VEJ Vol. 2 Issue 1 Virtual Education Journal
In This Issue • • • • •
WOW! One Year Old! Can you b elieve it? And VEJ threw a party like no other – especially if you are a Jimmy Buffett Parrothead! The concert, thanks to Lightning Productions, was awesome! The birthday cake and margarita fountain, thanks to Foods-‐By-‐CAS, was virtually DELICIOUS! A special THANKS to all our contributors and readers! Keep Vej-‐jing Out and sharing what you learn! We just turned one, but may we have many, many more! We have so much to learn! CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the 1 st VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards! Winners were selected from the nominations sent into us by our readers. Several of the voting categories were extremely close. That is because there are many talented people, amazing learning opportunities, fun explorations, and excellent educational resources in the virtual worlds. VEJ is committed to finding them and sharing them with you. A BIG thanks to everyone who participated by nominating and voting in this year’s awards. CONGRATULATIONS again to ALL of our nominees and winners! This issue highlights both the VWBPE 2010 Conference (see the interview with Phelan and other highlights) and the upcoming ISTE 2 012 Conference. SIGVE will be streaming their presentations live during the SIGVE Playground June 25th both inworld and at the real-‐world conference. The same with the EDuMachinima Fest on May 26 th. For a schedule and times be sure to visit Virtual Pioneers Conference Gridjumper’s Blog (one of our Reader’s 2012 Choice Winners) at http://gridjumper.net/. The interview with architect Jon Brouchoud – his work in amazing! This issue is filled with excellent tips, tricks, and virtual experiences. Be s ure to use the url’s and slurls – you will want to devour every morsel. So get started, and
VEJ – OUT OF THIS WORLD!
Keep smiling J Rosie Vojtek, aka Roxie Neiro (sl)
• • • • • • • • • • • •
Happy Birthday VEJ SIGVE Playground 2012 – Come Play Teaching Artificial Intelligence in Virtual Worlds Reflections on Introducing a Group of Educators to WoW Why Are You Here – Barbara Johnson Answers Our Question Designing Virtual Learning Environments for Beginners A Fresh Approach to Design and Visualization: An Interview with Jon Bouchoud (Keystone Bouchard, sl) VSTE Book Study! Join The Fun! VWBPE 2012 was EPIC! An Interview with Kevin Feenan (Phelan Corrimal, sl) An EPIC Overview of the VWBPE 2012 Conference VWBPE 2012 Socials ROCK! Games MOOC Group Notice From: VWBPE, Kavon Zenovka 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Award Winners Announced On Walkabout with Matt Poole aka Cyrus Hush Two Worlds Collide: Kentucky Derby - RL and SL Art in the Park at Alice Academy Fires of Genocide – SIGVE ISTE Tour Gridjumper Blogs ISTE 2012 ARG Academy Prometheus Bound Machinima
To Read VEJ online visit: http://www.virtualeducationjournal.com/ For more information about ISTE SIGVE or to join the fun, visit: http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/ Follow us on Twitter @VEJournal or #VEJournal 2
Bluebarker Lowtide the Bartender
Bama Breeze Saloon
SIGVE Playground 2012---Come Play!!! by Scott Merrick and Andy Wheelock, ISTE SIGVE ISTE’s 32nd National Educational Computing Conference, formerly “NECC” and now simply called “ISTE 2012” (fill in the year), will be held in San Diego, California this summer. Last year, in Philadelphia, its Special Interest Group for Virtual Environments, SIGVE, held three days of back to back half hour presentations relating to the use of 3D virtual worlds in the service of learning and teaching. Those sessions have been described in great detail in previous editions of VEJ, so we won’t go into them that way here, but if you failed to read about them they are well worth the read. You can also get a quick summary about last year’s Playground at the Open Letter from Scott that resides on our wiki at http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/Open+Letter+from+Scott-ISTE11+Thank+You%21. Here’s a snapshot from one presentation:
Boy, oh boy, have there been some changes since then. Changes It started with an email announcing that ISTE, in its restructuring process undertaken as a proactive response (is that even possible?) to the
economic downturns we all felt in one way or another, was abandoning ISTE Island. The Island presented a not insignificant commitment of funding that had been judged excessive in light of the return on investment. That sparked the creation of a task force whose members ebbed and flowed in and out of the discussion and after negotiation of a months--long tortuous twisting and turning path finally arrived at the decision to spend our greatly reduced funding to lease our own ISTE SIGVE parcel on Eduisland 9. In return for that funding ISTE is represented in Second Life by ISTE SIGVE and is still providing meeting spaces for social gatherings, casual professional conversational opportunities, organized professional development and more. The support is issued annually and will be up for review next March. Social gatherings happen via a newly formed SIGVE Social Committee led by Maggie Larimore. There is often a theme--bowling, field trips, dances, etc.--but the point is to get folks together who are physically at a distance. Remember “Sense of Place at a Distance” is the underlying motivation for everything we do in virtual worlds. This purely social element is a good one for educators, providing opportunities to unwind and participate in friendships with colleagues they may actually only see face to face annually at ISTE. Casual conversations continue, inspired by the sort of chats that would spontaneously grow into serious discussions about practice, resources, tools, challenges and solutions that old timers remember from the front porch on ISTE Island. I once coined a term, noticing how avatars tended to step back to welcome a newly arrived participant during these ad hoc sessions: “wircling”--”widening the circle.” These days, at ISTE SIGVE, we often meet in the tasteful pose-loaded adirondack chairs facing the beautiful ocean island vista created by Serena Offcourse and Techplex Engineer, winners of the design contest that resulted in this welcoming and effective layout of our spaces in Second Life. If the meeting gets bigger than the chairs might accomodate, we might adjourn to the expandable conference table upstairs in HQ. Wircling continues. The cornerstone of Professional Development is the monthly ISTE SIGVE Speaker Session, ongoing regularly now for three years and providing onehour live interviews and presentations by those who are at the forefront of innovation in virtual worlds. Not limited to Second Life, we gather
audiences in sizes ranging from 5 to 50, and regardless of the audience size, these opportunities to learn and to share are always fascinating. We are pleased to have recently confirmed Dr. Chris Dede, from Harvard Graduate School of Education, as our season kick-off for September 18 after our now traditional break in August. You can see the speakers, past, present, and future, for our Speaker Sessions at our very active wiki: http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net. Current KZero stats KZero, the world’s premier research go-to for quarterly updated information about the growth and direction of the virtual worlds arena, reported that for the 4th quarter of 2011 user registrations in all virtual worlds totalled 1,772,000 (or so) users. Say what you will, once you get past a billion or so registered users we believe that something significant is happening on a global scale. Can you even comprehend what a billion is? This graphic might help, though it’s a visual based on stacks of 100 bills, not human beings, but a billion is a LOT:
The quarterly “KZero Universe Chart,” available free upon request at http://kzero.co.uk, is something anyone interested in virtual worlds should order each time a new one is released. Cleverly designed to display each world according to its user base size, age range appeal, and date of release and demise, if that applies, it’s a feast for the eyes and a graphic
justification for the kind of passion for this field we who contribute to it share. Two graphics from KZero--user base growth over time (beginning Quarter 1 of 2009) and a thumbnail of the universe chart:
See the full Monty at http://kzero.co.uk -- it’s worth the clicks. Perhaps you might feel a little different about the value of taking in our upcoming presentations at the SIGVE Playground, June 25, 8am-4pm Pacific Time, after understanding the phenomenal growth of virtual worlds.
ISTE SIGVE stats and plans I emailed Colleen for current demographics Playground schedule This year our playground will be on Monday, June 25th, from 8am-4pm (Second Life time, hehe). Since it is just one day this year, we decided to try and bring in a nice mix of many of the relevant virtual worlds out there, with some of our dynamic members leading the way. Of course, there is so much left off the table that we hope will leave our audience wanting MORE! *Note: RL is in San Diego California--all events will be streamed live into SL
and in ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel-popup/istesigve2012. Want to host a viewing party on your own sim? IM Scottmerrick Oh in Second Life for a free displayer!
Time 8:30-9:15 9:30-10:15 10:3011:15 11:3012:15 1:00-1:45 2:00-2:45 3:00-4:00
Presenter Minerva Ladores Kae Novak and Chris Luchs Bron Stuckey Scott Merrick Gord Holden Bron Stuckey Lucas Gilespie
Topic So You Want to Teach in Second Life: First Things First Mixed Realities: AR, ARGs, Machinima & MOOCs--"Virtual realities mean multiple modalities” Massively Minecraft - Building and learning Kitely- Social Networks and Virtual Environments Active Worlds in the school Quest Atlantis Remixed Minecraft/Wow in school: World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and console games in the classroom? Yes!
