Published by Joe Sanchez on 08 Apr 2009

Learning and Role-play April 15 at 6:00pm SLT

Role play in Second Life
April 15 at 6SLT I will be leading an interactive discussion about the use of role-playing for learning in Second Life at ALA Island . During the event we will participate in a role-playing activity so I ask that attendees come dressed as a favorite historical figure. We won’t be judging the avatars so homemade, default, slider-type avatars will be fine. This is a learning experience so please don’t feel the need to purchase a new avatar and by all means don’t be embarrassed if your avatar doesn’t look as good as you like. As you will see, role-play is more about being able to “play” the role rather than looking the part.

I think this will be a fun event and will get us (educators in SL) away from the typical slide show and lecture format that currently dominates educational events in SL. At the event, ALA Tech Source will have a Chapter of “Virtual Worlds: Ideas, Challenges and Innovations” available for free!

From the Tech Source Blog

ALA TechSource is proud to present our first virtual world event—a discussion of virtual worlds, libraries and education with Second Life expert Joe Sanchez. Sanchez, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, is the author of February’s issue of Library Technology Reports, “Virtual Worlds: Ideas, Challenges and Innovations”.

Please join us on the ALA Island on Wednesday, April 15 at 6:00pm SLT for an exclusive interactive discussion and presentation of his work. We’ll be discussing virtual worlds and their potential to impact library service and freedom of information, as well as Joe’s work with LIS students using Second Life. One of the topics discussed will be role-playing in virtual worlds, so we are asking all participants to come dressed as their favorite historical figure!

Published by Joe Sanchez on 02 Mar 2009

Second Life Report published

Implementing Second Life: Ideas, Challenges and Innovations

In October i wrote an issue of Library Technology Reports about some of my research in Second Life. The Issue, Implementing Second Life: Ideas, Challenges and Innovations is now available through the ALA TechSource Bookstore. In the report I identify the Second Life learning curve and how the learning curve creates barriers to student learning. I also discuss ways that i have designed curriculum to overcome the learning curve with specific examples from K-12 – higher education. A former student of mine and my current TA guest authors a chapter about libraries in SL. Her chapter is one of the few pieces I have read that that pushes back against some of the common held beliefs about building a library presence in SL. The editor of LTR says

In this issue of Library Technology Reports, virtual world virtuoso Joe Sanchez takes us beyond a mere exploration of Second Life and looks at the history of virtual worlds and how educators have used them as tools for learning in the twenty-first century. Sanchez extensively and objectively explores the pros and cons of using second life for both educators and librarians, and a chapter guest-authored by LIS student Jane Stimpson examines several examples of public libraries who have established a Second Life presence. Topics covered include:

A Social History of Virtual Worlds
Public Libraries in Second Life: Expanding
Service to the Virtual Environment.
Pedagogical Applications of Second Life
Barriers to Student Learning in Second Life
Understanding the User Experience in Second Life
The Second Life Learning Curve

To read more about the report visit TechSource

Published by Joe Sanchez on 04 Dec 2008

C.A.S.E. grant public viewing

This Thursday 12\04\08 at 5SLT my students and I will be hosting an event in SL to show the projects they have completed this semester. Earlier this semester my undergraduate class was awarded a C.A.S.E. grant from the Jimmy and Roselynn Carter foundation to promote community engagement in SL. Each project completed this semester has a community engagement focus. The
Four projects are:

Problem: Physical, social and political disasters are often so geographically and culturally remote that people who might help fail to appreciate the nature and extent of the situation.
partnership4children_003.bmp
Solution: One UT team proposal would use the CASE grant to build an online, multi-player, virtual-world game to simulate life in Darfur, wherein survival is the object and famine, displacement and armed conflict are the opponents. Game players will realize how much is taken for granted in peace and prosperity and how important even small contributions can be in a disaster. Another project provides a virtual “ride” that helps participants understand the work of the nonprofit website Nothing But Nets.
partnership4children_005.bmp
Problem: An Austin (TX) nonprofit reaches out to needy individuals in
rural Texas, but the cost of covering long distances reduces the effectiveness of the organization.

