Yes, sure. GH: And you can call up the master control panel and show video this way, you are able to pause it and resume for all in the room. The teacher has more control. This is the strength of the second world where you can have up to 500 students spread across 15 classrooms. Each classroom can comfortably hold about 40 students. So between these two worlds you have the opportunity to have a school or conference operating with up to 1000 concurrent users at any given time. SM: So it’s capped at 500? GH: Yes, each one is currently capped at 500 but that’s just because of the number of servers that are serving it. If you wanted to increase this cap you could. SM: Did you attend Philip Rosedale’s VWBPE keynote? 8 GH: No, I was crazy busy, but… SM: I was too, and didn’t but I have listened to about the first half of his hour while multi-‐tasking at work and one of the things he proposed is a SETI-‐like program that would use thousands of networked computers that would bring thousands of servers to the task of serving up virtual worlds. You really ought to check that keynote out. I’ll actually look up that url while we are talking here. GH: That would be great. SM: [opens a browser and finds and copies/pastes into Skype http://vimeo.com/91582926 ] GH: I had people requesting me to tape it. SM: Actually I think Mal Burns machinima’d it – he did a really good job. GH: Love that guy. SM: He’s an active guy. GH: Buy you know, Scott, even if Second Life continues to improve its technology, the array of challenges regarding adopting SL for education remains. SM: And this Active World solution would certainly take care of that, wouldn’t it? GH: Well, these AW worlds are secured by passwords and geared to being able to present and build. The learning curve is ridiculously easy, and there is no opportunity for nudity or the kind of social interactions that might distract from the purpose of education. SM: Sounds like a good thing. GH: Yeah, well, having inappropriate content can end up being a nightmare for the school, the school district, and for the parents. You just can’t have that happening if it’s easily avoided. And over here are 9 the screens [in carrel-‐like cubicles) for those who didn’t make your session. You can put all the stuff in there so that if they come in late they can review the session in these booths. The classes can be taped from within Active Worlds and replayed here. We’re trying build to leverage all the advantages of the platform. And when I say “we” most of the credit goes to Scott Miller, the guy who built the great majority of the Quest Atlantis builds. SM: It’s looking amazing. Do you have a time frame for release? GH: It’s up right now. All we really need are people who want to subscribe to it. A lot of colleges are going broke. They have to charge exorbitant fees to students and because of that they may only get 10 students to come in to a class and then they have to pay the professor for that class, plus all the overhead for that, building maintenance and such. They’ve been trying to deal with that by doing MOOCs, but there’s some kickback now about doing that and some colleges are turning them down. It’s just not acceptable to register 20,000 students for a MOOC and have 800 compete the course. We can’t go to that kind of model in distance learning. You know, that’s your job Scott. SM: In some way it devalues the experience, doesn’t it? Until the perceived value of the experience is fairly nil. 10 GH: I think what they end up doing is taking worst practice and scaling it up. You’ve got your talking heads, right, and you don’t get any of the relationship. That’s the really important part about being part of a learning community. It’s very difficult to do with a MOOC. I know that they’re trying but I think they have just skipped over the possibilities of what I’m showing you right here. GH: So, I’m hoping some colleges or DL schools are going to look at it and say, man…we can hire the best professors/teachers to run this thing 24/7. It can be international in scope. It doesn’t have to be their hours, there can be a graveyard shift. The cost could be relatively cheap. You get it I’m sure. SM: Yes I do get it. GH: Actually one of the things I have to do today is write up a requested two page summary for our Ministry of Education. They are constantly getting requests to build additional links onto their campuses, and of course their big worry is that right now you may have a need for additional space when two years from now you may not. SM: Yes, it’ll start to look like many malls in the U.S. Empty spaces with tumbleweeds rolling through them. So why not build those additions with 1’s and 0’s? GH: Yes, shoppers are getting their stuff through Amazon, right? SM: Right. GH: So it is with education, too. With distance learning a lot of what teachers do can be done virtually like this. SM: So why not build those additions with 1’s and 0’s? Right? GH: Yeah, and actually you could build one campus for an entire school district and everyone could use it. SM: Yeah, that’s so obvious it can’t be seen. 11 GH: I do sit and shake my head at times at the myopic view that administrators have. When districts ask me what they should do to enter the 21st Century I tell them to have teachers nominate eleven and twelve year-‐olds to be the new Superintendent of Technology. They don’t like that, but the truth of it is that most twelve year-‐olds are going to have a much clearer perspective. In my experience, the biggest roadblock we have to bringing technology into the school districts are the people that are in charge of the technology. The constant roadblocks. They are constantly afraid of technologies that they are not familiar with. GH: Anyway, I should show you Unity3D. You haven’t seen what we’re doing there have you? SM: You know, I think you showed me but it was years ago, so show me what you’re up to. GH: Okay, but of course Scott, I feel almost…well, I feel cheap because what we’re talking about here is direct instruction. I’ve come to a couple of conclusions about making any kind of progress with 3D interactive virtual learning environments. GH: As a teacher said to me the other day, it’s such a paradigm shift that many teachers can’t get their heads around it. I’ve been trying to take the “baby steps” school’s superintendent has recommended, the reason for taking this intermediary step. All teachers are familiar with direct instruction. That’s what they do and they’re comfortable with. So just by giving them an environment like this, where they can do direct instruction and they don’t have to worry about anything else, it’s a first step. From there we can put teleports on the walls to interactive demonstrations of various simple machines. Now you’ve got active learning, rather than the passive learning. This should ALWAYS be the goal. SM: Yes, so I sent you the link in chat to the keynote last week by Rosedale, and he said, surprisingly, though I probably should have intuited this, that the major obstacle keeping Second Life from having a billion users is the mouse. So that the new project he’s working on is mainly focused on the development of gesture controllers. 12 GH: Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen his work on facial recognition. But I think he’s got some other things he needs to work on first before he gets to a billion. I know as some people are saying that he really wants to do the education thing. SM: He certainly spoke the speech, talked the talk, the other day. GH: Yeah and now he has to walk the walk. But I think we’re about to see who is really ready to do that. Keep an ear open for upcoming announcements by Active Worlds. I’ve seen first-‐hand some of the pilot work being done. It’s phenomenal. Hardly a week goes by without updates. [Gord has been changing platforms during the above discussion and is now in Unity. ] GH: So this is our Heritage Village. SM: Yes, that huge town square look reminds me a lot of a project I visited years ago in Second Life. GH: Yes but this is just one object. 13 [Pregnant pause…] SM: Wow! GH: Yes, and in fact you can delete parts of it, so we deleted the building that’s here and put in the pizzeria. The idea being that you should be able to go into this pizzeria, and talk in French to the person that’s there, and order your pizza, taping the conversation, and sit down and have your pizza. So we’re doing this for language learning, obviously. Unity I call my “baby giant.” The reason why is that it’s not as powerful, it’s not as developed for education as its peers, but it’s just as strong in many ways. When it grows up however, it’s going to be scary powerful. SM: Yeah, well those high end game designers who are building games with it are doing some pretty amazing 3D and realistic looking things with it. GH: Yeah, now we just have to get that into education. So in here we can sit in a chair at a laptop and we can put links in there and…[pauses, opening some windows]… SM: While you were messing with this I’ll mention that we’re about to open a little digital photography class exhibit by students in our small virtual world in Kitely. My Principal is actually quite excited about it and is saying we need to do some publicity around it, some press releases. So we may be on the cusp of a little breakthrough here in Nashville, too. Nothing like what you are doing, but finally… GH: Oh good! Good. Nice one. SM: Yeah it’s really a virtual virtual school. GH: Okay, so now when we go to the bottom we can show the chat, then we can copy and paste into a new tab, and we can show anything we want that way. I’m hoping we will have a Web window like in Active Worlds over here to the right and we will be able to show the video there. Now we have an Elluminate object there so that students can click and a new tab will open where they can login and go right there. So if a teacher needs that additional level of interaction it’s there. 14 GH: I can put in up at the top of the Unity window a url entry field where I can put in my url for my presentation and just go to it and you will see it on the screen in Unity. GH: I’m going to go out to the plaza now and after the direct instruction you as a student have a job to do, you are to conduct a conversation and record it in a machinima. And you notice there are no problems rendering off in the distance? It’s all one build. I’m going to go to the amphitheatre, off in the distance. I could fly there but I’ll use the link. Of course in this place here, we have seating for 100 students, so you can have 100 students at a time sitting in this amphitheatre, all listening to the professor speaking, all able to respond. SM: So is this all your building your work? GH: I have a few talented people working with me here Scott. People with a great deal of experience in SL who understand that many of the limitations there don’t apply here. I tell them what I need and they do their best to give it to me. I’m truly blessed to have Cynthia Stagner of Aeropine fame in Second Life working along side me on this project. SM: Do they have students? GH: No but they’re helping me build a platform that schools will want. This build is 60 times bigger than any Second Life build. And while we’re set up for a hundred here we could scale it for many more. SM: Since it’s browser based the only limit might be bandwidth, right? Theoretically the server could be crashed. GH: Indeed, but there are things you can do so that it works. It really does not take a lot of bandwidth. The water is currently being fixed so that when you go down into the water and hear it as it splashes around your feet and sends ripples across the water. As you can see it’s already pretty realistic, but nowhere near as much as it can be. SM: It is. 15 GH: So with this new company I’m hoping to start by replicating this build. The basic stuff is here for schools to do meet with and instruct students. From there they can begin getting creative. Whatever they want they would just contract with us to add functionality. We could make many of these, adding on servers as needed. It’s not like Second Life in that way. SM: Do you already have a pricing model for this? GH: No, but there is a group in California who called me recently and said, “Gord, our historical sim is down and gone.” We’re rebuilding it for them in Unity3D and will have it running for them at a fraction of the cost in September. SM: Well, we all know Linden Lab service has never been it strong suite. GH: I can already tell you it is going to look significantly better and they’ll be able to do pretty much everything they could do in there without the issues. They have a vision of taking this national, which they could do. 16 SM: They totally could do. It’s just a url. That’s the beauty of it. Well this is just beautiful, man. I did a little work in Unity through ReactionGrid but never got anywhere near this far with it. I’m enjoying Kitely but again that’s OpenSim with at least a few of the same issues as Second Life. GH: It’s just getting started but the boat in the water can be a ferry service going back and forth. But in addition to the interactivity and the scalability think of machinimas. What would you expect to see as I fly towards the town? SM: Oh, it would be rendering as you approach. GH: Exactly. But there’s none of that going on here. In fact as the build becomes more populated, we can turn on a feature that sets things in a prescribed distance as a 2D picture. SM: And it looks just as good but it’s just more efficient. GH: Exactly, right now it’s rendering everything in the distance, taking up bandwidth, but once you shorten that rendering distance up…it’s a is a brilliant strategy. And as you can see with this we’ve got plenty of room for movie theatres, restaurants, libraries… SM: Bowling alleys. GH: Anything you want we can put it in here. We’ve got room for it. And of course we can change the landscape at will. SM: Just amazing, Gord. GH: So anyway I don’t know if that’s enough for this article but between Active Worlds and Unity, we’ve got two platforms that are available for direct instruction. SM: What is your…do you have a pricing model for your platforms? GH: They should probably contact me, I have people I need to consult. 17 SM: Okay. GH: But I can tell you that through Active Worlds Europe, what I’ve shown you comes out to around $14,000 base cost. If you’re serving 5,000 students on your campus or district, the cost would likely come out to no more than 5 dollars per student annually. That’s with P30 worlds, not with a universe. If we had a universe we could replicate those two worlds many times at a fraction of the cost. SM: And that might bring your price point down a bit? GH: Yeah, definitely. SM: Well get that universe, buddy. GH: Yeah, that’s my hope. SM: Yes, I was going to bring up Quest Atlantis but we’re running out of time. Maybe we can add that piece for the next issue of VEJ. That is a complex and definitely promising piece for those interested in education in 3D, interactive, immersive learning environments… To be continued? GH: Indeed. You can reach Gord Holden at: firstname.lastname@example.org 250-‐334-‐3676 Skype : gord.holden Twitter: @GordHolden http://immersivetechnology4learning.ning.com/ Heritage Christian Online School “The axiom used to be ‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears.’ Today? It’s more likely the opposite that's true.” Gordon Holden 18 Minecraft: An Overview By Noah Constantine (rl), Ordinary Tester (XBOX Live) Minecraft is a game where you can build with 3-‐D blocks and interact with different items such as villagers, mobs (zombies, skeletons, creepers, etc.), and animals (mooshrooms, cows, pigs, chickens, etc.). This is a picture of me at night in my wheat farm. 19 This is my main house. It is called the Modern House. You can also build with different items like diamonds and wood. I like to build big houses and fill them with redstone traps. I also have a secret painting entrance in each of my houses. Minecraft is a very popular game that a lot of people play. Sometimes you can mine and find different resources like diamonds and iron. These resources are very helpful to your survival. You can even use water and lava to make cool extras in your house like a lava pool or a waterfall. If lava and water touch, it makes a block called “obsidian.” 20 This is my awesome tower that goes underground and has a tunnel system. The hardest thing is fighting mobs at night. It`s hard because you have to find wood or better to make a sword. Also mobs spawn in darkness so there are a lot to fight. This is the capitol of my city. It has an upstairs and a ton of different rooms. 21 Armor helps too. You need to have resources (leather, iron, gold, and diamonds) to make it. There is a lot of armor to make like leggings a helmet, a chestplate, and a pair of boots. For more information visit Mojang.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <https://mojang.com/ This is my favorite thing. It`s my mansion. It has a ton of different features like the two water decorations in the front of the mansion. It has different sections for different rooms, such as the mob section. This is where I keep my animals and all the monsters I trap. My favorite part is the indoor swimming pool and the diamond hunger games room that has different items to help you win the hunger games. Noah Constantine is a fourth grade student at Ivy Drive Elementary School in Bristol, Connecticut. 22 23 Introducing Lorraine Mockford (rl), aka LoriVonne Luster (sl) Please introduce yourself in real life (rl). I live in Nova Scotia, Canada where I am a college instructional designer. I am very interested in how we can use technology to support learning for all. 24 How, when, and why did you get started exploring virtual worlds? What virtual worlds do you find yourself actively engaged in using? I became interested in virtual worlds after watching a CBC news item about Simon Stevens and his SL nightclub, Wheelies, in Novemeber 2006. I created an avatar right away, and Simon became one of my first friends. Along the way I discovered many persons with disabilities using virtual worlds to play and work. I remain active in Second Life, and have a presence across other VWs, especially Kitely, InWorldz, and OS Grid. Please introduce your main/primary Avatar. SL Rez date: 11 Nov 2006 I work inworld with Virtual Ability, Inc as a voice to text transcriptionist. I have also been involved with Virtual Worlds Best Practices In Education conference since 2007, currently the 2014 Communications Chair. 25 I love exploring new places, shopping hunts, and dancing with friends. If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. Across worlds I use my SL "numbers" to shape my avatar. I also use the same name. This is my VW identity. How are you and your Avatar(s) alike and different? The line is pretty blurry. I do not refer to my avatar in the 3rd person. Being present in virtual worlds extends my interactions globally. 