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  • NMC Virtual Worlds is a program of the New Media Consortium. Our mission is to help learning-focused organizations explore the potential of virtual spaces in a manner that builds on community knowledge, is cost-effective, and ensures high quality. NMC Virtual Worlds provides a palette of premium custom services for education and training, and conducts an ongoing series of events, conferences, and programs. A suite of pro bono services and fellowships are a central aspect of the organization, and reflect our deep commitment to learning and access.
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  • Virtual Polluted Ithaca – Cornell
    Interdisciplinary learning through interactive roleplay This project for Cornell University was the result of collaboration between two traditionally separate faculties coming together within a case study of interest to both. Features: Realistic recreation of a neighbourhood ... more→
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Global Kids Present in Second Life

published 01.Dec.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

Recently a group called Global Kids met up in Second Life to produce and take part in a virtual world talk show called “Let’s Talk Sustainability.”

In the first episode, Global Kids teen leaders gathered in Second Life to share a video clip from The Meatrix, as well as a slideshow describing the production of a fast food product.  They discussed the video and slideshow and shared a game where audience members were able to participate and  express their opinions on different food issues.

The avatar Cicero Kit, a.k.a Jennifer Dolan, an adjunct instructor for communications at Rasmussen College, was the featured guest in Second Life.  She shared with the audience how to eat healthily, how to locate organic and sustainable foods within their local communities, and how to stretch the grocery dollar during tough economic times. Some other topics Cicero spoke of were  tap water vs.bottled water, and eating organically and healthily as a vegan.

It was a fun and informative first production in this talk show series. For more information about Global Kids and this innovative virtual world talk show visit the Global Kids Website.

Check out the video of the first episode!

Follow us on Facebook and we will keep you informed of the dates of upcoming shows so you can participate as an audience member! The next show is slated to take place in early December on the NMC Campus.

01.Dec.11 Blog Read more Comments (0)

Educators in Second Life: University of Technology, Sydney

published 17.Nov.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

The University of Technology, Sydney Australia (UTS) conducted a case study in 2011 with undergraduate students in the French and Japanese intermediate language and culture subjects offered in the International Studies Program.

Each class participated in a series of Second Life activities over one semester during tutorials to complement traditional weekly lessons based on textbooks and other materials.  A virtual representation of a two story furnished house was built in Second Life to simulate private space.

In front of this building, four smaller single-level rooms were built for activities covering themes such as retail and administration. The focus of students interaction was synchronous (text chat) and asynchronous (through digital objects such as note cards and video screens). The aim of these activities was not only to allow students to communicate and to understand various themes (directions, household chores, leisure activities, giving an opinion), but to also reinforce grammatical concepts that were part of the semester’s curriculum (hypothetical, direct and indirect speech, conditional).

The photo above was taken during a language activity asking the students to move around the house and identify what household chores needed to be completed. This activity was followed by an Inworld instant message session between students who discussed the household chores they liked and disliked doing.

Understanding how to use Japanese text script was a particular focus for the Japanese class.  During the semester, results obtained through student surveys and teacher observation indicated that virtual world activities support rather then substitute existing practices; survey responses highlighted that students welcome the idea of both face-to-face contact and future activities designed using the virtual world. Virtual activities, therefore, can complement existing traditional activities and go further in introducing virtual spaces that can stimulate classroom themes, with communication as the prime motivator.

This snapshot was taken during a session where students had to listen to short video clips on movie trailers shown inside Second Life via youtube and then respond through instant message chat by expressing their opinion of the trailers they had watched.

Interested in a virtual space of your own?  Check out the properties the NMC Virtual World Campus has to offer.

17.Nov.11 Blog Read more Comments (0)

Let’s Talk Sustainability: An Invitation to all SL Educators & Students

published 03.Nov.11 by Samantha Adams

Global Kids has just launched a virtual talk show that we are so excited about!

Let’s Talk Sustainability is an intensive youth development program that supports high school youth to develop expertise regarding sustainability, online broadcasting, and virtual world construction. Global Kids youth in New York City combine this expertise to produce a talk show, featuring live interviews with scientists and other STEM-related professionals, pre-produced videos, and game show-like activities.

This talk show is a virtual talk show, filmed before a live studio audience with TreetTV in Second Life, and is archived with downloadable materials that reach a broader audience and classrooms around the world. Each talk show is designed to introduce their audience to what professionals are doing in these fields and showcase what youth can do today to live in a more sustainable world.

Global Kids is looking for audience members for the talk shows, which will be aired through December 2011. They would like all educators in Second Life to consider bringing their students to be a part of the audience. Sign up here to be in the audience!

03.Nov.11 Blog Read more Comments Off on Let’s Talk Sustainability: An Invitation to all SL Educators & Students

Educators in Second Life: Fachhochschule Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences

published 11.Oct.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

Thomas Molck, of the University of Applied Sciences shares how he uses Second Life to engage students. The information below was obtained from a paper which can be found on the university  website.

Since 2007, the Department of Social Sciences & Cultural Studies at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf  has been offering  courses in Second Life in the area of “culture, aesthetics, and media”.