Solution: One UT team proposal would use the CASE grant to build an online, virtual world extension of the agency’s operations that would make it virtually costless to operate remotely. But rather than trying to envision every conceivable combination of circumstances and program a software solution that covers all of them, the UT student solution engages the nonprofit staff as avatars, thereby incorporating all their experience and troubleshooting skills. Further, client avatars can characterize their needs far more accurately and far faster than a “checklist” of options. The combination eliminates travel and remote operation cost without eliminating the skilled human intervention of the non-profit’s staff.
Austin SafePlace
Problem: Austin (TX) SafePlace is the nation’s largest shelter for victims of domestic violence. Training new associates at SafePlace is “baptism by fire” because the problems trainees face are “live” and often overwhelming.

Solution: One UT team proposal would use the CASE grant to build an online, virtual world simulation of SafePlace where the avatars of trainees can learn to diagnose and deal with problems from hypothetical cases, safely apart from the actual operation of the shelter. The result is safe training for SafePlace. Plus, the students plan to hold a fund-raising “gala” online where participants from around the world can use “Linden dollars” to purchase necessities for shelter clients, then UT students will convert the “Linden dollars” to actual cash and purchase the items.

Please join us if you can and help celebrate the work of the students. The event will be held on Educators Coop 1 http://slurl.com/secondlife/Educators%20Coop%201/121/95/22
Hope to see you there,

Published by Joe Sanchez on 10 Oct 2008

Virtual Worlds Expanding Real World Views

Last week after making the official announcement to my students that we had been selected to host a Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur Grant competition in our class I planned on devoting an entire class period to discuss service learning. I asked Leslie Jarmon to give a talk about her Alley Flats project and to discuss the impact it has already had for the community. She agreed and expanded the talk to incorporate a tour of the Non Profit Commons. During the tour she provided my students an opportunity to explore the NPC to find organizations or communities they might be interested in. One of the places we spent time at was Kiva (micro loans Kiva.org ). I’m copying a blog entry from one of my students to share her thoughts about the experience

A Cause for All Means
October 3, 2008
Visiting the Non-Profit Organization island in Second Life had really shown me that a sim could really be used in positive ways. Throughout all the risque features and socialite parties in Second Life, it was such a wonderful thing to find some light through it all. It was a light that reached out into reality and actually affects the lives of real people. Such a light was this island and in this, one of my favorites was Kiva and its cause. I enjoyed see the faces of real people, real people that we can actually help through the awareness provided by Second Life. The Kiva office in Second Life did serve its purpose as a real physical office would in the real world, to create awareness and connect two worlds of people. It is the connection between these two worlds that Kiva provides that serves as the link between two people that transcends all barriers. It really touches my heart that I can help real people help trying to get by in life. I believe that the awareness and promotion of Kiva was very perpetuated especially by the help of Second Life. In fact, thanks to this visit to Kiva from Thursday, I decided to visit Kiva.org and will help to donate a loan to a farming community in Cambodia, which is where my family is from. The people in this picture look a lot like my relatives who have passed away due to the Cambodian Holocaust, otherwise known as the Killing Fields. So seeing that I can contribute some way to these people, who probably have survived the Killing Fields, just as my parents, brings a smile to my face. I am always all for a cause so great and I’m glad to see that there are more non-profit organizations promoting their cause through Second Life. It always makes me see even more that Second Life is really a sim of the real world in that just as there is always bad in the real world and in Second Life, you can also always find good within.

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There were similar reflections posted by students last week many of which involved action on their part. Its surprising to me to see that one experience can set change in motion. If this last week has been any indication, I can’ wait to see how the students answer their service learning challenge.

