Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Virtual Learning Environments

Well this week I moved away from Moodle as my sole platform for delivering collaborative e-learningand started to make use of SL as part of my course delivery. We get around the college proxy and closed port issues by have a parallel network on a Linux subnet and dual boot PC facility in one of our workshops. The task that I had set my students, there are around 20 in all, was to create a wind turbine in SL, whose blades would turn in the wind. To keep the project easy I did not use a physical object but demonstrated how the value for wind speed could be found and then fed into llTargetOmega(). For the majority of the students this was their first time in SL. I sent them all a slurl address, which they loaded into their browsers. It did soon became clear to me that bringing anyone into such a rich, immersive and social environment is going to be a pretty overwhelming experiences for the senses, and so after a basic lightning tutorial I simply let them go and explore the facility and have fun for about a hour, which represented the first half of our double period.

At the start of the second session, I demonstrated building and showed them how to access my in-world video tutorials. In the first they simply used a note-card giver that provided them a wind strength script, that they placed into a simple block prim, every time they touch the prim, the chat channel display wind speed. This was followed by a tutorial on creating the turbine blades and the script needed to rotate them. Finally they all got to texturise their creations and take copies back into Inventories.

I must say that the end result with so many of the devices running, though granted not yet generating power did impress me.

The project will continue over the next couple of weeks so if you would like to teleport over to take a look then please do at : - .

One aspect of the exercise that did surprise me was the way in which different personalities conduct themselves in an VR like SL but more of this in the evaluation phase.

Bye for now Skipper Abel


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