SL or RL RL RL RL RL, RL RL Skype
Invitation to participate both in San Diego and in Second Life. Can’t make it to San Diego? Not to worry! We will be streaming all the sessions for those to be seen on their internet browser or, better yet, come into Second Life and spend time watching it with other SIGVE members at our headquarters. Tatiana Martin, a.k.a Gridjumper will be hosting these events. So pop on in and chat with us via the Second Life viewer. We can see you from San Diego! http://tinyurl.com/sigvehome Don’t forget we will be having a synchronous Birds of a Feather Session with the SIGVE members from San Diego and in-world, so bring your
thoughts, ideas, and talents and join us from 5:30-6:45pm SL-Pacific Time)
Virtual Environments Playground • Scheduled: ◦ Monday, 6/25/2012, 8:00am–4:00pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)
SIGVE (Virtual Environments) Gathering • Scheduled: ◦ Monday, 6/25/2012, 5:30pm–6:45pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)
SIGVE Machinima Fest • Scheduled: Tuesday, 6/26/2012, 5:30pm–7:30pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)
Teaching Artificial Intelligence in Virtual Worlds By Any Gynoid, New Citizens Inc
Scores of years ago, Professor Edward Feigenbaum, Turing Award Winner, told us that one day we would all have avatars. Go Figure! All along, Iʼve been watching for signs that might interest the good Professor. Chatbots. Hmmmm. Joseph Weizenbaumʼs classic Artificial Intelligence (AI) experiments. Pathfinding, oh yes, Edsger Dijkstraʼs algorithm. And so forth. About Pathfinding in Virtual Worlds: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-785902 Also that article explains why AI characters will not create lag. The challenge of AI has always been the platform. How much software and data scaffolding must we build, before we get to the fun part, creating the AI? Seems to me, we have arrived. The platform, the scaffolding, everything is being served up to us, mis en place. As Pathfinding rolls out grid-wide in Second Life, and soon to the opensim metaverse… the engineers have done their job; we have everything we need. It is our
turn: artists, entrepreneurs, and teachers. The question now… What future do we want? Entrepreneurs will invent cash generating AI products. Hidden knowledge is their power. Artists too, O purveyors of beauty with veiled messages, how much we love you, muses of our virtual worlds… who rarely turn their inventions inside out, for all to see. Thatʼs what we teachers do. Take things apart and turn them inside out for students to put back together. In this knowledge ecosystem, as in RL, teachers intervene in society to empower emerging entrepreneurs, artists, and teachers to create a better world. We teachers set the low water mark for common knowledge. By teaching AI in Virtual Worlds… making AI very accessible to everyone interested, we are lifting Archimedes lever. Profoundly!
AI characters are animated without programming.
AI is fun! In my class, I do a brief lecture with AI demonstrations… you learn and experience chatbots and pathfinding and other powers, now available with simple scripts. The rest of this class comprises self-guided exercises. Building AI. Create a prim. Throw in a chatbot script and a personality notecard. Throw in a pathfinding script. Voila! Youʼve built sophisticated AI! Itʼs really that easy.
I give you all the scripts and step by step instructions on how to build AI characters. Pathfinding… (wandering, pursuing, and patrolling…) Pathfinding with Sensors… Chatbots… Greeter bot… Sound making… Animations… Walking Controller… I call these scripts AI Beans. Drop an AI Bean in your characterʼs Content tab and it performs AI! Key parameters that you want to tweak, are right at the top of each script, and well documented. Minimal external requirements are documented too, such as adding a chatbot personality or sound files.
Shot on the Aditi test grid, in the pathfinding region PathTest4. You see some of Linden's test cubes and their various test apparatus, e.g. stairs, platforms, spiral stairs, zoetrope, etc.
The crème de la crème skill for building AI characters is animation. Pathfinding makes your characters mobile; they move around the grid. Animations is what makes characters walk and physically gesture; moving arms, legs, elevation, etc. I give you a folder of high quality characters; these are sculptie or mesh creations, donated to NCI, some with freeware licensing. Through class exercises, I teach you how to animate these characters (or your own), in a few easy steps using a marvelous script from Ferd, an epic SL creator. Donʼt forget the Mono checkbox! No programming needed. Use SLʼs prim editor to move your characterʼs limbs. Record 3 to 5 positions and youʼve got a walking animated character! Of course, all of this content is totally free. You can reuse it to teach AI too! New Citizens Inc (NCI) is a free school. You are welcome to join us at 3pm SLT every Tuesday at NCI Dream Seeker (SLURL http://tiny.cc/82vyew ). We are seeking qualified instructors to teach this class at additional times. I also offer an asynchronous, distance learning option. The class materials are self-explanatory; I give all the class visuals and
lecture notes (with visual cues). Exercises are self-guided. Contact any1 Gynoid inworld (SL main grid) for more information. The new SL AI has the potential to transform Virtual Worlds, from vast depopulated regions to highly interactive, immersive experiences teaming with artificial life. This potential will go unrealized without us, the teachers. We teachers make it possible for ordinary people to be successful resolving complex challenges. Having the great good fortune of an education, I do as much as I can to pull together courseware and deliver it to the universe. I invite you to join our Quixotic AI quest. Now itʼs your turn.
Navimesh on NCI Dream Seeker shows the pathfinding mesh in and around my classroom (see the white lines are navigable polygons for AI characters).
Acknowledgements: Thank you to Roxie Neiro, VEJ Editor in Chief, for publishing this timely article. Thank you to my students and friends who encouraged me to boldy go where no avi has sojourned before! In particular, my star student Vectrix and my friend Travis (andewbatz.silverweb) who followed this AI adventure from day 1 (visit Travisʼ AI convenience store clerk at Danger Point SLURL http://tiny.cc/63wyew).
Reflections on Introducing a Group of Educators to
World of Warcraft By Chris Luchs (Abacus Capalini, sl)
For four weeks in March and April, educators from around the world participated in the Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour MOOC. This massive online open course introduced the 80 participants to Second Life, JokaydiaGrid, Inworldz, Machinima, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and Eve Online. The group met synchronously four times a week to hear from guest speakers. They also met asynchronously online in P2PU to discuss topics and experiences. During the third week of this MOOC, the group was introduced to World of Warcraft http://us.battle.net/wow/en/ using either the free trial account or paid subscription. Once in world, these adventurous educators were trained on the basic mechanics of game play, stormed a castle, and were given tours of the major cities for the two dominant player factions in WoW, the Horde and Alliance. Participants were also introduced to in-game banking, auction house, professions, transportation, and discussions on leveling, class and player roles. As a group leader, I had the benefit of experience in WoW to allow me to focus on observing our participants and answering questions. One of the first things, the educators had to master was the interface itself. WoW offers players a lot of customizing that allows players to adjust the layout to the way they want through in-game interface options as well as addons, software programs that allows a player to download and then modify their WoW interface to provide additional screens, counters, and other useful analytic tools. There are also numerous menus, icons, and communication channels that a player must learn. One of the biggest challenges for our group was selecting the correct chat channel to communicate to the group. To simplify, we choose to use the general chat, which worked great in the isolated start up zones, but was much more challenging once we entered the city and players experienced the deluge of chats from the seven other chat channels that are available. Another interesting observation concerning the interface, was that in many cases, initiating an avatar action on screen was a better way to communicate than chat. A common occurrence during the week of World of Warcraft was the statement, "Follow the jumping [insert race here]," or "Jump if you are ready." These avatar actions where a quick means of communicating to the group and offered non-chat
related cues to and from the participants that they understood and were ready to participate in the action. The group also reinforced that the Horde characters and World of Warcraft are an acquired taste. Of the participants that went into WoW, only three continued to play their horde characters once the group created Alliance characters and only four continue to regularly play and participate. This reinforces the importance of context when using / introducing a group to a non-epistemic game. Many of the questions asked about Wow centered on how an educator uses World of Warcraft in their class, which relates to the context of the game within the curriculum. While WoW strongly applies to many disciplines such as Business, Sociology, Math, and English, it does not apply to all subjects equally. Based on the discussions, the take away points are that educators must evaluate each game to determine fit for their class and they must also provide the context and epistemic frame for the student to ensure a clear understanding of assignments and those competencies being assessed. The last observation is the importance of groups or cohorts when using World of Warcraft. Many of our educators initially started out playing and completing quests by themselves. We had one educator level their character to 85 within six and a half weeks; however this educator has mentioned that he would not advise anyone to follow his example. He stated that leveling alone was OK initially, however, by level 60 he was ready to abandon the game he was gaining minimal new experiences from the game. After consulting with the other group leaders, he decided to queue for random dungeons and play with a random group of players. This offered him great insight into the dynamics of social interaction and felt it made leveling the last 20 levels less tedious. At level 80, he started to group with group leaders and other members of the Cognitive Dissonance educators’ guild and found he really enjoyed collaborating on dungeons with fellow educators and stated that he would only level another character with a group of guildies! Our participant’s experiences really drove home the need for cohorts. The main reason for this is the social aspect of groups. While players can solo their way up to 85, it is not recommended. The main reason is that WoW quests have been designed to allow players to treadmill or grind their way to the highest level. However, by soloing, the player invariably focuses on optimizing their play still to a self-sustaining model, which requires a more general play style and minimized the player’s ability to specialize in one aspect of their class. This style of play is great, however, upon reaching end game play, the player finds that they are unable to fit with the specialized roles required to master end game content. This issue is
negated if the player is comfortable playing in a group where they focus on optimizing one aspect of their class (tanking, healing, or damage) instead of trying to master all three roles as a soloist. In addition, cohorts allow players to play to their strengths and focus on roles within the group that they enjoy.
