Page 1


Virtual Education Journal

Hello! There is nothing more exciting than meeting your virtual world avatar friends in real life or being able to connect with our virtual colleagues who couldn’t attend the ISTE conference in real-time! Even if we didn’t have the most ideal spot for the SIGVE Playground at ISTE 2011, through the playground and the First Annual Machinima Fest, as you can see from the SIGVE Annual Report and Scott Merrick’s Open Letter, we were able to connect Philadelphia to ISTE Headquarters via SL. How wonderful to be able to share our work and learning with each other no matter where in the world we were! The traditional conference walls are crumbling and hopefully you were there, in rl or sl, to capture the joy of learning! If not, plan to attend ISTE 2012. Visit to learn more. What do fear and the Wizard of Oz have in common? Check out the article by our Lowly Grand Poobah, Andrew Wheelock. As you can see from the picture above, I had a lot of fun “On Walkabout” rezzing my own locomotive and touring the region of Tuliptree in Heterocera. Checkout the Expedition Central Clubhouse mentioned by Cyrus Hush in “Expeditions.” For an excellent PD model that integrates 21st century learning and technology tools to enhance learning, be sure to visit SLEEC Island. Also, Any1 Gynoid shares valuable insights and resources in “In-World Education Thrives in Second Life.” I was especially excited to visit the China International Schools Inworld (CISI) campus in sl and learn more from Deed Davids about their work in Second Life and Reaction Grid. Make sure when you visit to sign the guest book and grab a free t-shirt from the bunny.  You can see additional pictures from ISTE 2011 and SIGVE, and better yet, add your own to the pool at A special thanks to everyone who contributed to the second issue of VEJ. If you have questions, comments, suggestions and/or would like to submit an article for publication, please contact us at VEJ – OUT as you savor the flavors of this issue! Keep smiling  Rosie Vojtek, aka Roxie Neiro

Vol. 1, Issue 2

In This Issue:       

   

  

SIGVE Annual Report Open Letter from Scott Merrick/Scottmerrick OH Virtual Worlds Graduate UnSymposium ISTE Social Update Tour of Maya Island Creating a Virtual Learning Environment Bardo Thodol – Experience the Liminal State in Teaching and Learning Comments From The Pit – Poobah-In-Training Come Join Us @ SLEEC Island Expeditions: On Walkabout CAIS China: International Baccalaureate World Schools To Teach Collaborative Second Life Class VSTE Book Study Virtual Texas: An Exhibit Sponsored By The Texas Library Association In-World Education Thrives in Second Life

To Read VEJ online visit: http://www.virtualeducationjo For more information about ISTE SIGVE or to join the fun, visit:

SIGVE Annual Report 2010-2011

Submitted by Andrew Wheelock The Year in Review Since SIGVE’s founding in 2009 we have been a group that likes to practice what we preach. In that light, we have continued this tradition by having most of our discussions and presentations in a Virtual Environment (i.e. Second Life, Reaction Grid, etc.). This gives our group the ability to meet from the comfort of our homes, and makes our annual Birds of a Feather Sessions at ISTE a very warm and friendly reunion of like-minded educators that have bonded both digitally and in person. Some of the key highlights of our SIG: The SIGVE Speaker series The SIGVE Speaker continued to be a consistent success with our group hosting a different speaker for 11 Months of our Educational Calendar,


September-July. While our format usually follows an interview model we have had also had panel discussions, demonstrations of software, and grid jumping sessions. We most often offer pre-session opportunities to submit questions, an effort to expand participation to those who may not be able to attend synchronously. We also experimented this year with mirroring the sessions in Elluminate, now Blackboard Collaborate, through the Host-YourOwn-Webinar group at which presents a solid archival option as well. SIGVE Playground at ISTE 2011-Philadelphia This year’s SIGVE playground presented a few challenges due to our location, but was a fantastic success as far as high quality presentations and great audience participation both in Second Life and at the conference. What was particularly powerful is that we were able to highlight so many cutting edge virtual environments. This gave the participants both in Second Life and in Philadelphia a pretty well-rounded view of the environments that were available at the time of the conference. This field is so exciting because new options are developing all the time. The annual Virtual Environments Playground is a perfect vehicle to highlight these ever expanding technologies. The 2011 schedule is archived online at:

The schedule included 32 back-to-back half hour presentations from presenters over half of whom were originating from remote locations. Grand Poobah Emeritus, Scott Merrick, summarized the playground at his blog: One of our favorite accomplishments was when Chris Hart of Reaction Grid shared her Unity3D desktop in Second Life and in Philadelphia via while speaking to both synchronous audiences through Second Life voice, ustreamed into Second Life from Philadelphia. Chris was in Boston, we were in Philadelphia, and inworld participants in Second Life were all over the globe, from Australia to Japan to Great Britain to many states in America. Finally, perhaps the most striking impact of our Playground was to extend the learning to dozens of ISTE members who were unable to attend the conference in Philadelphia. Thanks to the superb organization and follow-


through brought to the project by Jane Wilde, many of our members were able to participate who would otherwise not have been able to share in the learning. Leadership Transitions to new leadership saw Andrew Wheelock taking over as Lowly High Grand Poobah as Scott Merrick transitioned to join Lisa Lynn as Grand Poobah Emeritus. Bob Vojtek rolled in as Grand Poobah, a position that places him in line for LHGP next year. This will be an interesting year as we continue to grow. NEW Projects Virtual Education Journal. Bob and Rosie Vojtek have lent their considerable energy towards a virtual environment journal that highlights all of the great educational uses of virtual environments. The first online journal issue came out just before ISTE 2011 and was a wonderful addition to all that SIGVE had to offer. The next issue should be ready in early fall. Machinima Night at ISTE Marianne Malstrom, Kae Novak, and Rurik Nakerud provided us with a night of movie making magic at ISTE 2011. We had a full conference room of people that watched some high quality virtual environment created movies made by students from around the country. This evening gave rise to the notion that powerful learning can be brought to students by allowing them to create scripts and storyboards that enhance their curriculum. So successful was this evening that we are in the process of developing a Machinima Night in Second Life as a monthly SIGVE sponsored offering. Marrianne, Kae, and Rurik have offered to be hosts for this event to spotlight machinima in all Virtual Environments. The extension of focus into other environments besides Second Life is still a primary focus. The Year in Summary SIGVE is a unique group to say the least. We are a little less formal than many SIG’s. Our charter is centered around educating people about the power of virtual environments. We not only discuss virtual environments, but we meet in them. This allows for a lot of flexibility in being able to meet in the comfort of our own home, but more importantly it allows us to explore, create, and collaborate in a seamless and ever changing way.


We really have several venues for membership, perhaps more than any other SIG. Currently, we have 6615 members in the ISTE Second Life Group, and the SIGVE SECOND LIFE GROUP has 156 members. There are 101 members in the group on the ISTE Community ning, and ISTE has the current figures for ISTE SIGVE membership proper. There is also a Facebook Page for ISTESIGVE and a Machinima Festival page, both of which enjoy growing memberships. Though there is obviously a great deal of redundancy in these memberships, there are doubtless some individual members in one or the other or several, but not all. We like this. Our leadership has set a foundation for support and organization that allows us to meet monthly and get important up to date information from our well-defined Wikispace and Ning environment. ISTE continues to be a valued host to our SIG, and we must give special gratitude to Terra Seiberman for all of her help and guidance. She has been a true champion and ever-smiling helper. Colleen Kimball has been a strong advocate and resource as well. Jennifer Ragen-Fore is of course the goddess of all things virtual environments and history will show her a founding advocate of this incredibly powerful arena for education. The SIGVE speaker series continues to draw solid crowds of “backchanneling” avatars whose “off-task distraction” through backchat leads to valuable discussions and stimulating educational dialogue. With our new addition of a Machinima roundtable we will continue to educate and expand our horizons. We are also looking ahead to ISTE 2012 as a place to continue our outreach at the SIGVE Playground and solidify our membership at the Birds of a Feather Session. SIGVE is moving forward and pushing the boundaries of innovation and education. Life(s) is good!

