Thursday, November 5, 2009
A Messy Sandbox is a Happy Sandbox.
We had PCC's Walter Morales' CIS 133G- Computer Game Programming class on the island yesterday. Each fall and spring DharmaPuppy PinkLady and I do a session for the game programming students, most of who haven't actually had experience with Second Life or heard of it. They are intrigued by the concept, but also expressed the sentiment of virtual spaces being a time sink. I don't think that will be the case for kids used to playing in these spaces so they already have avatar skills, but I do wonder about how mental play in virtual spaces via embodiment paralells or differs from physical play in learning?
We didn't get as far with this larger group- there was more technical time needed to get everyone on board, and then more requests around the classroom leads to not moving as far forward in the session as I thought we might. Everyone seemed to pretty rapidly start expressing with their avatars- two students stood around and did a stooping dance together in their boxer shorts, boots and helmets. It was a funny moment that gave me a chance to talk to the group about asking themselves as they did certain things like the squat dance- how does this make 'me' feel? In this sense, who is 'me'? As game programmers, I reminded them that this experience design was something that they had to think about when creating their own games, and I think that resonated with them.
Great stuff! I always love being in the classroom with people exploring Second Life for the first time- the students are an especially fun view, they seem to be less inhibited than instructors when it comes to being expressive through their avatars quickly, so you never know what student sessions are going to bring.
Great thanks to DharmaPuppy and her pink beacon of hair- it's easy for the newbies to follow. :)