The Virtual world is used as a field of work for aspiring social workers, as well as being an artistic design space. The first two examples would also be conceivable  as an application scenario in continuing education programs :

1. Exploring the possibilities for creative design and communication in “Second Life”
2. 3D Design in Second Life.

The first example includes about 40 students form learning groups after a general introduction to the  SL environment. Some topics of study for the groups include possibilities of avatar design, opportunities for social work or economic activity, hazards, stimuli, target groups, and gender in Second Life.

Secondly, students studied 3D Design. Courses in practical artistic design, which are a core part of teaching in the area of culture, aesthetics and media, were not an appropriate field of study for aspiring social workers due to programs such as Maya & Cinema 4D  having a steep learning curve.   Second Life was utilized to teach 3D Design as the tools provided with this platform opened the doors to an easier method of  study.

A third example of the students utilizing SL was their attendance at an inworld virtual conference and education fair, where they worked on the possibilities of continuing education in Second Life.

Interested in a virtual space of your own?  Check out the properties the  NMC Virtual World Campus has to offer.

11.Oct.11 Blog Read more Comments (0)

Educators in Second Life: Arizona State University

published 21.Sep.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

Dr. Mary Stokrocki, Professor of Art Education at Arizona State, is another NMC educator using Second Life as a platform for education.

Dr. Stokrocki shares, “I use my Art Ark site on the  NMC Campus in Second Life for teaching and research in several ways:”

A.  I bring my undergrads here for a 3-hour class, like an introduction teaser in the educational possibilities of Second Life.  My site shows sculptural forms of architecture.

B.  I formulate my teaching as a series of art quests. I start at my Ark with its Turkish oriental rug where students describe, analyze, interpret,  and judge the rug while searching for its treasures. My Art Ark Sign is linked to a blog so the students can click it and open the blog in their browser.

C.  My graduate class is called Digital Ethnography and students meet in teams in a series of  quests, one of which is to interview 2 avatars. They also record behaviors and analyze their chat.  Their final project is a Powerpoint of their findings in stages.

D.  I recently finished my Art Ark Mission that I will be putting  on my whiteboard as a slide show in Second Life.

E. This all points to my research in Digital Ethnography and I completed 4 major related studies.

> Visit the Art Ark site.

Interested in virtual space of your own? Check out the properties that the NMC Virtual Worlds Campus has to offer.

21.Sep.11 Blog Read more Comment (1)

Educators in Second Life: Capella University

published 06.Sep.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

Wm. H.’Bill’ Burkett, Ph.D. of Capella University explains how  they are creatively using Second Life as an educational platform.

Capella University

Capella University’s School of Undergraduate Studies Information Technology Department is proud to be an innovator in using Second Life. One use we have for Second Life is in conducting our IT2240 Introduction to Programming. We use the Linden (Second Life) Scripting Language, which is an event driven language, as our beginning vehicle to learning  the theory of programming. On our parcel or land on the sim of  Teaching 10 in Second Life, we have several large sandboxes for our learners to use.  We have areas to gather for informal talks, a wall of distinction for past learner projects, and other areas as needed or requested.

Student learning at Capella in Second Life

We have upwards of 75  Learners at any one time in the course. Typically, we have two or three sections of the course running with approximately 20-25 in a section.  We strive to maintain a faculty presence on the parcel each day. All faculty make their contact information available as well.  The course runs 5 weeks with two 5 week sessions each quarter for an approximate total learner yearly enrollment of between 3-400 Learners a year.

In the course, we emphasize the theory of programming (pseudo code and flowcharts included) as well as the planning and actual coding and debugging of their scripts. We provide many script examples for them to learn from as well as objects to place the scripts in. They can choose to build their own object or use a ready-made one.

In addition to someone being available during the day, instructors also conduct webinars three nights a week in Second Life using the parcel, an Adobe Connect room, a conference call system and Skype.

> Visit Capella University in Second Life

Interested in Virtual Worlds space of your own?  Check out the properties that NMC Virtual Worlds has to offer.

06.Sep.11 Blog Read more Comments (0)

Educators in Second Life: Middlebury College

published 17.Aug.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

Our educators were asked to share how they are using Second Life as an educational tool, and in the coming months we will report on their exciting projects.

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE, VERMONT

Professor Maria Wololson & Joe Antoniole the Manager of Web and Interactive Media of Middlebury College did a presentation on our Middleverse project at a conference in Madison.

The project consisted of constructing a virtual social space for language acquisition. One of the questions answered in their presentation was why use virtual worlds? View the slideshow to find out the answer, and check out more presentations from Joseph Antonioli.

Middlebury not only utilizes Second Life for Language Acquisition, but they are also teaching students government.

The Terra Project is a virtual state simulation run by Professor Quinn Mecham of Middlebury College. The citizens — or students — of the Terra Project log in to Second Life in order to run for office, vote, make and enforce policy, and perform other functions of government, all within the virtual environment.

Middlebury is located on the sim of Teaching 6 on the NMC Campus.

Interested in a Virtual Worlds space of your own? Check out the available properties that the NMC Virtual World Campus has to offer.

