SLEDcc Roundup – other highlights

Second of three posts from SLEDcc/SLCC. Other highlights of the convention, program and non-program. A somewhat random collection overall. Role-playing in SL, Dear Lindens, SLED Sparks and highs and lows below.

Second Life simulation role-plays

Ken Hudson from Loyalist Border College in Canada both talked about and demonstrated how they have been using SL in training students for Canadian border guard work. They built a detailed model in SL of a nearby border station between the US and Canada, and prepared a number of interactive scenarios including scripted elements to generate car license plates, model documentation, alerts and more. Trainees were given relatively minimal instruction in SL – all students using the technology for a specific simulation only, not to build, travel round the grid or go shopping. All students were given a uniform and were helped in personalising their avatar. Beyond this, they simply needed to be able to move their avatar around and sit in place. More here. A good paper and shows that Second Life can be used as an effective simulation platform aside from the more common constructionist approaches typically seen.

Feedback to Linden Lab
The subtitle of this session was “What would educators like to see in the next 1-3 year time frame”, and I had the pleasure of moderating this session alongside Jonathon ‘Wainbrave’ Richter and Chris ‘Fleep’ Collins. I appointed myself to the role of note-taker for the session.

There is a risk with a feedback session like this that it can turn into just a big gripe session, as everyone sets out their own personal issues and problems – and potential for the tone of the session as a whole to be very negative. To keep the tone light, I thought we might try and write a letter to the Lindens, from one family to another. From the SLED family to the Linden family:

Dear Lindens,

Hi, how are you? We’re doing great, the kids are well. Having a blast with Second Life.
We’ve really enjoyed the better support over the past few months. Second Life is really the great for debating with small groups of students in depth – the Socratic model lives and is embodied in Second Life. The cost is fantastic! Open source too. <applause!> :-)
We love telling all our friends about how great Second Life is, telling them about the wonders of exploration and experience that go on there.

However…

Which was where we started to get into more serious issues, but still keeping the tone light.

I’m sure I heard the odd chuckle from the room as I translated the feedback into buddy-speak, so it seemed to work. You can read the full letter online here, and contribute to ongoing discussion here on RezEd.

Playing DJ with Jonathon Richter’s mp3 Collection

How often do you hear Megadeath’s ‘Peace Sells’ followed by Olivia Newton John getting ‘Physical’? Why on earth would I play those? More to the question, what are those tunes doing in one man’s mp3 collection? Can you make the connection between this and this?

SLED Sparks

SLED Sparks challenged presenters to do 20 slides in 2 minutes. This was one of my favourite sessions – you got a real quick hit of what people were upto, and time to follow up with speakers after. I think the 2 minute deadline seemed quite steep, but the session definitely worked. Perhaps a little group time for questions after? The video of this session is on the wiki here.

Brief highs and lows:
High: White Russian ice-cream slurpie. Mmmmm.
Low: Not seeing more than 3 square blocks of Tampa. What’s Tampa like? I have no idea.
High: Soooo many great people to meet from the SLED community
Low: Soooo few of my non-education SL friends being there. Where was everybody?
High: Eating quality food in an American Diner in Splitsville – Second Life’s most popular bowling alley. Here is a picture of Gia in Splitsville in SL while in Splitsville in RL.
Low: Not seeing all the sessions I wanted to see
High: Not being hit by Hurricane Hanna
Low: Missing most of the machinima program. Both in terms of machinima submitted and talks scheduled, the program was a lot smaller this year than last, but with representatives from some of the worlds top machinima groups present, the quality was way up.

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