26 What were some of your most challenging experiences as a newbie and what kept you coming back into the virtual worlds? My first experiences were very difficult. My computer could not handle the graphics so lag was dreadful. I was not a gamer so had no idea how to move or talk or interact. Mentors were so helpful, and I took every course inworld I could find. I still remember taking a building course and realizing the av next to me was a giant dragon! Totally freaked me out. I eventually became an SL Mentor to give back to the community. What have you taught your Avatar? What has your Avatar taught you? I have learned to be persistent and try new things. Through my interactions in VWs I have become more patient. My meeting management skills have improved and I have learned how to use tools like google docs. How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? My avatar looks like my idealized self. What is your GREATEST feat/accomplishment working together and through your Avatar(s)? The wonderful people I have met in VWs, that have moved into physical life relationships, personally and professionally. What has been your most interesting and/or exciting moment or experience working with and through your Avatar(s)? Hard to choose just one, but I would say it is being 27 involved with VWBPE over the years. You never know who you will meet. Approximately how much time each week do you spend working and playing in virtual worlds with your Avatar(s)? 2-‐3 hours per week. Tell us about the future plans for "You and your Avatar(s)"? I will continue to look for new challenges and engagements that blur the line between worlds. Please list your contact information -‐ the best way for us to reach you. Lorraine_mockford@yahoo.ca LoriVonne Lustre in SL LV Lustre in OS Grid Lorraine Mockford in Kitely 28 Introducing William Schmachtenberg (rl), aka Dae Miami (sl) Please introduce yourself in real life (rl). I live in Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA. I teach high school Earth Science and college Geology. I own a company called Educational Virtual Worlds (www.evwllc.co) and produce apple apps for education. How, when, and why did you get started exploring virtual worlds? What virtual worlds do you find yourself actively engaged in using? I originally started playing Myst back in 1993. In 2004, I started playing Uru with my son. By 2009, I was creating worlds in Uru 29 and even did a sim for NASA in 2010 and 2011. By 2011, I moved to Unity 3d, so I could create virtual worlds for mac as well as pcs. I have been in Second Life since 2010 for professional networking. Please introduce your main/primary Avatar. My main avatar is Dae Miami and my rezz date is July 19, 2010. I spend most of my time attending ISTE, VSTE, and VP meetings. I also have a geology museum at the JMU sim. How are you and your Avatar(s) alike and different? Dae is a lot better dancer on sl than I am in rl. Aren't we all? What were some of your most challenging experiences as a newbie and what kept you coming back into the virtual worlds? I first came into sl in 2009 and did not have a good experience. I did not have such good friends as I do now, and I was not sure where to even hang out. I logged out and did not come back until I had good friends in 2010 when I found ISTE and VSTE. What have you taught your Avatar? What has your Avatar taught you? Dae has taught me to expand my horizons and enjoy virtual environments. Dae makes connections in virtual worlds that I cannot make in rl. How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? Dae is an extension of myself. I can do more with Dae than I can in rl. Dae is more outgoing and social than I am in rl. What is your GREATEST feat/accomplishment working together and through your Avatar(s)? VSTE Day during the Summer of 2013. It was my first presentation that I did in rl and sl simultaneously. Only 6 people showed up at my rl presentation locally in Virginia, but 29 people showed up on the VSTE sim in sl from California to Japan. I also did a presentation with a Japanese scientist, Yan Lauria, on a multiplayer unity sim a few months ago. It was an honor to work with him. 30 What has been your most interesting and/or exciting moment or experience working with and through your Avatar(s)? A few weeks ago, I gave a tour to VSTE at my geology museum at the JMU sim in sl. I have also enjoyed spending time with my high school and college students in Uru, sl, and my multiplayer unity sims. The MIWoSE ( Monthly International Workshop of Science Exhibits) with the scientist in Japan. We did an international competition and scientist and educators in North America beat their counterparts in Asia and Europe with a score of 305 to 225. Approximately how much time each week do you spend working and playing in virtual worlds with your Avatar(s)? Probably about an hour a day mostly attending ISTE, VP, and VSTE meetings. But it is fun hanging out with friends on sl, too. Tell us about the future plans for "You and your Avatar(s)"? My latest accomplish is Voxel editing in Unity3d. In a separate article in this issue of VEJ, I discuss how you can do virtual mining. I am active in Unity 3D. I am working with my students to create virtual worlds in Unity 3D, and we hope to release that on the web, android, and IOS soon. 31 Please list your contact information -‐ the best way for us to reach you. email@example.com www.evwllc.co Dae Miami (sl) [The rl picture is me on top of Bald Knob leading a field trip. Bald Knob was an underwater volcano in Virginia. The sl picture is of Dae in front of my geology museum at the JMU sim.] 32 Introducing Vasili Giannoutsos (RL), aka Bluebarker Lowtide (SL) Left to right, "Name" -‐ World: "tao_jiunshin_2fur" -‐ Gaia/zOMG, "Roboto" -‐ Champions Online: Free For All, "ColdShoulder" -‐ APB Reloaded, "Bluebarker Lowtide" -‐ Second Life, "Vasili Giannoutsos" -‐ Real Life, "Edgymage" -‐ Final Fantasy XI, "Lowtide" -‐ World of Warcraft, "Bluebarker" -‐ TERA Rising Online, "Bluebarker" – Minecraft. 33 Please introduce yourself in real life (rl). I am an Instructional/Graphic Designer that lives on the East Coast in North America. I have dynamic 2D/3D design and modeling experience for print/web/mobile mediums. How, when, and why did you get started exploring virtual worlds? What virtual worlds do you find yourself actively engaged in using? I got into virtual worlds back in 2002 with Second Life virtual world and the FFXI MMORPG game. In high school I was fairly aloof, and I was often far too shy to make friends so I found other ways to reach out and socialize in a way that was most comfortable for me. Going into these massive worlds where I had control over my appearance and could go practically anywhere, it was a great way for me to hide behind an avatar and be able to socialize with other real people instead of just getting lost in reading books. Please introduce your main/primary Avatar. Well, my first avatar in Second Life was in the fall-‐winter of 2002 and FFXI was in the summer of 2003. Well, in Second Life I am kind of an inhouse Builder and Facilitator for the educational groups of ISTE and VSTE whom have SL presences and sim lands. 34 My closet thing to a home would be a sandbox where people can build within Second Life. If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. I have a high level Tauren Hunter in the Inevitable Betrayal Guild in World of Warcraft. Well, he probably lives somewhere in Pandaria because he spends most of his time there trying to grind for higher level gear. I like to collect blue colored pets. If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. It probably pains me to say this, but I probably have spent more time in Tera Online than I have in Minecraft. I tend to carry the same name/ name variation through my avatars to help identify me more easily. Though at this rate my time for a third avatar is split between looking into lots of different virtual worlds as I explore some of the new things out there, like Everquest Next Landmark, The Secret World (which just became free-‐to-‐play), Elder Scrolls Online, Wildstar Online, Marvel Heroes, Team 35 Fortress 2 and Champions Online. I have also started to look at MOBA Games, which have rich, active communities (such as League of Legends and Infinite Crisis). So to pin down a 3rd avatar at this time would be an injustice. How are you and your Avatar(s) alike and different? Well, I'm sure one of the most obvious differences is the visual menagerie that I have gravitated towards. What I mean to say that my avatars tend to be anything else but humans – mostly anthropomorphic animals. I also have robots, insects and aliens that keep me from having an avatar that looks human. Well, the short answer is that I have more creative freedom to openly express myself. But, the truth of the matter is I already am Human. I live and breathe it everyday. In virtual worlds, in these computer-‐generated worlds, the possibilities are practically limitless. Why would I limit myself to work only within the confines of being human when I can be so much more? Probably the avatar that I can consider to be my Primary Avatar, because it has the most clocked time and I have the most connection with, is the blue-‐colored husky that most of my online friends would probably associate with my name. I mean other than appearances I would like to think they all share similar qualities as they do tend to act like me. But they can be much more braver and courageous than I could ever be in real life. They tend to be more outgoing and don't get as tongue tied as I can be. They have probably gone to more bars and clubs then I have ever dared to go to. And above all, they dance way better than I ever could! As far as favoritism is concerned, I kind of like all of them about the same. I am sure a part of me feels they are all the same thing. Just because I can change the outside, doesn't mean I can change who they are on the inside. Though the one that probably has the most screen shots, the one that is the most well received, and the one that is what I would consider my legacy if I had one, would be the blue husky. They can all be so much more than I could ever be. 36 What were some of your most challenging experiences as a newbie and what kept you coming back into the virtual worlds? Well, being a hardcore gamer way back when – I mean you just have to get used to the user interface and learn the terminology. Once you know where everything is, its kind of a cakewalk. I operate under a fairly "No Fear" technology approach, where I am not afraid to try new things so I go right in. Though my hunters would disagree, I am definitely more careful and cautious and when there are signs of things going wrong, Feign Death! I have a background in computer animation, so building in virtual worlds and the mindset for that just came natural to me. Though to learn some of the more finesse, attending Builder's Brewery classes were a great place to learn the finer points of Building in Second Life. When I first stumbled into my real first MMORPG with FFXI back in 2003, there weren't really a whole lot of videos tutorials or how-‐to’s at the time. You had to read the forums and explore the different wiki sites that had info on quests and mob drops – that sort of thing. 37 What have you taught your Avatar? What has your Avatar taught you? I can't say that I have taught them anything because by extension they are me. My avatars, however, have taught me a great deal. They have helped me to be a better person and have helped me find my voice. I have far too long operated under the whole “flying under the radar” –meaning, if I don't bring attention to myself, people won't think to talk to me. So, I've found corners to hide in to avoid others. But you can't "lurk" through life. It is an empty, unfulfilled existence. They talk about how being glued to your computer will make you the introvert, but for me I have experienced the exact opposite. I was once the very textbook definition of an introvert; fearfully bashful and socially awkward. But now I am way more outgoing and willing to take charge and able to give my input. I feel I have come a long way from not really wanting to talk to anyone and being afraid of every social encounter I would ever have. It has been a change for the better that has done me a great deal of good. 38 How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? Well, the more comfortable I got in social situations the more things I was willing to try. I was able to explore more, start conversations with people I would have never have thought I would, and I have made friends with them. I like how Virtual Worlds kind of gives everyone a level playing field. I mean, sure you have the differences in levels, gears and classes. But, the one thing that I have found is that no matter what online environment you are in, all the users share the same common passion or interest of being together and working together to meet a goal. When you are in the dark real world you find that things are not always as it seems. It’s so hard to judge people. At least in virtual worlds, one can feel that everyone is behind their own avatar to be in place of themselves. A different name, a different appearance; you don't have to worry about telling people about yourself. You kind of have that freedom to just be you. You can connect with anyone from all over because so many barriers have been broken down. As far as material things go, I like having Mesh clothing and objects – though I am learning how to do it as we speak. What is your GREATEST feat/accomplishment working together and through your Avatar(s)? Well, I know that I wouldn't have ever been able to reach the end game of an MMORPG without all the awesome help, advice and encouragement that comes with being apart the great Inevitable Betrayal Guild. I have always played games for fun, never to be the best or to prove something. Reaching the level cap for a game is something I had never done before and even playing FFXI I never got to the level cap. So that was a huge deal for me! In general, Second Life has helped me overcome many anxieties I had when meeting new people while being able to put myself out there and find people who I can really connect with. 39 What has been your most interesting and/or exciting moment or experience working with and through your Avatar(s)? I think this one goes back to Second Life. I had just created a camera alt for when I make machinimas, and I was going around and collecting some freebie items available only to really new avatars. I walked by a group that I had been too often. There were three people there that I knew and had seen regularly around the sim. I won't say where or who for obvious reasons. But I didn't say who I was and just entered the conversation. We were talking about philosophy and sociology and why the younger generation gaps were having such a hard time relating to older generations. Needless to say, it was a very active discussion with everyone participating. I left out my typing quirks and I found it fascinating that these people didn't know who I was and were still carrying on this conversation with this complete stranger. It was fascinating to see that (depending on where you are/go) that you can be engaged and treated equally, not based or judged on what your avatar looks like or by your avatar name. It was a wonderful experience of tolerance and equality. Approximately how much time each week do you spend working and playing in virtual worlds with your Avatar(s)? Oh, that's a good question. Well, usually after work I spend either 5 or 6 hours depending on what I have left to do. I come right home, eat dinner and get online. I usually don't go to bed until a little after midnight. So probably 38+ hours including weekends in virtual worlds and MMORPGs. Tell us about the future plans for "You and your Avatar(s)"? Well. . . I am still investigating different online worlds and communities. I am trying to understand the dynamics of game design and the communities that spawn from them. I am looking forward to the new releases of Elder Scrolls Online (MMO), Wildstar Online (MMO), High Fidelity (VW), and Everquest Next (MMO). Not to mention, getting higher ilvl Tier Gear for my next Goal in WoW. 40 Please share anything else you would like VEJ readers to know about you and your Avatar(s). I know people think at first glance that having different avatars can be strange and a little weird, but behind each avatar is a person just like you regardless of how they choose to represent themselves. When I am picking an avatar in second life, I take everything into consideration and emulate how I feel that day – it’s a great indication of the mood I am in. And, I don't pick things at random. Everything has a deliberate reason for it. Though that is just me, it doesn't mean you have to do the same. Whatever the reason is for you to join virtual worlds or any other online environment, know that there are real people behind each avatar and username. They all have real feelings and lives. There isn't any reason to be mean or to judge others based on appearance alone. If you stop and talk with them, you will probably discover you have more in common than you think. Please list your contact information -‐ the best way for us to reach you. firstname.lastname@example.org , (RL) Vasili Giannoutsos, (SL) Bluebarker Lowtide 41 Introducing Trevyn Slusser (rl), aka Aubrey Ghoststar (sl) Please introduce yourself in real life (rl). Hello I'm Trevyn. I work as an Instructional Design Assistant at CCCOnline along with Front Range Community College. I enjoy gardening, reading, knitting, cooking and video games. I read anything from mystery to biographies. I like cooking sweets and savory foods mostly. How, when, and why did you get started exploring virtual worlds? What virtual worlds do you find yourself actively engaged in using? My first introduction to virtual worlds was in 2007 when my friends convinced me to start playing on Gaia Online. It was my first social media site as well. I then progressed slowly up the food 42 chain I suppose. I was introduced to Second Life shortly before I started working in Online learning. From there it was the Minecraft beta version. I've only been on WoW the last couple years. All of these play a role in my life, satisfying different interest I have. While WoW gives me my need for variety of game play with the various classes and races, Minecraft gives me a sort of stability and freedom. I typically use Second Life for work rather than pleasure. I often find myself playing different mods in Minecraft or a different character depending on my mood. Please introduce your main/primary Avatar. I have lots of avatars (23 at my last count) but only a few hold a special place in my heart. (2012)There is Hexaria, the beautiful Shadow Priestess. The only thing more stunning than her looks is her sarcasm. Having lost most of her memories in the crash she barely remembers her home before coming to Azaroth and searches for any one who may remember her. Some times she hears a voice in her dreams calling to her. Was it a lover, a family member, maybe even a friend? Only time will tell as Hexaria searches the world for herself. 