Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

Second LIfe? I Don’t Even Have Time for a First Life!!! July 23, 2010

As part of IT 860 we learned about Second Life and how it can be used for education and learning.  I have been a resident of Second Life for about 2.5 years and I am so amazed by the potential impact on education.  Second Life is a 3-D virtual community imagined and created by its residents. It has a real economy, property ownership, and avatars (powered by people) that engage in many interactions and activities.  This is my avatar Crystal Zhangsun:

 

Our assignment for this part of the course was to participate in a symposium showcasing our research.  We were assigned an alcove area on the Golden Eagle1 Island where we put up 5 slides explaining and outlining our research.  Participants were then invited to come and walk around and ask questions.  Our alcove (see picture below) was set up with our photograph where participants could click and get a bio and they could click the title slide on our podium and get a handout.  We were not sure how the symposium would go or if anyone would come.  We were pleased that we had over 50 participants who attended, looked at the alcoves and asked questions.  It was fun to talk to the various people who came by.  They were all very encouraging and supportive of what we were doing.

 

I think the symposium provided one example of the uses of Second Life in education.  It is a great venue for sharing ideas and learning from each other.  I spoke to a teacher from France which is pretty amazing.  Classes and workshops can be designed that encourage collaboration and participation by students in a global context.  Students can meet and interact with students and teachers around the world without ever having to travel.   I can also see Second Life being used to as a way to conduct online classes.  It does create a sense of presence and community that one would not get from Blackboard.  I think SL teaching as opposed to the Blackboard environment has the following advantages:

  • Appeal to today’s visual students
  • Collaboration between campuses, disciplines, students/nonstudents
  • Distributed learning
  • Authenticity
  • Sense of Presence and connectedness
  • Social Networking w/ global reach

 

Needless to say, this was favorite assignment.  I think Dr. Mark did an outstanding job preparing the alcoves, uploading all the materials and training everyone (of course I may be a little biased…).

 

I Made a Drop Using Drop.io July 21, 2010

Filed under: file sharing,Second Life,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 5:25 pm
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I had never heard of Drop.io before I completed an assignment about how it is used.  Drop.io is an online private sharing and real-time collaboration service that is designed to be simple. It allows users to create ‘drops’ that are used for uploading and sharing documents, images, video, audio, and other digital content.  Drop.io does not require users to create accounts and set up passwords.  Users can’t search on Drop.io for content.   I was initially surprised to read that Drop.io was named one of Time Magazine‘s 50 Best Websites of 2009.  After learning more about Drop.io and trying out some of the features I was no longer surprised that it made the best Website list. It is a simple concept based on users dropping files which include documents, images, videos and audio files.

I created a drop on the Drop.io Website.  Drop.io generates an email address, a phone number to leave recorded messages and a phone number for conference calls.  The assignment was to create an audio file using the phone number generated by Drop.io.  I did an audio tutorial on the “social side” of Second Life and specifically how to find and attend events in music venues.  The following is my URL:

http://drop.io/it860project 

So in essence I created a podcast.  What an easy way to create a podcast after doing it the traditional way.  Sharing the URL of the drop allows others to listen to the podcast and then they can call the generated phone number and leave an audio file as well.  It was very interesting to listen to everyone’s podcast.

I think Drop.io is a great tool for educators.  I can store files online and have my students access them here from any computer.  Each drop has a limit of 100mb, but users can create multiple drops all for free.  I can leave audio messages for students about assignments coming up or changes in our schedule.  I could have students create podcasts and share them with each other.  I also think it would be a great tool for group collaboration.  Group members could add files to the initial drop and leave messages for each other.  I think Drop.io is an innovative tool with many uses that I hope to discover as I integrate it into my collection of Web 2.0 tools.

 

Second Life Presentation April 28, 2010

Filed under: Second Life,Teaching with Technology,Uncategorized,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 7:24 pm
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I gave a presentation in my IT 780 class at The University of Southern Mississippi about Second Life and the educational uses of this Web 2.0 tool.  At the beginning of the semester everyone choose a Web 2.0 tool that they wanted to present.  I choose Second Life because I think it is a fascinating concept.  I have been in Second Life now for about two years and I can see the educational uses and implications. 

This was actually a very challenging assignment as each presenter was allowed only 6 minutes to present with a one minute question and answer session.  I put together a presentation containing 28 slides, a bit ambitious, but many of my slides consisted of pictures of the Second Life environment.  I had fun putting the presentation together.  The presentation was then uploaded to Slideshare.  You may view my presentation below.