Saturday, November 16, 2013

Come Tour with Me in Second Life

Historical Landmark & Interesting Sites Tour

I have spent the last two weeks getting familiar with the virtual reality sight Second Life for my UNI class Emerging Instructional Technology and along the way I have come across some interesting locations I would like to share with you.

Starting with the most important landmark of all North Pole Village & Santa's Workshop complete with and Elfementary School, ice skating penguins and of course the Reindeer Barn.

Here are some other interesting sites I found along my travels:

Paris 1900 - Famous sites from Paris in 1900, including the Moulin Rouge.

US Holocaust Museum - this eerie tour through the abandoned city and vandalized temples features narrations from actual holocaust survivors.

Virtual Morocco - Casablanca - souk, mosque, garden cafe and beach

Luxembourg City - this one is significant to me because I was lost in this city for 4 hours in the middle of the night once.

Venice Italy - go to the canal and take a ride on a gondola

Caledon - windswept forested country depicting 19th century Victorian country-estate lifestyle, steam-power era.

Kowloon - Chinese realism in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong

Wicked Workshop - Harry Potter Themed shops where you can shop for the latest and greatest brooms

The Chocolate Factory - from Willie Wonka in the courtyard you can ride around on stuffed animals.  Then crawl through portholes to visit the invention room, Charlie's House or various other locations

Deadwood City Wild West Roleplay - you can stop and shop for authentic western wear before continuing on to the role-play area.

I hope you enjoy some of these locations, if you have any suggestions of places in SL that I should visit please share them with me.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Traveling in Second Life

Today I went traveling throughout Second Life via the teleportation function.  Some of the interesting places I visited where the Holocaust Museum, STEM Island, a
Virtual Fair and surprisingly my favorite the Star Trek Museum. 

While I am not fond of Second Life itself I do appreciate the possibilities the virtual world hold for allowing people to pursue interests, visit places they would not ordinarily have the option to tour or learn about new things of interest.

When touring the Holocaust Museum the recordings of the survivors voices telling their personal stories along side of the pictures of themselves and their families scattered among the deserted city streets created a surreal feeling of sadness.

On a happier note he I am at the virtual state fair.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Customizing Avatars in Second Life

As you know by now if you are reading my blog, I am currently exploring the world of Second Life along with the rest of my classmates in Emerging Instructional Technology class.

This most recent trip to Second Life involved virtual shopping and body shaping.  This time around I felt like I had a mission and a purpose. The assignment was to change my avatars physical appearance and clothing.  The options were endless allowing you to change even the tiniest details from bridge of nose, tilt of forehead, or even muscle mass of legs.  My first attempt at changes to body shaping of my avatar found the new character looking very much like a cross between a pixie and one of Santa's elves that may had been hit in the face by a frying pan.  I thought I liked her but subliminally I must have resisted the freakish character because somehow she did not get saved.

Second Life - Wandering without Purpose

During the next few weeks in my class on Emerging Instructional Technologies we will be exploring learning in virtual worlds.  This weeks assignments includes becoming familiar with the virtual reality site Second Life.

This time my quest in Second Life left me wandering aimlessly around looking for a purpose.  After I finished the tutorial in Lionheart Orientation Island I flew around the island for a while but without a clear mission I became board and lost focus rather quickly.  By the time I was done I was in Egon's workshop from Ghostbusters?????  Even more confused.

While the graphics are cool and possibilities endless without a purpose or a mission I have a hard time finding the necessary attention and focus to continue to wandering around for no particular reason.

I have several more assignments centered around virtual reality sights and am holding out hope that my view on virtual reality changes soon.

Second Life - Confused and Unsure

Well another big step for me personally today.  I entered the Second Life world for my Emerging Instructional Technology class and to tell you the truth I was a little intimidated within the first couple of seconds.  When I entered Second Life initially I was placed on the waters edge and within seconds I had other avatars approaching my avatar to chat for me this was not a comfortable feeling.

I quickly managed to teleport myself to The Inspiring Orientation where I am learning to walk, jump, run and fly.  I feel much more comfortable since I moved to a place where can quietly learn to navigate.

I am finding it fairly easy to walk, run and fly however using the tools like the camera and manipulating things are not going so smoothly at this point.

After my initial exposure to Second Life I am not sure that I see it as somewhere I would choose to spend much time in the future.  Now back to exploring the program to see if my mind can be changed.

Kingdom Rush - Newb Here

Finally I had an assignment that my two boys are jealous of.  In my Emerging Instructional Technology class we were assigned the task of playing Kingdom Rush for a minimum of 3 hours.  This week the kids are not complaining about mom having so much homework.  My ten year old offered to do my homework for me and both he and his 14 year old brother were quick to offer their help and expertise.

I spend a great deal of my time chastising my boys for spending so much time playing online games "do you have your homework done", "really can't you find something more productive to do" and every night "you need to have that thing shut down in the next 5 minutes or I am disconnecting the internet" are phrases that are regularly voiced in my household.

This week it was different, it was "mom I can help you with your homework if you want" and me asking them to come help me get through a level.  After playing for several hours I can defiantly understand the lure of games when you ease yourself from the relatively easy completion of the first few quests, then scaffolding learning increasing you skill set and knowledge base as you progress.  Before I knew I was on the edge of me seat, stomping my feet cursing Yeti's and other bad guys in an oblivious state of Flow.

9 Characteristics of Flow

I am only up to 19 stars so my skills are far from noteworthy but I am getting more skilled each time I play.  The fact that I am not a gamer did not serve me well at first, in fact I needed put the settings on easy to learn how to get through the first few levels and work my way up to the normal level.  The fact that I had access to my own personal tutors (game playing sons) at a drop of a hat helped to make my experience less stressful than I image it would have been without them.