43 If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. If I had to pick another avatar with a good story would be my Worgen from WoW. I have found I do favor my Alliance members. (2012)Adriax, A long living member of Gilneas society from the house of Oleander. Adriax and his family have all been in the service to the king Lord Greymane as his spies and assassins. He kept with tradition even after losing them all to the war. As the last of the house of Oleander he did his utmost to protect the lives of Gilneas. After being cursed as a Worgren, Adriax often thought of his shame. To him the house of Oleander had died the day he was cursed. With the fall of his homeland to the forsaken he now searches to redeem himself and reclaim his honor both as a man and a beast. Yinchi, the Hunter 44 If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. Well next on my list would be Yinchi my Pandaren hunter. (2012)Yinchi, once a humble pandaren, with little interest in the outside world of the traveling isle. But when adventure called his name he couldn't help but heed its call. Now he explores the world that once held no interest to him, searching for rare companions as well as the answer to a question he fears to ask, such as, "Can I ever go back to that life?" How are you and your Avatar(s) alike and different? Similarities are kinda deep. In order: Hexaria-‐ the search for something lost. Adriax-‐ something changed us both and not necessarily of our free will. Yinchi-‐ the question, could we ever go back to what we thought and knew before? Differences: Hexaria-‐ I'm less sarcastic. She tends to more gruff to people than I am. Adriax-‐ He has a lot more angst than I do. He clings to things that make him angry instead of actually moving on. I cling to things that make me happier. Yinchi-‐ He's a talking panda....yeah that's all I got for that. Well, I'm not a hunter but I tend to find the rare gems that become great friends. 45 What were some of your most challenging experiences as a newbie and what kept you coming back into the virtual worlds? I think the challenge for me was not going where I was out of my level. I went anyway, though. Gaming tends to be second nature to me. I grew up with gameboy and nintendos so adapting to controls and strategy wasn't an issue. As I continued, I found dungeons were very hard – as I tend to play alone. I went anyway, though. hehe. Aubrey Ghoststar (sl), flying What have you taught your Avatar? What has your Avatar taught you? I think for this, WoW is again the best example, as you can choose your class and specialties. I feel I taught Hexaria how to push forward and be a well-‐rounded person when she chose to be a shadow priest. And, she taught me to be me, no matter what. 46 Going back to the question of our similarities, I feel it's like two stories the cross over when I play. While we both search what it is we lost, we still need to be us. How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? Certainly time changes everything. They learn and so do you in game play. I already mentioned how we connect and how our lives over lap. What is your GREATEST feat/accomplishment working together and through your Avatar(s)? I would have to go with Yinchi on this one. As a hunter, I tend to go searching for rare beasts to join me. I feel a great thrill when I manage to be lucky enough to get my hands (or paws in his case) on one. I guess I find myself to be unlucky a lot of the time in real life so experiencing good luck in any form is enthusiastically welcomed. What has been your most interesting and/or exciting moment or experience working with and through your Avatar(s)? I would say learning their different cultures and interests has been the most interesting. Approximately how much time each week do you spend working and playing in virtual worlds with your Avatar(s)? A couple hours a week for work (Minecraft mostly) For regular game play it varies from 6 to 10 hours a week split between WoW, Minecraft, Gaia Online, Star Wars the Old Republic and most recently Spore. Minecraft and WoW are the most heavily played. Tell us about the future plans for "You and your Avatar(s)"? I plan to keep exploring! To see all there is to see and do all there is to do. These are literally whole new worlds and they deserve to be explored to the fullest! We will grow, thrive and live and see whatever it throws at us! 47 Please share anything else you would like VEJ readers to know about you and your Avatar(s). Not really but thank you for asking. Pretty much everything is up there. Please list your contact information -‐ the best way for us to reach you. Email-‐ Trevyn.Slusser@gmail.com SL: Aubrey Ghoststar MC: Oracle250 48 Introducing Scott Merrick (RL), aka Scottmerrick Oh (SL) Please introduce yourself in real life (rl). I'm Scott Merrick. I pushed for founding SIGVE (VEN) in ISTE back in 2009, and we've come a long way since. I work as v-‐Lead 49 Teacher, Academy Coach, v-‐Learning Support Specialist, and what else? Oh, MNPS All-‐Stars Lead Learner-‐-‐at MNPS Virtual School in Nashville, Tennessee. We are the first public virtual school in Tennessee and one of the highest achieving (and coolest) schools in the state. I fish, I play mandolin, banjo, and guitar. I am proudest of being a parent of two talented, complicated, creative young people. All my connection ability is at http://about.me/scottmerrick, so go for it. How, when, and why did you get started exploring virtual worlds? What virtual worlds do you find yourself actively engaged in using? I spent some considerable time in the early Active Worlds (a little known fact) to the extent that I had a home there and led a team of middle schooler's in a Dell Technology Leadership challenge 'way back in 2004, in which their project, to build a virtual rendition of University School of Nashville in Active Worlds, won six Dell workstations for the school. I got into Second Life about 2005, had a romping good time as an anonymous avatar for a couple years, then discovered ISTE in there. I opted for transparency partly to help brand my name and partly to keep me out of trouble (;-‐) and the rest is history. Wait. That was history. Whatever. Please introduce your main/primary Avatar. Just had my 7th Rez Day, April 2 is the date, 2007 was the ��year. I like to explore lush woodsy builds on my Chatnoir horse. It's relaxing and interesting. And I loved hosting the ISTE Speaker Sessions so remarkably begun by the legendary KJ Hax and carried on after me by the even more legendary Andy Wheelock, aka Spiff Whitfield. Along with the esteemed publishers of this merry digital rag and others I suffered through the rather painful process of the disintegration of ISTE Island and helped with the founding of our beautiful HQ rental at http://tinyurl.com/istesigve. I can still be found there most Tuesday nights, learning from those who are younger. 50 If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. Scott Merrick is my Kitely avatar and he's a busy bee. We're opening an art show next week in MNPS VIrtual World I in Kitely and I'm hoping to FINALLY help get some kids in there. I've been just about to do it for a decade, it seems, and now's the time. Get in Kitely and search MNPS and you'll find it. Scott Merrick wearing hard hat in MNPS Virtual World I (Kitely). How are you and your Avatar(s) alike and different? They're pretty much the same guy, only Scottmerrick Oh looks more like Scott Merrick than Scott Merrick does. What? What were some of your most challenging experiences as a newbie and what kept you coming back into the virtual worlds? My most daunting challenge was doing that ISTE Island thing mentioned above. It was painful, collaborative, and . . . painful. The final outcome is a testament to compromise in the service of innovation. Meeting friends for the first time at ISTE Island and SIGVE has been the best-‐-‐truly the best-‐-‐reward of perseverance. Also, I might add that the closure of the Opensim Reaction Grid 51 hurt a bunch after spending much time and effort developing in there. Oh well, I learned . . . I came into this live (these lives) with nothing and will leave with same. The SIGVE Playground at the annual ISTE Conference has been a great joy, dating from the time it was the Second Life Playground. What have you taught your Avatar? What has your Avatar taught you? I have taught my avatar not to sweat the small stuff. I'm now working with him to learn about sculpy creation and mesh. There's a lot to learn. My avatar taught me that whether one is an avatar or a meatspace human, dedication that is not honest is not genuine, and that that is, is. We continue to exercise that philosophy. How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? We've gotten older. REALLY older. I don't think my avatar wakes up and goes to sleep with sore muscles and a tired brain every day of his life, and he always seems to be able to get up after a fall, brushing himself off. I have no trouble falling IRL but it's getting harder to get back up. I wish I could fly like my avatar, and I wish he could feel the snuggle of a honey like I do in real life. Nanny. Nanny. Booboo, Mr. Oh. What is your GREATEST feat/accomplishment working together and through your Avatar(s)? Founding ISTE SIGVE, morphing it away from its mothership, the Gaming SIG, with the clear and simple argument that this is not a game. I was proud to see that slogan on a tee-‐shirt at the Leadership Symposium in San Antonio last year (perhaps the last one at an annual ISTE). It's not a game, folks. It's a space comprised of places. What has been your most interesting and/or exciting moment or experience working with and through your Avatar(s)? I enjoyed meeting Philip Rosedale at a Second Life Community Conference in Tampa, FL, some years ago. He's truly charismatic and I recommend his biography, whose name escapes me at the mo'. That's where I first read the great story about the Enterprise door he built as a young boy for his bedroom by installing a 52 garage door opener in the attic over his bedroom. I also enjoyed meeting people there in the flesh for the first time. I had some great fun, and challenges, attempting a startup with two friends met in Second Life, MUVERS, where we attempted to get fair compensation from universities interested in medical simulations. I lost at least one of those friends in that effort and have lost touch with the other. It's not a game, folks. Approximately how much time each week do you spend working and playing in virtual worlds with your Avatar(s)? Oh, asldkffd;lsfjk hours or so. It varies, seeming to happen in waves. Been in Kitely a lot lately spiffing up (sic) the school space for the art opening. It's a very modest show, nothing like the immense Artclectic recreation I did years ago in Second Life. Tell us about the future plans for "You and your Avatar(s)"? We will survive. I want to learn more about Minecraft and how to tap into my school's students using it, especially since we're moving into 7th and 8th grade online next year. I'm quite interested in the ongoing success of VEJ as well, and immensely thankful for the time and energy Rosie and Bob put into it. Rock 53 they do. I'm also waiting on the edge of my seat for just what Gord Holden is going to break out soon. You should be, too. [Be sure to read the interview between Scott and Gord in this issue of VEJ] Please share anything else you would like VEJ readers to know about you and your Avatar(s). I forgot to mention the what should be a legendary "SLedupotential" 3 hour workshop session that I organized and presented at an ISTE years ago-‐-‐billed as "3 hours with 9 educators from 9 states." It was a true rush wrangling all those talented high-‐energy, high-‐maintenance educational innovators. And, I'll never forget it. https://sledupotential.wikispaces.com/is still up. If you google, SLedupotential, there's a buncho stuff, including videos and lots of pics. This was back when ISTE was still called NECC. Yep, we're old! Students' photography exhibit in Kitely @ MNPS Please list your contact information -‐ the best way for us to reach you. email@example.com 54 Introducing Kim Harrison (rl), aka Thunder Insippo (sl 55 Please introduce yourself in real life (rl). I'm Kim Harrison, a computer resource specialist in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA. I work with teachers, students and administrators at one elementary school helping them with their technology needs. We used to call it technology integration; now it's a part of life. Teachers have an idea but aren't quite sure which tools are the best to use and I help get the conversation started. They are as likely as I am sometimes to come up with the applications students end up using. I'm the gal with the time and resources to create directions for students, teach the application-‐based mini-‐ lesson if needed, and help work out the bugs in our plan as the students carry it out. How, when, and why did you get started exploring virtual worlds? What virtual worlds do you find yourself actively engaged in using? I received my first web enabled handheld device, an iPod, for Christmas 2007. I subscribed to some educational podcasts right away and enjoyed listening to people like Alan November and David Warlick. In January I had some minor surgery that kept me home from work for two weeks. Having heard about Second Life in these podcasts I decided to give it a try. I found ISTE, DEN, and even a VSTE area eventually. I was hooked in about two weeks. I've tried some other open sims like Jokaydia, Reaction Grid, and Science Island, but none compared with SL. I have also dabbled in Minecraft but not with students. I'm most active in World of Warcraft these days having followed some close SL friends into it. I find that I like having objectives and opportunities to level and accomplish achievements. I currently have two level 90 toons with four or more others slowly climbing the ranks. Please introduce your main/primary Avatar. My primary avatar in Second Life is Thunder Insippo. Thunder was born January 19, 2008 and lives on VSTE Island where I am 56 one of the original four coordinators. I'm part of a flexible team of folks who plan weekly meetings that include tours, guest speakers, book talks, celebrations, networking for educators and friends. 57 If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. Thunkin is my level 90 blood elf priest in World of Warcraft. I think I started around Halloween or Thanksgiving in 2012. Thunkin is a tailor and herbalist. She can create clothing from cloth for herself and other toons in WOW. She gathers herbs and sells or gives them to toons who use them to create potions or enchant things. Currently she is working on reputation with the August Celestials so that I can earn the recipe to make the largest bag, to hold inventory, in the game called the Royal Satchel. I'll be able to make them for my friends and sell them in the Auction House to make gold. When I'm not working on a mission like this I like to collect pets in WOW. If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. Two other favorite toons in WOW are Thunkim and Thunkit. Thunkim is a level 80+ Pandarian (panda) Shaman who is best friends with Starrymoon, an 80+ Pandarian Hunter. Thunkim and Starry have "Panda Playtime" on Saturday mornings and work on questing and achievements together. It's a great time for the humans behind the toons, Kim and Mary, to share what is going on at our respective elementary schools in two different states. Thunkit is a level 71 Dwarf Paladin. She has a similar friendship and regular meeting time with another Dwarf Paladin. 58 How are you and your Avatar(s) alike and different? When I'm in a virtual world I am still myself. What were some of your most challenging experiences as a newbie and what kept you coming back into the virtual worlds? I was almost scared off by sexual content that was in my face on Welcome Island in SL. I discussed it with others who had tried SL before me and not stayed and we decided to go in together in search of educators. What have you taught your Avatar? What has your Avatar taught you? I believe hiding behind my avatar enabled me to try some leadership skills I may have been afraid to exercise beforehand. Those skills have bled over into the rest of my life. How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? My avatars are me. What is your GREATEST feat/accomplishment working together and through your Avatar(s)? I'm proud of my role in VSTE and on VSTE Island. I've met some very nice people and made new friendships I'm sure will last throughout my lifetime. 59 What has been your most interesting and/or exciting moment or experience working with and through your Avatar(s)? I have enjoyed the presentations I have facilitated. Early on it was exciting to introduce Kathy Schrock to the VSTE Island group gathered at our pavilion. It was also heartwarming to help throw a VSTE fundraiser last spring and raise over $800 for the VSTE organization. Approximately how much time each week do you spend working and playing in virtual worlds with your Avatar(s)? I spend at least an hour a day in virtual worlds, primarily WOW. 60 Tell us about the future plans for "You and your Avatar(s)"? I will continue to do what I'm doing – enjoying the networking in Second Life and playing in WOW. Please list your contact information -‐ the best way for us to reach you. Kim Harrison K4sons@gmail.com Thunder Insippo in SL Thunkin on Sisters of Elune server in WOW 61 Introducing Kristina Thoennes, aka Kamoreo on the Sisters of Elune server in World of Warcraft Please introduce yourself in real life (rl). I am Kristina Thoennes, a Media Coordinator (aka school librarian, teacher librarian, etc.) in North Carolina. I enjoy knitting, reading, walking, and playing games. How, when, and why did you get started exploring virtual worlds? What virtual worlds do you find yourself actively engaged in using? I became hooked on World of Warcraft a few years ago after my teenager talked me into getting it if she got all A’s one quarter. Now she never plays, and I play all the time. I played solo at first, 62 enjoying the quests and building my character. When my brother said it was all just a treadmill, I quit for a while. Then when I heard about ways it was being used in education, I became interested again and joined a guild. The guild is what keeps me in the game. I have also tried SL a little, but it seems too technical and I haven't been able to make my avatar look decent enough for me to want it to represent me. I've also played quite a bit of Minecraft. I love building things in it, but I get a bit motion-‐sick so I don't use it often. 63 Please introduce your main/primary Avatar. Kamoreo is my main avatar, a pandaren hunter in World of Warcraft. I brought her up from a mere babe, questing through Azeroth starting in November 2012, I think. Now that she is a level 90 with fairly good gear, she's retired to mostly leatherworking to make gear for others, and farming to get more materials for the guild. She's also gotten into transmogrification, changing the look of her gear to improve her appearance. She has run several retro raids to get achievements and mounts. She also enjoys working on World Event-‐related achievements. 