February 22, 2008
Brown Bag Notes: January 18, 2008 - Research in Second Life
Seluj Pelous & Friend
UM Block M Sweater, appropriate for the cold and snowy weather we were having.
Teachers starter kit from Desideria Stockton
InfoIsland Tour w/ Rolig Loon
* Research issues in Second Life
- Research intense sims
* Nanotechnology Island
- Teaching research skills
* Genome Island
- Using SL to do actual research
* Virtual Hallucinations
+ "They created a build that teaches awareness of what it is like to be schizophrenic by simlulating the hallucinations. You walk through and experience a little of what it is like."
+ "The voices creep me out."
+ "they also WARN people clearly what to expect and how to turn off the voices if they bother you."
+ advocacy / consumer health education / intervention / research
+ Pretest / posttest
+ model for social science research in SL, well done
- IRBs and SL
* Description of research project proposed, modeled partly on Virtual Hallucinations for advocacy and information about facial difference
* Some places, they are having trouble explaining SL to the IRB folk
* Linden Lab's research approval process: http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life_Research
- How are RL researchers using SL?
* teaching about research
* remote attendance at events (meetings, presentations)
* sharing / socializing / collaborating
* doing actual research and accumulating data, usually in the social sciences
- Why SL?
* Why use SL for research?
+ "work needs to be done before survey instruments & data collection processes can be adapted to SL"
+ "e.g. in Cognition & Perception research, a lot of instruments depend on subject reaction time"
* Why are you personally in SL? What do you hope to get from it?
+ meet people from around the world
+ attend conferences and presentations
+ learning and personal development
+ interested in using SL for education, search instruction classes
+ "looking for ways to make the distance learning environment better than powerpoints with audio"
+ alternative to webinars
+ "I feel less compelled to multitask while attending a SL event, compared to a Centra/Webex conference"
* SL Cons
+ "I get a little bored when I am just typing and reading in SL."
+ "learning curve for second life is difficult also and you can't really get people who have not used it before to become efficient enough to attend"
+ "is it realistic to attract people who have never used second life to attend classes there?"
+ "trying to set things up to do stuff is so much harder on the teacher"
* Could we have students do research in SL?
+ simulations / collaborations
+ what resources would be needed?
+ discussion of Genome Island
+ "team project work (game design, softtware engineering, user interface design) many teams have both in class and distance learning students on them"
+ collaborative problem solving (divided teams: half do planning, other half do building)
+ many places using powerpoint for instruction, just like in RL
+ "research projects in using immersive environments to provide interfaces to information repositories"
* What about voice chat?
+ "I don't like it"
+ "found it confusing"
+ audio problems:
- with conversations -- voices overlap near and distant and it can be confusing
- wonderful for presentations, bad for discussions
- unable to configure it to work on a mac laptop with a small keyboard
- folks in voice utterly ignore all IM and chat communications
- Takes a really high powered set up to archive in the way chatlogs are archiveable
- I've been places where someone accidentally hit their trigger key and broadcast a private conversation from RL into SL
- I haven't ever attended a voice presentation where someone in the audience didn't complain about the audio
- "so there are no "moderator" type controls, like in telephone conference calls?"
- "If everyone was crystal clear on the mechanics, and agreed to follow Robert's Rules of Order, then it would probably work well for discussion."
February 13, 2008
How to ... Make a SLURL
SLURLs are Second Life URLs (URL=Uniform Resource Locator). They are incredibly useful when you want to help someone else find a place you are talking about in Second Life. How a SLURL works is that people can click on it from a web page (outside of Second Life) or in a notecard or chat window (in Second Life), and then teleport to the location. If you are outworld, the SLURL first takes you to a page with a map of the general location, opens the SL browser, and then teleports you to the location. See? It does it for you!
There are few different ways to make a SLURL. The standard way is from the Map.
1. Go to the location you have in mind.
2. Open the Map (bottom button bar in the SL browser, on the right hand side).
3. Choose "Copy SLURL to Clipboard"
4. Go to either a notecard or text editor (like Microsoft Word, WordPad, or BBEdit), and then paste the SLURL.
That works just fine, usually, but for me, I find it a bit cumbersome. I prefer to simply type the SLURL myself. Here is an example for the Wolverine Campfire location.