Our participant’s experiences really drove home the need for cohorts. The main reason for this is the social aspect of groups. While players can solo their way up to 85, it is not recommended. The main reason is that WoW quests have been designed to allow players to treadmill or grind their way to the highest level. However, by soloing, the player invariably focuses on optimizing their play still to a self-sustaining model, which requires a more general play style and minimized the player’s ability to specialize in one aspect of their class. This style of play is great, however, upon reaching end game play, the player finds that they are unable to fit with the specialized roles required to master end game content. This issue is negated if the player is comfortable playing in a group where they focus on optimizing one aspect of their class (tanking, healing, or damage) instead of trying to master all three roles as a soloist. In addition, cohorts allow players to play to their strengths and focus on roles within the group that they enjoy. Overall, I found that introducing educators to World of Warcraft was very similar to the challenges we face introducing students to a learning management system. The main concerns were comfort with the interface, ability to access content and
complete content, and communicating with the rest of the group. Another key component was the ability to develop a social presence in an online environment. Our educators and students both love to be able to interact and engage with others online. However, unlike most LMS, World of Warcraft allows the player to choose their level of social interaction through solo questing or group dungeoning. So main lesson learned from my reflection is: Educators Don’t Let Educators Play Alone especially not in World of Warcraft or Learning Management Systems! To which, we will be running another group of educators through World of Warcraft during the Games MOOC - if you are interested please let me know at abacus.capalini@gmail. Remember - educators don’t let educators go to World of Warcraft alone!
3 Annual Virtual Worlds & Games UnSymposium
SAVE the DATES! November 9, 10 & 11 3rd Annual Virtual Worlds & Games UnSymposium http://vw.unsymposium.org/
Barbara Johnson Answers Our Question, Why Are You Here? My real name is Barbara Z. Johnson) and the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. My professional/research blog is at http://bzjohnson.org.
I have included my picture as well as my favorite avatar from Second Life (Chris_001) --- Christien Suntzu.
The collectable pet image is an example of usercreated art sold in one of many of the shops I am researching, run by teens and young adults in the virtual world Gaia Online.
And the TSI image is from an island the the Tech Savvy Girls program operated in Teen Second Life as an afterschool program.
It shows two of the businesses that teens operated during that time, selling their own creations in that world. (Picture on next page.)
Barbara Z. Johnson, M.Ed. Doctoral Candidate - Teaching and Learning University of Minnesota - Duluth email@example.com 218.390.0962 http://bzjohnson.org
Designing Virtual Learning Environments for Beginners
By: Bluebarker Lowtide
Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) are places where visual information is displayed that can range from text input prompts, websites and three-‐ dimensional (3D) worlds. Though a collection of websites or links does not define a Virtual Learning Environment unless it has to have a place for social interaction. This can be a chat box, forum page, messaging or full on microphone capability. For the relevancy of this article though, we will refer only to VLE categorized within a 3D virtual world. As an educator teaching K-‐12, you are more than likely teaching face-‐to-‐face to students in the front of the room where your students are seated in rows looking at the front. In a VLE, you are not constricted to such arcane set-‐ups for learning. Higher educational set-‐ups are mainly forum based and free form structures that tend to set the trend in VLE. As a designer, however, it is your job to not only be able to display the information in a creative way, but to be able to know about the varying learner arrangements to maximize learning in a VLE. Another important thing to note here is that this will differentiate with your learners’ level of learning (K-‐12, higher education or corporate), your teaching style and the kind of information you are presenting. When I say “level of learning” this also encompasses the learners’ maturity level, as this will most certainly be different between grade school and higher education students. For most VLE acceptable through kindergarten and middle school, you have limited control over the environment and the avatar creation process, as this will be an educational game world. Most of which are pre-‐selected and cookie-‐cutter and will most certainly need to be supplemented with external activities and exercises. VLE are not the “end all be all” solution but are certainly an effective measure to take to engage your
students in the material and having to teach the technology native students that more and more teachers are running into.
As far as your teaching style, do what you are most comfortable with. Ask yourself if you like teaching at a podium or perhaps you like to walk around? Setting up stadium-‐type seating pointing to a stage may be your preferred method and there is no right or wrong way but there are certain things to keep in mind. Within a learning environment, whether it is real world or
virtual there are, what I like to call, two spheres of attention: the audience sphere and the focus sphere. The audience sphere is where your audience is located; whether it is one location (like at a stadium or classroom), a rounded location (like with forum or campfire discussion) and/or a moving location (like with guided tours or immersive locations). The focus sphere will be either you (the educator, the presenter or educator) or your information (whether it be slideshows, educational models or other forms of information). The audience sphere should never be cluttered or distracting to your learners. Like the real world, your audience members should be able to see the focus sphere wherever they are seated or standing. The focus sphere should be open enough for you and what you are presenting. With the focus sphere for a guided tour or immersive setting, keeping your audience and learners on a designated path while going through the location, their focus will be everything outside the path. The use of signs and destination boards will help eliminate confusion and distractions. You are practically limitless to what you can achieve in the building of your VLE. But starting out you can certainly be overwhelmed and fall into unnecessary pitfalls. Getting the hang of building in your virtual world is a huge advantage, for most sandbox genres (i.e. Second Life, Opensim and the defunct Lego Universe) where you have the expanded option of customization giving you free reign in your designated learning space. The Builder’s Brewery in Second Life http://www.buildersbrewery.com/ was a huge help in achieving a higher level of understanding SL’s modeling and building features. That’s is not to say I am not a consumer, a good 60% of most of my builds are found and bought in the Second Life Marketplace. Mixing and matching and finding great deals are a good thing to keep in mind because it’s easy to get carried away. Second Life itself is a great big treasure hunt with freebies lying around waiting to be used, so always keep an eye out for those as well. I have been designing and building VLE for over a year now and I can say it is a lot of fun. Even though I am mainly an Instructional Designer, that does not say I don’t get my fair share of lectures. If you are designing your own space to present in, please take into account the surrounding environment.
Most conferences and educational spaces have their own themes and it’s a polite “unspoken” rule to adapt the theme into your builds. If you really desire to be creative, ask the manager or group leader and inform them of your intentions. The Caledon spaces are great and are run by educators, but they have a relatively strict theme of Victorian and Steampunk, just to give an example. If you own your own land, it is best to always have a second opinion before you open it up to your audience. Designing on a blank slate is a great opportunity, but getting lost in your creative mind doesn’t help you reach your educational objections and goals. Plan, plan and plan!!! Whether it’s a quick sketch or a draft, plan what the look and the feel you want right at the beginning so you can stay on task and not get lost on tangents. Analyze where your Focus Spheres and Audience Spheres are. Eliminate clutter and be consistent with your themes or colors schemes. I wouldn’t be a very good designer if I didn’t mention colors. Remember Colors have important affects on your audience whether it is purposefully or unconsciously, colors help dictate a lot of the design world and should never be a second thought. Helpful Second Life Locations & Resources for starting designers of VLE: Virtual Learning Environments by P.Dillenbourg 2000 -‐ http://tecfa.unige.ch/tecfa/publicat/dil-‐papers-‐2/Dil.7.5.18.pdf Builder’s Brewery Caledon Oxbridge University Kuwol -‐ Instructional Design of Educators The Tech Virtual – Museum Exhibit Design
A Fresh Approach to Design and Visualization An Interview with Jon Brouchoud (Keystone Bouchard, sl) BJ Gearbox and I just happened to be out exploring second life one afternoon when we stumbled across the work of Jon Brouchoud. We were so excited and amazed by his work that we asked if we could interview him. He said yes, and this is what we learned from him!
Roxie Neiro: How did you get started in second life? What other virtual worlds do you work in, if any? Jon Brouchoud: Part of my Masterʼs thesis in Architecture dealt with how online environments, including multi-user games like Everquest, had the potential to transform and augment real world architecture. I was amazed at how graphically rich and complex the environments were in Everquest, and how people from all over the world could interact within those environments, in real-time. I wondered if it could someday be possible to replace the dungeons with 3D models of architectural design proposals, and swap the elves for avatars of real-world project stakeholders who wanted to gain a better understanding of what their new building would look like. The biggest challenge at that time, in 2001, was that game worlds were incredibly difficult to create - reserved almost exclusively for use in multi-million dollar game worlds.
Architecture 101 http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Architecture Island/116/148/1173
Roxie: How did you transition your professional interests/work from the real-world to virtual worlds? Jon: I never expected to take on virtual world work as a profession. I built a little neighborhood of model ʻgreenʼ homes and was giving a presentation when Kiwini Oe (Steven Nelson irl) of Clear Ink approached me and asked if I would be interested in giving a presentation at their real life office, at Linden Labʼs office *and* at the headquarters of Autodesk! A few weeks later, we were giving a keynote presentation demonstrating Second Life alongside the CEO of Autodesk in front of 8,000 people. I continued working for Clear Ink, where I had the opportunity to work on the virtual U.S. House of Representatives, Linden Labʼs virtual headquarters, and lots of other incredible projects. I gradually realized my career path would probably never be the same, and I loved it. =)
Roxie: What advantages do you see in designing, prototyping and building in virtual worlds? Jon: The collaborative potential, to create 3D objects in real-time alongside people from all around the world - thatʼs a game changer that continues to be underestimated, and has yet to be fully discovered.
Also, blueprints are notoriously difficult for most people to fully understand. Even if you can grasp the layout, you probably canʼt translate a floor plan into the full 3D experience in your mindʼs eye. By building in a virtual world, you can become immersed in a very holistic representation of the building.
Roxie: What recommendations do you have for people getting started with building/designing in virtual worlds? Jon: Donʼt think of Second Life as a thing, or a place to make money. Think of it as a place. Engage the community, and network as much as you possibly can. If you wish to pursue virtual world work as a career, your projects will come from the people you meet. Roxie: That is so true. I am always amazed at the number of creative, innovative, and talented people that reside in virtual worlds like second life! What are your greatest obstacles and how have you overcome some of the challenges?