Published by Joe Sanchez on 08 Oct 2008

Student Build Challenge (video)

On Tuesday my students had to turn in their first collaborative build in Second Life. My instructions for the assignment are below (from an email)

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, the water park had rides, Bear Island had an arcade, The classic car museum was a Museum, what will be your group feature? How will people know where to go? How will they know what to do? How will you make your place a “living structure”? We will spend 15 minutes in your space on Tuesday, October 7.

Some possible themes are:
The Future
Winter Wonderland
Halloween
Small Town texas
The Presidential Campaign
A historic time period
Chaos
Organization
despair
wild west

We had a good time exploring their areas and and they learned some key skills through the process. 1) The difficulties of collaborating in a syncronous environment, 2) the Challenge of permissions in SL when sharing objects as a team, 3) thinking about “interaction” and “living spaces” in a virtual world (how do you design it), 4) hosting a large group of people (18 students + 5 guests). They did a good job and I was able to make a quick and dirty machinima of the their builds, enjoy

Published by Joe Sanchez on 02 Oct 2008

Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur Grant

Its official, my Working in Virtual Worlds course has been selected by the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Foundation to host their first Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur Grant in a virtual world. My students and I are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Foundation. Service learning has been a consistent theme in my Working in Virtual Worlds course and I’m proud to say the service learning component has been student driven. The official press release with details of the grant can be viewed here.

The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation has announced that the University of Texas will hold the first Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur (CASE) grant program for an online virtual world project that serves the community and contributes to student learning. This competition will seek to find the most innovative way for students to serve the community online in the virtual world Second Life.

I have a book chapter describing the Service Learning projects my students have completed in Second Life titled, Virtual Worlds: New Spaces for Service Learning that will published in In Service Learning: Linking Library Education and Practice The book is scheduled for release in the Spring of 2009.

In the meantime, if you want to see what i think is the best example of a service learning project completed in Second Life thus far, please visit the Alley Flats located on Educators Coop 1. The Alley Flats project was completed by Leslie Jarmon’s (Bluewave Ogee) students in the Fall of 2007.

Published by Joe Sanchez on 11 Sep 2008

Play between voice and chat

So Hurricane Ike looks it will be hitting Texas pretty hard. I have several students that will be affected by IKE especially those from the Houston and Galveston areas. We decided to board up our condos on the Educators Coop island…I think doing this gave them a chance to express their concern for their families and friends and to feel a little closer to home

ready for IKE

Today’s readings were excerpts from T.L. Taylor’s Play between Worlds and Castronova’s Synthetic worlds. As usual my students loved reading Play Between Worlds and it seemed like they wanted to read a little more of it. I think they really connect when they read about virtual friendships extending into “real” relationships. Many of them had experienced that before. T.L. also seems to expose preconceptions about gender that many students have. Many seemed surprised to find out that T.L. is a women.

In my course i require student’s to have voice capabilities for a few reasons. First, i have a difficult time typing for 1 1/2 hours and anyone who has chatted with me in SL or any active readers of this blog know how frequently i have typos. Second, I want my students to be able to communicate effectively with their project clients which means they need to able to switch between voice and text chat seamlessly. Last semester was the first time i required voice capabilities and students ran into some unforeseen obstacles.

During class time we switch between text and voice chat pretty quickly. Usually I’ll start the class with voice as i introduce the readings or explain the format of the day. WHile I talk students usually ask questions or type comments into the text chat. I usually answer in voice unless i need to give a url or slrul. The discussions usually begin with me asking an open ended question and the first couple of students responding with voice. As they respond other students will use chat to add their comments or reactions. At this point I usually type a question into the chat window to keep the discussion going. What i typically see is that students will respond in text up until something either needs to be clarified or a student wants to tell a story. I also find it easy to type quotes from the readings into the chat window where i can then ask for reactions.

