December 11, 2011

Working as an expert advisor at Flat Classroom Project

I have been involved in Flat Classroom Project for about 2 months as an expert advisor. It’s the first time I work with Flat Classroom Project. I felt excited as well as challenged at the first beginning. For one thing, I am confident in technology. For another, although the responsibility of expert advisor is defined in FCP as “Your job is to provide feedback and point out resources to the team”, I didn’t quite sure what I should do can really benefit students. What kind of feedback I should provide? Waiting for students’ questions? Or participating in their activities to offer the support initiatively? How could I know what they need? And I found many of my classmates had same questions as I did.

After registration, I chose group 7- in-forming- “Google take over the world” to work with in consideration of the widespread use of Google around the world. Most kids today have experience to use Goolge tools to support their learning. Obviously, Google is widely recognized. My initial idea was to help students learn about how to use Google tools more effectively and efficiently through my technical support.

The old saying goes, “It is the first step that is troublesome.”  Fortunately, soon after I posted my introduction to both Ning and my group wiki, I received students’ responses. They introduced themselves to me as well as added me to their friend list. It was really a good beginning. But I still didn’t get the idea how the students collaborate at FCP until I received a question from a 14 years old girl. She needed a direction for reference because this was her first time working with FCP as well.  Although I didn’t do much for her, I got an opportunity to observe how they started as a new group. The students under GGL topic were signed to 6 subgroups. Each subgroup was responsible for updating an assigned part of GGL wiki. They posted question, discussed with their peers about the content and shared sources in the GGL wiki discussion board. The discussion within each subgroup lasted for about a week.

The world is flat. Technology connected information and resources all around the world. I am glad to have the opportunity to be part of FCP and see how students work in this flat world. However, there still are some questions remained in my mind. Was the entire projection all done by collaborating online?  Were the students within each subgroup from the same school or diffent one? Because it seemed like some parts of discussion and collaboration didn’t exist in FCP discussion board or Ning. Did they use other tools to communicate with each other or just meet face to face ?

December 8, 2011

Second Life - creating your own notecard

Now, it's the time to sort out our Landmarks.

Since we have visited a lot of places in Second Life, there are a lot landmarks in our inventory. You might not be able to remember all the names of the island that you have visited. And you are going to have more landmarks as long as you continue with your adventure in SL. Look at our landmark folder, messy, right? You  don't even remember the theme of the island even though they are all your favorate places. Like you have to organize the bookmarking of your internet browser regularly in order to use them efficiently, it's nice to sort our those landmarks. Dr.Z's video tutorial will tell you how to do so.

I've created my own notecard. What about you?  Why don't we share our notecard with others? There may be someone who is interested in those places and it's very nice that we can find someone shares the same interests and hobbies. We are creating a chance to communicate with people who have something in common with us around the globe . Don't you feel excieted about that?

My notecard is about art and architecture. Have fun!  :-) ( Click to the name of places, then you will be linked to the places.)

It's a place full with QING MING Dynasty style architecture.

A Gallery of Unique Paintings.

(東海道画廊) Featuring original art depicting traditional and modern Japan. A cultural centre created by artist Steadman Kondor.

The most beautiful designed islands in Secondlife featuring a stunning replica of the Great Wall of China. Built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire. The scenery is one of the best in Secondlife.

A beautiful place with an amazing castle and a pleasure ground.

Palo Verde National Park has a uniquely dichotomous character.  It’s simultaneously a spectacular wetlands and one of the best examples of tropical dry forests remaining anywhere in the world.

A land with some different style places.

A once great city where the prosperous residents were served by the miraculous mechanical automatons. The people have long since disappeared, but the automatons remained and still take care of the crumbling stone walls, abandoned halls and rusty fences.

Luxembourg City, the 1000 year old fortress that was called the 'Gibraltar of the north', with its battlements, bridges and valleys is an outright challenge for construction in Secondlife.

Exclusive designs include Reale, Art Body Store, Everglow, Nikita Fride, Yulicie, Magenta, PurpleMoon, Loordes of London, Censored, Shush, American Bazaar, Azoury, Indyra Originals, Shiki and Nemesis.

December 3, 2011

My impression about Second Life

So far, I’ve been involved in Second Life for about 1 month.  I was so excited at the beginning of the game even though I totally didn’t have an idea what I should do with it. Although it is not the first online game I have played, it’s quite different from others.  Second life is a well-designed and user friendly game. In this virtual reality, people are able to build their own avatar, setting and changing the appearance and outfit according to their preferences. Avatars can walk, run, sit, fly in the virtual world and talk to each other with typing or through voice.

Although Second Lift is often considered a game, I didn’t see the common characteristics of a game within it, such as game points, plot points, winner, loser, levels, tasks or final strategy. So I couldn’t do anything more except walking around some island at the beginning.  After initial novelty faded, I felt kinda bored. I think nobody would enjoy doing anything without a clear goal.