Jon: Truth is, the perpetual ʻNDAʼ is one of my biggest obstacles, lol. I donʼt blame my clients for keeping projects private - itʼs a necessary part of the way business gets done. But it can be the death of a freelance designer to not be able to show off your best work in order to build momentum toward finding the next project. In fact, quite a few people ask me why I left Second Life, which couldnʼt be further from the truth! If I could talk about even a fraction of the last several projects I worked on, nobody would believe me! Also, the shifting platform war continues to be my greatest obstacle. I would love nothing more than to work full-time exclusively in Second Life, but Iʼve had to retool to learn Maya and Unity3D in order to stay in business - following the clientʼs lead into these new platforms. Roxie: How would you characterize your work in second life (e.g., to prototype real world buildings, to design and build exclusively for virtual worlds, or other emphasis/interests)? Jon: I started off prototyping real world buildings, but now my work is almost exclusively designing and building purely virtual experiences. My main clients have been educators, and companies involved with training as well as quite a bit of military-related work. Roxie: You are truly amazing! Your work is phenomenal – I want to say “out of this world!” J What work(s) are you most proud of in second life or other virtual worlds? Why? Jon: The project Iʼm most proud of and excited about is always ʻthe next oneʼ. =) Roxie: LOL And I canʼt wait to see some of those projects! Where do you see custom designs and buildings in virtual worlds five years from now? Jon: I think the majority of virtual world interaction will be much more ʻappʼ like. More like iTunes, more mobile, more fluid, more prefab. I think organizations will gradually adopt 3D representations online, in whichever
world or platform or technology that may be. When that starts to happen, I think weʼll see a lot of the same factors come into play that shaped our original real world cityscapes. Organizations will use their 3D presence to say something about their values, their strengths, etc. They will starts to see virtual ʻarchitectureʼ as a means of expressing themselves - not as much a functional element of providing space for employees, but more of a freeform phenomenon that communicates and responds dynamically.
Roxie: What are the differences and similarities about building and designing in real-world and virtual worlds? Jon: Designing, collaborating and building in a virtual world is 10x more efficient (and fun) than doing the same for real-world projects. After growing accustomed to meeting with people from all around the world, building together in real-time, meeting instantly whenever we wish, having to get into a car and drive 20 minutes to review a set of 2D blueprints on paper with a client feels backward and terribly inefficient. Roxie: I so agree with being able to meet with people who are anywhere in the world at anytime, without leaving your house. That is a real game-changer for educators as well as for architects! So, what advice do you have for educators bringing students into virtual worlds to study the fundamentals of design, design processes and design strategies?
Jon: Find the students who are ready for it and work with them - even if itʼs only a few at first. Trying to shoehorn students who despise virtual worlds and spending a whole semester trying to convince them is a waste of time. If you can find students who believe in this, and are ready to do serious exploration into virtual worlds, then build on their interest and showcase their work. Also, donʼt be afraid to explore purely virtual design. It helps get back to the very basic fundamentals of form and space, and can be a very useful tool in teaching design from an experiential perspective. Roxie: I think that is great advice for any educator as well. You have to make sure people are ready for the experience. You have to build that readiness. In you work in virtual worlds, you have created some prefab designs for classrooms and exhibit spaces. What types of designs have you found work best for educators working in second life? Jon: The more flexible the design, the better. Each educator has his or her own unique needs and functional requirements. Trying to create a rigid design that they need to fit into is less effective than creating a ʻkit of partsʼ they can use to determine their own layout.
Roxie: You have a sign at Virtual Architecture 101 labeled “Defining Spatial Boundary.” http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Architecture%20Island/116/161/1173 The sign says, “There are numerous ways to define a spatial boundary. Space can be defined with walls and vertical planes, but something as simple as a transition in floor material can also define a boundary.” What are the advantages of defining spatial boundaries in virtual worlds like second life? Can you give us some examples of designs you have created in second life that work well here – but not be “doable” in real-life? Jon: Even though virtual architecture has no real limitations, we still visually organize and ʻreadʼ space in a virtual world based on the same familiar visual cues we use in the real world - that weʼve known since childhood. Itʼs important to use that same visual language to define space, and make a space navigable and delightful. Defining spatial boundaries is a very basic fundamental of architectural design. It helps a visitor understand where the functional elements are. Iʼve experienced plenty of places where the designer made a point of ʻpushing the envelopeʼ of virtual architecture, and created these dreamy floating clouds of prims - but nobody could find their way around, and people just stumble around getting frustrated. Iʼm not suggesting we simply build everything exactly as it is in the real world, but I feel pretty strongly that we still need to build on those same cues in order to make virtual spaces truly useful to everyone. Roxie: Yes, I am sure our readers know exactly what you mean. We have all gotten lost in some of those places! LOL Can you explain
what is meant by “Hybrid Architecture” especially as it relates to the work you did with the Kelley School of Business? Jon: Their real world building is an icon on their campus, and something students, faculty and visitors recognize and identify with the school. If we had started with a blank slate on their virtual counterpart, it would have missed the opportunity to retain that strong architectural identity. On the other hand, if we build an exact replica of the real world building, doors, walls, bathrooms, etc. it would have missed the point and tremendous potential of virtual architecture. I proposed a ʻhybrid architectureʼ approach to their project, where we built just enough of the physical building to retain that iconic architectural identity, but we then took liberties to gut the interior - making one vast avatar-friendly space, along with an outdoor amphitheater, and other elements that broke from the exact replication of the real world campus building, but enabled us to take advantage of the inherent characteristics of the virtual world. Roxie: When BJ and I stumbled upon Architecture Island, I was intrigued by the Winston Churchill statement on one of your displays that reads, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” You write that this is where virtual worlds have a significant advantage. Can you explain to readers what you mean by this? Jon: Yes. Itʼs much easier to change pixels than it is to change real world bricks. =) If we simply create virtual buildings, then treat them the way we treat real world buildings - just letting them sit there, idle, unchanging weʼre missing a huge opportunity. I like to turn Mr. Churchillʼs statement around in relation to virtual worlds, and suggest that in virtual reality - “We shape our buildings; thereafter we keep shaping them.” Roxie: Thank you, Jon, for taking the time to
talk with us about your exciting work in virtual spaces. Be sure to visit: Architecture 101 http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Architecture Island/116/148/1173
Arch Virtual: Buildings and Cities in Realtime, Interactive 3D http://archvirtual.com/ Keystone1111ʼs Photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/80739942@N00 Architecture Island: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Architecture Island/44/82/23 Cresendo Design: http://www.crescendodesign.com/ Architecture in Second Life Machinima http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KruzH82Z2qQ
VSTE Book Study! Join The Fun! Hey, it’s time for another summertime book discussion on VSTE Island in Second Life! Are you a gamer? Or do you live with one? Are you interested in the role gaming plays in the lives of our young people? More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-‐one. In her book, Reality is Broken, game designer, Jane McGonigal, explores this movement towards virtual worlds and finds that games are fulfilling essential human needs. She also discusses how the lessons of game design can help us fix problems in the real world. This summer VSTE's Director, Dr. Karen Richardson (aka witchyrichy), will be leading us in a discussion of the book as part of our Second Life professional development and VSTEOnline, our professional learning community. Our first book group meeting will be Monday, July 9, (5-‐6PM SLT) on VSTE Island in Second Life and will continue on Monday evenings, July 23, August 6, and August 20 (5-‐6PM SLT). So grab a copy of the book and start reading! You can benefit VSTE by purchasing your book through the Amazon portal at http://www.vste.org or check out the VSTE store:http://astore.amazon.com/v0a4-‐20. Learn more about Jane McGonigal's work at http://realityisbroken.org/. Join the VSTE Ning at http://vsteonline.ning.com/ There are two groups for you: The SL group and the book group. We'd love to have you be part of the conversation!
VWBPE 2012 was EPIC!
An Interview with Kevin Feenan (Phelan Corrimal, sl)
Kevin Feenan, aka Phelan Corrimal (sl), is the President of Rockcliffe University Consortium and VWBPE Conference Director. After the 2012 VWBPE Conference, I caught up with Kevin and asked him a few questions about the history of VWBPE and what we can look forward to in the future. The following is what we discussed. Roxie Neiro: Let’s start by having you tell us how VWBPE got started, and how has conference has evolved? Phelan: VWBPE started as a community event in 2007. At the time it was called SLBPE (Second Life Best Practices in Education). The conference attracted some 1000+ educators and was a 24 hour event across a number of community sims. In 2008 there wasn’t a conference so in 2009, Rockcliffe picked up the mantle renaming the conference Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education. Since 2009 the organizing committee has experimented with different ideas and formats as suggested by the community. We have tried to evolve as the technology has gotten better and as new ideas in teaching, such as MOOCs, have been introduced into the educational field. Roxie: Yes, the MOOC was a lot of fun this year, and the members of that group are still continuing to meet and learn from each other. What statistics do you have about the conference this year? What are some of the demographics? Phelan: Attendance has been very good compared to live conferences. Since the reintroduction of the conference in 2009, attendance figures have been in and
around the 2000 unique individuals each year. It is harder to provide an exact number this year as Linden Lab has not provided us with statistics this year as they have in past years. What statistics we do have for this year seems to reinforce the consistency of the audience and the breadth of reach to over 60 countries around the world. In previous conferences numbers have reached as many as 3500 and over 90 countries during the high point of SL in early 2009 before Linden Lab changed their policy towards education and non-‐profits.