64 If you have more than one Avatar, please share with us another favorite Avatar. I started Kamdeyja, a second toon on World of Warcraft and an undead monk, some time in 2013. She languished around level 25 until I had the opportunity to boost her to level 90 with a preorder of the expansion. I've had to work a lot to get used to a new class and role: she is a healer instead of damage-‐dealer. I've hesitated to put her in group situations where people are really depending on her to heal. I have really enjoyed learning what she can do, running around Timeless Isle killing elite creatures and looking for better gear. Soon, I'd like to ask a group of patient people from my guild to let her try healing in a scenario or dungeon. How are you and your Avatar(s) alike and different? Kamoreo my hunter is a ranged damage dealer: she is able to stand back while her pet engages any enemies. I think that I tend to stand back a bit to see what is going on in any situation, hesitant to jump in too actively unless I feel really I have strong relevant knowledge or competence. She has done a lot of solo questing, which reflects my social awkwardness. When people invite Kamoreo to a group activity, I am happy to join in, but I am shy about initiating group activities. That is true in RL, too. Kamdeyja is similar in providing a supporting role -‐ neither of my avatars are tanks, which I see as being leaders. I feel most competent in using Kamoreo, so I favor her in challenging situations. However, I am really enjoying exploring Kamdeyja's abilities in lower-‐stakes activities. 65 66 What were some of your most challenging experiences as a newbie and what kept you coming back into the virtual worlds? When I first started playing WoW, my daughter gave me the basic pointers about how to accept quests, move around, and use the action bar. I was impressed at how the game taught me in gradual increments how to do different types of activities and use additional skills. It made the newbie experience pretty smooth, as far as individual questing goes. Once I joined the guild and started doing more group activities like dungeons and raids, the guild members provided a lot of teaching and support in a friendly atmosphere. I have also run into a few strangers who were friendly and helpful, although there have been others who were rude and offensive. Fan sites provide a lot of helpful information, too. I have learned a lot from the comments on WowHead, especially when I get stuck on a quest. Icy-‐Veins has great information for how to make the most of a given class. I watch a lot of YouTube videos to learn how to play certain dungeons or raids. What have you taught your Avatar? What has your Avatar taught you? I have taught Kamoreo how to be a sharp dresser and how to make the most of her abilities. Working/playing with her has taught me that it is okay for people to have different roles as they work together to reach a goal. And that I need to pay attention to what is around me. She has reinforced my sense of myself as a person who appreciates clear, quantified feedback. I wish that my local colleagues also played WoW, so we could use its language and lessons to talk about how to work together. 67 How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? Kamoreo is more willing to try crazy difficult things and fail over an over. I feel more pressure to succeed when I try things in RL. I am more afraid of failure. We both worry about it more when 68 other people are depending on us, than when we are tackling something solo. Kamoreo feels like her contribution to the guild is appreciated and that she has an important role there. I don't always feel like my role with my local colleagues is as clear or appreciated. What is your GREATEST feat/accomplishment working together and through your Avatar(s)? I am proud of Kamoreo's development as a competent raider, who can hold her own on the damage-‐dealing scoreboard and who can support a raiding group effectively. I am also proud of the opportunities I have found to support the guild completely outside of World of Warcraft: in educational events like the Minecraft Unsymposium in December and in the upcoming ISTE conference. What has been your most interesting and/or exciting moment or experience working with and through your Avatar(s)? I love working on a difficult achievement, trying and failing over and over, and then finally making it successfully. Approximately how much time each week do you spend working and playing in virtual worlds with your Avatar(s)? I probably play World of Warcraft 6-‐10 hours a week. Tell us about the future plans for "You and your Avatar(s)"? I want to learn how to play my healer monk effectively. I would also love to use Minecraft with my students. They love it, I love it, but my administration sees it as a problem. I haven't mustered up the courage to play the tank role against that particular boss. 69 Please share anything else you would like VEJ readers to know about you and your Avatar(s). With my avatar, I have been able to connect with a far-‐flung group of educational professionals who share my interest in virtual worlds and games. The game world she is in has provided wonderful point of contact and model for learning collaboratively. Please list your contact information -‐ the best way for us to reach you. firstname.lastname@example.org, Kamoreo on the Sisters of Elune server in World of Warcraft, KamTonnes on Minecraft, @kamtonnes on Twitter 70 Introducing Beth O'Connell, aka Beth Ghostraven in other worlds Please introduce yourself in real life (rl). I'm a school librarian in a middle school (ages 11-‐14) in Virginia, US. I used to read a lot more before I started exploring virtual worlds. How, when, and why did you get started exploring virtual worlds? What virtual worlds do you find yourself actively engaged in using? Although I opened my Second Life account in 2010, I couldn't do much. I wanted to be able to participate in VSTE networking events (Virginia Society for Technology in Education). In 2012, I 71 took a professional development class on Games and Simulations in Education, which incorporated SL; this was the leg up that I needed to begin. I've explored some other grids briefly, including Kitely, AvayaLive, OSgrid, InWorldz, Metropolis, and FleepGrid. I helped with the Open Simulator Community Conference (OSCC) last summer, and learned a lot, but SL is still home for me. Please introduce your main/primary Avatar. I'm Beth Ghostraven. My rez date was May 7, 2010. I live in the Independent State of Caledon, where I own the Book & Tankard Pub. I spend most of my time attending meetings of education groups in SL, and doing publicity for those meetings. I also spend a fair amount of time shopping. 72 How are you and your Avatar(s) alike and different? My personality is basically the same in SL and RL. I even modeled my avatar's shape on my real shape. There are some superficial differences. My avatar wears much more glamorous clothing than I do, she's a much better dancer, and she always looks well-‐rested. What were some of your most challenging experiences as a newbie and what kept you coming back into the virtual worlds? It took me at least a week to be able to move around, and a month before I could figure out how to change my clothes. It was incredibly difficult for me to learn to navigate SL-‐-‐a learning cliff. My most embarrassing moment was clicking “wear” on a hair demo in the Truth store, and finding that that was all I was wearing. My mentors have been Cyndyl Enyo, who taught the Games course, Serena Offcourse, and many other people from the education community and the Caledon community. The Caledon Oxbridge University orientation was valuable, and I really learned to get around and use my camera on the Caledon Quest. What have you taught your Avatar? What has your Avatar taught you? I taught my avatar everything! My avatar has taught me that I can have an active social life even with a significant hearing impairment, that I am not alone in my teaching, and that I have a lot to offer the communities that I'm part of. How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? We've actually become a little more separate. I used to be totally immersed, and now I can hold back a bit and be more analytical about things. 73 74 How have you and your Avatar(s) grown/changed over time? We've actually become a little more separate. I used to be totally immersed, and now I can hold back a bit and me more analytical about things. What is your GREATEST feat/accomplishment working together and through your Avatar(s)? I'm proud of being a connecting force in Caledon and the education groups that I'm in. Recently I gave a lecture inworld at VWBPE which was very well received, and I sat on two panels at that conference. Last year I couldn't even get to most of the conference; this year I was an active participant. 75 What has been your most interesting and/or exciting moment or experience working with and through your Avatar(s)? I loved being a part of Team Caledon in Relay for Life (SL). I was even part of the building team! Approximately how much time each week do you spend working and playing in virtual worlds with your Avatar(s)? Way too much! Probably about 6-‐10 hours a day, so 40-‐70 hours a week. Wait, that can't be right-‐-‐I'm multitasking a lot of that time. Tell us about the future plans for "You and your Avatar(s)"? I need to scale back my involvement with education groups just a little, and train some other people in doing publicity. I love all of the connections I've made, and I don't want to burn myself out. I'd also like to do some more exploring of OSgrid and Inworldz, and I would like to increase the amount of writing that I'm doing about virtual worlds. Please share anything else you would like VEJ readers to know about you and your Avatar(s). As a hearing-‐impaired person, I'm begging you-‐-‐if you do a presentation in voice in a virtual world, *please* include some kind of text transcription. This also helps people who get sidetracked, and provides a record of what you talked about. Please list your contact information -‐ the best way for us to reach you. Beth O'Connell: email@example.com Beth Ghostraven in all of the worlds that I'm in 76 Drawing Out Student Potential Through Live Roleplay And NLP Theory By Fleet Goldenberg INTRODUCTION When a student is asked to use technology in the classroom in the same way that they use that technology at home – whether it be a virtual world or social networking -‐ then it can suddenly become uncool, because the teacher is turning something that they enjoy into just another work exercise. 77 Besides, if an adult likes something then it doesn't feel quite so revolutionary. The exodus of teens from Facebook in the last couple of years is a classic example of this “if they're using it, I'm not” mindset. School, however can become a more integral aspect of students' lives once they are able to take full control of their thoughts and ability to influence their environment while still being under the ultimate administration of adult figures such as teachers and parents, who can maintain their authority by continuously honing their own thought-‐ shaping skills to ensure that they remain ahead of those of the children. Learning is most effective when the student is having so much fun that they do not even realize that they are learning! By giving them tools within the classroom environment to harness their imagination and then removing them from those tools when the break and home-‐ time bell’s ring, they can teach themselves through their play how to excel in everyday situations where they may not have the luxury of being able to access a device to solve a problem. During their tech-‐free play, when they are “cut off from the cord,” they draw on both conscious short-‐term memory recollection and a wealth of information lodged deep in their unconscious long-‐term memory that their mind has recorded and filed away. Like the creation of dreams during sleep, those conscious and unconscious pieces of memory combine to generate pieces of a narrative that is acted out during play through thoughts, physical movements and body language. Adult learners sometimes make use of self-‐help audio media that can be played through headphones whilw they sleep, thus loading the information into their unconscious and making it easier to recall that information during their waking life. That is, if they are exposed to memory cues that trigger the pre-‐installed content and pull the memory (or a shard of it) into their conscious mind. This learning technique offers a clue for how play can be combined with traditional book-‐learning – something that is especially important when trying to get a new course approved by tech-‐skeptical administrators who prefer evolution to revolution! 78 With the rise of augmented reality, people are already becoming living avatars via mobile devices such as handhelds and wearables. But we can take these portable computing technologies even further by using them to draw out students' dormant mental and physical potential. Instead of memorizing a text-‐book by rote, the student could be asked to read a chapter in their own time as homework but not absorb it as though they were memorizing it for a test (since the mind has already unconsciously absorbed everything that the eyes were looking at.) This is the same method of mental pre-‐loading of data into the mind that the 'learn while you sleep' audio guides use. The next time that the student attends a class, they can be given prompts by digital lesson media (apps, web-‐based content, etc.) that are designed in such a way that the mind can join the dots and connect to the information that it absorbed during the casual homework reading, bringing that information naturally to the surface of the consciousness in an “Oh yeeahh, I get it!” light-‐bulb moment. Once they have grasped the basics of a concept from their realizations during a classroom session, then they can then be encouraged to explore it further during break-‐time play in an endless “class-‐play-‐class-‐play” learning loop; each new cycle building on the results of the preceding one in a continuous, harmonious amplification. In the field of electronics waveform theory, this is known as Constructive Interference. Conversely, when education is disjointed and conflicted then the progress of previous sessions is canceled out by Destructive Interference. While one cannot – and should not – compel the student to reflect on new knowledge during their own time, if it is presented to them in a way that is compelling enough for it to powerfully resonate with them then they are likely to want to continue trying out new ideas without being asked. And as most teachers and parents know, it is so much easier to get a kid to do something if they think it's their own idea! 79 Being able to engage better with books through play is a process whose benefits flow in both directions. Once the student gets a taste for reading through gentle enhancement of their literacy via methods that are fun and easy for them to grasp (because they rely on the visual senses that modern youths use every day instead of dry academic memory-‐tests), they are more likely to have the interest to embark upon a deeper relationship with books. This is especially true of fiction reading for English language / literacy classes. When they experiment with stories in the home and playground then they become more likely to develop a fan-‐connection with the authors / artists that created them and so seek out other works by those creators, and then search for similar works by other creators. BRINGING PLAY INDOORS It is desirable for teachers that a new idea is followed up on as soon as practically possible so that the fresh knowledge does not have a chance to be forgotten before it can be reinforced. Research into sales techniques have demonstrated that a customer will begin to forget the details of a sales pitch after three days. After a week they can barely remember it, giving a rival company an opportunity to make a successful competing pitch to that customer. This is why a salesperson is keen to close a deal as soon as possible after the initial sales lead. In the case of students, it could be said that the teacher's competition is everything that captures the student's attention inbetween one class and the next (e.g., television, the internet, sports and hobbies, friends and family). It is in the interests of a teacher to communicate their messages to their students before daily life can erode the learning momentum that has been built up. Like a sales executive, a teacher should therefore seek to continue the learning dialog at the first opportunity. One of the best times for that to happen is soon after the students' most recent personal play sessions. Teachers can bring them in from the playground and maintain the energy and excitement of that 80 recreation time by leading them into scripted live role-‐play scenarios that utilize technologies only available to them in the classroom. The absolute ideal is a double class that is separated by a break-‐time period so that there is an unbroken flow of ideas and energy. If a teacher does not already have a double session then it would have to be negotiated into the curriculum with administrators ahead of the start of the new school year. For most educators, the day after is probably the soonest that they will be able to access their students again, in which case – as described earlier -‐ they could design homework assignments that load relevant information into the students' brains in the meantime until the threads of the previous class can be picked up again next time the class comes together. FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY Merging play with classroom tech is not quite as straightforward as it sounds, though, especially once you take into account the human factor. The problem with play is that while you can do it privately in isolation, to a certain extent, if you do not want to involve other people. It is often a social expression that relies on an individual having a certain amount of self-‐confidence to share the play experience with others or even accept being observed at play by others. If the student has a withdrawn nature then being asked to do anything that gets them noticed by classmates can be a living nightmare for them. For example, being asked by the teacher to answer a question or stand at the front of the class to give a presentation can be a nightmare of epic proportions for students at the best of times; an ordeal in which a room full of eyes are critically scrutinizing them and privately – and sometimes publicly – mocking them. If even those activities are a soul-‐killing experience for them, imagine how that terror would be multiplied if they were required by a lesson plan to hold a mobile device in one hand and actively move the rest of their body around as they act out a device-‐augmented class roleplay! 