ISTE 2012 Destination San Diego: The sun, the sea, the learning! June 24 – 27, 2012 ISTE's thirty-third annual conference and exposition will be held in beautiful San Diego, California. Join us at ISTE 2012 as we discover how educators from around the world are using innovative technologies to help students expand their horizons. You'll experience more than: • 300 model lessons, BYOD (bring your own device) sessions, lectures, and panels • 135 hands-on and seminar-demo workshops (additional fee) • 500 exhibiting companies, agencies, and organizations • 400 informal and interactive learning activities Call for participation opens September 7 and closes October 5, 2011; registration opens October 3, 2011. Visit the ISTE 2012 website for more information.


Open Letter from

Scott Merrick/ Scottmerrick Oh:

Thank you from the Depths of my old heart! The ISTE 2011 Virtual Environments Playground was such a successful event that its two Co-Facilitators, Andrew Wheelock (SL: Spiff Whitfield) and this author, have since been approached by their state ISTE Affiliates to mount similar events at their own state technology conferences in Tennessee and New York, respectively. This works out quite neatly, since each of us can help the other remotely by presenting from a distance, utilizing a virtual world to present about virtual worlds. To see pictures from our activities in Philly and SL check out

That reminds me that I would like to lay out a quick and dirty summary of the playground presentations. I’ve already written a little recap at the SIGVE wiki, but I’d like to share some more detail for those readers who may not have taken advantage of the opportunity to visit the schedule or attend a session or two. Due to the fact that we had 32 back-to-back 30 minute sessions over the two days the Playground ran, I plan to summarize only the first day. Perhaps I can do the honors for Day 2 in an upcoming issue of VEJ! (The real benefit of this writing strategy will be apparent as I intend to quote heavily from the presenter’s own session descriptions.  Here goes: Andy himself kicked us off in our location ‘way up over the opening registration arena, sharing “A Deeper Understanding of the Holocaust through Virtual Environments” with our attendees both onsite in Philadelphia and onsite at the Playground in Second Life, high above ISTE Island. Here is his description of his session, which was typically understated but incisive. “Think 6

history is dull? This presentation will highlight a powerful new way of bringing history to life. By creating a virtual replica of the Anne Frank Annex, students are able to get a „minds eye‟ view of the literature and history connections to this tragic period in world history.”

John Lemmon stepped up to the plate next with his Outdoor Animation presentation. He was present inworld, not in Philly, but due to the magic of the Promethean Board we shared his work, self-described here: “Stop motion animation and clay animation are strictly for indoors, right? Not anymore. See how the iPod touch, cool apps, and personal hotspots let students and teachers create, edit and upload animation while outdoors. Want to make a movie about the plant cycle? Take it outdoors!”


Kae Novak (SL: Kavon Zenovka), Rurik Nakerud (SL: Rurik Bellingshause, and Chris Luchs (SL: Abacus Capalini) got right into the spotlight with a moving presentation called “Designing the Virtual World Event/Experience.” They wowed the crowd (that’s a little poem) talking and sharing, “…information and lessons learned on how to plan and design your virtual world event/exploration.” The presenters have been bringing students and faculty into virtual worlds (Second Life, OpenSim, World of Warcraft, War Hammer, and Forbidden City) since 2008 as part of the classroom, at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices conference, and also as in-house professional development. Participants learned how to design the experience based on “the affordances and constraints in each of these virtual worlds.” This was cool. How exciting to see and hear from such experienced virtual world educators!

Fellow Tennessean Betsy Norris, onsite, shared “Toys, Tools, and Resources for Educators New to Second Life,” and her husband helped her out with this engaging session that she described at the wiki as “a presentation of 8

toys and resources to advance one's knowledge level. Learn how to enter the VE, communicate effectively and to navigate.” The presentation explored VE's implications for education. Roxanne De Leon joined us from Second Life with “Technology Based Student Driven Learning within Virtual Worlds.” Roxanne went all multiplatform on us, and ably, describing her share session this way. She says, “As educators, we explore numerous ways for students to master content and apply concepts across the core curricular areas. Discover how technologybased student driven learning can facilitate collaboration and critical thinking skills. Educators step back from control of the instruction and create a technology-based student-driven learning experience within a virtual world environment.” During the presentation she shared experiences in “Wolfquest, Quest Atlantis, and Second Life as some of the technology applications that are suitable to this pedagogical mind shift.” Roxanne says “this shift promotes the development of high academic performance through collaboration and critical thinking across multidisciplinary areas.”

Again emanating from Second Life, our own Jessica Brogley, Roxanne De Leon, brought us “Second Life for N00bs :) which she described thusly. She said, "I'm barely in Second Life so I offer a good perspective on how a teacher can manage their experience in SL in a realistic way that is fun and educational.” During her presentation, she showed people “how to maximize their experience when they don't have a lot of time or skill.” She said that, “Of course, the most important concept -- have a sense of humor and be patient!” These are, “Good life skills and essential Teacher skills!”

Second Life Grand Poobah Esme Qunhua, Jane Wilde in her wild real life, was the prime factor in the Second Life ISTE Playground’s huge success. (During the conference, we often had many more attendees in Second Life than had been able to locate our rather remote real world location!) Esme shared much of how she did it, utilizing her students at Marlboro College in Vermont. She called her presentation “Higher Education Students Volunteering to Support ISTE SIGVE Playground” and we had the pleasure of meeting several of them as avatars and one as a flesh and blood human being ISTE attendee! I have a picture from that meeting.


Scott Schaeffer and Gina Burnisky waxed prosaic in their description. I had been pleased to get a commitment from WiloStar3D’s creator and leader Janet Hale to provide this session, and we were not disappointed with “Fire of the Avatars! Personalizing Avatars in Virtual Worlds to Enhance the Writing Process via WiloStar3D's Avatar Storytellers Program.” I include the entire description here (because I can). "Today's students live in a digital society. Cell phones, computers, iPads and video games produce techie tweens and teens. Technology is everywhere around our students in their natural daily lives. Today's students demand a learning environment that is second nature to them and Avatar Storytellers is just such an environment.” In this session, we watched as Gina Brunisky, 6th grade teacher from Exeter Township School District and Scott Schaeffer, technology specialist, 10