Wolverine campfire: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Wolverine/39/193/27
Notice that every SLURL has the same structure. You can use that structure to paste in the required elements. Here is the anatomy of a SLURL.
Add name of Island/SIM (use %20 in place of space to join names with multiple parts):
Add coordinates in the order given on the top bar of the SL browser with slashes in between each part:
Please notice that a final trailing slash is optional.
February 12, 2008
Upcoming SLUM Events
Upcoming events for the SLUM Brown Bag series. To participate, you must join the Wolverine-Community group in Second Life. To join, please IM Memetic Projects or send email to Marc Stephens.
The standard Date/Time/Place for SLUM Brown Bag events is Fridays at 9am SLT or noon EST at the
Wolverine campfire: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Wolverine/39/193/27
Gathering time is from the hour to ten after with the main event time beginning at ten after.
February 15: Discussion: Games, Games, Games!
Meet in Second Life at the Wolverine Island Campfire for a discussion of games and gaming in education and in Second Life.
February 22: Invited Speaker: JJ Drinkwater
Master Drinkwater is the Head Librarian for the Caledon Libraries in Second Life, chief of which is the Whitehorn Memorial Library. Master Drinkwater is an alumni of the School of Information at the University of Michigan and will speak on community building and engagement in Second Life. Previous blog entry here.
February 29: Tour: Play2Train
Rameshsharma Ramloll of the Idaho State University faculty will provide a tour of the Play2Train sim in Second Life. Play2Train provides emergency preparedness training for responders through "a virtual training space in SecondLife designed to support Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), Simple Triage Rapid Transportation (START), Risk Communication and Incident Command System (ICS) Training." http://play2train.hopto.org/
February 10, 2008
Wiki about Health in Second Life founded by UM Second Lifer
Slide presentation with script available at the SLHealthy wiki:
February 07, 2008
Brown Bag Friday: Tour: InfoIsland International
The Brown Bag this Friday will be a tour of InfoIsland International, hosted by Rolig Loon. This whirlwind global tour will show both beautiful SL builds and how these are used to provide immersive language and culture educational experiences. More information attached.
Friday, February 8, 2008
9:00-9:50 SLT / 12:00-12:50 EST
Info Island International is designed as a gateway to your international experience in Second Life. Its primary theme, world languages and cultures, is expressed through exhibit and meeting areas as well as periodic events such as special lectures, exhibitions, and performances. We hope that the island appeals particularly to educators, in addition to those interested in personal enrichment and relaxation.
All visitors arriving by teleport land at the main greeting area at the north margin of the island. An array of resource information about International and nearby islands on the Alliance Information Archipelago is available there through posters, monitors and notecard vendors. A volunteer library staffer is often on duty to answer questions. Immediately to the east of the main greeting area is a new social pavilion, where visitors are invited to join in conversation, dancing, or other friendly activity.
The large building at the center of the island, visible at the opposite end of the Exhibition Concourse south of the greeting area, is the SL headquarters of the Alliance Library System. ALS provides monetary and logistical support for much of the work on the archipelago. There are no permanent educational displays in the building.
The Exhibition Concourse is a venue for periodic art displays or celebrations. It is also the launch site for an automated tour car, which offers visitors a brief aerial overview of the island.
The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) kiosk sponsored by the University of Texas at Arlington, is approximately 25m east of the greeting area. Staff from the UT program are frequently available to offer information about GIS and to consult on potential projects.
International House, in the extreme northeastern corner of International, is a meeting and events facility, ideal for small groups or faculty consultation. Coffee and donuts are always available in the semi-private seminar area on the second floor.
Just to the south, International Plaza offers space for exotic languages and cultures. Colorful posts at the entrance to the plaza and each of the areas around the island provide landmarks to an array of international sims in SL. The Plaza is currently home to a Tibetan Lessons booth and another on Lakhota Language. The Tibetan Lessons booth showcases an on-going project that enables students without access to a Tibetan language classroom to teach themselves to read and speak Tibetan. One component, for example, is a box for teaching the thirty consonants. Students choose a consonant from the menu and the box displays the consonant on all six faces and plays the sound. The default texture of the box shows all thirty consonants, so that students can test themselves when they have memorized the alphabet. Other objects teach syllables, words, sentences, grammar, and dialogues. The Lakhota booth offers linguistic and cultural information, links to video and audio files, and a chat-driven English-Lakhota glossary.