An entertaining but insightful chat exchange about Text Chat vs. Voice from the students of INF 315e
Reading discussion
[2008/09/11 9:47] DP: and yeah I’d rather chat than use voice chat
[2008/09/11 9:47] SS: why
[2008/09/11 9:47] DP: Just seems weird
[2008/09/11 9:47] SS: voice seems easier
[2008/09/11 9:47] DP: It is
[2008/09/11 9:47] VT: i like chatting better too
[2008/09/11 9:47] DP: but it’s a little awkward
[2008/09/11 9:47] VM: i agree voice chat kinda weirds me out
[2008/09/11 9:47] SS: i suppose you’re right
[2008/09/11 9:47] OF: I say like a lot when im describing stories so thats why i dont wanna use voice, but i had to cause typing is too tedius when telling stories
[2008/09/11 9:47] FW: like how we haven’t even been voice chatting now
[2008/09/11 9:47] DP: Exactly
[2008/09/11 9:47] TB: because you speak without getting any feedback like nonverbal cues
[2008/09/11 9:48] DP: You can’t tell if the person is being annoyed by your or left his computer as to real life
[2008/09/11 9:48] OF: lol
[2008/09/11 9:48] DP: So you don’t know how to really talk
[2008/09/11 9:48] DP: just my opinion
[2008/09/11 9:48] SS: you cant tell when people are joking in chat
[2008/09/11 9:48] DP: I think joe left his computer
[2008/09/11 9:48] OF: lmfao
[2008/09/11 9:48] BW: so who is going to break the awkward silence now then?
[2008/09/11 9:48] You: ok, these are all good things to blog about : )
[2008/09/11 9:49] DP: You can tell when people are joknig in chat

Published by Joe Sanchez on 13 Aug 2008

TeenGrid project SXSW Panel

Stem Skytower aka North Lamar
The last few weeks I’ve been working with Girlstart
on a summer camp in Teen Second Life. My Teen avatar is pictured above, Stem Skytower is the name. The camp attendees included 19 high school juniors the first week and 23 the second week. The girls came into TSL without any experience. Following a 4 day curriculum based on my undergraduate class, the girls were able to create extraordinary exhibits about women in technology, girls in gaming, and other STEM (science technology, engineering, math) topics.

I’ll be posting more about the projects and the data we collected in the process. My initial reading of the surveys show that this curriculum once again breaks the Second Life learning curve.
Fat suits created by GirlStart Teens
We submitted a panel to SXSW (South by Southwest SXSW) so if you have time I’d appreciate a vote : )

Gaming as a Gateway Drug: Getting Girls Interested in Technology

Wanted: Girl Gamers! It’s not just about playing, but using play to ignite a crucial spark. This session will explore how educators, parents and the community can use video games to attract girls to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, math).
vote here

Published by Joe Sanchez on 27 Jun 2008

ALA 2008…Day 1

American Library Association 2008 Annual Conference

After a late night participating in the ITEA conference in Second Life I have finally arrived in Anaheim for the American Library Association Annual Conference. This is the largest conference these eyes have ever seen. I’m not sure how many people will be attending but the Convention Center and surrounding Hotels (plural) are all being used for various sessions and meetings. The conference starts on saturday but many people are already here and there must have 15 attendees on my flight from Austin heading to the conference. The ALA 2008 wiki is nice way to get a glimpse of the size of this conference.

Tomorrow from 1:30 – 3:30 I will be hosting the 5th Annual Forum on Education. The forum will focus on Service Learning and will feature a celebration of our ALA Editions book The Service Connection: Library and Information Science Education and Service to Communities. A few authors (including me) will present a synopsis of their chapters as we present our ideas and examples of service learning. My chapter is called “Real World Learning in Virtual Spaces: Service Learning 3.0”.

After the book chapters we will hold a researchpalooza where 12 Master’s students will tell us about their service learning projects in 90 seconds or less… Once they have all shared their projects we will break into a traditional poster session followed by facilitated small group discussions. I posted the abstracts of each project on the ALA wiki if you want to browse through them. The forum will be in the Hilton hotel, California Pavilion B.
the forum agenda:
1:30 – 1:40 Introductions and ALA welcome
1:40 – 1:55. Celebration of Service Learning Book
1:55 – 2:10 Emerging Leaders Service Connection
2:10 – 2:30 Researchpalooza
2:30 – 3:00 Poster Sessions
3:00 – 3:15 Small group discussions
3:15 – 3:30 large group discussion

and these are the questions we will use for the facilitated discussion:

1. What is your biggest “take away” form this Forum? In other words, what information will you take home and share with your colleagues?