also from Exeter and their students took us on a “3D virtual tour of the Land of Tales. Gina's students customized avatars and immersed themselves in the Land of Tales virtual world to write 3D Hero's quests and become members of 3D Avatar Storytellers guild. Visualize a whole new way to produce puppet shows! Instead of the sock puppets and marionettes of days gone by, students inhabit the virtual bodies of 3D avatar characters; create custom looks, traits and scripts to tell a story based on their avatar.” Watch the spark of imagination ignite as your students jump on magic dragon flyers, become elves, powerful bruin avatar characters or blue groundlings. Avatar Storytellers teaches students how to systematically write a quest of their own and addresses key 21st Century technology and writing skills aligned to the new Common Core State Standards. Avatar Storytellers promotes higher order thinking and produces students who are creators, not lumps on logs! Avatar Storytellers promotes the development of both digital and writing literacy through the use of avatar character creation and 3D inworld quest production. Brunisky and Schaeffer explained, “WiloStar3D's use of immersive education involves the use of 3D virtual worlds and expressive and customizable avatars and then submerses these technologies inside richly immersive 3D virtual worlds for students.” Next up was our esteemed and much-loved Knowclue Kidd, aka Marianne Malmstrom, with “LEGO Universe ‘Saving the Universe’ in School.” Marianne’s session took us to LEGO Universe for a fascinating detour from the 3D virtual worlds we are mostly used to. “Last fall the Elisabeth Morrow School, in Englwooe, N.J., embarked on an exciting quest, by “developing an after-school program that teaches safe, civil online behavior to 3rd and 4th graders using LEGO Universe.” Knowclue explained that Lego Universe is designed for 8-to-12-year-olds. She added, “this unique new MMOG allows users to join an epic quest, complete missions, and create, build, and animate their own content in a safe environment. These combined features, along with the game's popularity with our students, made LEGO Universe a promising candidate for use in our after-school classroom.” By the way, at the end of the conference, after our Playground was over, Marianne hosted (from her home in New Jersey) the first ever SIGVE Machinima Festival. You can see more about that at the SIGVE wiki! 11

Tired yet? Imagine how invigorated (and tired) we all were by now. But the fun sharing was not yet over. Gord Holden came in from Second Life from his home in Canada with “Virtual Worlds and Purposeful Play.” His presentation was engaging, thoughtful, and stimulating. Holden said, “I'd like to begin by describing how play can be a purposeful activity, and how virtual worlds can be particularly effective at accommodating this (or not).” He followed this up by “showing existing examples, suggesting some others, and facilitating some discussion on further possibilities.” PBS San Antonio affiliate, Kimberly Flack, who was on hand for most of the run of the Playground, shared “PBS resources for classrooms in ANY world.” She helped us take a tour of the various locations in Second Life Eight - Arizona PBS has collaborated with to create as learning spaces and embed resources for educators and virtual passers-by.” Participants were engaged in a discussion about “how there can be opportunities for professional development, face-to-face and online, in this world... and how those of us who are very comfortable navigating this ‘new’ frontier need to help others become more savvy. MMORPG 101 is needed for educators not yet familiar with virtual worlds and gaming,” she explained. Stay with us, ya’ll, as Lindy McKeown Orwin shared “Pedagogy in 3D,” which she introduced this way. She said, “I would like to share various teaching strategies with examples and tools for using virtual worlds so that teachers can decide how to teach and how students might learn while in a virtual world.” Lindy has been around a good long while and we can so benefit from her learning and teaching. She recently enjoyed a Green Card renewal, which will keep her in the U.S. with us for at least two more years! I’m sure she misses her native Australia, but we’re glad to have her here with us. We closed with Aussie powerhouse, Jo Kay, famed creator of Jokadia Grid, sharing about OpenSimulator initiatives. She invited us to “Join some of the residents of jokaydiaGRID for a tour of our opensimpowered home in the metaverse!” 12

Knowclue Kidd

Scott Merrick Adjusting Camera

Second Life Audience

Participants found out more about “the joys and challenges of opensim, and the fabulous spaces and projects that Jokadia residents are creating.” My trusty “Word Count” tells me I’ve already exceeded my 1,000 word limit for this issue of VEJ. I’m hoping that the editors will allow me to tackle summarizing Day 2 of the fabulous ISTE SIGVE Virtual Environments Playground in Philadelphia and in the Metaverse, June 2011. Whether you were with us or not, you have to admit that you wish you were. You can be with us next summer in San Diego when Andrew Wheelock and newly elected Poobah-in-Training, Bob Vojtek, will collaborate to present the Virtual Environments Playground for ISTE 2012! Psssssst: If you want a taste of what it was like to really be there, or if you are a presenter looking for video from your presentation (unfortunately some were lost due to a hardware failure, but many are there!) head on over to this URL: You’ll be glad you did! [Note form the editors – Scott will be back in the next issue to describe Day 2 of the “Fabulous ISTE SIGVE Virtual Environments Playground in Philadelphia and in the Metaverse, 2011.” Stay Tuned!]

After A Hard Day Thanks to ALL our Volunteers!

Bernajean Porter on True Collaboration


Virtual Worlds Graduate UnSymposium November 4 -6, 2011 Second Life, Jokaydia, World of Warcraft and possibly more. The Virtual Worlds Graduate UnSymposium is a community building event that provides opportunities for graduate students, alumni and educators to share current practices, network with colleagues, and explore opportunities for professional development, enhancing research, teaching and learning. The Theme for 2011 is Games, Play and Community. This is a fully online, free conference. Conference locations will be in Second Life, Jokaygrid, World of Warcraft and other locations based on speaker and participant request. This educational gathering is an opportunity for you to “assemble your entourage” or expand your personal learning network. It is for educators whether they have completed graduate work, are in a graduate program or doing professional development to build connections for social network knowledge creation. Why? It seems to be what we are doing – we have been developing ARGs, testing out 3D gamelab; playing, learning and networking with Cognitive Dissonance in WoW; making Machinima and watching students play and learn in Minecraft and Lego Universe. We are overwhelmed by the extraordinary creativity and community involved in all of these modalities. During raids and late into the night we are discussing flow, cognitive load, knowledge sharing and absorptive capacity. And did we mention – play! If you and your organization are playing and learning or learning about games, please join us. For the CFP please go to: Submission Deadline October 15, 2011. For any questions or requests please feel free to contact: Kae Novak mailto:que.jinn@gmail or Rurik Nackerud twitter: vwgus #vwgus YouTube: UnSymposium trailer


ISTE Social UPDATE At the ISTE2011 SIGVE Birds of a Feather meeting on Monday, June 27th, a suggestion was made to reorganize ISTE Island Thursday night newcomer socials. Marie Booz (Mandie Minimus, SL) and Nan Zingrone (Maggie Larimore, SL) put their heads together and came up with some ideas for reorganizing the socials and encouraging more ISTE members to come to ISTE Island for networking, socializing, and a lot of FUN! In addition, we are hoping more ISTE members will step forward and help plan and host these social events. The Social committee has dropped the “Newcomer” social to make it more inclusive and involve everyone, not just the newcomers (who by the way, are also invited)! The ISTE Socials will remain every Thursday night, excluding holidays, from 5-6 PM (SLT) on ISTE Island. Socials may also be held at a different site, but there will be plenty

of notice and help getting to the social. If you are interested in helping with the socials, make sure to join the SL ISTE management group. Everyone interested in helping plan or host the socials is welcome. Just join the ISTE Management Group, and also IM Mandie or Maggie and let them know that you are interested in helping. There has also been a tag added to the ISTE Island Management SL group available to all group members willing to help: ISTE Social: Ask Me! Wear it proudly! The socials will include four strands: games/activities, dances, building/SL skills, and presentations/networking. If you are interested in helping or have other suggestions for socials, please contact Mandie or Maggie in sl. Mark your calendar – we hope to see you at the ISTE Socials!


