Archive for March, 2008

Published by Joe Sanchez on 07 Mar 2008

Tyra’s Virtual Studio

Tyra's virtual studio

Tyra banks recently launched her own virtual world called Tyra’s Virtual Studio I saw a short commercial for it while i was flipping channels and my curiosity got the best of me so I had to check it out. Luckily they have an Alpha version for Mac OSX which worked fine on my laptop. Tyra’s world is very comic book like. The avatars look like flash renderings and the bodies are outlined with thick black lines. Once you get into the world it is very easy to navigate with an avatar but teleporting seemed to take a long time.

There is a lot of commercial media in Tyra’s Studio. The browser/client runs a media player while you explore the world and the player shows you the artist and album of any songs that play. Users can even rate songs as they play in the media player. I liked that feature a lot. There have been many times i have been in SL and i wanted to know the name of a song but there was no way of finding it. I was on at 3:30 am CST and their were many people hanging around chatting and dancing. I didn’t see any camping chairs : )

The world seems small and that is likely the reason the world seemed so heavily populated. I only spent about 30 minutes exploring so my observations are very limited in scope. The avatar gestures were easy to use and they had plenty of options for a noob. The dancing was much smoother than i have seen in Sl and the default dances, about 25 or so, were well made and actually looked like REAL dancing. I made a short video of my experience.

Published by Joe Sanchez on 07 Mar 2008

Report from the Trenches: Teaching Second Life

My students begin spring break today which is great for me because while they all head south to the beaches on South Padre Island I get to stay home in student-free Austin and attend SXSW. Since we have almost hit the midpoint in the semester i thought now is a good time to share some of the work they have been doing in my Working in Virtual Worlds Class.

Tasks completed so far in SL:

1. Get to the island

2. Claim a condo

3. Use their condo to tell a story

4. Give a tour of their condo to the class and tell their story

5. Build a flag that waves in the wind, a bench, and send a postcard and notecard

6. Create a group and take the class on a tour of an SL location

7. use a 4096m plot of land and create a scene with a group.

#7 was just completed on Tuesday, mind you, they have had weekly readings, weekly 350 word blog posts, and a test already this semester. Here are the instructions i gave for #7.

In your teams I want you to create something with your land. You will need a theme, an entry point, some type of navigation, and something interactive or a “feature”. Think back to the tours, Mercedes had a car to drive, Mexico had a pyramid etc.. what will be your group feature? We will spend 15 minutes in your space on Tuesday March 2 so have stuff for us to do.

I basically handed over 1/4 sim to four student groups. They have complete access to terraform, build, script anything they want. After a weeks worth of work they created a Winter Wonderland, A Wild West Town, A forest sanctuary, and a tropical beach. I made a quick and dirty 2 minute screen capture of the class on tuesday. Take a look and see what they did.

Published by Joe Sanchez on 06 Mar 2008

Re: 21st Century Learners

Nathan Lowell, a resident of the Educators Coop, author, budding internet superstar,  and all around great guy just posted this video Re:21st Century Learners on youtube. 

 I love this video Nathan, you have given us a lot to think about here. To learn more about Nathan’s work you may want to start with Quarter Share. It is the first audio book in a series and can be downloaded for free. Actually you can download all of the books from the site…See yall at SXSW!joe