81 It is one thing for them to do it on Microsoft Kinect, Wii U, and PlayStation Move in their safety of their own home. It is quite another to have to submit themselves to having their moves graded. As traditional interfaces such as joypad, mouse and keyboard give way to touch and motion detection though, it is more imperative than it has ever been that students are equipped from an early age to lose their fear of public performance or risk falling behind their peers. This kind of social phobia surrounding public display is especially prevalent in the reserved Japanese culture, where karaoke takes places in sound-‐proofed booths with a small group of one's closest friends and players in amusement arcades. Students who are self-‐conscious about playing dancing games where they have to move their legs or beat a rhythm on drum-‐pads, often avoid looking at rival players during multiplayer games. Having doubts and fears during play introduces turbulence into one's thought processes that can quickly lead to mental paralysis, as seen so often in school stage productions. Once that happens to a student, they are likely to be extremely averse to taking part in subsequent occurrences of that activity. The same emotion that can paralyze a non-‐confident student can, however, when channeled correctly, be used as a powerful fuel for harnessing that student's latent potential. Once they see for themselves what they are truly capable of, the confidence problem will be taken care of because, if they believe with a conviction beyond certainty that they can accomplish a goal even if they have not yet attempted it, the barriers to that aim will crumble. The process of student growth can be carefully guided through student-‐teacher discussions that: examine where the student currently is in their life; set realistically achievable goals on a chart and the steps required to meet those goals; and then subsequently check the progress 82 towards planned goals and setting further, more challenging targets if the previous ones have been met. Fictional heroes such as the Power Rangers draw the strength to survive from their determination to win, and so their mind empowers their abilities, not the other way around. With a Positive Mental Attitude, the entire human body becomes a living 'power morpher' that enables a person to attain a “heroic” state. Students who can break through perceived limitations – restrictions that may have developed as a result of low self-‐esteem or a negative home and peer environment -‐ will effectively become 'super powered' in regard to the amount of potential that they can harness. Others who see them will be inspired to follow their example. While there is not much a teacher can do about home life, they can at least negate a little of the damage done at home by helping to provide a great school day. Physical activities such as live role-‐play provide an outlet for frustration, and so youths should be learning how to harness their full potential and energies early on in life so that they grow up knowing how to direct their mind and hence their behavior and responses to difficult situations. Giving kids confidence acts as a 'nuclear deterrent' as they mentally paint an aura around themselves that discourages other kids from targeting them for abuse. TURNING THE POTENTIAL TAP The personal and social education (PSE) of each student should always be highly customized to the individual. A large amount of a school's pastoral care strategy can be standardized by building personal plans around a simple formula. Three of the most important requirements for unrestricted access to inner potential are: Calmness, Belief, and, Need. These components can be better understood if described in terms of the parts of a kitchen tap and the water inside it. 83 Calm is represented by the water itself . . . it clears the mind of distracting thoughts, doubts and fears and gets it ready for the issuing of thought commands so that you can access and summon your potential and then use it for something. Until you have belief and need though, most of that water -‐ or in other words, our potential -‐ will remain inside the tap's water pipe and will not be usable by us. Belief is the water pressure in the pipe that determines how strongly the water flows out when it is released by the turning of the tap-‐head. The greater our belief in ourselves, the more of our untapped potential that our mind will release. Need is the twistable head of the tap that controls how much of our potential is released. When we turn open our inner tap-‐head, we make it possible for the dormant potential inside us to rush out. The urgency of your need to draw on your capability determines how much potential will be released by your mind so that you can use it. The maximum amount of potential that a person may summon can be increased if they have a combination of perfect calm, strongest belief and strongest need. The summoning, release and use of inner potential is a team-‐up between mind and body. The mind should always be in charge of the body, not the other way around. Once the student's mind has become familiar with the codes to unlocking their potential through tech-‐assisted play then they will be able to call on it at will in everyday life without the need for hardware. When they have been shown that they can achieve something once then 84 they will, from that first hand experience, know they can achieve it again at any time and place in the future. We mentioned at the beginning about how humans draw on mental resources such as short and long-‐term memories. In fact, “Drawing Out” is precisely how we can go about turning the theoretical power-‐formula of Calm-‐Belief-‐Need into living reality! DRAWING ONTO THE WORLD WITH MENTAL PAINT Through play inside and outside of school, students can – once they become less self-‐conscious -‐ use their mind and/or body movements to 'direct' their psychology/physiology and physical posture as though real life is a movie set where they, as director, can influence any aspect of their life through a fully energized state of mind and body . . . where doubts, negativities and self-‐imposed limitations fall away. There are plenty of examples that teachers can refer to in popular pre-‐teen and teen media to defuse students' concerns that they would look silly representing their thoughts with movement. A couple of prime examples being the “jutsu” hand movements to activate special powers in the hit teen ninja cartoon series 'Naruto,' or the set of hand motions made with portable devices in series such as 'Power Rangers' and 'Digimon.' Personal visualizations can be externalized with Drawing Out so peers can experience them, too. The choreography can make an instant impression on the audience in the same way that they are often hypnotically enraptured by the dance moves of their favorite music stars 85 After a formula for success has been demonstrated by one person, that success can be replicated by others if they closely follow the observed formula themselves, with some tweaks of their own, to suit their individual circumstances. Careful iteration on what has gone before and been proven to work is a key principle of progress in most aspects of our world – science and technology, business, sports and innumerable other areas. In fact, it is a core rule of science that a theory cannot be considered to be a scientific law until it has been replicated a number of times with 86 the same results. And once the basics are proven, the theory is developed and greater discoveries are made, which in turn are tested, proven and iterated on yet again. WRITING FOR NON-‐WRITERS A particular advantage of Drawing Out for teachers is that it provides the ability to convert many different forms of information into a single easy to understand presentation format for class role-‐play that is similar to a movie script. Because a typical script is just a set of literal descriptions of a scene with lines of speech between them, rather than the kind of complex prose found in a fiction novel, just about any teacher can write a role-‐ play for their class irrespective of their literature writing talent (or lack thereof in some cases)! The use of a hand-‐held device as an assisting aid for live role-‐play means that if the role-‐play calls for the use of interactive digital elements then its script should be designed so that the student needs to check the screen as little as possible. Perhaps instead of moving their finger on a touchscreen or an iPod-‐style selector pad, they would instead not look at them as though they are driving a car and instinctively operating the pedals and gear-‐shift stick while keeping their eyes on the road at all times. By adding headphones or bud earpieces to the handheld device being used in a class – ensuring though that they have a sufficiently long lead so that the student does not painfully rip them off their ears during swift hand-‐movement -‐ audio media can also be incorporated into scripts to provide further potential-‐augmenting inputs for the student's subconscious to automatically act upon. The future of living and learning is not passively sitting immersed in a videogame with a controller and moving an avatar, but putting the whole of their mind and body into their interactions with the world. It is not enough though that a system should work. To ensure the best results from it, especially when using it with younger students, it should 87 also be so simple to use that the mechanics of it are invisible to the user, and they are able to focus exclusively on succeeding at the task at hand. To make this possible, we need to essentially automate the potential-‐ harnessing interactions between the handheld device and the mind of the student, so that once they achieve the super-‐potentialized state, they can maintain that state for the rest of the session without thinking about it until the role-‐play ends and they can relax and “power down.” When designing a learning system based on the principles of Drawing Out, a useful benchmark for ease of use to bear in mind is “Is it likely to be usable by a profoundly physically impaired person who can at least bend a part of their body, such as a finger or toe?” To achieve such a level of automation of a user's thought processes and for this to become feasible, we can utilize a combination of the human nervous system and physical feedback sensations. NERVOUS AND TENSED One of the almost endless amazing things about the brain is that, being a super-‐computer of unparalleled complexity, it can handle more than one activity at the same time. You can be thinking about something and at the same time have your brain works on another task automatically in the background. You can program the brain to carry out a specific internal process when you move a part of your body in a certain way (for example, pushing your thumb and fore-‐finger together.) In the psychological science of Neuro-‐Linguistic Programming (NLP), the touch-‐based programming instruction is known as an “anchor” and the stimuli that activates that instruction is called a “trigger.” The more that you practice the chosen touch-‐gesture anchor while thinking about the task you want to have activated when the movement is made, then the more certain your brain will start doing the designated processing task or enter into a particular psychological/physiological state whenever it detects that particular body movement trigger. 88 The brain will remember to keep automatically carrying out the task that you have assigned to the chosen physical gesture for as long as you keep that body part or parts tensed. This is because it is constantly being reminded to do the task by the feeling of tension that travels to the brain through the nervous system. To demonstrate the concept clearly and powerfully, let's do an example exercise. Step One Think in your mind an instruction that clearly describes to the brain what you want to happen while a particular part of your body is tensed. The example thought-‐command we will use in this exercise is “Give me more energy.” Step Two The next step is to select a part of your body to place in tension. You do not need to be looking at that part in order for the technique to work. In this exercise, we will utilize a finger as our means of creating physical tension. Bend a finger – any finger -‐ on one of your hands a little and then hold it in that position . . . not a lot, just enough so that you have a continuous feeling of tension in that digit. The feeling in the finger as you keep it tensed will keep reminding the brain that it is supposed to raise your body's energy level for as long as the nervous system keeps telling it that the finger is tensed. Step Three Think or do anything else that you want to while keeping the finger bent. You will find that you can now do two things at the same time – what you would normally be doing and the additional task that you have programmed into your finger without any division of concentration! 89 When you are ready to end the exercise, simply relax your finger to cease the mental programming instruction that was linked to that finger. READY TO RUMBLE We can make our physical feedback system even simpler – making it suited to very young children, who may not have the attention span to keep a body part in tension – if we replace the need for a conscious bending action with physical feedback from the handheld device, such as the vibration/rumble function. It still works because the rumble feedback reminds the student's mind to process a set mental instruction (e.g our aforementioned energy-‐raising command) in place of the reminder transmitted to the brain by the nervous system via body-‐part tension. A teacher could program a mobile app for their class that sends pulses of vibration of varying durations and intensities into the hand. If 90 the student is taught that these pulse patterns correspond to specific meanings then this would be another form of non-‐visual feedback that reduces the immersion-‐breaking need for them to keep looking at the screen, thus freeing up their eyes so that they can focus their attention on a live role-‐play activity. INCORPORATING REALITY INTO UNREALITY The Drawing Out mobile role-‐play system can be taken one step further by adventurous teachers who remove the real world completely from the students' sight, whether by a virtual reality headset such as Oculus Rift/Project Morpheus or by a simple and wonderfully inexpensive blindfold/eye-‐mask. The effectiveness of a pretend reality – whether viewed on a VR headset's video display or formed in the imagination -‐ relies upon believing completely in the imagery that you create. That belief, however, can be eroded if you are consciously aware of stimuli that are contrary to the alternative reality that you are trying to form in your mind. As an example, you may be sitting on a chair with your eyes closed, mentally picturing that you are flying through the air like a bird, but you can still feel the chair underneath you and behind your back and so the illusion is shaken by the inescapable physical sensations that confirm that you are still physically grounded. Even standing up during the experience would not help much with this particular scenario because you will still feel the ground beneath your feet. Short of installing a body-‐lifting wind tunnel in the floor or floating in a swimming pool, it would be hard to shake off the cognitive dissonance caused by the feeling that you are not actually in the circumstances that you are trying hard to believe yourself to be part of. IF YOU CAN'T AVOID YOUR FEELINGS, USE THEM If you cannot block out the physical stimuli that causes you to have doubt in the scenario then you can reinforce your mental conviction about the truth of the imagery by utilizing the disruptive sensations as an integral part of the scene. 91 Let's say that you are laying down on the floor in the real world with your vision of the real world obscured, trying to convince yourself you are standing in the hall of a magical castle. You may be able to clearly see yourself and the castle room via headset VR or imaginative visualization. But, it is not a perfect simulation. The attempt to convince the mind into believing in the scene is being disrupted by the sensation of the floor under your back. But the problem can be solved simply by changing the narration of the role-‐play scene to take account of what you are feeling. In the example of the magical castle, you could change the description of the scene from standing in a hall to lying on a bed in a castle bedroom. By incorporating the particular parts of your body that are part of the “feeling” in the simulation, the mind will become even more convinced that the artificial reality that you are visualizing is true because the physical stimuli will back up your belief in the truth of the fantasy. A FURTHER LEAP OF IMAGINATION You may have heard of the well-‐known saying “The thought is the deed.” In the realm of psychology, a physical condition can manifest because of something that is happening in the mind (a very basic example being the creation of spots on the skin by a state of high stress.) Therefore, we can adjust our physiology in specific ways by crafting a narrative with VR scenario programming or with our internal mindscape. If we want to think about the idea of role-‐playing unreal situations in an otherwise real world, then one can look at the example of 'magical transformation' characters in classic cartoon fiction, such as Sailor Moon, He-‐Man and She-‐Ra. They appear to be surrounded by a magical field that changes their physical form from an ordinary, everyday one to a super-‐powered one. Thinking about the mechanics of such fictional universes can provide useful insights about the concept of incorporating unreality into the real world. 92 THE MECHANICS OF MAGICAL PEOPLE If we were to try to convince our mind that we were in possession of Prince Adam's magical power sword (with which he transforms into He-‐ Man by holding the sword aloft and speaking the magical words, “By the power of Grayskull”,) it would not be enough for us to just close the eyes, imagine the power sword in the hand, say the magic words, and expect to be instantly transformed. Instead, one might have to set up all of the conditions in their visualization that make the transformation possible in the fictional world of He-‐Man. These would be: ü That you are holding the sword – a belief that would be reinforced by holding any long, thin device that can be gripped with a closed hand, even a smartphone or Wii Remote/ PlayStation move controller (or a pencil if your class budget is particularly stretched); ü That the sword is connected to a magical power source (such as the He-‐Man fictional universe's Castle Grayskull), and that it will channel the power through the “sword” when the special activation words are spoken; ü That you believe completely that when you speak the magic words “By the power of Grayskull”, the expected release of power from the sword will occur. (This could be synchronized with a burst of vibration from the device held in the hand to reinforce the belief that something is actually happening); and ü That when the power is released, your physiology and/or psychology will be changed positively in some way, even if you don't literally transform into He-‐Man. Once the teacher understands these principles, then he or she can define an activation procedure in their role-‐play scripts to meet a particular goal and describe the aspects of the students that will be altered when they invoke the steps of the procedure. The hand-‐held 93 device therefore becomes a tool that can be whatever implement a lesson plan requires. 