Tech Savvy Girls from Sims to Teen Second Life


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Second year of the Tech Savvy Girls project as they moved from using the Sims to using Teen Second Life to learn IT skills in a creative youth environment.

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  • Tech Savvy Girls from Sims to Teen Second Life

    1. 1. Sims to Teen Second Life Transition of the SimSavvy Girls to Tech Savvy Isle Barbara Z. Johnson (Barbara SimSavvy) Elizabeth King (E_Lizzy SimSavvy)
    2. 2. Tech Savvy Girls Project <ul><li>4 teen-aged girls </li></ul><ul><li>Mission: increased IT fluency </li></ul><ul><li>Method: informal out of school program - videogame & virtual world object creation and modification </li></ul><ul><li>First year: the Sims series </li></ul>
    3. 3. Our Goals <ul><li>21st Century Skills - the FITness standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Foundation for lifetime learning of IT concepts and skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT fluency as more than computer programming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal mastery of technology that matters in their lives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interest-based learning </li></ul><ul><li>Sensitivity to socio-cultural situations of the participants </li></ul>
    4. 4. Limits of The Sims <ul><li>Limited types of items and activities </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot change or add to what items do </li></ul><ul><li>Player avatars cannot be together </li></ul><ul><li>Limited types of businesses to play </li></ul><ul><li>Limited spheres of the avatars </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the extensive online Sims community, lack of direct synchronous interaction with other people </li></ul>
    5. 5. Transition to Teen Second Life <ul><li>Building and experimenting phase on a closed island </li></ul><ul><li>Arranged to allow the girls off the island to explore and get ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Theme: the 60’s </li></ul><ul><li>Projects: a holiday party and presentation at GLS </li></ul>
    6. 6. Approach 1: Sims Redux <ul><li>Arrangement of existing items (library or resident created) </li></ul><ul><li>Modification of existing items (library or resident created) </li></ul><ul><li>Same themes - domestic, retail businesses selling similar items, romance </li></ul><ul><li>Often LESS willing to break physical constraints in their builds in TSL than in the Sims </li></ul><ul><li>Limited in-world social engagement </li></ul>
    7. 7. Early Sims Development
    8. 8. Similar Items in TSL
    9. 9. Approach 2: New Tools; Same Themes <ul><li>Created objects from prims and textures (often user created) </li></ul><ul><li>Modification of scripts </li></ul><ul><li>Themes: domestic, retail, romance </li></ul><ul><li>Some teens found greater social contact and gained significant social capital </li></ul><ul><li>Creating objects with physical analogs </li></ul>
    10. 10. Finer Control Over Creations (TSL)
    11. 11. Scripts and Particle System (TSL)
    12. 12. Approach 3: New Tools and Expanded Horizons <ul><li>Created objects from prims and textures (often user created) </li></ul><ul><li>Modification of scripts </li></ul><ul><li>New themes: historical recreation </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of things without physical analogs or with a twist on reality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Floating hamburger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underwater houses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drive in movie theater for a classroom </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Pushing the Envelope in The Sims
    14. 14. Expanding Reality in TSL
    15. 15. How Did They Learn? <ul><li>Experimentation & reverse engineering </li></ul><ul><li>Peers within the research group </li></ul><ul><li>Asking others in public areas </li></ul><ul><li>Do not tend to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check online help </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask for official help </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read guides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search online text </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Results of the Transition <ul><li>Many learning patterns carried over between Sims and TSL </li></ul><ul><li>Prior learning both helped and hindered building in TSL </li></ul><ul><li>Starting over with a new tool can become a barrier for experts in prior systems </li></ul><ul><li>Greater flexibility can be both freeing and frustrating </li></ul>
    17. 17. What Did We Learn? <ul><li>Technology access outside of program impacts success of individuals – higher quality internet access and computers at home correlated to greater experimentation on Tech Savvy Isle </li></ul><ul><li>Exposure to multiple tools enabled meta-learning about a class of tools, such as operating systems, file structures, file types, word processors </li></ul><ul><li>Problems may be learning opportunities if students can be scaffolded to success </li></ul><ul><li>Project/problem-based learning requires new learning skills </li></ul>
    18. 18. TSL as IT Learning Venue <ul><li>Need to manage overwhelming potential of open projects </li></ul><ul><li>Need to address the non-game quality of TSL </li></ul><ul><li>Make use of the scripting tools </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages greater attention to the social aspect of technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual property </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TSL community norms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online safety </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Pros and Cons of World Access <ul><li>Increased social capital </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Co-presence of group’s avatars </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to learn from others </li></ul><ul><li>Residents encourage us to provide educational content </li></ul><ul><li>Inappropriate content </li></ul><ul><li>Griefing </li></ul><ul><li>Spam on the island </li></ul><ul><li>Parental concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison of quality of builds </li></ul>
    20. 20. There and back Again … <ul><li>3/4 did not stick with TSL and returned to the Sims </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wanted to “really master” The Sims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unfinished projects in The Sims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concerns about the quality of their creations vs. those of more experienced builders in TSL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Had not made significant connections to other TSL residents </li></ul></ul>