Category Archives: faculty

new SL® viewer offers “display names”

As noted in this recent blog post, the most recent Second Life viewer allows you to choose a name to display with your avatar. Previously, you could only display your avatar name, which could be confusing to colleagues and students, “Hey, it’s me, really.” Now, you can edit your profile, adding a name you prefer to display. As you can see in this snapshot, I changed my display name to Dr. Pittman. You can also still see my avatar name–Grinn Pidgeon–but that’s a choice. In my preferences, I opted to show both. You can show one or the other, both or neither.

Some educators will always want to be known by their real names; others prefer that you learn to know them as their avatars. I’ve been Grinn Pidgeon since 2006 and think it’s kind of odd to see my real name there, but I’ll try it for a while to see how it feels. What do you think you would do? Would you want to ask your students to show their real names or a “course” name that you pick for them?

Tri-C Virtual Travel Agency

Been working on the travel agency on our land, where you can find a variety of landmark packages to copy to your inventory. Organized by categories such as Art and Museums, Educational Campuses, and simply interesting landmarks, for example, there are plenty to get you started in some Second Life® travels that might inspire you to create an educational assignment for your class, or just help you have fun in Second Life.

There are also some builder tools and landmarks to well-known Sandboxes where you can practice building something. If you are new to the Viewer2, there is a landmark to one of the new Viewer2 Tips islands where you can get your bearings in the new standard viewer. Of course, if you are new to Second Life, it’s all new to you!

Finally, the Second Life Destination Guide URL is running on a screen, and you can interact with it as you would any Web site on a browser. Still under construction, the travel agents (that would be me and Kevin) are taking requests for other landmarks and travel materials you might think of.

Update: I added the Second Life wiki on a third screen. These areas are under construction and will change regularly.

what’s been going on?

If you haven’t looked at our Second Life space, please do visit (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Outreach/218/215/28). Still in progress, we have the basic campus setup, with a floating campus center, an homage to the raised Metro campus (without the parking underneath LOL), composed of three lobes, representing the three campuses. The three spaces are set up for a variety of uses: presentations, meetings, information. On the ground underneath the center is open ground with teleporters to faculty sandboxes. We may add more content there, but we are trying to save prims to allow faculty to practice building. Next to the campus center is an informal gathering space, comprised of three seating areas on the ground, with water views, and a more-private floating pod. I hope you notice that the campus has a futuristic design in white and glass–why would we want to replicate real life in a virtual world? I have been influenced by models from the 1964 New York World’s Fair, specifically the Futurama display, and I even included a little of what is called Googie Architecture–the architecture that gave rise to those tailfins on cars and the skewed geometric designs of some early drive-in restaurants and motels. The original, and more traditionally designed sandbox, with wrought iron fencing and lamp posts, still resides on the far end of our space–not sure what we will do with that.

We recently conducted three workshops, two for beginners, and another for building basics. Everyone built a replica of the pavilion and flagpole you see here. It seems like a small, uncomplicated item, but it required learning most of the basics of the SL building tools. You can still see the original on the Eastern Campus sandbox.

The campus sandboxes are in the sky, BTW, to keep the main campus area neat. Keep an eye out for more workshops, including repeats of the originals.

what to do, what to do?

I’ll be giving a Second Life demo and discussion for a few interested faculty on 11/20 at the Metro campus. So much to see, so little time. Where to begin and end? I don’t want to overwhelm the audience, as I’ve been known to do, and I want to be able to respond to suggestions.

Brainstorming:

  • short trip around the learning spaces on the island I designed at my previous job to make some points about creating an environment that engages students
  • a brief look at well-known educational spaces, like Genome island, the Sistine Chapel replica, something that Desideria Stockton has done with literature, maybe ISTE headquarters
  • Discussion of costs of purchasing and buiding one’s own space