[SLED] Live demos & Virtual offices

Chris Collins chris.collins at uc.edu
Thu Apr 26 14:56:10 PDT 2007

Hi Stan, I was giving a live demo today too so I feel your 
pain.  Ugh!   Just when you think it's safe to schedule things on Thursdays!

Regarding this comment:

>Oh thank God! I'm so relieved you've raised this Alan. I've been 
>watching with increasing despair at this obsession of educators with 
>setting up little offices with little desks and little lamps and 
>little bookshelves.

I have been working with faculty to help them learn and teach with 
technology for several years, and I think your despair is misplaced.

OK, not entirely, you raise some interesting and excellent points, 
but I think it fails to recognize the _process_ that many faculty go 
through as they begin to adopt a new medium.  You don't dive into 
Second Life creating whirligigs in the sky that jump and dance and 
teach chemistry in one fell swoop.  Many start off kind of bumping 
into the walls and feeling overwhelmed and possibly confused or 
self-conscious.  From my observations, people go through phases - 
learn how to move around, begin to understand what's possible, learn 
to recreate familiar concepts and objects, then and ONLY then are 
some able to begin seeing outside the box.

This process can be helped along with guidance and tutorials and 
mentors, and it's great to demonstrate possibilities that wow and awe 
and excite, but don't discount the value in having something that 
feels comfortable and familiar to folks who are often experiencing a 
whole host of emotions and thoughts as they encounter this world for 
the first time.   Don't miss the value of their students seeing 
something that resonates with previous experience and signifies 
expectations about the kinds of interactions to take place in that space.

I wouldn't despair until you see people engage with Second Life and 
never change their office or never go beyond recreating the real 
world counterparts in the virtual world.  And even then, I hope you 
feel as much despair over the instructors who never go beyond placing 
a syllabus and a few powerpoint presentations in their campus CMS, 
because it's the same thing.

The possibility that some will fail to take advantage of the full 
potential of a technology shouldn't overshadow the value of starting 
off with simple and familiar concepts for the beginner.  There is 
value in guiding the process, but there are rarely shortcuts, in my experience.



Chris Collins (SL: Fleep Tuque)
Facilitator, UC Second Life Learning Community
UCit, Instructional & Research Computing
University of Cincinnati

What is Second Life?  http://homepages.uc.edu/secondlife

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