17.Aug.11 Blog Read more Comment (1)

Immersive Experiences in Second Life

published 27.Jul.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

Part 3 of a 3-part series: A Virtual World, Endless Learning Potential

One of the greatest assets of Second Life is the ability to connect and collaborate with people from all over the world, in real time, and in the same space. “Macbeth” is a great example of an immersive art and educational experience that was a collaboration between multiple avatars. It is a space to explore, role-play, deconstruct, and reconstruct the text of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  Exploring the island allows you to experience the key milestones of Macbeth’s journey.  The project is funded by the Literature Board of the Australian Council for the Arts and sponsored by the New Media Consortium.

Upon Exploring the three-dimensional, immersive build, avatars will actually walk through scenes in the play, hear voices of professional  actors, and experience the classic story in an exciting new way.  This installation has been frequently utilized for teaching purposes in Second Life.

If my avatar were standing next to this build, I would appear to be a tiny spec in the photo.  It is a life-size build that can be explored inside and out.

Utilizing scripting tools, textures, voice capabilities and other Second Life editing tools, one can apply floating text, voices, musical composition, and more.

This is an example of one of the spaces I wandered into.  Ghostly hands reach out as words swirl around the path.  The path leads from this dark, frightening scene to light, lush rose bushes.

The collaborators, visionaries, builders and actors:

Producer: Kate Richards (Nini Dubrovny), Director: Kerreen Ely-Harper (Dorothy Porta), Virtual Worlds Content Designer: Angela Thomas (Anya Ixchel), Design Consultant:  Adam Nash (Adam Ramona), Voiceover Actors: Maggie Blinco, Boris Brkic, Ophelia of the Spirits, Christopher Morris, Alice Parkinson, and Evelyn Parsonage.

NMC Building Team:  CJ Carnot and Stella Costello

Don’t forget to read parts 1 and 2 of our online series “A Virtual World, Endless Learning Potential.

Interested in Virtual World space of your own?   Check out the open properties that the NMC Virtual World Campus has to offer.


27.Jul.11 Blog Read more Comment (1)

Art Programs in Second Life

published 20.Jul.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

Part 2 of a 3-part series: A Virtual World, Endless Learning Potential

What is a world without art? People find joy in viewing, creating, and discussing works of art. Art is a means of expression and exploration. Learning about art means becoming immersed in another culture, another time period, and at times another world.

Imagine being able to step foot into the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam…from your house. Or recreate a famous piece you’ve always longed to have in your personal collection. In Second Life, the available works of art are growing every day. Many have interactive properties that allow the avatar an entirely new experience.

The environment of Second Life is strikingly similar to the real world, but can be altered by the users, known by their avatars. Second Life features an editor that allows users to design their own experiences. Users are not constricted by the physics or improbabilities that they face in the physical world. Avatars can build anything they imagine, such as static, three-dimensional sculptures, animated and kinetic pieces, as well as completely immersive environments.

Examples of virtual art in Second Life on the NMC Virtual Worlds Campus:

This is an example of a cube-the basic building block in Second Life. It can be manipulated and transformed. Using multiple shapes, one can create such pieces as the Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David, which can be seen behind the avatar in the photo. Artist: AM Radio

Because of the ability to use scripts and animation, artists can make their pieces interactive so that avatars can explore art in ways that are impossible in exhibits outside of Second Life.

The Second Life Artist that created this three-dimensional version of Starry Nights by Vincent Van Gogh used animation so that the avatar can fly around inside the piece. Artist: Ginger Lorakeet

Another way that Second Life can be utilized for art is by users downloading their own original art into their avatars inventory to bring it inworld to display. Here, I am inside the Aho Museum located on the NMC Campus. By using inworld analytics, we can see that nearly 500 Second Life users stopped by to view the exhibit at the Aho Museum between June 6th, 2011 and June 21st, 2011. Artist: Fiona Leitner

Stay tuned for part 3 next week….

Interested in Virtual Worlds space of your own? Check out the open properties that the NMC Virtual World Campus has to offer.

20.Jul.11 Blog Read more Comment (1)

Free OpenSimulator Quick Start Guide

published 18.Jul.11 by Carol Pfeifer/Tayzia Abattoir

We are happy to share a free OpenSimulator quick start guide created by one of our very own NMC Second Life community members, David W. Deeds, Ph.D., IT Manager/Teacher of the Changchun American International School. Although the main focus of NMC Virtual Worlds is in Second Life, we realize that many educators perhaps have interest in building a virtual space on an open simulator. Download it here.

The PDF is free for anyone to use and repurpose. If you post it, please make sure to plug in the following Creative Commons License text  into your HTML page:
<a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/”><img alt=”Creative Commons License” style=”border-width:0″ src=”http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc-nd/3.0/88×31.png” /></a><br /><span xmlns:dct=”http://purl.org/dc/terms/” href=”http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/Text” property=”dct:title” rel=”dct:type”>OpenSimulator: School Quick Start Guide</span> by <a xmlns:cc=”http://creativecommons.org/ns#” href=”www.caischina.org” property=”cc:attributionName” rel=”cc:attributionURL”>Changchun American International School</a> is licensed under a <a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/”>Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License</a>.

18.Jul.11 Blog Read more Comments (0)