Monday, February 23, 2009

@ITC eLearning 2009- No Sandbox Hours this week

The team is attending ITC eLearning 2009 this week, presenting tomorrow as one of the final sessions in what has been an incredibly rich conference, attending to our OCCDLA quarterly reporting, and meeting the state community college librarians on Friday. Because we're especially busy getting through this week's first life requirements, we are unable to schedule drop in help.

Don't worry, assistance time will return next week!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

SL Tip: Give an Item

Thanks to Wa Nootan for asking about this week's tip! When you want to give someone else in Second Life something, you can do it a couple of ways:

1) Drag the item from your inventory onto the other person. If you have permission to transfer the object, they will receive either the item itself if its a "no copy" original, or more likely, a copy of the original item from your inventory.

2) You can give items to anyone on or offline by opening their profile (if they are on your contacts list you click the "Communicate" button to find them, or if you don't know them but know their avatar name, you can click the "Search" button, and then use the "People" tab to search for anyone in the system by their avatar name. Once you've found them and have their profile open, you can drag an item (notecard, object, script, texture, etc.) to the "Give Item" field on their profile (see the graphic above)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Embodiment and Collaboration- How Second Life and Twitter Complement

Stargazer Blazer, DharmaPuppy and I are working on Avatar Boot Camp for ITC next weekend, and we’re wanting to use Fleep Tuque’s pre-made avatar shapes at ITC’s Avatar Boot camp next Saturday, and it dawns on me as I go out to tweet our needs to Fleep- both these technologies are about communicating with communities of practice for me, but they operate to connect me to groups and goals in a very different way- and it has to do with embodiment.

When I am standing in SL with an avatar in a space, I generally know by our proximity and engagement in the environment that the human behind the keyboard is there, on task, and probably engaging in the same goals that I am if we’re working together. Our avatars give me immediate feedback and make me feel like I am in a place and a space with someone, and if I chat type or say something in that environment, I am expecting immediate feedback from the avatar I’m chatting with. Twitter gives me access to a lot of the same people as Second Life- most SL’rs I know also tweet. But when I in this instance have to go out and tweet Fleep to use her skins, I know that her likely answer will be “yes”, as she’s given them out in world as a courtesy, but the copies Stargazer Blazer have are no transfer- that indicates to me like a creative commons license use item, the content creator probably wants communication about the object’s intended use, if you aren’t going to take it and personally use it yourself. If Fleep’s avatar were standing here with us, we would know by her presence and participation that we share goals and can gain ground on them succinctly. When I tweet to her, I may wait forever for an answer, and don’t know if she was likely present to receive it. So having both Second Life and Twitter to connect to her, I can either ask to meet her in SL for immediate needs, or tweet her so that she can get back to me on her own time. In this case, there’s no immediate need, so Twitter fits the bill. (Socially, Twitter adds lots of other dimensions too, but that’s another post. ;))

Embodiment in an avatar seems to give me communication expectations from others in the system when we are both present with each other. If Rovai identifies reducing transactional distance between instructors and learners as good for building learning community*, I think this example of transactional distance in Second Life vs Twitter is a good one to illustrate how being an avatar with your students could help them become more engaged in what you have to teach them – what do you think?

*see for Rovai.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cascades Fire Pit- Temporarily Disabled

If you come on to the island between now and next Friday (2.20) you may notice a few changes, that could be a little jarring and make the place not look like what it did the last time you were here. We're doing some island upgrades- starting with our Cascades meeting area. Regulus is hunting for an upgraded fire pit, and we've cleared out the trees for now to allow for designing room.

Don't worry, even if there's no fire pit Monday, we can still meet! :)

p.s. Thanks to DharmaPuppy Pink Lady for keeping the island festive through the VDay season!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SL Tip: Explore freely without showing group affiliation.

When you are out and about freely exploring Second Life, please keep in mind that when you are displaying your OCCDLA group affiliation, you are in essence a representative of our institutions. Of course, things are a little different in virtual spaces- in the physical world, we don't go around with glowing tags over our heads. (Though, as a teacher, don't you sometimes wish?) Luckily in Second Life, you can also turn off your group affiliation display.

** TO Show NO Group Affiliation

1) Right click on your avatar and select "Groups."

2) when your list of current groups is displayed, the one that is currently active is bold. Select "none" at the top of the list, and then click the "Activate" button.

The "OCCDLA" label will disappear from above your head. When you come back to the island (or explore other non-mature content or Ed spaces where you will want to share your affiliation information) Be sure to go back in and re-select the OCCDLA group as active- being a group member gives you additional OR CC Isle privileges. And as always, if you have questions? Bring them to the island team!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

SL Tip: Stop SL Emails, and say "I'm busy" automatically.

(First- a HUGE shout out of "Mahalo Nui Loa!" to the amazing group of instructors through OCCDLA that have just become avatars. There aren't words to express how proud I am of everyone jumping in and learning this technology together. With each session I learned so many things along with you, I'm still sifting it all out in my head! Common threads are emerging to illuminate ways I and the core team can help us all to become the teacher avatars we can dream to be. KUDOS to the wonderful crew who trained our new instructors right along with me- DharmaPuppy PinkLady, Ruby Sol, Regulus Darkstone, Faolan Young- you my friends, are avatar Rock Stars. :)

Ok, enough gushing, I just can't help it. You had to be there, maybe next time you will be!

Onto what I intend to be an ongoing tip series- first I'll be addressing questions that were asked by a few of you, so stay tuned for the bite sized way to keep gaining Second Life skills. In this tip- Stopping those Second Life emails from coming to your inbox, and letting people know when you're in world and on task that you'll be happy to chat with them at a later time.

Lets face it, we all have busy in-boxes! So,check out the graphic above- remember, you get to your Preferences menu from Edit>>Preferences or Ctrl+P (Cmd+P for Mac.) Once you open the preferences window, go to the "Communication" Tab, and make un-check the box next to "send IM to Email(your email address will display here). That stops Second Life from sending messages to your in-box. They will instead wait for you in Second Life, at least, a maximum of 25 of them will. When you get message 26, the oldest drops off the list. So if you really need someone to be able to give you a communication in Second Life, make sure to have them write you a note card, and give it to your avatar- those are stored until the person you're giving the note to logs in next.

Also on the Communications tab is a handy "Busy Mode Respose", that you can write a custom message in to let people know that you're currently heads down, trying to get something done. To set your avatar in busy mode, just go up under the World menu and select "Set Busy". Then, when other people try to IM (instant message) you in Second Life, your pre-written response is returned to them, and messages are stored until you click the "set not busy" button at the bottom of your Second Life viewer window.

Got any questions? Be sure to check out our island calendar for drop in times, swing by our meetings at the fire pit Mondays at 2, or drop me a line at PCC.