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When worlds collide - learning activity management for avatars


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A presentation for the 2007 European LAMS Conference in London on 5th July 2007.

Published in: Technology, Education
  • Note that it appears as though I am being streamed upside down (during the Eduserv Foundation Symposium 2007). In fact, this turns out to be a bug in the SL client, which occasionally gets the feed the wrong way up - normally, loggin out and back in again fixes things.
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  • Note that when I gave this presentation to the 2007 LAMS European Conference I added 'Role play' to the list of bullets. I think role play is an important aspect of what SL may be good for - and it came up in the previous speaker's talk, in reference to the use of game theory in the design of medicine-related learning activities.
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When worlds collide - learning activity management for avatars

  1. 1. When worlds collide: learning activity management for avatars or “Taking LAMS to Second Life” (but hopefully not “Like LAMS to the SLaughter”) image by ialja @
  2. 2. Summary
  3. 3. Second what? <ul><li>3-D virtual world </li></ul><ul><li>run by Linden Lab </li></ul><ul><li>populated by avatars, a.k.a. residents </li></ul><ul><li>‘ proprietary’, but public commitment to open standards and OSS </li></ul><ul><li>a ‘metaverse’ almost entirely built by its residents </li></ul>
  4. 4. So it’s just a game right? <ul><li>looks and feels like a gaming environment </li></ul><ul><li>but no purpose as such </li></ul><ul><ul><li>use it to buy / sell, entertain, learn, collaborate, … </li></ul></ul><ul><li>do not approach it simply as a game – you’ll be disappointed! </li></ul>image by J0@nn@ @
  5. 5. A collaborative space images by silversprite @ <ul><li>meetings </li></ul><ul><li>conferences </li></ul><ul><li>lectures </li></ul><ul><li>group work </li></ul><ul><li>informal discussions </li></ul><ul><li>chat, IM, groups and gestures </li></ul>
  6. 6. A creative space <ul><li>not just building objects… </li></ul><ul><li>scripting </li></ul><ul><li>putting on plays / gigs / performances </li></ul><ul><li>art installations </li></ul><ul><li>creating machinima </li></ul><ul><li>written text </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  7. 7. But note… <ul><li>“ It's easier for [Second Life] to be a chemistry set than a chemistry class” </li></ul><ul><li>“ One of the issues with SL is that generally only 10% of people get it” </li></ul>Babbage Linden
  8. 8. SL as part of a blended experience <ul><li>SL is good for some things but not everything - good for some people but not everyone </li></ul><ul><li>SL will offer a potentially useful venue for some of the activities managed using LAMS </li></ul><ul><li>pedagogies have to be flexible enough to allow for multiple modes of collaboration and creativity </li></ul><ul><li>our learners won’t be fully immersed in virtual worlds for the foreseeable future – therefore LAMS integration can be partial </li></ul>
  9. 9. Functional requirements <ul><li>in-world (LAMS->SL) information about activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>workflow snapshot (what have I done? what do I still need to do?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dates and times (when do I need to do it by?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>participants (who do I need to do it with?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>out-world (SL->LAMS) information / tracking about progress </li></ul><ul><ul><li>stored chat-logs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>log of activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>saved artefacts </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Issue 1 – logging collaborations <ul><li>chat and IM history not stored persistently across sessions </li></ul><ul><li>need to maintain record elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>automatically or by manual copy-and-paste </li></ul>
  11. 11. Issue 2 - displaying text in-world <ul><li>difficult to dynamically display textual information in-world </li></ul><ul><li>XYText vs. ‘text as image’ vs. chat </li></ul><ul><li>HTML on a prim long promised but not yet available :-( </li></ul> name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=123668
  12. 12. Issue 3 – data transfer <ul><li>SL scripting language has built-in support for HTTP requests and RPC </li></ul><ul><li>but no in-world XML or Ajax parser support </li></ul><ul><li>so need to process complex data using external scripts and pass data in-world using simple formats (e.g. CSV) </li></ul><ul><li>also note limitations in amount of data that can be passed </li></ul>
  13. 13. Issue 4 - shared credentials <ul><li>avatars have a name – e.g. Art Fossett </li></ul><ul><li>in-world objects have a unique identifier </li></ul><ul><li>need to reliably tie avatars to LAMS accounts and LAMS accounts to avatars </li></ul><ul><li>need to trust the intermediate in-world objects thru which messages are passed </li></ul>
  14. 14. Mapping the landscape Second Life Moodle LAMS
  15. 15. Learning activity management for avatars <ul><li>LAMS adds activity management to the mix </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Eduserv Foundation currently funding development of SLoodle </li></ul><ul><li>contact Daniel Livingstone [] to find out more </li></ul>