2. In what ways can you integrate Service Learning projects into your library, classroom, or curriculum?

3. What is one thing that surprised or impressed you about the types of Service Learning projects presented?

4. What does Service Learning mean to you?

5. Are any Service Learning projects similar to a project you are currently working on or recently completed at your library? How do the two overlap? If they do not overlap, do you see a way that a current project can be turned into a Service Learning project.

6. In your current role as a library professional, library educator, library administrator, or library student, what types of Service Learning projects are you interested in? How can you integrate your personal interest with a Service learning project?

7. Two connections I noticed between Service Learning projects and ALA initiatives are …..

Saturday I will be part of a panel focused on virtual worlds, i’ll post more about it tomorrow…check our Sweet Suite
Sweet Suite front

The Sweet Suite balcony

Published by Joe Sanchez on 26 Jun 2008

Learning Through Enquiry Alliance (LTEA) tonight in SL

http://networked-inquiry.pbwiki.com/f/12-06_ltea_2.jpg

Tonight in Second Life or perhaps this morning (2am Central time) my friend Sheila Yoshikawa/Sheila Webber from Sheffield University will be hosting a RL/SL conference,LTEA 2008: Inquiry in a Networked World. I will be assisting with the SL portion of the conference as a moderator just in case Sheila runs into technical problems during the Real Life conference.

Shelia has arranged for quite a bit of interaction between the RL and Sl attendees. Two examples are copy and pasted from her blog:

Programme
00.00 – 01.20 (i.e. starting 8am UK time; 5pm Sydney, Australia time) Inquiry into IBL
LTEA2800 in SL will start by mirroring the exercise that will have been carried out as the opening plenary in the RL conference: participants will share their ideas about IBL and identify questions or issues about IBL that they would like to explore. Photos and text from the RL conference will have been uploaded to the conference wiki (http://networked-inquiry.pbwiki.com/) and SL delegates will be able to respond to these ideas as well as producing their own ideas about IBL and (if they want) 3D representations. The outcomes from this SL session will also be uploaded to the wiki.

01.30-02.20 (i.e starting 9.30am UK time, 6.30pm Sydney time) IBL in SL
The session consists of an interaction between participants in the RL conference and participants in SL.
Delegates at the SL track of LTEA2008 will lead discussion aiming to illuminate the possibilities for Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) in SL. RL delegates will participate via their own avatars or via facilitators and observation of the data screen. Participants may also compare their views of IBL, and reflect on the affordances of the RL and SL conference in developing these views. Lyn Parker (Maggie Kohime in SL) will lead the RL participants.

I’m excited to be a part of the conference and to see how the participation between the real and virtual audiences occur. I have attend conferences in a face-to-face setting that streamed SL into the room and I have attended Second Life conferences where video streams of presenters were displayed to SL audiences. Sheila has put a lot of thought into creating interaction between the two audiences going beyond the typical virtual audience asking questions to the f2f. Here is a picture taken from the face-to-face conference of the participants drawing on the table cloths during lunch
table cloth

It will be challenge to stay awake since the conference begins at 2am my local time. It doesn’t help that I will be heading to the airport to fly out to ALA Annual conference at 6am….its’ going to be a rough night : )

To register, email LTEA2008inSL@gmail.com with your RL and SL name. You will be invited to join a SL group (as access to Infolit iSchool will be restricted to conference delegates)

update
ITEA 2008 conference” alt=”Learning in Second Life” />
Here is a picture of the Second Life session…I think this image of the SL users “visualizing” Inquiry based learning is fun to compare with the face-2-face table cloth drawings

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