Tour of Maya Island By Matthew Poole, aka Cyrus Hush On Sunday, September 04, 2011, Cyrus Hush guest-hosted an ISTE tour of Maya Island, capstone project of the University of Washington’s class of 2011 graduate certificate program in Virtual Worlds. of Washington/124/129/32 After assembling at Expedition Central and having a brief orientation we all teleported to Maya Island and landed at the central pyramid. There we were met by two of the grad students who had contributed to the build –Sicily Zapatero and Dabici Straulino. Both were very friendly and knowledgeable guides for us.


Maya Island is organized into several different sections that focus on a specific aspect of the Mayan culture –Science, Medicine, Mythology etc. With so many talented and motivated individuals putting their skills to work, this sim is quite dense with interactive educational content. Games, quests and puzzles abound. This place is a bit like Disneyland‌ don’t expect to see everything in one visit!

The visitor is greeted with a welcome note card upon arrival. This note card contains maps and an overview of the sim. Many more note cards await (20 or so) as there is interactive content in almost every direction. After chatting with Dabici and Sicily the group broke into twos and threes and explored in different directions. Most of us had time to follow the Jade Way, an interactive self-guided tour of Mayan agricultural techniques that was the brainchild of Dabici.


At the end of the Jade Way a short quiz awaits. If you complete the quiz you are awarded an ear of corn (got that far) which when presented to a Mayan god will send you on a ride through underground tunnels on the back of a giant bat. I didn’t get that far, but I’ve ridden it before and it’s pretty cool! Another interesting and educational puzzle is the Glyph Challenge, where you have two minutes to correctly identify a random series of Mayan hieroglyphs. If you can do so in the time limit, you will be awarded a Mayan mask for your avatar to style in! This exhibit was designed by Sicily and I found it to be quite addictive. There are at least a dozen more games, puzzles and challenges on the island so please come and visit and plan to spend some time! Cheers! Cyrus


Save The Date Cathy Anderson, Cathywyo1 Haystack (SL) DATE: Tuesday, September 20th, TIME: 5pm SL time
 WHERE: ISTE Island Auditorium, SL

Please join us as we welcome

Cathy L. Anderson Librarian and Second Life/ Virtual World observer extraordinaire! A little about Cathy in her own words! "I have worked in Higher Education for 13 years starting out working with those students who were studying to successfully pass the GED. In addition to this I also managed tutoring programs, adult basic education, a library, and testing center. From there I moved on to work in managing student services at a small community college. I coordinated the online education programs and courses for six public universities in an effort to facilitate their successful collaboration and to improve instructional quality. I am currently Vice President of a small technical school. " The decision to interview Cathy was an easy once since Cathy has a body of work on the Internet that is incredibly robust and engaging. Her Twitter feed is a garden of wonderful musings to pluck all kinds of new and updated information on Virtual Environments. Where to find Cathy on the web:


Creating a Virtual Learning Environment By Mary OBrien (RG) aka Serena Offcourse (SL)

Serena Offcourse (SL) / Mary OBrien (RG) and Techplex Engineer (SL and RG), co-taught this summer’s graduate course at the Summer Tech Institute through the University of Maine. This course provider a hands-on experience that allowed teachers to explore educational possibilities within virtual worlds. Teacher’s used the Reaction Grid virtual environment, which is rated PG and focused on education. Participants had opportunities to explore, interact, and learn the skills needed to use this immersive environment with their students. Some exciting educational builds resulted from this week-long course. Please visit MaineLand on Reaction Grid to see our progress. [Note: Reaction Grid does not seem to have Slurls like SL does...the best way to find something is to use the map and search name of region.]


Bardo Thodol – Experiencing the Liminal State in Teaching and Learning By Kae Novak, aka Kavon Zenovka (sl) In 2009 a few educators from Colorado determined that there was a need for a different type of educational experience for their online students. These educators had been in Second Life for at least a year, attending ISTE SIGVE in-world events and just learning about immersive environments. It seemed to them rather than recreating what was already at their brick and mortar college, they would try to design an experience that students could not have in a traditional classroom. In Second Life, the term NPIRL (Not Possible in Real Life) is used to describe builds and experiences that capture this. So that is what these educators set out to do, give their students an experience Not Possible in Real Life. But as educators - it's always pedagogy first - then technology. They looked for a concept in which students had difficulty that could be best served in an immersive learning environment. They choose a concept from a philosophy course titled, Religions of the East. Students were having difficulty in understanding the liminal state between life and death as outlined in Buddhism. This is also where the educators' liminal experience began. They ended up in a liminal state between role-players, immersive environment designers, and teachers. Being ambitious and rather naive, they decided to create a role-play simulation of Bardo Thodol based on Robert Thurman's translation The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Book of Natural Liberation Through Understanding in the Between. This epic piece of literature's lush description of gods, demons and hero's journey rivals the characters, plots and narrative in any of the popular MMORPGs (Massively Multi-Player Online Line Role Playing Game). So, they had to decide, how could you take a story


that requires 5 distinct phases and a cast of characters of at least 18 avatars? It wasn't easy, but they built it and continue to use it not only in Religions of the East courses but also Philosophy of Religion, Ancient Humanities and even English Composition. To experience Bardo Thodol, the student starts in the clear white light of ultimate reality, then passes through to nothingness, spends quality time with the peaceful deities, encounters the wrathful deities, is judged by Lord Yama (the god of death) and then picks one of the six Buddhist realm in which they could be reborn. To help the student with the transition, there is naturally a lama who guides the soul who has been preparing all their life to take this journey. The lama is the teacher for the Religions of the East course.

Lama Guide


To create the experience, the educators parsed out the distinct phases. The clear white light of enlightenment could be a large box that the student was teleported with the texture and glow properly adjusted. When the student needs to experience nothingness, a black box with no lighting was created. A green scenic staging area where the student meets the peaceful deities turns into a raging fire chasm where the student then encounters the wrathful deities.

Peaceful Deities

The next stage involves the student meeting the Lord Yama and his minions.


Lord Yama and his Minions At the end of this meeting, students are given the opportunity to choose one of six realms revealed via a notecard. The names of these six realms are in Tibetan so unless the student researched or quickly looks up the realms it is random chance. Five of the six realms - heaven, and even one version of hell, are represented well in Second Life. The realm of the animals was difficult to find so one of the educators built a tremendous chicken coop and populated it with giant chicken bots. For a student who has already gone through Second Life orientation it takes between 15 and 25 minutes to do the role-play simulation. Besides the teachers being the lama, three other educators are needed to control two or more avatars at each phase. At the end of a simulation run everyone, including the student, has a debriefing led by the teacher for Religions of the East course. During these debriefings, students often express that they experienced a different state of learning and educators feel that they are really teaching something NPIRL.


The Realm of Animals Since 2009, 4- 5 courses run through this simulation each semester experiencing NPIRL and the liminal state. The Colorado educators, along with an educator from Oregon, have continued to work on experiencing that liminal state in teaching and learning. They have started up a grassroots think tank called Center4EduPunx, where they blog, discuss tools, and collaborate on upcoming projects. If you are interested in collaboration on a NPIRL simulation or roleplaying as education, please go to http://www.center4edupunx.comor follow on twitter @center4edupunx .


Comments from the PIT Pooh-Bah-in-Training Today is actually a warm sunny September day in New England. That can’t be said for previous weeks. Hurricanes don’t usually distract us. They don’t normally move this far north. But Irene came to visit New England. We were lucky… no major damage, save a tree that I am taking to the landfill. So what does this have to do with Virtual education? I didn’t realize how comforting it was to pop into our computer room and fire up Second Life, rez our “home” in the Fruit Islands, change the setting to midday, and listen to the sounds of the surf.