94 When a teacher has developed a highly effective, time-‐proven, battle-‐ ready Drawing Out system, their teacher instinct may be to propagate that knowledge by sharing it with others in the field of education – just as they themselves likely gained much in the past by adopting the knowledge shared freely by others. And this will usually mean a lot of writing … DOCUMENTING STANDARDS We mentioned earlier about the importance of iteration of accepted standards over time in order to continuously improve them year after year. This is true for the Drawing Out system detailed in this article as well. Once techniques have been documented in some manner, like a particular martial art, then they have a chance – if they are subsequently widely accepted -‐ of becoming a standard that others can use as a reference to successfully train themselves. They can then use the rules of that standard as the basis to develop their own take on it and hopefully also share their iterations with others as the originator did, so that that iteration can also be built upon. If an open-‐source community can be developed around the standard then teachers can create and share their own modules to plug into the framework of the core standard, and also contribute feedback to development of the core itself. ****** Fleet Goldenberg is the Community Manager of Sambiglyon (www.sambiglyon.org), a non-‐profit organization that provides real-‐world and virtual reality support services to consumers and educational professionals in the education, librarianship and business sectors. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or instant-‐message to 'Fleet Goldenberg' in the virtual world 'Second Life.' 95 Reflections on Becoming Delightful By Barbara Truman (rl), AKA Delightful (SL) Participating in virtual worlds was expected for my role as an educational leader. I did not think twice about creating an avatar and trying out the experience, especially since I was a campus representative for the New Media Consortium, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Grant to explore Second Life for educational use in 2005. 96 Available avatar names were often humorous. Doowangle was fanciful and needed an appropriate accompaniment. It sounded rustic, yet familiarly exotic. Delightful it was. And so, I began a journey of self-‐ exploration that led me to research the importance of cultivating identity for collaboration across virtual environments as my avatar, Delightful Doowangle. Using social media forced me to consider my representation shared with others. What was my message? For many faculty, retreating from polished publications in favor of sharing formative thoughts requires spontaneity, openness, even playfulness. An avatar of my own that I could embody in a virtual world allowed me the ability to customize my representation as I simultaneously explored environments to experience things not possible or practical physically. What was this somatic experience that engaged my whole being using my avatar? For me, participating in online groups posed a challenge to overcome the cognitive load and keep up with technology that I often could not remember. Persistence paid off as I gained sufficient agency for adaptability to take over. Colleagues helped fill in my knowledge gaps. My anxiety to learn alien technology was replaced by excitement trusting that someone in the group knew many things, relieving the need to learn so much. Overcoming feelings of overwhelm to learn about ��software, interfaces, and the nuances of culture in groups is not trivial, especially when I did not use an avatar often enough. Routines and habits reinforce necessary skills that require practice. Using my avatar over time led to attachment, group bonding, and empowerment opening me up to new ideas and perspectives. I became multiplexed as a citizen of the Metaverse, able to embrace ambiguity, diversity, and complexity. Optimism grew as I became attached to my avatar’s reception among my virtual community. Identities fused. Advocacy for using virtual environments grew in me along with the desire to understand how and when they are best used. My avatar, renamed D’lightful, took pressure off me as a woman of science, allowing me to relax and think deeper thoughts when I did not have to fuss with physical appearance. Relaxing helped me reflect and see 97 connections and relationships of how using avatars can be transformative with the potential for empowerment. Sharing my avatar life has not been all delight. There were times when I felt misunderstood and scorned by some peers who did not know about avatars. Some I pitied for their lack of time and sense of adventure. Many followed easier to use forms of social media. The latter group often spoke of encouraging presence online, which I found sorely lacking without the use of embodied avatars in immersive environments. Fortunately, the virtual community I joined demonstrated irresistible leadership practicing acceptance, openness, and tolerance of other viewpoints. Abilities were celebrated. Strengths were appreciated. The community gave me courage to be authentic and proud of my plural representation of Barbara/D’lightful. Soon more Delightful Doowangles were spawned across different virtual world grids representing my full potential, professionally and personally. These identities provide me the ability to participate in more communities, sharing knowledge and facilitating connections across industry sectors and professional associations. My avatar has made my life rich and blessed with a network of colleagues and friends from across the globe that I can access at almost any moment. These are the benefits I want for my family as my digital legacy. Dr. Barbara Truman is a social entrepreneur and former faculty administrator from the University of Central Florida where she helped establish online learning. Barbara's background is within Instructional Systems Design, Human Performance Technology, and Computer Science. She recently launched a non-‐profit corporation in Orlando, Florida to promote collaboration using virtual environments across industry sectors and beyond formal learning. Barbara studies how immersive learning environments promote transdisciplinarity using avatars and dialogue. 98 Journey of the Avatar (AKA, Avatar Generation) By Trevyn Slusser Back 2010 when I was a student at Front Range Community College a friend introduced me to a game called Second Life. I watched her play as she introduced me to the mechanics of it as she flew around as her mermaid avatar. I was interested instantly, mostly due to the flying. I proceeded to explore this strange and wonderful new world that had been opened to me. Soon I realized that there was no set structure to things – but in fact, it had limitless possibilities. I quickly found the free sandbox areas and stores and began my journey into the virtual world. I was soon hired as a student worker at the school in the online learning department. While I did do a lot of phone answering and helping students with the D2L program, I also found out that there were classes at my school using Second Life that we helped with. One such class was the Comparative religions course who had us create Bardo, a 99 walkthrough of the Tibetan book of the dead. I was amazed and dumbfounded at what had been made. From the beauty of the gods to the surprising decent into the underworld with Lord Yama. I then began to see just how useful some of these worlds were for teaching and began to see it in other ways as well. Jumping forward a couple years, I began to take an interest in other virtual worlds like Minecraft and World of Warcraft. I found myself seeing things in a whole new light. Minecraft, while lower in graphics, gave a simpler start to sandbox games like Second Life. And, the adventure behind it was equally as thrilling as I discovered new ores and environments. A lot of my friends got into it as well, and we explored various mods people had made. It gave the game greater variety and depth that wasn't found in the original version. Some were glitchy while others were practically a different game all together. World of Warcraft is a different story all together. While its story is much more straightforward, there were certain traits that stuck out to me. As a student, I loved my anthropology classes. They changed my perception of how I saw the world. I soon found that I couldn't stick to one character of the game or one class for that matter. I explored the various cultures in the game and how different cultures viewed one another. As I continued to explore, I died a lot . . . and I mean a lot (mostly as my hunters)! 100 Yinchi the Hunter I started to notice how different races died and that their skeletons lay in different ways. This was less apparent to me at first. But, soon I began to realize just who was from what race so that when I went to a place littered with skeletons, I knew who was lurking around and who had fallen before me. I soon found these different worlds start to mix together with each other as well as the classroom environments. Azaroth could be found in Second Life as well as in an Economics classroom. I continue to work at the college helping guide students through these worlds and helping to give them skills to take into the real world. Hexaria the Priest my first WoW avatar 101 Minecraft Meets Secondlife Last year we held several open houses in Minecraft. We walked people through all that could be done with it. We even had a young pair of students out shine a great many of the of the adults in their creativity and structure. We plan to have another Minecraft Open House May 17, 2014. To RSVP go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/minecraft-‐open-‐house-‐ tickets-‐10577472505 We also are planning a Minecraft Hackathon for our programming students. Remember those mods I told you about? Well, they don't come from nowhere. We're still in the planning stages but hope to have everything ready by the end of May so we can run it in June. 102 A Minecraft-‐like Virtual Mining Program By William F. Schmachtenberg Dae Miami second life During the Summer of 2013, I ran a tech camp for elementary school students in my school district. It was clear that the students loved Minecraft. One fourth grader went over to a sample of obsidian rock I had on display and said this formed in a volcano and is called obsidian. She made a very articulate argument that she was learning geology from Minecraft. Another student demonstrated his ability to create complex lego–like structures online and share them with his friends. And, yet another student showed me his Minecraft server that he had set up at home and was clearly acquiring computer networking skills I did not have. I tried it at home that night and I have to admit I was captivated by the ability to drill into or create various structures in a multiplayer environment. The next day, I asked about having Minecraft loaded on the computers at the camp. The network engineer quickly pointed out that setting up a peer-‐to-‐peer network and giving out IP addresses presented too many security problems. Another student went to a school server and pointed out that pirated copies of Minecraft were being distributed across the school networks. Over the past year, I tried to combine the benefits of Minecraft without the computer network problems. 103 There is no need to download software or create an account. The software I devised is available in your browser. Here is the URL if you want to try it out: www.evwllc.co/voxelmultiplay/voxelmultiplay I built it in Unity 3D, so you may be prompted to install the Unity webplayer. It is safe and I have done it many times at my school and at home. Also, make sure you put the www at the beginning of the url into your webbrowser. Without that, the program will not load. If you get a message: “This plugin is vulnerable and should be updated” just click the line : Activate Unity Player. The plugin does not have to be updated. Once the program loads in your browser, type in a name and press enter. This name will be shown above your avatar online. You will then see 4 panels. If they are cut off, right click inside one of them and select Go Full Screen. Pick an avatar in the upper right panel, and then select a geologic area in the lower left. VA limestone allows you to create caves in Virginia; limestone, miner kinne allows you to drill into a Swedish limestone; and miner basalt allows you to drill into metamorphosed basalts in Southwest Virginia. You can create a room name for other players to join you and then click Go to create the room. Once your avatar logs in, you will see cliffs of rock in which 10 minerals have been buried. Your current GPS location is in the upper left and the location of each mineral is shown in the boxes numbered 1 to 10 at the top. Think of this as a virtual Geocaching activity where you have to navigate to each location. When you arrive at the correct location you will see a cube. Click on it to answer questions about each mineral. Your score is updated if you answer the question correctly. The software is instanced. By that, I mean, only you can see your score, drill holes, and mineral samples. What you do does not affect other players on the server and what they do does not affect your score. But you can see other avatars and chat with them. Click the chat button at the bottom to toggle chat on and off. 104 The radar button shows other players that are on the server. You must be in full screen mode to turn off radar. Shown below are screen captures of myself and a friend exploring the cave systems we made in the software. Figure 1. We start off examining a cliff of limestone. The texture was taken from a digital picture of limestones in Virginia. A cube in the left of the screen shows a mineral we have found. Clicking on the mineral cube brings up a question about that mineral. A correct answer increases the score. The radar button was used to show players on the server. 105 Figure 2. By clicking on the cliffs, we can drill through the limestone. After a while, stalagmites appear on the floor of our cave system. Figure 3. Our cave system is finished. What takes nature thousands to millions of years, I can accomplish in minutes! 106 Please feel free to try this program on your pc or mac. Safari usually works well on the mac and I use Firefox on my pc. There is no cost to using this program. Let me know what you think by emailing me at: email@example.com Please put Virtual Miner in the subject line, so I do not delete your message by mistake. STUDENT SURVEY AND SCORES On April 11, 2014, I used the voxel multiplayer program with fifty-‐eight of my students at the high school at which I teach. These students are mostly freshmen and sophomores aged 14 to 16 years of age. Thirty of these students told me they had played Minecraft before and preferred Minecraft to the voxel multiplayer program although some said they liked both. Thirteen of the fifty-‐eight students scored an A (95% or higher) in answering questions in the program and the average score was 60%. I suspect the average was low because many of the students had trouble finding all the mineral cubes. Figure 4. I lead my students on a virtual mining field trip. 107 Figure 5. One of my students has found a mineral sample in the cave and is identifying it. ADMINISTRATOR EVALUATION During one of the classes, Dr. Kevin Bezy, Associate Principal and my advisor, did a formal evaluation of the lesson with the voxel multiplayer software. Here is his report: “Dr. Schmachtenberg uses a variety of technology to help his students reach and master instructional goals. He has created instructional simulations that use advanced graphics to develop an interest for the student in the content, in this case geology. Once the students log into the software they navigate the program easily. All students are engaged in the activity. Students collaborate virtually and in person. These computer-‐ based activities build upon the students’ existing knowledge.” 108 Backstage @ VWBPE 14 By: Bluebarker Lowtide Howdy VEJ Viewers! Bluebarker here, to tell you about what it was like working as a volunteer at this year’s Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education, or VWBPE, Conference. It’s a lot of fun to have a purpose when you come online and help out – especially while doing the things you normally do to assist others. I may be more technically inclined and more experienced, but that doesn’t stop the people we helped this year that sometimes come back 109 to help out with next year’s conference. Like a wonderful cycle giving and reciprocity . . . that’s its own reward. It’s really great to meet new people and give back to the online community. Sure it may be long hours, but really the time flew by this year. So much was going on behind the scenes, from the presentations to the work of the estate managers. This year I was even helping out with the Mentors, so I had a full plate. Waking up early and staying up late on my own free accord, you must think I have nothing better to do. But, what could be better than helping other and really being surrounded by so many great people? It was like hanging out with rock stars all weekend. (Plus it helps when it’s Spring Break!) There is just a great sense of camaraderie when you are here. It’s like you are with you friends all day long, learning and experiencing new ideas and works meant to be shared! With presenters as good as Philip Rosedale and Ebbe Altberg (heck we can’t even believe we got these guys), VWBPE is certainly the place to be when it comes to elearning and virtual worlds. [If you missed their presentations or the presentations of others you can view them on Youtube at https://tinyurl.com/n3ft4bd] What better way to learn about virtual worlds, than to attend a conference filled with teachers and educators who excel at helping others? From English to science and even psychology; we ran the full gambit seeing what interesting ways virtual worlds are being used. It really is so breathtaking that it’s hard to contain myself with all this excitement -‐ even if I only got . . . maybe eight hours of sleep throughout the four days . . . it was really worth it! Being called out, teleporting all over the grid to help Mentors and be a Tech Liason (or Tech Wiz) for when something (if not always) happens. You get to be a hero for their day and save it. I think my favorite experience this year happened on the last day, when these two presenters were trying to get this presentation cube to display text so people could read it. I flew on over and did some magic, as it were. Well, it wasn’t fixed instantly; it was a peculiar problem that 110 even I hadn’t seen before (and I’d seen plenty of things in my virtual lifetime). For a couple of minutes (like fifteen) we were experimenting with different things to try and get it to work. We were even looking through the script I couldn’t understand what was wrong with it. But a curious thought comes to mind – one of the weird things about Second Life. It is probably common knowledge that everyone seems to forget. That is, for objects that shout text in chat, there is a range that text can be sent out to. If you are not in that range, you can’t see it. So, by moving the cube closer to the audience and the speaker, we were able to get the cube working for everyone to see. It just goes to show you that you may think you know everything, but then a problem comes along that is way out of the ballpark and you weren’t even playing baseball, if you catch my drift. My heart really goes out to the people who have to present in front of such large groups of people, even if it is virtual. Each and every avatar in the audience represents a real life person, even a good friend of mine was at one of the Featured Panels with his entire Science Class watching on the screen. But you know they can keep that limelight and such, for me being a proverbial ninja and helping out in the dark has always been something I’ve liked. A shout out to the chat transcribers who relay the speaker voice to chat for the transcript and for the audience members who have hard hearing. Compared to the last VWBPE conferences I had volunteered for, it feels like this had the least amount of issues. We often get multiple tech hiccups and griefers. But this year we also had the infamous Green Lantern Corp, assisting with Sim Security, keeping the peace and helping things run even smoother. [For more information on them please see this link: http://thegreenlanterns.wordpress.com/.] In any case, I am all fired up to see what this year will bring as well for the next with the new Oculus Rift making its way into the public. But for now, only time will tell how things will change in Second Life and virtual worlds in general. 