Roxie: As one of the conference directors, what do you see as the purpose for the conference and what do you hope to accomplish?
Phelan: The purpose of the conference is to provide a forum in which educators can freely exchange ideas, both academic and practical, in an open source forum. We do not charge for attendance at the conference and the conference is open to anyone who has an interest in teaching and education whether it be as a community mentor / volunteer, university academic, or business training professional. What we hope to accomplish with this conference is to develop a collection of resources that educators can refer to which will help them in developing content using virtual worlds, and hopefully allow the introduction to administrations and colleagues who are not familiar with such technologies or the benefits they can bring to a classroom. Virtual world are a valuable tool that educators need to have in their toolkit and like any tool we hope to provide best practice examples of how to use that tool effectively. Roxie: This past year the conference theme was “BE EPIC.” As you know, if you ask me, EPIC was when social crashed the sim! LOL
Roxie: From your perspective what made this year’s conference EPIC for you? What were some of the highlights? Phelan: Each year we try something slightly different and while some of those changes don’t pan out the way we hope, some work spectacularly. This year two such changes were focusing on a slightly smaller set of programs but then increasing the number of invited speakers with content on current trends and
analysis in the industry. While the Programs Chair will typically do this as part of each year’s conference, there was a specific emphasis on attracting an increased number of cutting edge presentations for 2012. Reducing the number of presentations also helped alleviate a common complaint from past conferences that there was too much that people wanted to see in terms of discussions, presentations, panels, demonstrations and so on. When you are running so many exceptional presentations concurrently, people tend to get frustrated if they can’t see them all. So in many ways what I think really made this conference EPIC this year is how we managed to present a better balanced program. The program this year managed a solid mix of submitted papers and invited speakers and in doing so gave participants a better opportunity to connect with the speakers and topics they really wanted to see. After all, there is no point in being EPIC if there is no one else there to experience the moment. Roxie: I agree! I loved the Machinima Festival and because the main socials were scheduled when presentations were not happening, people were able to have some fun and network with other participants. I know that this must take a lot of work. So, how long does it take you to plan each conference? How do you pull this all together, and for FREE? Phelan: The 2009 conference was pulled together in about 3 months. Since then we’ve learned that it really takes the better part of a year to do something like this reasonably well. Working with all volunteers means that not everything goes without a hitch but in general we’ve started to fall into a rhythm where the planning cycle for the conference starts in July and then ends with the publication of the conference proceedings in the May-‐June time frame. Rockcliffe University Consortium manages the logistics of the conference involving anything to do with finances, infrastructure, legal, and contracts. Once the call goes out for VWBPE committee chairs in August, everything from that point on is run completely by community
volunteers. It is these dedicated volunteers that determine where the conference goes and what new opportunities will be available for the coming conference. Roxie: You must be really proud of the large number of people who have attended VWBPE in the past couple of years, especially since attendance at many real-‐world conferences is down. How are you able to put on the VWBPE conference for FREE? That is right, I said, FREE! Phelan: It hasn’t been easy trying to put on a completely free conference for 2000+ participants, 150-‐200 presenters, and 120 volunteers. We are completely dependent on the generosity of sponsors to donate the $8,000-‐10,000 it takes to run each conference. We have had some people suggest charging for a conference of this caliber but that would defeat one of the core goals of the conference which is to make this information freely available to educators without encumbrances. We want to encourage open dialogue. To that end we do what we have to in order to make sure the conference goes on. The closer we get to the financial goals, the more programs we can develop for the community. Every dime of sponsorship money goes directly into program for the conference that benefits all participants. Roxie: Who are your sponsors and how do they help keep the cost down? Phelan: Every year the sponsors are different. They range in size from large contributions in-‐kind, to promoted sponsorships, to small independent donations. Throughout the lead-‐up to the conference we are constantly balancing the availability of value-‐added program elements, such as live video feeds and archived recordings, to the number of sponsors / donations. The conference has to live within its means. That means sometimes being very creative in the selection of locations, builds, and program activities that still achieve the conference’s aims but fit within the availability of funds. Roxie: During the conference there are many activities happening simultaneously. How do you coordinate everything? Phelan: Each member of the Organizing Committee is responsible for a specific aspect of the program. The most challenging aspect is handling the interrelationships as almost every portfolio overlaps each other at some point in the schedule. Sometimes we nail it in terms of getting everything to come together smoothly and other times it’s a bit rocky. Like any type of musical
performance or stage production however you have to roll with what comes along. Having a good organizing committee that communicates effectively with each other, however, is the most important thing. Roxie: You plan to the best of your ability, but some of the best and most memorable moments are unplanned. Do you have examples of any of those? Phelan: In terms of pure shock value – it has to be the main stage set-‐up that Paramparamm and Fiery Broome did for the 2010 conference. That build just simply blew everyone away and I think brought people together in a way that just putting presentations on a simple stage could not have. When we talk about the immersive experience one of the things we sometimes forget is the aesthetics of our surroundings. Having a central stage that was truly a work of art I think encouraged people to want to be part of the experience. We had so many write-‐ ups that year that focused on the build structure itself that a number of people came simply to be a part of that environment. Any conference should be so lucky as to be able to attract builders of this caliber and vision. Beyond the immersive component, however, I think that if you can plan something that touches someone in a way that they suddenly have that “ah-‐ha” moment, those are probably going to be some of the most memorable unplanned events you can hope for. It may not be as part of a presentation but as part of a discussion afterwards or a connection made by visiting a poster exhibit. For example it was during one of the central auditorium presentations that I was talking with someone about the mechanics around the stage set-‐up. They mentioned the idea that this isn’t about simply putting on a presentation but rather it was theatre. That for me was an ‘ah-‐ ha’ moment as up to that point I was struggling
with a number of concepts about where we were and where this whole virtual worlds environment was going. As academics we talk about the social construction of reality but sometimes you just have to live it before it really sinks in exactly how far that concept goes not just in developing our own reality but the reality we want others to experience as part of the learning process. Roxie: What is your favorite VWBPE memory – either from this past conference or a previous conference? Phelan: One of my favorite memories was from after having finished up VWBPE 2009 and thinking “omg, we did it – let’s do it again”. There were so many reasons why this conference shouldn’t have worked but the educational community is one of those unique animals that when they decide to all pull in the same direction they can achieve miracles. The community has never ceased to amaze me just exactly how hard-‐working, generous, and committed they are to their profession. Roxie: What plans do you have for future VWBPE conferences? Do you have the theme for next year? Phelan: VWBPE 2013 is scheduled for March 14-‐16. We have a few surprises in the bag already for next year if all goes well. Definitely we would like to encourage additional alternative programs, ideas, and events such as the VWMOOC http://vwmooc.wordpress.com put on by FrontRange Community College that started at VWBPE and extended over the subsequent 4 weeks. We’d also like to encourage more academic paper submissions. But, there is nothing written in stone yet until the committee meets again in August however so anything is possible. The tentative dates for VWBPE 2013, and of course, these may be subject to change – check the website after August 6th for the most up-‐to-‐date information: September 3rd, 2012 – Call for Committee Members for any unfilled positions October 1st, 2012 -‐ Call for Proposals / Papers October 1st, 2012 -‐ Call for Peer Reviewers
December 2nd, 2012 – Proposals Due January 7th, 2013 – Call for Volunteers Roxie: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about VWBPE? Phelan: It takes many man-‐hours to put on any type of a conference and, as much as this is a community event, quite often the organizers, go without substantive recognition of the countless sleepless nights they put in trying to get everything as perfect as possible. For 2012 those individuals included Chris Luchs, Alysyn Middleton, Rory Nackerud, Kae Novak, Elizabeth Stenger, and Roseanne O’Brien Vojtek without whose dedication the conference just simply would not have been possible. Every year we learn a little bit more, we get a little bit better, we climb a little bit higher, and become a little bit wiser. VWBPE isn’t about getting it right, it’s about sharing the journey, and hopefully one that people will join us on as we embark on the 6th Annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education in 2013. Roxie: Well, I know I am looking forward to VWBPE 2013! I can’t wait to see how you top EPIC!!!! Thanks Kevin for taking time to talk with us and for all you do to make VWBPE the BEST Educational Conference! To you and the rest of your Chairs and Volunteers, Keep Up The GREAT Work!!!! For anyone wanting to see highlights from VWBPE or to learn more about the conference, be sure to visit: VWBPE 2012 Nomination Awards: http://vwbpe12.vwbpe.org/v12_poster_video_awards.html VWBPE 2012 Exemplary Volunteers Awards: http://vwbpe12.vwbpe.org/v12_exemplary_volunteer_award.html
VWBPE Official Website: http://www.vwbpe.org/
Early Morning Thai Chi at the VWBPE 2012 Tea House
Now Located on Edovation Island in Second Life Be sure to follow us on Twitter @VEJournal or #VEJournal. Be sure to explore Edovation Island. Please join the Edovation Island and VEJ – Virtual Education Journal Groups in Second Life. VEJ welcomes articles and pictures from our readers. VEJ is only as good as our readers help us become. For submission information please visit www.virtualeducationj ournal.com .
An Epic Overview of the VWBPE 2012 Conference By Kavon Zenovka (sl) aka Kae Novak, Program Chair
The Theme for VWBPE 2012 was “Be Epic!” so programs had no choice other than to open with KnowClue Kidd and then close with fourworlds ra (Botgirl’s human alt).