I chat with friends around the country or around the world and, like Jimmy Buffet, “changes in latitude – changes my attitude!”


In my real life job as a school administrator, I have been trying now for several years to get someone… anyone interested in virtual environments for education and professional development. But, to no avail. Everyone sees it as adding to their already busy day. For some reason at the beginning of this school year, while having lunch with other administrators someone asked me about my interests outside of school. With trepidation I began to explain the work that Rosie (Roxie Neiro) and I have done with the VWBPE (Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education) conference. When I described the number of participants, examples of presentations, and the enthusiasm from around the globe, one administrator said, “you should lead one of our administrative PD days and explain this to everyone.” Everyone at the table agreed. This is a testament to all of you, the SIGVE Trailblazers and Pioneers, that give your time, talent, experience and expertise to help create the most amazing learning environment on the planet… any planet… real or virtual! I am so proud to be a part of this incredible group! I have big shoes to fill and I have little feet. With the help of Andy Whitlock (Spiff ), Scott Merrick (ScottMerrick Oh), my wife Rosie Vojtek (Roxie Neiro) and all of you that have the enthusiasm to create positive educational change, even while our country argues the cost/benefit of public education, I will work hard to continue to advocate and promote the work and progress of SIGVE and your work and educational successes in any and all virtual worlds. Bob Vojtek, aka B.J. Gearbox Grand Poobah (In-Training), ISTE SIGVE


Come Join Us @ SLEEC Island! by Laural McCallen aka, Lauren Thurman & Lori Galli aka, Lori Weedo

Escambia County School District opened a new campus in August of 2009, where you can always enjoy the warmest of Pensacola sunny days, beautiful coastal sunsets, and star filled skies. SLEEC Island (Second Life Educators of Escambia County) was created to provide online professional development and virtual collaboration opportunities in a lifelike and virtually real location where our educators can meet synchronously at any time from any place.

ECSD Instructional Technology Department hosts professional learning courses at SLEEC Island, where educators have the opportunity to participate in virtual sessions focusing on emerging technologies and educational best practices and collaborate globally with like-minded educators. These courses use a blended environment consisting of Moodle and Second Life. Teachers use a Moodle course to examine resources, to exchange ideas via forums, and to post completed assignments. The use of Sloodle, a module that integrates Second Life and Moodle, provides avatars with access to resources posted to the Moodle course while logged into Second Life. Inservice credits are awarded for successful completion of the course.

Courses offered were a 4-week professional development series entitled “Web 2.0 Tools” (Glogster, VoiceThreads, Wordle), “iTeach with iPod & iPad”, and an extended course on “Project Based Learning.” Experienced teachers shared their implementation of the tool into the classroom curriculum and gave examples of completed student projects. We have been privileged to have nationally renowned educational consultant Chris O’Neal, East Carolina University Professor Timm Hackett, and Digital Nomad Evangelist Chris Smith, featured during these series. Our first session this upcoming school year will be ePals, presented by Rita Oates, Vice President of ePals. Watch the SLEEC Calendar for an announcement of this event.


The first annual Virtual Innovative Teaching and Technology Summit (VITTS), a virtual representation of the annual ITTS held in Escambia County School District, was held at SLEEC on Oct. 9th, 2010. Throughout the day, topics from Geocaching in Education to Teen Projects in Second Life were presented during 1 hour sessions, providing a glimpse of extraordinary educational experiences for students both in real life and in virtual worlds. Interested in sharing your latest passion for a technology tool and/or teaching style? Watch for applications to present at the second annual VITTS tentatively scheduled in February 2012.

This year SLEEC Island will be an integral part of the success of our Technology Infused Project Based Professional Learning Groups. These groups are comprised of like grade level and subject area teachers located at diverse real life schools throughout the district. The majority of their semimonthly meetings will take place virtually at the many unique small meeting areas on SLEEC Island. Teaching tools such as presentation boards and 3D object creation tools will enhance member activities as they visualize concepts and engage in learning activities.


We foster vision and exploration of virtual environments. Periodic tours of educationally purposed sims are scheduled to provide the foundation for discussion of best practices in teaching and learning with possibilities for student centered project based learning activities utilizing virtual environments. A 3D representation of Florida’s Technology Integration Matrix has been created where a virtual gallery of project plans and student sampled are being displayed at each level of implementation as they are being identified. This area is a “work in progress” and will continue to be updated with new projects as they emerge. New to Second Life, or to the frequent viewer updates? Get comfortable inworld at our Orientation Area. Also, take time to peruse through the catalogued virtual second life locations, web resources, and avatar freebies available in our headquarters where you will also find a calendar of schedule events. Access to the calendar is also available outside of SL at the SLEEC Edublog. Finally, we have envisioned a glimpse of the possibilities for student-centered project based learning models utilizing virtual environments to simulate realworld learning experiences. Providing active learning in an immersive environment appeals to a wide range of learning styles facilitating deeper


levels of learning, promoting critical thinking, improving long term memory recall and increasing the likelihood that this new knowledge will be used in an appropriate real world context. So it is with great anticipation and excitement that we await the delivery of a new student campus in Second Life, TEC Island (Teens of Escambia County). In preparation, teacher training will begin and continue throughout the first semester with the expectation of student immersion during the second semester. Now that you’ve heard more about our community, we hope you will join our group, SL Educators of Escambia County (SLEEC Island is a closed estate, accessed through group membership) and stop by to learn more about SLEEC Island. By joining our group you will receive notices for all of our events and activities. We look forward to seeing you inworld.


The Wizard of Oz at SIGVE Playground By Andrew Wheelock, aka Spiff Whitfield, Grand Poobah

I have a horrible confession to make. I have never liked the timeless movie classic, The Wizard of Oz. How could this be? Well, to me the movie gave me an uneasy feeling that I found hard to enjoy or think deeply about. More specifically, the movie tapped into both real and surreal fears that gave me jarring nightmares in my youth which led me to avoid watching it since. And yet, an experience at ISTE 2011 made me think that I was really missing something of value in Oz that I think is quite important for educators in particular. So what exactly were my fears of this children’s classic? Some fears may be obvious, but some may also surprise you. My first fear was of the approaching, ominous black tornado. Tornados are a force of nature that recent events have shown still gives us all the uneasy feelings that we are powerless to nature's unpredictability and power. Of course, the Wicked Witch of the West is perhaps the most feared character of all moviedom. Craftily played by Margaret Hamilton, her portrayal was so well articulated that she became immortally typecast as a Hollywood legend. Along with the Wicked Witch came the winged monkeys that swarmed the land to seek out Dorothy. Their gargoyle-like grins gave them malevolence quite unlike their real-life chimpanzee counterparts. Embarrassing though it might be, I was even afraid of the Munchkins, especially the Lollipop Guild. Their pointy shoes, chipmunk voices, and pinched faces always made me cringe and hide behind two closed hands (with an occasional peak between two fingers). So what could these childish fears have to do with the ISTE 2011 Conference? At the SIG-VE Birds of a Feather Session, I had the rare


opportunity to have 3 people in the same room that have made a huge impact on my career and thinking. I felt it was an opportunity to personally and publicly thank them.

My first thanks was to our self described Benevolent Dictator and this year’s Making a Difference ISTE award winner, Scott Merrick. How fitting that he should win this award in the City of Brotherly Love! To all of us that know Scott, we have an ally that approaches all of his endeavors with a sense of benevolence to be sure, and always with a happy heart.