111 It has been a great honor working with so many great and wondrous people over the course of the conference. I just can’t wait to see them again. I would like to thank all the volunteers, the presenters, the Estate Managers and the Green Lantern Corp Security for such a great conference. It takes a whole lot of people, not just one, to make something like this possible. For more updates and captured moments, please look back at my twitter feed: https://twitter.com/BluebarkerSL . You can also see more of Bluebarker Lowtide’s pictures at https://www.flickr.com/photos/123166456@N08/ 112 The Maieutic Process of Editing By Angela Rizzo (RL), aka Rosavioletta (SL) This video was born as the natural result of a year’s work starting in February 2012 and ending in the Spring of 2013. After my Online and Distance Education Academic course in 2011, I planned to spend the next couple of years experimenting with online teaching/learning as much as I could. So far I found Moocs, Webinars, conferences and Virtual Worlds, including open conferences, like VWBPE, and fast-‐learning events like MachinEVO: a five week workshop for language educators to learn how to create videos (machinima) in virtual worlds. Thinking it would be an excellent way to create content for the online course I was drafting, I joined in. The first part of my machinimatographer experience was blogged throughout the course and presented at the 2012 VWBPE conference under the title “Be Epic and Learn How To Make Machinima From Scratch in Five Weeks”. Slides and video can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/TinkererAngel/be-‐epic-‐learn-‐how-‐to-‐make-‐ machinimas-‐from-‐scratch-‐in-‐five-‐weeks The presentation text is in the VWBPE conference proceedings, the JOURNAL OF VIRTUAL STUDIES, VOL 3, NO 1 (2012), from pg 136 http://ejournal.urockcliffe.com/index.php/JOVS/article/viewFile/25/4 113 Figure 1: one of the slides for 2012 VWBPE presentation. In a few words the presentation, in the category of Best Practices, was about how to conduct your crew towards the making of a machinima. What I did not have the time to learn in my first MachinEVO I was able to do with the clip I presented in the 2014 VWBPE. Figure 2 114 Figure 3 Figure 2 and 3: Rosavioletta at “Featured Machinima” – VWBPE 2014 In 2013, during my second MachinEVO, I entered the world of editing. A meticulous, patient, ordered process to get the best out of camera work and give it full justice. While telling you about making it and on the premises that I am quite attached to this clip, I’d like to request your collaboration and ask you to reflect on what’s wrong with it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ml6cu0myuI Please reflect, by jotting down your ideas and be ready to confront them with my observations at the end of the page. The images are the very first I ever recorded. The tools I used, Fraps for recording and Power Director for assembling and editing, were a trial version. I learned how to choose and cut with Virtual Dub. I still use it for the first selection of images. 115 Figure 4: editor at work. Didactically both the hotel conversation and the Dragon’s monologue can be used within the Common European Framework of Reference. Being one of the first topics students of English as a Foreign Language cover, the hotel conversation is for basic users while the monologue might become a spelling guessing game for higher level students. I admit, I tried to amuse myself by adding a touch of magic in bringing forward a detail that would otherwise perhaps remain unnoticed -‐ the shoulder dragon. This maieutic facet contributed to my own empowerment in the still on-‐going process of acquiring cinematographic skills. Moreover by extracting a new character from an apparently “normal” situation, such as a reception conversation, I felt I added creativity, giving birth to a perspective that was not meant to be. I surprised myself feeling a sort of attachment for the dragon: she now has a romantic ballet name, Giselle. To me, she became the star of a second level of perceiving the clip, not a mere learning exercise anymore! On a more theoretical basis I believe editing has a profound similarity with teaching. At its best is when teachers are able to extract the richness of learning from their students, giving value to what students 116 already possess inside of them . . . unique and waiting to be brought to light . . . to become a new shining skill. Figure 5: Giselle the Dragon. Having come towards the end of my storytelling, please let me renew my initial question: “What is wrong with the video “In the Year of the dragon?” Please check your ideas with mine at the end of this page but before I finish. I would like to thank all the people that contributed to my learning and video work – And especially, for creating the perfect learning scenarios and keeping alive a strong edu community: Gwen and Carol. 117 Figure 6 and 7: MachinEVO mentors. Thanks to Frances G. for her precious language expertise in helping me out with the optimisation of the dragon’s words. My answers to the question “What is wrong with the video” are: a) Lips are not moving b) the dragon is not perfectly dubbed….What else can you find? Still, the fact that it is my first completely self-‐made video makes it very special to me. In conclusion, if you like highly creative hard work with infinite maieutic possibilities, then machinima making is for you! 118 Figure 8: Rosavioletta getting ready for VWBPE presentation. Picture by Patricia Dean – SL Tori Landau. Figure 9: Link to the first MachinEVO video, winner ex-‐aequo of two awards: for best visual/special effects and to Rosavioletta as best director. 119 In conclusion, if you like highly creative hard work with infinite maieutic possibilities, then machinima making is for you! References Common European Framework of reference http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre1_en.asp Dean, P., SL Tori Landau, (2014), available online at Flikr “For Tori’s friends”https://www.flickr.com/photos/tori_adventures/sets/7215764 3758919934/ MachinEVO http://machinevo.pbworks.com/w/page/47494320/MachinEVO2014 %20-‐%20Startpage Rizzo, A., (2012), “Be epic, learn how to make machinima from scratch in five weeks”. Slides available online at http://www.slideshare.net/TinkererAngel/be-‐epic-‐learn-‐how-‐to-‐make-‐ machinimas-‐from-‐scratch-‐in-‐five-‐weeks Rizzo, A., (2012), JOURNAL OF VIRTUAL STUDIES, VOL 3, NO 1 (2012), pg 136, available online at http://ejournal.urockcliffe.com/index.php/JOVS/article/viewFile/25/4 Rizzo, A., (2013), “In the year of the dragon” video, available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ml6cu0myuI Rizzo, A., (2014), VWBPE Presentation abstract available online at VWBPE – Connect ICT with ICE and make a machinima, http://vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/featured-‐machinima?instance_id=831 And VWBE panel presentation available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKjwINnpTS8&feature=youtu.be Angela Rizzo (SL: Rosavioletta), EFL teacher to adults in Company courses in Italy, is working independently on designing a module to teach Italian online. She holds a Bachelor (Honours) degree cum laude in Educational Sciences with the University of Genoa (Italy) and a Post Graduate Certificate in Online and Distance Education with the Open University (U.K.) 120 9 Hours and Counting: Coding a Virtual Environment By Chris Luchs On April 5th, students, faculty, and three observers gathered on a Colorado campus at 8am for a Hackday. Their goal was simple: create an RPG game within the next 9 hours using the knowledge they had gathered during the last 10 weeks of computer science classes. The group split up into three teams: Team Combat, Team Level and Team Theme! Team Combat had one goal, make it work. They would develop the foundation of the player enemy interaction and needed to develop the turn system, attack mechanics, and timing of the fight. Team Level was in charge of developing the map, player v monster encounter mechanic (i.e. how does a character run into a monster), experience points, character levels, level bonuses and how a player would navigate the 121 map. Team Theme was left with coming up with the game end goal, monsters, bosses, and types of player classes. By mid-‐day, the Theme Team had decided on sword and board fantasy, the goal of completing the first level and the final monstrous boss, Vicki, which also happened to be the name of their teacher. Over the next several hours the team knocked out the boss mechanics, map, player -‐ monster interaction mechanics, and more. However there was much to be done. Our courageous student leader put on the “go time” hat and did a run down on the major items that still needed to be accomplished in the remaining four hours. Students switched teams and jumped in to help one another; as pieces were finished, personnel was re-‐deployed to bolster areas that were falling behind; the students wore multiple hats throughout the day, manager, coder, debugger, cheerleader, proofer, and researcher. After the consumption of a lot of sugary drinks and snacks, our valiant team approached the final hours. Would they get it all done? Could a battle take place? Could they finish the wireframe? The final hour was filled with edits, saves, compilations, line errors, and code tests . . . the final result was . . . SUCCESS!!!!! 122 In 9 hours, the students successfully completed the first level wireframe. They were able to successfully develop a map, character navigation, trigger an encounter, complete a battle between a warrior and a mage, and test the boss mechanic. They now have a prototype of their game where they can start the process of refining and eventually attaching digital assets to flesh the game out more. The Hackathon project is an Immersive and Game Based Learning Challenge Grant that was issued by the Colorado Community College System. The goal of the project is to research and identify best practices of Hackathons and attempt to integrate these best practice into the Computer Science Curriculum. The April 5th event was the second event of this project. 123 The first occurred in November 2013. This event was about having the students attempt to solve a problem that faculty were encountering in their LMS when they were changing dates for activities in preparation for the new semester. The November event saw students work together and partially develop a C++ program that would take XML output from and LMS and convert it to allow faculty to more easily update dates and times of learning activities for a new semester. The students were able to complete half of what they wanted to; however the end result was one of student success. Out of the students, all but one of them continued on to the next level of computer science classes. The one student that did not continue had found full time employment as a programmer with his Associates Degree. Also the instructors noticed a change in their students after the Hackathon event. They were more interactive with each other, more engaged in the course content, and all asked deeper questions about coding. The instructors were amazed at the level of enthusiasm, camaraderie, and work ethic the students exhibited after the event. We will continue monitoring the students that attended our April Hackathon and see what effect the event has on them. We will also continue to plan for our final event on June 20-‐21st at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colorado. If you would like more information, please contact Chris Luchs at firstname.lastname@example.org. 124 HELLO AND WELCOME TO MINECRAFT! By Trevyn Slusser Minecraft is a popular Sandbox (think building in a sandbox) based game where you collect resources to survive. When it comes to the classroom, however, it can be so much more. You open up a world with endless possibilities: from rebuilding a dead civilization to walking through the pages of a book; or from teambuilding to studying and building an economic structure. You have TONS of options. For starters, let's talk about the three styles of game play. They are Creative, Survival, and Hardcore. Creative game play gives you all the resources right off the bat, no fuss, no digging and searching. This style of game play allows fly as well, making it easier to build giant beautiful structures and pixel art. All resources are unlimited so there is no fear of running out, either. This style of game play allows you to show fallen empires or content found in textbooks that students can walk around. Survival is the main method of game play. You start out with nothing, zilch, nada. The clock is ticking towards sunset and you need to get 125 building or face the monsters that come out at night. You also receive achievements for all of your accomplishments, from collecting wood for your first crafting table to building your portal to the Nether. While this mode of gaming is harder than the mode of creative, it is much more rewarding when you have everything set up. This is where you can teach students about the economy. Students can barter, trade goods and services, and learn how the world works. Hardcore is just as it sounds. Prepare yourself for a merciless onslaught of monsters and a lack of resources in an unforgiving world. While in Survival you will respawn if you die. In Hardcore you die and that's it – game over. You must restart from scratch in this type of game. I personally only made it 3 months in game time before falling to skeletons and creepers. This might be a lesson of cause and effect. Or, it could appear to be a more real life idea, as you have to start from scratch again. In my mind, this works well for psychology or anthropology as it can show how your actions affect your safety. If you make a mistake it's literally game over. 126 Now that you know the levels of game play, let's get to the core of the game. As I mentioned before you need to collect resources to survive. This requires lots of running around. But for starters, you should just find a nice area to bunk down and call home till you collect enough for your first weapons. You will spawn in a random biom just a little after sunrise. Desert, Swamp, Field, Mountain, Tundra, Forrest, and Jungle are the basics. This gives you a day to collect and build the basics. The basic materials you will need are wood and coal. Normally you end up in a forest or near a mountain so both are easy to find. If you spawn in a desert or a swamp you might need to do some hiking. From these you can create a crafting table, your first weapons/tools, and torches for light. Light is your best friend in the game because monsters spawn in dark locations such as caves or even under your balcony. The next set of things to collect are stone and food. Killing animals like chickens, pigs and cows will give you raw meat. Killing sheep will only give you wool but you can use that to make a bed. You can also find 127 vegetables and fruit from trees or growing in the forests. You will need stone however to cook the meat. You will also need coal as well. Further more you can create stone tools and weapons. As you progress you will find ores to advance. Some ores can only be collected by using certain tools. One last bit of advice – when it comes to monsters, go prepared. Carry more than one sword and have a lit area nearby to retreat to. You will need to fight for certain resources like string and sometimes even carrots. Most monsters burn up in the daylight and drop items for you to collect. Two of them don't leave items, however. They are Creepers and Baby Zombies. Creepers explode, destroying everything around them including you and your house. Baby Zombies hunt in packs of three or four and are much faster than the full grown ones. You can hide in tall grass to avoid them or grow some with bone meal. What does the future hold for Minecraft? Well, on May 17th we will be holding a Minecraft Open house! We will be showing teachers like you around this popular game and how it can be used for your classroom. Follow the link to RSVP by just pressing "register to attend" or via email. To RSVP go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/minecraft-‐open-‐house-‐ tickets-‐10577472505 And see what it's all about here http://youtu.be/GV6uxa-‐DP9M 128 Create Once, Experience Everywhere! An Interview with James OReilly By Rosie Vojtek (RL), aka Roxie Neiro (SL) The other day while I was online in Facebook, I caught up with James OReilly. Since I read and follow his posts, I was excited when he agreed to let me share our Facebook IM conversation. After reading this, I am sure you will walk away with a number of resources and a longing for what he describes as an educational grid! Enjoy! Rosie Vojtek: Hi James. I have been reading your posts about VWBPE and machinima and wondered if we could talk about some of the topics you have posted? I have learned a lot from your postings and would like to share some of your thoughts with our readers. James OReilly: Thank you for your kind words and trust. As to my focus in education -‐ I am a USA expatriate from Detroit living in Germany. I am cross-‐culturally trained in mechanical engineering, national economy, and US + German business administration, so I summarize my workings as industrial engineer. Rosie Vojtek: You bring an interesting perspective! James OReilly: I became an EU information consultant in 1988, and was also a turnaround consultant in various projects after German unification leading to the loss of jobs. Between 1994-‐1998, I was an adult trainer for the German labor agency, some say Andragogy. Rosie Vojtek: That must have been a great learning experience! James OReilly: I trained jobless academics in quality and project management, TQM, marketing, information management, and several other business administrative topics. I had people from industry and social sector. From some 500 attendees, I put about 80% into jobs, 1/3 into quality-‐related jobs. 129 Rosie Vojtek: Are you still doing any training like this? What kinds of things do you do in SL? James OReilly: The German Labor Agency had a job placement target of 60%, so I outperformed that due to my access to EU mass databases and what people today call Deep Web or Big Data. So I put more people into jobs than making them redundant as turnaround consultant. Later I did ICT process analysis, quality management, and project management training in a corporate setting -‐ Airbus A380 project management in Hamburg was one of my projects. Rosie Vojtek: How exciting! I bet you learned a lot during that project! Hamburg is fun place to be, as well! James OReilly: I also ran a translation company German to US English for engineering, economics, and law. Web 2.0 and 3.0 attracted my interest from 2007 on, then I ran across SL and virtual worlds. Rosie Vojtek: What are you doing in SL and Virtual worlds? James OReilly: I saw an opportunity to offer virtual training in quality and project management. That is my primary use case. I participated on a training course as virtual trainer, yet I found that SL just did not have the clout for industrial expectations, due to lag and crashing. Rosie Vojtek: Exactly. Nor, is it newbee friendly! James OReilly: So I switched to doing SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and Benchmarking in immersive worlds -‐ and my bar of expectations is aligned to quality and project management as use case. James OReilly: I began establishing Facebook groups that reflected areas of interest for immersive worlds to collect data for a high-‐level structural overview. From that many joined my groups just to see what I was collecting. My groups do not dialogue much, as they are my places for archiving good stuff. 