Keynote and Invited Speakers included: Joe Essid, Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable - "Resistance is futile: making a case for virtual worlds" http://www.vwer.org/
Peggy Sheehy and Lucas Gillispie WoW in School with http://wowinschool.pbworks.com
Dr. Lisa Dawley and Dr. Chris Hasekell, 3D Games Lab http://3dgamelab.org.shivtr.com/
Maria Korolov, The Hypergrid is Ready for You Now, Hypergrid Business http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/
Dr. Chris Dede, How Immersion in Virtual and Augmented Worlds Helps Students in the Real World, EcoMuve http://ecomuve.gse.harvard.edu/
Jackie Gerstein, Using Mobile Devices for Community and Team-Building in the Classroom, http://jackiegerstein.weebly.com/
Gord Holden, Gutenberg to Spielberg, Immersive Technology 4 Learning http://immersivetechnology4learning.ning.com/
Sharon Bowers, Active Worlds: Tour of NIAUniverse, daVinci Worlds http://prezi.com/cczpq1tvrb66/davinci-worlds/
Melissa Carrillo, Representing Latino Cultural Heritage in the Age of the Social Web, Smithsonian Latino Center http://latino.si.edu/education/LVM_Main.htm
Dr. David Gibson, A Brainstorm on Games and Simulations in Teacher Education, simSchool http://www.simschool.org/about
We additionally had a dynamic duo at the Conference - M& M – Machinima and MMMORPGs!
Machinima ….ah the portmanteau created by Machine and Cinema Yes – there was another EduMachinima Fest! The group (Knowclue Kidd, Grid Jumper, Abacus Capalini, LeeDale Shepherd, and Kavon Zenovka) who gave you EduMachinima Fest 2011 and are facilitating Machinima Open Online Course at P2PU were back. And the winners were… Be Epic!: Andy Wheelock, Understanding the Holocaust Project Virtual World Outreach: Rawlslyn Francis, Student Life Student Projects for English Composition and Literature Courses at Florida State College at Jacksonville Educational: Valerie Hill, Maya Island: A Library Exhibit and Tour
How-To: JoKay Wollongong, Massively Minecraft HOW To: Minecraft Skin by Ninabanina Teen: Jokay Wollongong, Massively Minecraft: Check Out What We Made! Digital Storyteller: Pooky Amsterdam, Time Travelers-Episode 4: The Pattern People’s Choice: PookyAmersterdam, A Year In the Life Brave Beginner: Doug Threebeard, Testis Ovary Tour
MMORPGs World of Warcraft – VWBPE had a “WoW in School” Keynote, best practices sessions and a tour of World of Warcraft! Tour – WoW in School with Legacy Guild This was a field trip with the WoWinSchool Project. It was a 90 minute session/tour starting at for educators who are new to WoW. Participants received a tour with experienced WoW players – and did we mention students!
One School’s Approach to Vocational Transition: Gaming Kimberly Flack/ Fairekimmer and Dave Flack/Tigovar Theorycraft: Quantitative Analysis in World of Warcraft Kavon Zenovka and Abacus Capalini For more info on World of Warcraft at VWBPE please go to http://bit.ly/wsqsHL EVEOnline – Kaseido Quandry explained to us why “Space Makes You Bitter” http://bit.ly/xaBKHs and then during the Virtual Worlds MOOC, Kaseido actually took us into EVEOnline. Club Penguin (okay MMORPG – may be stretching it a bit.) Edith Halderman took WBPE through our third romp in Club Penguin. http://www.clubpenguin.com/ Minecraft – Massively Minecraft to be exact JoKay and the crew presented on Saturday and then gave us an epically massive tour to end our MMORPG fest. These tours and all other tours were coordinated by Aevalle Galacia, Virtual Worlds Tour Stream Lead and Steampunk Extraordinaire.
And last but certainly not least – POSTERS! As Knowclue Kidd stated, “These are not your Grandmother’s Posters.” They are so much more than the flat representations you see at F2F conferences. These posters are truly epic!
And the winners were…. Best Example of Educational Practices in a Virtual World Explore the 2012 Maya Island while you have time! Stylianos Mystakidis Best Interactive Display Musical Odessey Kate Miranda Best Use of Conference Theme Virtual Pioneers Andrew Wheelock People's Choice Senior Project® Center at P4DL, Inc. (K-12) Kathleen Norris A shout out has to go to the Poster Area Builders who perfectly framed posters and the overall theme of VWBPE 2012. Thank you Izzylander Karu, LuciPearl Sorbet, Brock Jumanya and Roc Furse! And an epic THANK YOU!!! to Izzylander Karu for his excellent all around building and design contributions and for really giving us the 3D and visual symbol of “Be Epic”.
EPIC Is. . . .When Social Crashed The SIM! Or, Why VWBPE Will Never Be The Same!
VWBPE 2012 SOCIALS
LoriVonne Luster, Spiff Whitfield, and Roxie Neiro take the 1st Question Challenge. You can catch the March 16, 2012 second life game show staring Pooky Amsterdam & Hydra Shaftoe at http://www.the1stquestion.com/
The Year Of The Dragon
Dragons On Parade!
The Welcome Reception VWBPE 2012
The Machinima Ball We Danced The Night Away!
There is nothing more EPIC than a Tribute Concert To The Beatles! That is, until the large crowd, the great music, and the sparkling fireworks CRASHED THE SIM!
So, what do VWBPE Diehards do? Why, they make their own kind of music. . .
They do the Thriller Dance! LOL For more pictures of VWBPE 2012 visit http://www.flickr.com/groups/vwbpe/ Special THANKS to everyone who shared their pictures!
We’re doing another MOOC! To be more specific, we’re doing a Games-‐based Learning MOOC. A MOOC is a Massive Online Open Course based on the learning theory of connectivism. Since 2008, there have been a series of these free open online courses offered. This course is informed by their design and implementation. This MOOC will be an introduction to games-‐based principles and the motivation and engagement aspects of different types of games as they relate to learning. This is a free, open course for all educators. The model for the course design is based on social network knowledge construction. http://edtech.boisestate.edu/ldawley/SNKC_pdf.pdf
Participating educators will be able to engage the course on several levels from lurking (reading the discussions) to actively creating content in the course with the course design team. It is expected that each participant’s level of engagement will vary each week based on the individual’s interest in the weekly topics.
The MOOC will have both synchronous and asynchronous components. The asynchronous portion will be individual readings and text discussion in P2PU and the synchronous portion will consist of sessions in Second Life, Elluminate, field trips into games and tweetchats. The Games-‐based Learning MOOC begins on July 9, 2012 and will run for 5 weeks with a sixth week and optional project in mid-‐September. The MOOC is under development and for right now we’re asking interested participants to go here to register (http://bit.ly/gamesmooc). Below is an outline of the topics for each week.
Game-‐based Learning Schedule Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Games Based Learning/Game Principles Alternate Reality Game (ARG) Epistemic Games Overview of Commercial Off the Shelf Games Gamification or Behavior Motivation Elements for the Classroom Assessing Student Learning and Data Collection
Group Notice From: VWBPE, Kavon Zenovka To get ready for SIGVE EduMachiniam Fest 2012 – We’re doing a 2 week Machinima Online Open Course starting on Jun 4th and running for 2 weeks until Jun 18th. This course will include Machinima creation, creative commons and outreach for the SIGVE EduMachinima Fest. Since this is an open course – feel free to participate at any level you wish – lurkers welcome! We’ll need actors, critics and of course a viral video team! For more info or to sign up go to P2PU http://bit.ly/MachinimaP2P
Machinima Stage Coach Shot Be sure to check out the submissions for the SIGVE EDuMachinima Festival 2012 at http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/View+and+Vote-‐-‐ EduMachinima+Festival+2012 . Winners will be announced at ISTE 2012 June 24 -‐27, 2012.
2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR VEJ Reader’s Choice Award WINNERS!
Favorite Virtual World. . .
Second Life http://www.secondlife.com
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Educational Sim/Site in Second Life. . .
Front Range http:// maps.secondlife.com/ secondlife/Front %20Range/136/119/33
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Educational Event During The 2011-2012 Year In A Virtual World. . .
VWBPE 2012 http:// vwbpe12.vwbpe.org/
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite World/Environment/ Game To Spend Time In . . .
Second Life http://www.secondlife.com
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Freebee Store/Shop In A Virtual World. . .
The Free Dove http://maps.secondlife.com/ secondlife/Gallii/121/105/33
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Place To Get Information About Happenings In Virtual Worlds. . .
Gridjumper’s Blog http://gridjumper.net/
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Second Life Fashion Designer. . .
Swaffette Firefly SF Design http://maps.secondlife.com/ secondlife/Lotus/229/228/142
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Place To Go To Relax & Have Fun. . .
Hang Out At My Own Sim/Property
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Second Life Theme Build/ Sim. . .
Caledon 19th Century Victorian Steampunk http://maps.secondlife.com/ secondlife/Caledon/ 130/97/37 http://secondlife.com/ destination/caledon-quest
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Educational Museum or Sim. . .
The Holocaust Museum http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=KYvKZ_i4j60 http://maps.secondlife.com/ secondlife/US%20Holocaust %20Museum1/1/35/27
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Best Orientation Tutorial/Sim/ Website For Newcomers. . . Virtual Ability Island
http://maps.secondlife.com/ secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/ 128/128/23
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Avatar/Person Who Taught Or Helped You The Most In Virtual Worlds/Environments. . .