The second person I thanked was Peggy Sheehy. As always, Peggy gave an inspiring speech at the opening conference kickoff session. Without Peggy’s help, support, and never ending strength, I could have easily walked away from my virtual environment work and happily spent my days in the shadows of technology integration drudgery. Peggy’s undaunted courage always shines through and awakens the fortitude in us to engage in innovative solutions to educating our children.

Last, but certainly not least, is Anne Collier. Anne has been instrumental in changing the paradigm of internet safety dogma from a fear based culture of “scare and dare” to a logic based climate of educating ourselves and students in reality based notions using proactive, pro-child, and positive strategies that will empower educators and students alike in the new age of technology. Anne’s clear minded musings are my first stop in understanding the issues of the day in the fast paced world of technology. She is stalwart.

So, as I wound down another fantastic day at the ISTE conference, made it back to my hotel room, and lay my head down to drift to sleep, surprisingly the Wizard of Oz came into my thoughts. The analogy was so strong that I immediately shook off my sleepiness and let my mind explore. The three people that have been such great mentors to me embodied the traits of Dorothy’s three companions to Emerald City. Scott Merrick’s happy heart, Peggy’s undaunted courage, and Anne’s logical brain have guided me along my own Yellow Brick Road of technology integration and wisdom.

So perhaps... to my surprise and enlightenment this timeless tale has 33

something very important to offer us all. Today’s educational technology offers great possibilities and challenges. To meet these challenges, we must surround ourselves from within and without, with heart, courage, and logic to make our innovative solutions to education come to life for the betterment of our students and society.

“Some.... where...... OOOOOver..... the rainbow.....”

Post Script: After writing this I realized that so many great people were in that room that as I have gotten to know them, they also embody the traits from above. Please know that I am grateful to all of you for letting me into this merry tribe of SIGVE. I will do my best to carry on the traditions that Scott Merrick and Lisa Linn have set forth to make SIGVE a powerful, yet fun-loving force in educational technology. (The Wizard of Oz (1939) Warner Bros.)


Expeditions By Matt Poole aka Cyrus Hush --------------------------------------------------------Volume 2

On Walkabout

Second life is big… really, really big. According to, the main Second Life grid covers about 790 square miles, not counting blank ocean space. If you have ever tried wandering around 790 square miles in real life, you will realize that this is a pretty good-sized chunk of virtual real estate. Furthermore, very little of it is empty woods or fields as it would likely be in real life; it’s mostly packed with content built by residents.

The land area is divided into nine “mainland” continents and thousands of individual island parcels and estates with no direct connection to each other except by teleporting. Most residents are probably more familiar with teleporting from island to island than with putting on a pair of


comfortable shoes and going on mainland “walkabouts,” but if you haven’t taken time to do this you may be missing out on an important part of the Second Life experience. The continents are large contiguous landmasses that are made up of a great number of regions 256 meters on a side. These regions are usually further subdivided into parcels that are owned (so to speak) or rented by different residents. Because of this decentralized virtual land ownership, many mainland areas can become cluttered with advertisements or eyesores of one sort or another. For this reason some people do not consider the mainland continents to be as “cool” as private islands and pay little attention to them. This, however, is an oversimplification and is doing the mainland areas a terrible injustice. Like Second Life itself, the continents contain a little bit of everything. Around the next corner will be a surprise… something silly, something banal or perhaps something serene, clever and/or beautiful. You just… never… know… and therein lies the beauty of Second Life continental exploration. Linden Labs maintains a sophisticated system of publicly owned roads, canals and railroads on the continents for the sole purpose of encouraging voyages of discovery. It would quite literally take years to explore all of the continents, and by the time you finished you could start over again as parcel ownership and content would certainly have changed by then.

Mango Yacht Club, Fruit Islands, one of the Top 10 SL Estates by number of regions. (August 27, 2011).


The above map, which is freely provided in-world by the distribution system, shows the layout of the Second Life mainland continents. On the left side you can see Sansara, the oldest of the continents (#1). Here you can find such attractions as Linden Village, Governor Linden’s Mansion and the Sansara Snowlands as well as the very first regions ever created. Sansara is a mature and well-organized continent, with relatively expensive real estate and many regions devoted to arts and culture. Directly above Sansara is Heterocera (#2), the Atoll continent, where you can find the Great Wall of Second Life, the highest mountain on the mainland and a reproduction of the Columbia crash site. Railroads and railroading figure prominently in Heterocera, and it is possible to use the railway system to travel completely around this roughly circular landmass. Both of these continents have well-organized systems of highways and waterways as well. Should your virtual feet get tired you can “rez� a sports car, boat, or airship for yourself and a friend and go exploring. In fact, it is possible to sail from one continent to the other (with care). If you use a vehicle, watch out for such navigational hazards as region border crossings (server handoff) and ban lines (force fields created by parcel privacy restrictions). These may cause lag, slow travel, and/or crashes.


The Second Life railroad system uses an invisible rail prim in the center of the tracks that trains, trolleys, and other rail vehicles can follow without guidance. Many continents have automatic public transport vehicles following these preset paths that can make for pleasant touring. When exploring by boat, you may come across sailing racecourses or derricks in the middle of the public SL seas. Water regions tend to have fewer objects and less traffic on them; therefore boats tend to be more stable and less crash prone than other vehicle options. If exploring by air, don’t forget that the usable Second Life “atmosphere” extends to 4100 meters and you can find interesting content at any level. On the first floor of the in-world Expedition Central Clubhouse is a box containing free detailed maps of the continents, and another box containing free vehicles for you to play with as you go exploring. Please be conscious of parcel prim limits and show good manners by cleaning up your toys when you are done.


Expedition Central Clubhouse

If you are looking for one possible starting point, there is a region called Tuliptree in Heterocera that marks the beginning of a road, a railway, and a waterway with rez permissions should you want to use a vehicle. There are also free locomotives available there should you choose the rail option. If you head northwest on the road you will be bound for both the Great Wall and Calleta’s Hobo Railroad (which is cool but very laggy). By boat you can thread your way East and South, skirt the coast, and sail all the way down to Sansara, passing a lonely mid-ocean derrick along the way‌

Have Fun! Cyrus


International Baccalaureate World Schools To Teach Collaborative Second Life Class

It’s been a busy summer, in both the real and virtual By David W. Deeds aka Deed Davids (sl) worlds, for the 3D enthusiasts at Changchun American International School, CAIS, in Jilin Province, China. First, the free e-book, “OpenSimulator: School Quick Start Guide” was released to schools and other organizations all over the world. Maria Korolov posted an entry about it in Hypergrid Business e-zine: The guide has been available for less than two months and has already had over 3,100 reads via Scribd alone. It’s also readable and/or downloadable via Google Books now: book=PA163&dq=opensimulator&hl=en&ei=Bs1BToeGKMrpsQLo0u3fCQ&sa =X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage &q=opensimulator&f=false The e-book’s announcement was timed to correspond with the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education’s ED-MEDIA Conference, in Lisbon, at which both CAIS IT Manager/Teacher David W. Deeds and Primary Years Program Coordinator, Alexander Makosz, presented June 30, 2011. David talked about how CAIS uses OpenSimulator . Alexander spoke on Quest Atlantis . You can get the slides from SlideShare or (the easier way) from Alex’s website: . On July 30th, David gave an inworld presentation at the “10th Global Meeting on Gifted Education in Second Life,” for the Bavarian Center for Gifted and Talented Children: 40