My view began to change when I met some people in Second Life. One of them was a professor who teaches Biology in a university. Interestingly, it seems veterans are always willing to take care of novices in any game, even if they don’t know each other. And I am lucky enough to meet an educator who uses Second Life in his classroom.  He showed me around his island and explained to me how he used this 3D-dimentional world to interact with his students and his colleagues. How students complete their assignment and what materials he used to enrich the course content. It’s really an impressive and enjoyable tour with a tourist guide who is nice and patient. When I asked him whether there were many professors in his university used second life, he told me just a few. He spent a couple of weeks on building his island but more than one year on learning how to do so. It surprised me a lot.  I think many teachers would rethink about whether it’s worth doing if a course planning is so time-consuming. It’s fact that to teachers, effectiveness and efficiency is the major factors for them to choose a teaching tool.

 Laboratory: where student use microscope to watch slices and use tools do various experiments.

 Virtual Cell: it's easy for students to understand composition of a cell and how moleculars work.

In the following weeks’ activities, I had more chance to explore SL by myself. Actually, I invited one of my friends to join my tour. Through achieving the goal of each section, we were both amazed about people’s creativity. After gaming, I searched information about Second Life by Chinese search engine. It showed that educators in China had already used SL to assist their teaching. It was what I hadn’t expected. Because most social networking services in China were designed for entertainment. According to the report, SL is often used in teaching subjects such as linguistics, astronomy, medicine, business, literature, are and design, biology, history, ecology and tourism. The common feature of these subjects is that they all require students’ practice or real-life experience to achieve a good learning outcome. SL’s virtual reality environment and innovative tools enable teachers and students to develop various activities that help students understand the connection between theory and practice, facilitating the application of their new skills and knowledge in the classroom as well.

The experience in SL is really eye-opening to me. But it still has some problems when integrate into education. I will continue my tour in SL and make clear how much I can do and what difficulties I will encounter when designing an online learning environment with SL.

November 29, 2011

My tour in SL- Hosoi Ichiba Island

I choosed art and architecture as the keyword of my self-guided tour in SL. SL is a good place where young artist and those students with art major can showcase their work as well as appreciate and get inspiration from others' work of arts.  And I'd like to see how artists build their own islands.  I found some awesome islands during the travel. Hosio Ichiba is one of them.

Hosoi Ichiba is a beautiful Japanese style Island. This is an island full of artistic. There are a lot of well-designed furnitures and adornments here.

Let me show you around the island.

 Much like in China, red represents happiness in Japan. The red lanterns are also the sign of Asia culture.

 These are Chinese style ink painting.

 Ukiyoe - Japanese style painting.

 Various buddha statue.

 The lanterns for prayer. This is a traditional Japanese customs.

 In front of the door of basement, there is a buddha statue on either side.

 The basement.

 A variety of Japanese-style paper umbrellas for sale.

 Japanese style screen

Japanese costume

 Wood bridge.

 Have a rest.


 The bridges with different styles.

 Japan's national flower - Sakura.

Ancient Japanese house.
It's the most beautiful island I've been so far. This island displays Japanese culture and art in a very comprehensive way. Do you like it?

Learn as a novice in Second Life - Lionheart Orientation Island

Like most MMORPG ( massively multiplayer online role-playing games) have a novice training ground, Lionheart Orientation Island is a place for new players to learn the basic skills in SL.

Let's go with me.

 This is the entrance of the first orientation center.

The instructon on the wall is about how to move in SL.

 Chatting. Talk to the owl, and it will respond to you words. So cool, isn't it?

 I was moving the ball according to the direction.

 Fly to next page

Congratulations ! We completed the primary learning course. Then we are going to open the door and go to the next building.

  On the way to second orientation center.

The media introduction of Second Life. 

Ok, let's enter the buidling to see what we will learn the next step.
 Tired and need to have a rest? All right, Let's sit and talk. Here we learn how to sit.

 Now you wanna buy some clothes and something to decorate your island? Need Linden Dollar ? Go and change some.

 The inventory. All your assets are here, which is like your purse. Go and see what's inside your purse.

 Now we changed some Linden Dolla, wanna try to buy something?

 The transporation in SL is convenient. You can either fly or teleport to anywhere you want to go. But I think it is too tired to fly a long distance. And we need a landmark to go to certain island. It's very easy to create a landmark, right?

We already completed the learning in the first floor. Go upstairs!

 Too laud music? too quiet ?  Go to the menu My world -preference to customize you music streams.

Eventually, we completed all learning, go to grab some gifts for yourself.  You are qualified to graduate from novice training center and are able to live independently. Enjoy your time in SL.:)