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Favorite Thing To Do In A Virtual World With Your Friends. . .
Hang Out At ISTE SIGVE http://maps.secondlife.com/ secondlife/EduIsland %209/57/91/22 http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/
Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
Best Place To Go To Network & Learn From Other Educators. . .
VSTE Virginia Society for Technology Education http://vsteonline.ning.com/ group/secondlifevstemembers http://vstesl.wikispaces.com/ http://slurl.com/secondlife/VSTE Island/127/131/23 Congratulations! 2012 VEJ Reader’s Choice Awards
On Walkabout By Matt Poole aka Cyrus Hush -‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐-‐
Chapter 2: A Voyage to Heterocera
Are you ready for another expedition across a new Second Life continent? This time we will journey to Heterocera… the atoll continent. The second continent to be built in SL, Heterocera looks a bit like a cabbage head sliced in half, with roads and mountains forming concentric circles around an inner sea.
We finished our last journey on the northwestern shore of Sansara. We are on the northernmost shore this time, standing on a dock next to a big lighthouse in a sim called Purple. After a few minutes a ferry pulls into the dock and a metal ramp lowers automatically. We have a seat and after pausing for 60 seconds the automated ferry takes off heading north.
It pauses for another minute at the ANWR mid-‐ocean derrick. The derrick (rig? crane?) is well worth exploring in its own right and offers several free sailboats for those interested. The ferry departs again and after a few water sims docks at Cecropia Ocean Terminal. This is a big stone landing with dock and lighthouse as well as a train station. We are now in train country. Heterocera is a major participant in GSLR… the Greater Second Life Railway system. Like the ferry, these trains are automated
methods of mainland sightseeing. There is a long rusty pipeline leading back to the derrick along the ocean floor. The Cecropia end appears to terminate in a vat of green goo, right next to a large stone building called Artists of ZZ land.
Behind this are a shopping mall and the gateway to Calleta sim. The rail mall and grand Calleta train station are worth exploring even if you are not into trains. There is quite a variety of functional rail vehicles to choose from, and there are also free ones. Calleta is a major welcome center for new residents and is built on a railroad/hobo theme. There are lots of freebies and useful info but it is laggy. There is also a hub here for Yumipod continental exploration tours. This one is located on a platform at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Calleta/119/192/31 This particular tour allows you to sit on a two-‐prim automated scooter and take a two hour narrated sightseeing tour of southwestern Heterocera. To be continued… Entry 2: Commies!! Continuing north along the road, we come to a t-‐bone intersection with Route 1. Turning right, we pass from Calleta to Oculea sim (still laggy). Just on the right is a used car lot filled with free rusty and hoboish but highly detailed vehicles and a free train. Pressing forward, we cross the border into Hera sim where we promptly crash. Hera seems to be a full sim or something because we crash trying to enter or leave it, so we backtrack a bit and follow a train
track North toward Neumoegen. Lag seems to be much better in this direction.
Immediately to the left looms a large dingy gray building with the sign “Second Life Left Unity.” This is apparently the headquarters for an SL-‐based socialist organization with web sites and meetings and an agenda and everything. There are some good freebies here, as well as quite a bit of interesting content if you are interested in politics and activism. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Neumoegen/79/138/64 Here is the web site: http://slleftunity.blogspot.com/. I am a bit fatigued by politics right now so I pick up an Amnesty International t-‐shirt that looks cooler than the Greek Riots solidarity one and press on. A bit later we leave the train tracts and pick up a parallel road leading north. Entering Oslar sim. Entry #3, The Poet’s House Things are mostly always parallel in Heterocera, as this “atoll continent” is roughly circular and basically looks like a head of cabbage sliced in half. As we follow the tracks to the North, to the east lies the central sea and to the west lies a ring of highlands with roads and train tracks essentially built in concentric circles around the inner sea. A bit further on, and again on the left, there is a display for the NeoVictoria Steampunk Dark Roleplay and Machinima build. This sounds intriguing but it doesn’t seem to be here and the display doesn’t say where it is so I keep moving. Right across the road is a beautiful but laggy build called Forest Guardian. We are now entering Vine.
In Vine there is another park-‐like build off to the left called the Poets House. I didn’t see a house, but there is a wooded hollow with a fountain and a gentle rain falling. It’s not too laggy either although I didn’t press my luck. Now entering Horisme. A bit further there are some ornate Japanese houses… then off to the right a monstrous gray wall looms. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Vine/127/85/110 Entry #4 The Great Wall of Second Life
The Great Wall covers 12 sims, is several stories tall and is hollow. We skirt a dark stone Gothic building and mount a ramp to take us into the interior. The inside is stony and lit with lamps along regular intervals. Occasionally an opening appears with an opportunity to descend stairs to take us to the outside, and of course we could be walking along the roadway at the top, but this is cool.
This is not my first visit, but for some reason the Wall is laggy today… more so than I remember. We shed hair, animation overriders, prims and all scripts, drop our draw distances and proceed forward cautiously. At the end of the Great Wall we are rewarded with trees, flowers and a whole lot of green. We have reached SL Route 6… the High Mountain Road. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Athetis/113/82/114 To the left we are presented with a steep climb, to the right the topography drops abruptly. We are walking at an altitude of 127 meters at road level. As if to acknowledge the increasingly alpine character of the region, the road becomes rocky and unpaved, with occasional overlooks jutting out over the valley below. It’s less laggy here. Entering Plebega. Entry #5 Mountains This is getting to be a bit like the SL version of driving through the Smokies. The road is curbed with logs on either side, fringed with conifers and we just passed underneath a waterfall. Alpine venues open up on the left, inviting us to climb steep ramps to various attractions on top of the ridgeline. You could spend months exploring this area but we have deadlines. ‘Moving on. In Arches, we pass through a stone tunnel and another waterfall. It is much less laggy. A gray and white cylindrical building styled like a geodesic dome appears to our right and below us. It looks like it might be an art gallery but upon closer inspection turns out to be a skin shop. We press on. An automated steam trolley appears coming the other way. It crosses a
sim border, careens wildly and plunges over the embankment, turns and becomes stuck under the elevated roadway on which we stand. It is unoccupied and hopefully will self-‐destruct so we proceed. The terrain to the right has become extraordinarily jagged. We cautiously begin to climb up the steep slope to the right. The green wall rises into the sky with various buildings jutting out of its sides. At last we ascend the topmost parapet of Castel Bella atop Mount Campion, the highest mountain on the Second life mainlands. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Campion/122/175/366 We stand 389 meters above sea level… no big deal if you are in a skybox. But this is not a skybox. The ground is at 365 meters! At this point we feel the need to descend. We turn abruptly south and descend swiftly (free fall for the most part). We arrive in Immidae at an altitude of 33 meters. Entry # 6 Down In the village of Peach we see a few houses and a roadside diner with a help wanted sign. It’s interesting to see that even on the mainland each Second Life sim seems to have its own unique character and culture. Peach could be any small town on a two-‐lane road in America, with small diners, trees and broad grassy fields. Peach has that indefinable feel of a highway pit stop on the way to somewhere else.
Entry #7 A Jewish Neighborhood That’s the name of the build! Off to the left of the road we see a large rather cluttered build dedicated to Judaism and all things Jewish. It is even marked on the Second Life with a huge Star of David. There are driedels, rugs and menorahs galore. It is very cluttered but there seems to be a lot going on. We see signs about classes and there is a synagogue as well. In one room there is even what appears to be a set for a Jewish talk show called Torah Talk. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Nessus/9/165/103 Entry #8 -‐-‐The Bridge We rejoin the road and angle West, approaching the inner sea. A broad wooden bridge snakes out across the water, with stands and buildings built on and around it. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Behrii/57/246/33 It eventually intersects with other walkways as it crosses a narrow part of the inland sea, bringing us back to our starting point more or less, or back to Neumoegen at least, having circumnavigated the inland sea.
We’ve done it! We have just managed to just scratch the surface of another of Second Life’s mainland continents. If you enjoyed this article I would urge you to undertake your own voyages of discovery. You never know what you are going to find around the next corner! Until next time… Cheers! Cyrus
Two Worlds Collide
Enjoying Mint Juleps and Lynchburg Lemonade while watching the 2012 Kentucky Derby at Aero Pines Park and Recreation Area in sl with my friends. Thanks Cindy Bolero for your southern hospitality!
Art in The Park at Alice Academy
Arthur Conan Doyle
Alice Academy is a whimsical place to learn the basics in Second life. According to Arthur Conan Doyle, “We focus on training students and educators and strive to offer more than read a sign, walk to the next sign, read a sign, walk to the next sign, etc.” Contact Arthur Conan Doyle for more information. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Alice%20Academy/154/102/31 For a limited time Alice Academy is exhibiting 49 of the most popular paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The NGA Images are digital images of works for art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain. You can pick up FREE copies of these amazing paintings at the Art in the Park Exhibit at Alice Academy (154,102,31). It is fun to see pictures such as “The Emperor Napoleon In His Study” from “The Collection: National Gallery of Art” http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?acc=1961.9.15 next to Paul Gauguin’s “Self Portrait” prompted in part by Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 portrait series (including La Mousmé) which Gauguin knew from his correspondence with Van Gogh and his brother Theo. This Self–Portrait, painted on a cupboard door from the dining room of an inn in the Breton hamlet Le Pouldu, is one of Gauguin's most important and radical paintings. Check it out – there is a lot to learn and see at Alice Academy!