He talked about how CAIS is using 3D virtual worlds to accommodate the needs of not just gifted/talented students, but also special needs kids, and simultaneously in the same classroom! You can get the slides from SlideShare: David’s next presentation, “Using 3D Virtual Worlds in International Schools,” will be onground in October, at the TechEx (Technology Exchange) 2011 Conference in Bangkok, . International teachers from Asia and the world will be attending. The idea is for the techies to teach the non-techies how to use educational technology in the classroom. Because of the e-book, there has been so much interest in OpenSimulator, that David has been asked to present a second, hands-on session. Second Life will be covered too, of course. China International Schools Inworld is already in the process of becoming K-12s Inworld, which will include schools and educational organizations all over the globe! You can learn more about the conference at: What has virtual world cheerleaders all over China (and the world) most excited, however, is what’s coming up as of September. Three International Baccalaureate Organization, World Schools (CAIS, plus Beijing International School -- -- and the Western Academy of Beijing – will be joining forces to teach a collaborative class in Second Life. Together the organizations are known as China International Schools Inworld (CISI). The CISI cybercampus is on the Teaching (how appropriate!) sim in Second Life: . Stop by and sign the guest book on the front desk. The kids will love that. A Virtual Chemistry Exhibit by students at the Deutsche Internationale Schule Jakarta will be on display at least through September. As far as CAIS can tell, it was the first IBO World School to establish a Second Life presence. CISI is without question the first time IBO schools will teach a class together in a virtual world. CAIS hopes this is the just the beginning, and that many other schools will want to join – organizations not 41

just in China but around the globe. Perhaps each country could have its own Second Life island! Or, maybe the IBO will want an island of its own, and then each individual school will lease land around it? The possibilities are…yes, virtually…limitless!

China International Schools Inworld (CISI) The overall advantage that Second Life will offer is, ironically, realism. Before, ITGS students read books about running a business. In the SLITGS (yes, David has already renamed it, although he hasn’t cleared this yet with the IBO!), learners will actually run their own company, and this includes the production, marketing, management…everything! During the 2011-2012 school year, CAIS hopes to work with international schools and colleges/universities to produce a proposal for a K12 OpenSimulator grid. Grant money will be needed, but not much. The main requirement will be getting some organizational backing, either from a nonprofit, a college/university, or other. Any Ph.D. candidates out there looking for a dissertation project are welcome to join the team! If you’re interested in helping with the proposal and/or grant writing, the creation/maintenance or whatever, please contact David W. Deeds in the real world or Deed Davids in Second Life.


But back to the class! The course is Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS), humanities versus technical category offering of the IBO’s Diploma Program (the equivalent of high school).

The 2011-2012 school year will be considered the pilot version, although classes really started last year, in order to introduce teachers and students to Second Life. CISI students put on a Middle Years Program Art Show and some student work is still on display as part of the New Media Consortium’s amazing Aho & Ars Exhibit, courtesy of Carol Pfeifer.

ITGS features a technical “strand,” but the emphasis is placed on how people use technology to interact with each other. Students typically study communities, create products, etc. Yes, you’re right. It’s almost as if Second Life were made for ITGS! Or, was ITGS made for Second Life? Students will connect, communicate, and collaborate with other learners around the world - the IBO has over 3,000 schools – in order to assist them with starting to use 3D virtual worlds as part of their education.

Of course, teachers will be included too! The ideal will be to have at least a representative from different IBO divisions – Americas, Asia Pacific, etc., meeting on a regular basis to discuss how to get everyone inworld as soon as possible.

Onground components of the course will not be abandoned. For example, textbooks will still be used, but they’ll be e-books. No tree killing allowed! Students will be required to write papers, electronically (no hard copies!), although David is hoping to redefine what constitutes such a document. After all, this is the 21st century, not the 19th! One of the goals is to make “paper writing” more meaningful. Certainly there will be no tests if David can help it!


The overall advantage that Second Life will offer is, ironically, realism. Before, ITGS students read books about running a business. In the SLITGS (yes, David has already renamed it, although he hasn’t cleared this yet with the IBO!), learners will actually run their own company, and this includes the production, marketing, management…everything!

Changchun American International School also sponsors Caisland in ReactionGrid. The sim has now been designated as a meeting place for all K-12 schools that are interested in 3D virtual worlds. The Second Life cybercampus will be for teachers and students 16 and up, the OpenSimulator cybercampus will be for teachers and students 3-15. ReactionGrid accounts are free, so register and stop by Caisland. David has buildings set up so that people can give presentations or just get together. The goal is to make this a common area for all K-12 schools and organizations involved with K-12 schools. If you're interested in more information, be sure to contact David at How does technology impact people, as individuals and as a society? Well, CISI students will be inworld to directly observe this, as well as participate! You get the idea. It’ll be virtual, but a more real experience than anything IBO students have enjoyed before! We’ll be hearing more about CISI and SLITGS as the year progresses.


VSTE BOOK STUDY When her students’ state writing test scores came back too low, Julie Ramsay began to question the way she taught writing. With test scores in mind, she set off on an adventure to change her instruction and increase student engagement in the writing process. The result is that her Alabama students are active in making choices about their own learning, something not easy to pull off in our test score-driven educational climate these days. Now Julie has told the story of this journey in a book about her successful methods called, Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing? The title is a question coming directly from one of her students, showing the success of her methods. Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing is available online from Stenhouse Publishers as an electronic copy ($16), a hard copy ($25), or together ($30). The electronic copy comes as a PDF and can be sent from device to device so you can read it wherever you like. The Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) Second Life Team is proud to announce a book study about the book, Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing? We will meet at VSTE Island in Second Life for a kick-off meeting where we will meet the author, called Austen Rae in Second Life, and discuss chapter one on August 22, 2011 at 8 PM EDT (5 PM SLT). We will meet to discuss subsequent chapters on Thursdays beginning August 25, 2011 at 9 PM EDT (6 PM SLT), and continuing every Thursday until we finish the book. You can find us in Second life at 45 Island/123/137/24 We welcome you to be part of the conversation even if you are not actively reading the book. You do not have to start the book to attend, and you don’t need to make a commitment to attend every week. We will talk about Julie’s methods, ideas, technology tools, and whatever else comes up along the way. At least one other teacher who collaborated with Julie will also take part in much of the book talk. It will be great to hear these teachers talk about their experiences first hand. Their enthusiasm, love of teaching, and enjoyment of their students makes it a pleasure to talk with them. One of VSTE’s leadership team, Mandie Mimulus in Second Life, will help organize a list of the technology tools that come up in discussions. We will talk about each one mentioned in the book, ask attendees for their experiences with these tools, and see if there are other tools that some have used similarly. We want all participants to come away from this experience with a satchel full software tools, lesson ideas, and renewed energy for a great new school year. Hope to see you at the next book study meeting on VSTE Island. Everyone is welcome!


Virtual Texas An Exhibit Sponsored By The Texas Library Association By Valerie Hill aka Valibrarian Gregg LIVE tour of the Alamo In the spring of 2011, the TLA Second Life Community Group built an exhibit on Info Island at the Community Virtual Library Exhibition Area. Librarians in Texas were looking for a way to share information and educational resources in the virtual world and decided that an historical immersive learning environment would be a great example. What better icon for Texas than the Alamo! 47

The incredibly talented builder of Antiquity, Texas (a Texas sim which features numerous historical buildings) graciously agreed to host two live events. Jacon Cortes gave the participants a tour of the sims, the Texas State Capitol building, the Alamo, and a live dance at the Texas Governor's Mansion. The live events culminated with fireworks and a dance on top of the capitol building.