130 Rosie Vojtek: Yes -‐ and very informative and helpful! I am one of the lurkers – LOL. James OReilly: I want to see the economic landscape of a SWOT analysis. Then I can identify benchmarks and connect and drive new dots that lend to my use cases. Well, it became evident that educators do not implement my quality-‐driven and strategic approach. Rosie Vojtek: Is that because they don't know about it or because it doesn't work for educators? James OReilly: So I friction with educators as a sport actually. Rosie Vojtek: [laughing] James OReilly: I would say they dont know about strategic approaches. Those strategic approaches are done by educational administrators. An educator is focused on his lesson plans without understanding how a greater picture can be developed. Rosie Vojtek: Do you mean educators like me? I am an elementary principal in rl? James OReilly: The greater picture is now an Education Grid. Rosie Vojtek: Yes -‐ but what can we do to help teachers understand? Or, do we need to reach out to administrators? James OReilly: Both need training. Rosie Vojtek: I agree -‐ there is so much we all in education need to learn. Do you have suggestions of education grids that are working for educators? James OReilly: You dont understand. You talk about single platforms . . . I talk about a Grid, like the energy grid. Rosie Vojtek: With lots of hubs? 131 James OReilly: Yes, many hubs and many platforms. A lesson plan including many hubs and platforms. That’s an Education Grid. Rosie Vojtek: And my same avatar can jump from one hub/platform to another anywhere on the grid? James OReilly: Exactly . . . so a closed platform has no place in this ICT architecture. Rosie Vojtek: [excitedly, the ultimate consumer dreams] I can take everything I have made purchased from place to place? James OReilly: Exactly! Create Once, Experience everywhere! Rosie Vojtek: Way too cool! That is what we need, with places secure for my little people (ages 5-‐12) and yet open enough so we can see what everyone is doing and learn from them. James OReilly: That would be the ultimate way of Education Outreach. Rosie Vojtek: I like your tag line -‐ Create Once, Experience Everywhere. That would be a dream come true! And, if we could make it simple enough that there is not a huge learning gap before someone becomes acclimated. James OReilly: Check out, “Create Once, Experience Everywhere” Education Grid iED Video http://youtu.be/cMhBiu0YJ3s These people do it. Immersive Education Initiative iED http://immersiveeducation.org/. Rosie Vojtek: Are you part of the Immersive Education Organization? James OReilly: They delisted SL in 2010 for being a closed platform. Rosie Vojtek: Interesting. But, I am not surprised. James OReilly: I am a proponent of iED because I know the ICT architecture is far superior. Rosie Vojtek: So, how do we get the ICT architecture/structure for IED and all educators? 132 James OReilly: Just register your school at their website. Rosie Vojtek: Great – I will! Thanks. James OReilly: As I am not a school, I cannot register -‐ but I think that is changing. As an ICT consultant, I endorse their approach anyway. They have a White Paper for an Education Grid, Education Grid Requirement Specifications http://mediagrid.org/groups/technology/grid.ied/specification/index. html. James OReilly: SL and VWBPE acted as bummers in this storyboard. iED is actually the non-‐SL competition. Building on the success of the previous 8 years of Immersive Education (iED) conferences, the world's leading experts in immersion convene June 6-‐8 in Los Angeles California for IMMERSION 2014 http://summit.immersiveeducation.org/ Non-‐SL Best Practices. James OReilly: The 4th European Immersive Education Summit http://europe.immersiveeducation.org/events/ied-‐europe-‐summit-‐ 2014 Non-‐SL Best Practices. Many educators made SL to a religion, a black box fallacy, so any information about non-‐SL was suppressed. Rosie Vojtek: Too bad I can't go to the conference in California. I live in Connecticut and the first part of June is way to crazy to get away. Do they do the conference virtually, too? James OReilly: Only live, but their HQ is in Boston. Rosie Vojtek: So how do we get the word out to educators? I bet there are a lot of K-‐12 people who would be interested. Many have already started jumping to other grids -‐ such as Kitely, Minecraft, WoW, Unity 3d. James OReilly: Anyway, I see lots of benchmarks on my SWOT landscape, and I see many new combinations and opportunities. Rosie Vojtek: Such as? 133 James OReilly: The next step is Convergence Culture. Rosie Vojtek: How does that work? James OReilly: I am trained in organizational development OD, so I know that tools and methods are one thing, but attitude and behaviors are another. Convergence Culture points are attitude and behaviors. Rosie Vojtek: Absolutely! Culture and Context are important -‐ as well as relationships. We need to pay attention to the norms -‐ not just group agreements, but the norms (way people really act and behave -‐not just what they say or agree to). James OReilly: I added you to the group, Convergence Culture Overview for Immersive Worlds. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151269374409201&l=7 140b3b042. James OReilly: Look at this illustration. You see how 3 tiers converge. Technology, games, virtual worlds . . . now I have the guy who delivers the philosophy of convergence culture, Henry Jenkins, communications professor from MIT. [The diagram on the next page is from Jame’s OReilly’s facebook page – link above. He explains on the page, “The Convergence Culture Overview 2012 gives you a picture of the Immersive World Landscape + Opportunities evolving. The illustration is already outdated for 2014+ Opportunities, I need to add more at the top of the illustration -‐ New Generic Themes + Links are posted farther down > Out-‐of-‐Box Opportunities, 3D Holographic, TV, New Mashups, New Value-‐Add Chains, From Real to Virtual to Real.”] 134 Rosie Vojtek: Absolutely -‐ and my students are already using Minecraft in 2 of the three (e.g., Xbox, Ipads, on the computer in virtual world) . . . maybe even a game when they play/collaborate with others? James OReilly: Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide http://ow.ly/fLvfe . James OReilly: Henry Jenkins, communications professor at MIT, talks heavily about the 'Black Box Fallacy' and how convergence affects older media. For example, Jenkins talks about how 'Cinema did not kill Theatre or TV did not kill radio' but rather each medium was 'Forced to coexist with one another'. Henry also talks about how old media is not 135 being displaced, but it's status has shifted by the introduction of new technologies. The black box fallacy argument is that all media content will eventually flow through one 'black box'. The reason why the term was coined is because we see more and more black boxes around our homes and work places (VCR, DVD and CD players), but these boxes over the years have started to converge and have multiple uses http://convergence-‐culture.wikia.com/wiki/Black_Box_Fallacy. James OReilly: So the Education Grid can only evolve if you embrace Convergence Culture. Then you have organizational development . . . a third area is Quality Management. Rosie Vojtek: WOW!! Yes, I agree -‐ truly organization development at the ground level. James OReilly: QM and TQM software engineers have an organization for quality management, but SL doesn’t implement their ways. Rosie Vojtek: Quality management will be huge! Especially as new currencies are developed, creative ownership and property right policies are developed, and norms/rights are established. That is where sl will lose in the end. James OReilly: There is no quality management in virtual worlds except for National University of Singapore NUS. Gamers have long done QM. Rosie Vojtek: One of the reasons I am so passionate about the Virtual Education Journal (VEJ) that we do for ISTE SIGVE is that it is a way to document what educators are doing and have done in virtual environments. Even more importantly, it helps us learn from others, like you, so that we can use what we learn to create the future – the education grid you are talking about. I see all of this . . . the digital footprints we are leaving . . . and using to create the future, as part of a new research methodology -‐ digital anthropology. You are giving us so much to think about! 136 James OReilly: Let me show you what I mean. Quality Appraisal at Software Engineering Institute SEI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMMI#Appraisal . Rosie Vojtek: Gamers have to do QM -‐ they have to establish the rules/norms so that everyone can play fair. James OReilly: These people are at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. SEI developed the Capability Maturity Model Integration CMMI for the US Department of Defense. Rosie Vojtek: I see virtual environments much like the early tribes -‐ where everyone existed in their own space with their own rules -‐ not knowing about other tribes, and when they did, they either found a way to coexist or wars broke out. James OReilly: The US Department of Defense wants to purchase at quality software vendors. SL does not qualify. SL could qualify, but they need to do Capability Maturity. James OReilly: There is a quality scale for ranking . . . plus and minus scale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capability_Immaturity_Model. You can rank SL in this minus scale from US Air Force. I listened to Philip Rosedale. He talks like minus level 2. Philip Rosedale is not capable of more. He will build High Fidelity, as well as SL, as a minus level 2 organization. Ebbe is smarter. He must know about CMMI, so his way of talking starts at plus Level 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMMI Rosie Vojtek: [Note to readers: You can watch Philip Rosedale’s VWBPE 2014 presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyuS3jwrCu0. You can watch Ebbe Altberg’s VWBPE 2014 presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7pPgEHq7wo ] Rosie Vojtek: I agree with you -‐ minus level 2. This is soooo interesting. I never heard of either of these scales. James OReilly: I do quality consulting in ICT domain. So, I can rank them easy as pie and develop a turnaround project. I am an industrial engineer. We keep our eyes open for business opportunities. So, I need 137 to know how a set of benchmarks rank on a certain landscape . . . that’s the strategic way. Rosie Vojtek: I have been checking out your sites as you have been typing. Thank you for sharing all of this. I have a lot of reading/video watching to do! Now I understand more about what you do! Fascinating! Rosie Vojtek: Got it. I may try using the scales with work we are doing in my own school. James OReilly: Many educators do not know my approach and background so they sulk around in their lesson plans. Rosie Vojtek: Are you familiar with ISTE -‐ International Association of Technology in Education? James OReilly: Yes. Rosie Vojtek: Ok, so VEJ is the journal that is published by the Special Interest Group for Virtual Environments. Interestingly, many of the SIGVE members spend more time in WoW now than they do in SL. James OReilly: SL missed the train. Rosie Vojtek: It could be for many of the reasons you have already talked about as far as Quality management. And, YES -‐ and it has been crumbling every since the train left the station. James OReilly: Yes, a mix of these forces. I look at the force field . . . like an economist and engineer and adult educator. VWBPE14 opened a window of opportunity for change, and I targeted my arrows at that window. Some like it, some don’t – I don’t care. Its a bit of sporty teacher bashing. Rosie Vojtek: [agreeing] I guess only time will tell. Unfortunately, the world is full of teacher bashing. Everyone thinks they can teach, yet only a few can do it well. 138 James OReilly: I will find my mix for my use case . . . and I set my bar high! Rosie Vojtek: So, I am going to have to run. But, you have given me so much to think about and absorb. Is there anything else VEJ readers and I should read to better understand the educational grid and how we can Create Once and Experience Everywhere? James OReilly: Take a look at 3D Holographic Power Point Presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLavoahAfv8 . Rosie Vojtek: WOW! Amazing! James OReilly: You can also follow posts on https://www.facebook.com/groups/immersiveworld.educationgrid/ . Rosie Vojtek: It has been wonderful to talk with you today. I don’t usually have time in the middle of the day to be online like this, so I am glad I caught you. It is April/spring break for us, so I am home working on VEJ. LOL James OReilly: I'm 30 min north of Switzerland. Check Google Pics [link below] for Lake Constance. On clear days, I see Swiss Alps. I live here. [See picture above] https://www.google.de/search?q=lake+constance&source=lnms&t bm=isch&sa=X&ei=JzvdUeydJIiUtQaLo4DICg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ& biw=1280&bih=879 ] 139 Rosie Vojtek: The Swiss Alps are beautiful! I wish I was there! WOW -‐ what a view! James OReilly: Apple blossoms now. Rosie Vojtek: Our snow just melted a week ago – so no blossoms yet. Still below freezing at night in Connecticut. But, some buds are starting to form. James OReilly: Cats are prowling around . . . I put some chicken innards out -‐ no leftovers! Rosie Vojtek: LOL Thanks again – more later! Got my work cut out for me! You can follow James OReilly on Facebook. 140 Inevitable Betrayal Holds Spring Fashion Show There has never been anything like this Spring Fashion Show! The space was cleared thanks to the Retro Crew... Betrayers strut their stuff!! Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 7. The server time over at Ulduar in Northrend (closest major city is Dalaran). Master of Ceremony Cheerwine and Shaomai – The Big Spring Fashion Show. Picture by Grid Jumper 141 Spring Fashion in the Conservatory of Life is an avatar event in World of Warcraft produced by the Inevitable Betrayal guild. The video is a mockumentary of a fashion show put on by a group of educators. Each model/designer wrote their own narrative and styled their own outfits in the game World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft allows for transmogrification or as it is called “transmog.” This lets a player to customize with certain restrictions their gear. If you missed the live presentation, you can still watch the Inevitable Betrayal Fashion Show and catch the fun at: http://bit.ly/1fqADmc Another shot of the Fashion Show. Congrats on a GREAT Show. Picture by Kristina Thoennes. 142 Fingernails on a blackboard... -‐Matt Poole aka Cyrus Hush As a person responsible for the academic administration of online classes for adult learners, one of the comments I hear every so often that makes me cringe is "I'm not really cut out for online classes -‐-‐I need to have a live instructor in front of me to learn anything," or words to that effect. I understand the sentiment, of course, and who wouldn't? It's a perception that actually dates from the days of the venerable correspondence course, to which most modern online classes owe more than anyone likes to admit. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that an online class in the post-‐secondary environment at least has to consist of an LMS, some discussion boards and maybe a few papers and tests to be meaningful. 143 Snore. The gentle readers of this publication know better! One day I decided to make a video comparing a couple of engaging virtual world environments and explaining how they could conceivably be used to provide added value to an online class. I wanted to speak not so much to the early adopters but to those who I felt were the silent majority of online instructors -‐-‐who know there are probably more fun ways to create a learning environment out there but who really don't know where to begin. First recording my narration with an open source program called Audacity, I then imported it into Microsoft Windows Movie Maker. Then I recorded video segments and screenshots to match the audio using the free version of a program called Fraps. Finally I uploaded the whole thing to YouTube. The final cost was approximately zero, and it runs about 13 minutes. http://tinyurl.com/k6mazuo I hope you like it, and if you think it appropriate please show it to a teacher! Collins, A. (2003). Gestures, body language and behavior. New York: DKC http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ http://www.fraps.com/ http://www.youtube.com 144 145 Be sure to visit us in Second Life @ http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/EduIsland 9/20/37/22 To Read VEJ online visit: http://www.virtualeducationjournal.com/ For more information about ISTE SIGVE/VEN or to join the fun, visit: http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/ Follow us on Twitter @VEJournal or #VEJournal 146