Fires of Genocide
One of the most moving exhibits I have seen in second life is, Fires of Genocide. The SIGVE Tour Group visited the exhibit in May 2012. What everyone saw, touched us all! The tour began with a card that read, “This is an invitation to a one-‐of-‐a-‐kind immersive experience in Second Life. The Fires of Genocide is a storyworld created by Seminole County Public Schools in Florida.” This is an excellent example of digital storytelling in a virtual world! The card continued, Experience history repeating as you travel from a historical example of genocide – a Native
American village – to modern day Darfur. Interact with objects and people as you become part of the story – but will you become part of the solution? That decision will be yours. Start your adventure by using the landmark. Even though the exhibit is no longer open, we wanted to share with you some of the pictures that helped to make the story come alive.
To get a sense of the experience, you can view the Youtube URL for Living Darfur music video by Mattafix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQwCCm-‐H-‐sU . This youtube video paints a picture of what avatars experienced and saw during the tour.
Sitting at the Heros of Hope Wall
One of the many quotes during the experience that stood out is, “I cannot do all the good the world needs. But the world needs all the good I can do.” Jana Stanfield.
You can learn more about Darfur from the voices of Darfur. URL for Darfurian Voices http://www.darfurianvoices.org/video.php?videoID=uPUw6yjpOoI&videoTitl e=Please%20Do%20More This website was streamed into sl for people to view. It was a very moving experience. It is hard to listen to these people without realizing how important it is for everyone to get involved. Even though the exhibit is no longer available, please visit the URL’s mentioned in this article, and more importantly,
Do Something, Say Something, You Can Make A Difference!
Gridjumper Blogs ISTE2012 @
Even if you can’t make it to San Diego, you can still participate in the ISTE 2012 Conference. You can see how to be connected by reading Gridjumper’s Blog from June 22, 2012 at http://gridjumper.net/ Gridjumper lists the schedule. You will want to watch the live presentations on Monday, June 25, 2012 from 8:30 – 4:00 slt. On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, you will not want to miss the EDuMachinima Fest from 5:30 – 7:30 pm slt. Grijumper has her potential car for the drive in movie theater. The Machinima entries are from students as well as from teahers and voting is open from Saturday June 23rd – Tuesday June 26th at http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/View+and+Vote-‐-‐ EduMachinima+Festival+2012 This is one event you will not want to miss! Join the fun at: http://maps.secondlife.com/ secondlife/EduIsland 9/62/91/22
By Kae Novak, aka Kavon Zenovka (sl)
In May, a group of educators that just finished up with the Virtual Worlds, Games and Education MOOC decided to take educational DYI a bit further and design an ARG (Alternate Reality Game). So for three weeks, they studied, discussed and constructed components of an ARG. They even presented their thoughts at the University of Michigan’s 4T (Teachers Teaching Teachers about Technology) Virtual Conference http://4tvirtualcon.soe.umich.edu/?page_id=12 The result is ARG Prime! Not your traditional entertainment ARG - but an ARG to teach teachers about ARGs. So from July 9 - July 23, you can be involved in an interactive narrative that crosses multiple media platforms and mixes realities. Are you curious? - good you’ll need to be! Curious enough to go to learn a little more about ARGs? Look for the Rabbithole (like Alice in Wonderland) at SIGVE in San Diego or at SIGVE HQ in Second Life during the ISTE conference. But if you are ready and willing to just swallow the red pill right now - go here http://bit.ly/gamesmooc to sign up for what will hopefully be two weeks of challenge, hard fun, flow and fiero!
Prometheus Bound Machinima
By Stephen A. Schrum (Phorkyad Acropolis in Second Life®) This machinima project (found at http://youtu.be/T_RK7Ifutgg) began as a Blended Reality Event in December 2011. I had selected four student actors to accompany me in presenting the ancient Greek tragedy, Prometheus Bound.1
These actors sat on stage, with me off to the side, all logged into Second Life (SL). I had another student logged into SL who acted as our “ideal spectator”; her laptop was connected to an LCD projector, and her perspective served as the theatre audience’s view of the world. Her laptop was also connected to speakers, and so the in-world audio was audible for those in the theatre. There were also virtual audience members present in the SL performance space. While there were some problems with the performance (notably the audio, which—between the speakers and the live actors, created a kind of echo for the
audience), the performances did serve as a good set of rehearsals for the machinima to follow. I had decided to create a video record of the performance, not only to archive the work we had done, but also for use in a theatre conference presentation on the creation of the production later in 2012. As our dramaturge2 had not been able to attend the online performances, it would be her way of seeing what had been done, to comment on it as part of our conference panel.
In order to create the machinima, I decided to follow a typical cinematic shooting schedule. In preparation for this, I went through the play script and first divided it into scenes. This was easily determined by who is on stage: Prometheus alone is Scene 1, and when the Daughter of Oceanus joins him, we move into Scene 2, and so on. I then broke each scene into various shots, designating each with a scene number and letter, and assigned codes for the shots: for example, CU for close-up, 3SHOT for a shot with three characters in it. The result appeared something like this. Â
DAUGHTER OF OCEANUS Alas, O Fate, I shudder to behold the plight that has befallen Io.
PROMETHEUS You lament and are full of fear all too soon. Wait until you have learned the rest as well.
3SHOT DAUGHTER OF OCEANUS Proceed; tell all. It is comforting for the sick to know clearly beforehand what pain still awaits them. MED
PROMETHEUS You gained your former request easily from me; for you first desired the story of her ordeal from her own lips. Hear now the sequel, the sufferings this maid is fated to endure at Hera's hand.
I then made appointments with each of my actors to meet me in SL. I did not need the entire cast at the same time, since the scenes mostly consisted of dialogues of one character with Prometheus—and I was always present, as I played Prometheus. (The one exception to this is the scene with Prometheus, Io and the Daughter of Oceanus.) Using Snapz Pro X to capture the audio and video of each shot, I quickly reviewed each piece of video to make sure there were no problems with it, and then resaved it with the scene number/letter designation. This organization allowed me, once I had completed all of the shots, to easily import them into iMovie and to add them to the timeline in numerical order. However, one problem I had earlier noticed during screen capture became more evident, and was, in fact, something I had noted even during our live performances. Due to the variability of the students’ laptops—in age, processors, and microphones—the audio was wildly inconsistent. One actor would be almost inaudible, while another sounded distorted from being too loud. To fix this problem, I once again borrowed a typical Hollywood convention: that of automated dialogue replacement (ADR). Again, I summoned each of the actors, this time to my RL office, rather than in SL. I set up a microphone, and ran the audio into Garageband. Each of the actors recorded their lines in order, pausing between lines so I could later cut and paste. Once I had all of the lines recorded, I assembled the audio track for the film, each voice on a separate track. This separation allowed me to add different effects to the voices, and so Prometheus and
Oceanus, both Titans, sounded larger than life, after I added Reverb and the Vocal Transformer to lower the pitch of the voices. To Hermes and the Daughter of Oceanus, as the offspring of Titans, I added the same effects, but with less Reverb. I left Ioâ€™s voice unaltered, since the character is a human, and the actor did excellent vocal work without any technical assistance.
A more tedious process ensued, as I dropped the resulting audio file (after exporting to iTunes) into iMovie, and then trimmed the video to fit the audio. At times, I had a bit too much video, and easily deleted a few frames at the beginning or ending of a shot so the video matched the audio. More difficulty arose when long speeches began and the video ended too soon. Here I inserted copied closeups of other characters as cut-away reaction shots. For more interest, I also recorded some musical moments in Garageband, using the built-in keyboard and synth textures. While I would have liked an electronic music bed throughout the entire piece, it seemed impractical and too time-consuming, and so I settled for some short stings to emphasize entrances. In the final video, I did omit something I had done with the live performance. At the end, to frame the piece (having something the same, or similar, happen at the beginning and ending), I played the scream of the eagle, suggesting it was
returning to again devour Prometheus’ liver. For the performances, the texture of the seating area would suddenly change from rock to a photo of a huge gaping mouth, making it appear that the audience was about to be swallowed whole. While this fit in with the idea behind the live performance, it would have seemed out of place at the end of the machinima. I also discovered, on viewing the finished project, that I have an Ed Wood moment. When Hermes first arrives, his avatar nametag (“Tucch”) is visible. Hermes’ scene was the first I shot, and I neglected to hide the titles until after that shot. I also missed it when reviewing the shot immediately after doing it. Ideally, I would have had more control over the environmental settings for the shooting (I own the land, but am not able to change those settings) for a more consistent look among the shots in the different scenes. The most successful elements were the settings and costumes. I turned the stage design over to an expert builder, Tash Porthos (owner of “[dirty.little.secret]”), and selected skins, shapes, hairstyles and costumes for the characters from various in-world vendors with the actors’ input. Overall, the look of the production works, the audio—after extensive re-recording—sounds very good, and the video as a whole is a solid representation of the work we did presenting theatre in Second Life.
This is the second Greek tragedy I have staged in Second Life; the first was Euripides’ The Bacchae in 2008. 2 A dramaturge researches a play’s history and the culture of the society of the time in which it was written, and generally supplies notes for the playbill of program.
This is the 1st anniversay issue of the Virtual Education Journal - VEJ.