Inside the Texas state capitol

To begin the project, the librarians created virtual resources to display at the exhibit, such as virtual books, notecards, landmarks. pictures, and historical attire to be worn at the live events. Antiquity Islands are set in the time period of the mid-1800's and historical attire is recommended to enhance the experience. Jacon Cortes allowed the group to use a facade of his virtual Alamo as a backdrop for the exhibit. As content was created, such as books on Texas history, the librarians researched the time period and experienced what students will be doing in the near future! We used books from our libraries, as well as websites and databases. The Bob Bullock Museum, in Austin, granted us permission to use pictures from the "Story of Texas" Museum.


Bob Bullock Museum in Austin, Texas A reporter from Rez Libris magazine asked for an interview with the TLA group leader, Valerie Hill (Valibrarian Gregg, sl), and Jacon Cortes. The interview was published in the Spring 2011 issue of Rez Libris and hosted on Youtube at . Producing machinima is a valuable method of archiving education content created and experienced in a virtual world. Valibrarian recorded some shots of the live tours on Antiquity at the Alamo, which can be viewed at Overall, the experience of building a virtual exhibit and providing live tours in Second Life went extremely well. Librarians are continuing to build and display content at the Community Virtual Library, as well as collect resources to share with others who come to the CVL reference desk. The virtual world library and the physical world library are very similar. A physical librarian and an avatar librarian are both human beings trained to help with information needs. The CVL Exhibition Area is located at Island/61/94/24/


IN-WORLD EDUCATION THRIVES IN SECOND LIFE By Any1 Gynoid ( This article by Any1 Gynoid, who has taught hundreds of classes at New Citizens Inc in Second Life, surveys major in-world learning opportunities available to the general public, and concludes with some thoughts about the future of in-world education. The classes in this article are free unless otherwise indicated. With courses open to the public, in-world education is one of Second Lifeâ€&#x;s (SL) most popular activities. Hundreds of free courses are offered each week, and language is no barrier. For example, you can obtain a powerful text translator for free, outside the classroom at Caledon Oxbridge University. Click SL URL to Teleport: Caledon Oxbridge University offers free classes in text chat, that introduce new users to SL, with topics such as inventory, scripting, building, textures, and virtual world economies. As the hub of steampunk culture in Second Life, Caledon contains a blend of Victorian styles with absurdly advanced technologies. Caledon's steampunk community events are listed on-the-web at: With all events in text chat, New Citizens Inc (NCI), is a vibrant learning community, teaching 50 classes per week about all things Second Life, including scripting, fashion design, building, virtual commerce, and more. NCI hosts fun parties, social events, and terrific show-and-tells. SL group "New Citizens Inc" provides free round-the-clock help on group instant message. See NCI class schedules in-world at: Classes in text chat have the advantages of faster performance, automatic translation, and creating a written record. Teaching in voice chat is growing in SL, but has limitations, especially reliability. Some students will have difficulty connecting to the voice system, and re-logging is the only current remedy.


Help People Island (HPI) is a small, friendly, community-gateway, a place to start life in SL. HPI teaches in mixed voice and text classes, such as SL basics and how to be a Disc Jockey. Touch the national flags for translated introductions to HPI. Visit HPI in-world at:

SOMA School of Design specializes in image editing skills, including Photoshop, CorelDraw, and the free editor Gimp. See Web Resources below. These tools are used by SL photographers, artists, builders, and fashion designers. SOMA distributes a free Heads Up Display (HUD) with courseware. Visit SOMA School of Design in-world at: Happy Hippo Builder‟s School (HHBS) is a fun SL school for basic to advancedlevel building, scripting, graphics, and photography. Classes are a mixture of text and voice. Visit Happy Hippo in-world at: Builder‟s Brewery is an advanced school for SL building techniques, such as scripting, animations, and sculpties, which are 3D objects shaped by 2D patterns. A very jovial, fun-loving community, SL group Builder's Brewery conducts ongoing help, impromptu classes, and chit-chat 24 hours a day. Classes are conducted in text, with some adding voice. Visit Builder‟s Brewery in-world at: Rockcliffe University is a graduate-level school in Second Life including an RL Doctorate of Philosophy in Virtual Collaborative Worlds. One of their focus areas is training RL teachers about virtual worlds and topics such as project 51

management, law, and virtual business. Rockcliffe delivers World of Warcraft classes and events such as the annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education ( conference. Rockcliffeâ€&#x;s events calendar is on-the-web at: With SL's worldwide reach, voice chat, and SL search, it is easy to find foreign language communities. is a non-profit SL community dedicated to English learning on the Cypris Village III region. Language training is abundant in Second Life, for modest tuition, at schools such as 3D Avatars School,, and Drive-Through English as a Second Language (ESL). At 3D Avatars School, you can learn Mandarin Chinese in groups with problemsolving games. LanguageLab puts students in real-life (RL) scenarios, for example, during a fire emergency involving RL nurses and doctors. See Web Resources at storyâ€&#x;s end. Finally, I would like to share a comment about the future of SL in-world education. With the exception of language training, not much has changed in my 3 years of teaching in-world. The overwhelming majority of public in-world classes cover the basics of user-generated content: SL building, LSL scripting, and clothing construction. SL and the independent worlds of the hypergrid should evolve beyond these fundamentals. Imagine two complementary visions of the virtual world's future: information-rich collaboration and active-scenario immersion. In the former, virtual spaces are extended with elaborate data displays, groupware for joint creativity, and beyond-the-keyboard interaction. In the latter, densely populated, dynamic realizations of real-world scenes support immersive interaction with human and automated characters. Skills to realize these capabilities are needed in future generations of in-world education; transforming SL and the hypergrid from vast depopulated regions to rich immersive experiences.

Web and Virtual World Resources Join the SL groups "ISTE: Educational Technology Association" and "Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable" for announcements of events specifically for educators. Download the Gimp free image editor at and free Photoscape at: Check the Internet for online tutorials. Even better, 52

many web-based image editors are freely available. Some of the best include: , , and The Dreams is an SL learning community started by former stroke victims‌ which has many learning resources such as free scripts and textures. Visit them in SL at 3D Avatars School for Mandarin Chinese Cypris Chat is a non-profit community dedicated to ESL Instruction Visit Cypris Chat at Drive-Through ESL Language Labs ESL Instruction Credits: This article is adapted from the original in Italian by Any1 Gynoid published in , an online magazine; used with permission. Photographs of SL classrooms are by Imnotgoing Sideways (SL).


Save The Dates 5th Annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference (VWBPE)

March 15-18, 2012  Call for Proposals / Papers - September 15, 2011 Due by December 2, 2011  Conference Registration Opens October 1, 2011  Sponsorship Packages will be available October 1, 2011 For More information visit: The 2011 Conference Proceedings are available from the Journal of Virtual Studies, (Vol 2, Issue 1) at:


Virtual Education Journal


VEJ Virtual Education Journal Vol.1 Issue 2  
VEJ Virtual Education Journal Vol.1 Issue 2  

The September 2011 Issue includes highlights from the ISTE 2011 Conference, The SIGVE Annual Report, and some great articlesabout the work e...