Information resources about the culture, architecture and music of Portuguese speaking countries - called "lusophone nations" - are at the Portuguese language area, next around the eastern perimeter. Resources include notecards and database links to information about Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé e Príncipe, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and East Timor.
The Spanish language/culture area includes a park with an attractive fountain and a Mexican-style cantina, called Mi Pueblo. The cantina is a relaxed gathering place for conversation and learning, and a focal point for cultural events highlighting the Hispanic world. Several celebrations are held each year to coincide with festival times in Spanish-speaking countries. Embedded notecards in artwork and other artifacts in the area offer information about geography and language.
Continuing clockwise, the French-speaking area is the first of several along the island's southern border. The Pavilion de la Culture Francophone highlights men and women who have contributed to the popular culture of the French-speaking world in the 20th and 21st centuries. It features photos and biographies of writers, performing artists, designers, and others. Objects elsewhere in the area offer vignettes of linguistic and cultural interest.
The Italian area, next to the west, offers an ever-changing array of language and cultural resources, including links to a network of Italian-speaking language mentors in SL. An open-air restaurant/trattoria set among olive trees is surrounded by objects that offer notecards of historic, cultural, or linguistic interest.
Immediately behind the ALS building, and next on a clockwise walk around the island, is a plaza focused on the English-speaking world. Monitors offer links to electronic resources, and script in the large fountain and flagpoles provide information about the English language and its spread in the world.
Situated further across the southern border, the Dutch area resembles a friendly town square somewhere in the Netherlands or Belgium, where you can learn about wooden clogs, colorful tulips and eating herring. From a pier at the waters edge, you can feed ducks in the summer and skate in the winter. Seasonal displays of festival posters and artwork offer a window into the cultural heritage of Dutch-speaking peoples. Permanent displays provide landmarks for visiting wonderful cities such as Amsterdam and Brugges elsewhere in SL.
The Scandinavian area features a house in traditional yellow and lilac colors, set among lindens and fir trees. It is the focal point for information about the cultures of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. A permanent display under development in early 2008 will offer brief biographies of notable Scandinavian scientists, engineers, and inventors.
The German House, at the extreme southwestern corner of the island, celebrates literature, arts, and music from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The reception and seminar room on the ground floor is lined with reproductions of paintings, each offering a biography of the artist. The Musik Salon on the second floor, similarly, displays photos and embedded biographies of German-speaking composers. Visitors may enjoy listening to selected piano and cello music.
The Japanese area is a peaceful walled garden along the island's western border, meticulously designed to include horticultural and architectural features of a private Japanese home.
China Café, a four-story classical building just to the north of the Japanese garden, was created to provide English language instruction to Chinese persons, to share information about Chinese culture with an international audience, and to promote opportunities for conversational English using voice features in Second Life. The main floor of the China Cafe is the Dragon Garden which features three different kinds of authentic Chinese tea and relaxed areas for conversation. The first floor above is Deer Park, a classroom with seating for about twenty students. The second floor is the Crane Hall, a library and exhibition area. On the third floor is the Unicorn Palace, a small meeting and commerce area. On the roof is Phoenix Landing, an area for tai chi exercise and mediation. China Café offers weekly seminars on Chinese culture, and operates a web site at http://chinacafe.cuipblogs.org .
Completing the circumferential tour of the island is a large suspension bridge over a broad lake, serving as a visual metaphor to celebrate the stateless people of the world. Embedded notecards on the bridge offer historical and political perspectives on the meaning of stateless identity, and cultural overviews of selected populations.
In addition to the language-themed areas described above, Info Island International also offers a large performance area (the Fusion Stage) with circumferential seating, suitable for open-air theatre and dance events, as well as a small cloistered amphitheatre that is ideal for seminar presentations. There are also several relaxing park areas around the island, each of which provides a pleasant atmosphere for contemplation.