Monday, November 18, 2013

Second Life Challenges

This week for my Emerging Instructional Technology class, we are working with alternate reality.  I wasn't really quite sure of this assignment at first, but like always, it started to grow on me as I worked with it.

The program that I'm talking about is called Second Life and is used as a virtual reality for a lot of people.  The first thing I had to do with it is go on a couple quests to really get a feel for the program and what I could all do with it.  I'm very bad with any type of gaming or alternate realities, so I Was really dreading having to work with this.  It was especially weird when someone started chatting with me on there telling me their avatar was cuter than mine.  Interesting.

As I continued on with my quests, I found myself starting to become more familiar with the simple tasks required by Second Life.  There are a lot of things about this program that I still have to learn, like being able to chat with others, meet up with specific people, etc.
You know, the types of things that you would actually want to use this program for.  I'm sure once I start working with it more, I'll become more familiar with it.  I actually have quite a few quests to do, so I need to get back to it.  Before I close though, I'm curious.  Has anyone ever used a virtual reality in their classrooms or ever thought about it?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How about a tour of Second Life?

Hello everyone!  In my last blog post I talked about the game Second Life and my challenges I was facing while using the virtual world.  Through the couple week stint of Second Life, we were encouraged to go ahead and tour different parts of Second Life and then go ahead and create our own tour.  These were produced on a notecard that you can send to other Second Life users and they can go to each of the destinations that you have chosen.  In this posting I wanted to give you all a glimpse of where I went and what I thought.

In this tour, I wanted everyone to get to see all the relaxing vacation type spots in the SL world.  I first wanted to go to fun places where everyone could dance but I ended up meeting more creepy people than friendly people.  Thats when I decided that I wanted to go visit places that I would love to actually see in real life.  In this tour there are a lot of beaches, forests, and even a trip to Ancient Greece!

Second Life Relaxation Tour:
The first stop on my tour is Bora Bora!  Here I was able to ride whales and dolphins, go swimming or just hang out under a palm tree.  It was such a fun location to go see and it made me want to actually take a vacation there!

New Port Yacht Club
This is a great location for you to go look at boats and other watercrafts.  Here you can also go relax in a clubhouse or take in the sights around the club. 

Tranquility Grove
Here is a real relaxing place where you can explore grottos, swing in trees and go in a Japanese house to meditate. This is one of my favorite places on the Relaxing Tour.

Creations Park
This site is a beautiful place to relax and view some lovely waterfalls.  There are also some awesome building to stroll through.

OTIUM Leisure and Laziness
Here you can let go of your obligations and hang out on the beach next to the sea.  This place is really key on having a quiet and respectful community, so it is safe for whoever wants to visit.

Ed and Gia's Little Bit of Ireland
At the Little Bit of Ireland you can dance in the ballroom, view art galleries and even go out into the open fields.  If you've ever wanted to visit Ireland, this spot is for you!

City Fishing-- Barcola Double Prim Corner Waterfront
At this waterfront you can have a blast by fishing, chatting or dancing to 80s music.  The people here are very friendly and it is a nice place to relax on Second Life.

Tiny's Haven
At Tiny's Haven, you can go and mini golf, join a yacht club and even go fishing.  I love this place because it is unlike anything I've ventured to in Second Life.

The Pillars of Hercules
Welcome to my absolute favorite place in Second Life!  The Pillars of Hercules is an amazing place that makes you feel as though you are in Ancient Greece.  There are Chariot Tours, Amphitheaters, Light Houses, Beaches and much more to explore here!

Heart's Desire Mountain and Forest Resort
This location is very small, but the views here are cute enough that I wanted to include it on the tour.  Here there are cabins that you can stay in or you can just walk around if you want that relaxing forest feel.

After doing all of these tours, I realized that Second Life really has a lot of cool places to go visit and see.  However, the great thing about these technology classes at UNI is that it gives you a good idea of of different programs that you do and don't want to use in your classroom.  Every teacher is unique, so it is awesome that these classes reach out to everyone in their own way.  I discovered that I myself wouldn't use this in my own room, but it was cool to see how other classmates enjoyed the program and would use it.  I'm hoping to follow them in the future to see how these work in their rooms and maybe as I get more comfortable with the program, I'll use it myself.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Collaboration: An eye-opening experience

In a previous post I had talked about Kingdom Rush and how I could use something like that in my own future classroom.  Something that I had failed to mention at that time was the failure I was experiencing while trying to play the game.  I would get stuck and would have to keep trying over and
over again.  I was past the point of frustration but was trying to keep a positive outlook on the activity.  Fortunately this week my teacher assigned us to work collaboratively with a partner to help each other out to avoid such frustration.

Image Source:
I've never really experienced frustration because fortunately things tend to come naturally to me.  However, that was not the case with this game.  I started to think about the students I tutor and that this is probably how they feel when they are in the classroom.  My own failure caused me to open my eyes and realize that this is what my students must feel like.
 It then caused me to reflect on my own practices and efforts to help students foster a positive environment.  What do I do to help students through their failures to learn from their mistakes?  Do I brush off their frustration because I can't empathize? etc.   It almost hurt thinking about my inability to connect with struggling students because I myself had never been one.  So even though I wasn't a fan of the game, I am a fan of how it helped me grow as a reflecting practitioner.