Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Swinging Along in the Mid-Term...

Well here we are. It's past eight weeks into the CCK08 Connectivism course. I have to admit that, although I was pushing hard to stay on top at the beginning, this has now been pushed aside in my struggle to find a job to pay the mortgage!

Isn't that sad? What I have been doing though, is spending some time with the SL Experiments group, run by Nergiz Kern. This has been enormously interesting to me and I can see how powerful education can be in an application like Second Life.

So I have spent a little time there, and I have also been doing what I do best on my own website and also on Nergiz's Second Life Experiments Wiki site. I can say quite unequivocally that I really love creating web pages! I could spend my entire life doing this. It is wonderful to know what I enjoy doing. It is entirely another matter to secure a job that pays enough for me to be able to sit back and really do this for the rest of my life!

I cannot say that I haven't noticed some stuff about Second Life in passing through the portal as it were... for one thing, they have some situations which they haven't managed to fix which are still happening after a long time period...

There is a lot of "unwritten" stuff going on. A "newbie" can enter SL with a lower than standard computer and have a miserable time with "lag." Also, there are little things like the following situation: if you teleport somewhere from a sitting position, you will look crippled somehow well after you have arrived at your destination, even though, you, the person it is all happening to, cannot see this! I am told that this has been a problem for some time. Another thing, I was in an area this afternoon and I was walking along a road. Before I could do anything about it, my legs and thighs were sunk down in the road and it looked like I was wading along!

It is obvious that there are several basic things which have to be learned, before anyone can really benefit from the experience in Second Life. Apart from the usual allurances which would entice anyone into the environment and perhaps make them stay in spite of the obvious problems with the experience they are having, it is a very exciting environment, where absolutely anything goes, but virtually! Having said that, there are two levels in the main "grid" - PG and Mature. Linden Research saw fit to create a Teen Second Life too, probably to siphon off any problems with underage membership. Be that as it may, it only serves as a separation point, the cut-off age being eighteen years of age.

But the really complex stuff must come later, like making your avatar move in a special way, growing wings or attaching objects. I saw a fascinating demo of a whiteboard, given by a software developer who is well-versed in JavaScript, which is fed by an external site off an iFrame. This is advanced manipulation of the Linden grid and very useful for education. I have to say that the simple things, like learning to make your avatar dance, is really very easy. What would be interesting would be to learn how to make the avatar interact physically with other avatars. And I know that this is possible. It's simple silly little things which I don't understand, like this: if you are dancing and want to IM someone at the same time, or even in Local Chat, how can you make the avatar carry on dancing as your keys leave the dance activation keys (F9 F10 F11 and F12) to type the message? Perhaps you have the avatar programmed to dance on a joystick gesture/mouse gesture and all of this is automated? Perhaps you have a speech-to-text programmed so that your fingers never have to touch the keyboard anyway... I don't believe this is what happens. Because I have heard people talking and using Local Chat and IM all at the same time as they are making their avatar do incredible things!

Apart from that, it is still a very interesting environment which I would still like to explore some more...

1 comment:

Maru said...

Hi Steve!
Thanks for your kind email asking about my absence in SL. I hope Downs has the chance to answer or decline Connectivitas invite. However, I'm not assaulted by Ims when I enter SL which is good.
I'm starting a cohort of SLExperiments in Spanish, I would like to do it at Nergiz wiki because we stated that group together and I don't want to disperse efforts but I have to talk to her first.

English teachers don't like to have writtings in their pages in any other languages. To open a special wiki in Spanish seems useless to me, let's see what does she say.

This new group meets on Wednesdays at 14:00 SL time, I'll love a ballon ride with you.

Thanks for your comment on my blog. How much do you charge for making a web page?