[SLED] Re: Live demos & Virtual offices

Sean FitzGerald seanf at tig.com.au
Thu Apr 26 19:54:23 PDT 2007

Chris, I never said we should teach newcomers (I'm thinking I should 
stop using "newbies" - it can be a bit patronising) how to create 
"whirligigs in the sky that jump and dance and teach chemistry in one 
fell swoop". I agree newcomers need too start with the basics in any new 
medium and do things that that are familiar and comfortable to them, but 
I'm yet to be convinced helping people set up their own space in SL 
means setting up a traditional office that mimics real life, or a 
traditional lecture theatre or campus (notwithstanding there are some 
good reasons for re-creating RL campuses - branding, familiarity for 
students, orientation etc), considering all the alternatives.

If this was a year ago I can understand, but hasn't the educational 
community in SL learned a lot about how to operate in this unique 
environment? There are emerging principles about what works and doesn't 
work in SL, and specifically in instructional environments. We know for 
example that open structures often work better than closed structures 
(because we can fly in SL). Why not model and demonstrate those 
principles straight off?

And I do despair at  "instructors who never go beyond placing a syllabus 
and a few powerpoint presentations in their campus CMS". But using your 
analogy you are recommending showing them only how to do this because it 
is familiar to them, rather than showing them all the other interesting 
and creative things that can be done with CMSes. I'd rather show the new 
possibilities and let them make an informed choice. Many won't take up 
the more advanced options, but there are some that will.



Chris Collins wrote:
> 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.
> Respectfully,
> Chris/Fleep
> Chris Collins (SL: Fleep Tuque)
> Facilitator, UC Second Life Learning Community
> UCit, Instructional & Research Computing
> University of Cincinnati
> (513)556-3018
> What is Second Life?  http://homepages.uc.edu/secondlife


Sean FitzGerald
Tel: +61 (0)2 9360 3291
Mob: +61 (0)404 130 342
Skype: seamusy
Email: seanf at tig.com.au
Second Life: Sean McDunnough
Website: http://seanfitz.wikispaces.com/
Blog: http://seanfitzgerald.wordpress.com/
SL in Education: http://sleducation.wikispaces.com/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/seanfitzgerald

Never criticise a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes.
Then you'll be a mile away from him, and you'll have his shoes!
-- Unknown

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