Towards the end of last year, Dr Ruth Martinez published her book “SLoodle. Conexión de Entornos de Aprendizaje“. The book is in Spanish (obviously!), so I can’t really say too much about the contents, but I asked Ruth for some more information the book. With SLOODLE having been such a large part of my academic life for a few years, I’m always glad to hear of successes (or even failed attempts) at using it, and great to see this book appearing.
You can purchase the book from Editorial UOC, Ruth’s synopsis follows…
Going back a few years, I helped Jeremy Kemp found a project called SLOODLE, a kind of e-learning mash-up between Second Life and Moodle (and later OpenSim as a Second Life alternative). This is still being maintained by Edmund Edgar at http://www.sloodle.org/. Edmund has been doing a great job, updating things to maintain compatibility with the latest versions of Moodle, and enhancing and adding to the tools and features available.
Unfortunately I’ve had very little time to work with SLOODLE over the last couple of years, so it’s pleasing to discover the range of work that others have been doing with it in the mean time. A quick search uncovered the following since 2012:
Things have been very quiet over at the SLOODLE project for a while, but Edmund Edgar and Fire Centaur (Paul Preibisch) have been continuing to work on SLOODLE, contributing to the open-source code base while also developing their own supported solution for end users – Avatar Classroom. There will be a chance to see what they are up to coming soon (SLurl/URL to follow). From Edmund:
Class on Avatar Classroom: Edmund and Fire’s SLOODLE-based classroom, Tuesday March 20th at 8PM Pacific Standard Time
Some people may have heard of the hosted service Edmund Edgar and Fire Centaur have been working on, built on the latest SLOODLE 2.0.
This gives you a pre-fabricated classroom integrated with a fully hosted Moodle website, with all the SLOODLE tools, designed to get you up and running with SLOODLE as quickly and easily as possible.
We have all the usual SLOODLE tools, so you can:
Upload their Presentations in Moodle, and have them displayed in Second Life with the Sloodle Presenter
Create quizzes in Moodle, and have students complete them in Secondlife using Sloodle quiz chairs, and the all new Sloodle Scoreboard!
Create and award points on your scoreboard for quizzes and role-play activities.
Submit homework assignments in Second Life, and grade them using the Moodle Gradebook
Distribute Virtual items to the class using a web based interface.
Record and bridge Student / Teacher chat sessions in Second Life and have these automatically archived in Moodle Chat
We also have a few additional touches, like a shark pool to attack your students if their quiz chairs drop too far.
Fire Centaur will be holding an informational tutorial on Tuesday March 20th at 8PM PST for all those interested.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of giving a short online talk as part of the Transforming Assessment series of talks supported by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and led by Geoffrey Crisp at the University of Adelaide.
The recording of “Assessment in Virtual Worlds with SLOODLE” held on
30 November is now online.
This weekend SLOODLE Moot – a free, online conference will be taking place in Second Life. A range of presentations, discussions and demonstrations will take place over the weekend including:
Devil Island Mystery. Learn how freshman students in S. Korea were stranded on a virtual island – and had to develop their English skills to survive – and solve the Devil Island Mystery!
Hacking SLOODLE tools. SLOODLE is open-source – in this sessions learn why you might want to change SLOODLE to suit your own ends – and how you can do so.
SLOODLE at the Open University. With around 250,000 online students, and individual courses with student numbers in the thousands, the OU faces some significant challenges in using virtual worlds to support its courses. Learn how the OU has been using SLOODLE to meet this challenge.
Cypris Chat demonstration. After a very successful set of demonstrations earlier this year, Mike McKay gives another demo of SLOODLE and the Awards system.
Writing today at the Innovation in Application Development event in Stirling, put together by Scotland’s Colleges (formerly SFEU). Just now Nigel Kennington is demonstrating using Alice to teach programming, and discussing what aspects of computer programming can be taught with Alice. He’s had a very good experience in the lower levels – with much higher engagement from students.
Next up is a demonstration of using XNA, and this morning there were a pair of Apple talks on iPhone development. I’ll be closing the day talking about teaching programming with scripting in Second Life and OpenSim. As this talk is for colleges where many students will be under 18, I’ll be focussing on OpenSim. I was going to use Tony Hirst’s feedshow but it seems to be broken – but you can grab the ‘presentation’ part of my talk (I’ll try to spend more time actually *in* OpenSim, showing how it works, and what can be done) from delicious here:
Caught a little off guard with this, but the ReLIVE book (which I had a hand in helping edit) is now available online at SpringerLink here. The promo blurb:
Researching Learning in Virtual Worlds covers a range of research undertaken in 3D virtual environments, looking at both the methods and results of the studies.
This groundbreaking book is the first to specifically address research methods and related issues for education in virtual worlds. It opens with an accessible introduction to the book and to the subject, providing an ideal springboard for those who are new to research in this area. The subsequent ten chapters present work covering a range of research methodologies across a broad discipline base, making it essential reading for advanced undergraduate or postgraduate researchers working in education in virtual worlds, and engaging background material for researchers in similar and related disciplines.
Many of the chapters in this book are extended papers from Researching Learning in Virtual Environments (ReLIVE08), an international conference hosted by the Open University UK. Authors of the best papers and presentations from the conference were invited to contribute to Researching Learning in Virtual Worlds.
The book is actually a little cheaper at Amazon.co.uk – but no information yet on when the hardcopy will be available. But due before the end of the month. I enjoyed working on parts of this book – many thanksare due to Anna Peachey who had the lions share of the work and did a sterling job, and to co-editors Julia Gillen and Sarah ‘Intellagirl’ Smith-Robbins.
On Monday I had the pleasure of presenting at the Eduserv ‘where next for virtual worlds’ workshop. Being asked to talk about the future gave me a nice opportunity to widely name-check a whole bunch of stuff and try and imagine how it might all tie into virtual worlds and learning environments a few years down the line. Since then it’s been full on marking and grading, just enough time to post this…
All of the presentations from the day are online at the Eduserv website. Most of these are in the form of embedded SlideShare presentations – though there is also a (slightly noisy) video of Ralph Schroeder’s presentation there. Hopefully other videos will follow. A wee note tho – if you are looking at John Kirriemuir’s presentation or my own, you’ll find a lot of extra supporting text and notes is only visible when viewing via the SlideShare website itself.
This is a bit of a problem with SlideShare embeds – it isn’t at all obvious when there is a lot of hidden extra content that you can only get via the SlideShare site itself.
(It also took me three attempts to get my slides to load up correctly without blank slides. And I’m not too sure why…)
As to the talks themselves… I enjoyed Ralph’s presentation – some good examples of the differences between high-end video conferencing, immersive virtual reality and virtual worlds and their strengths and weaknesses. His argument that there are two end states got a bit of a picking over on twitter afterwards.
I’m a bit late with my ‘predictions for the new year/decade’ post… but on Tuesday night I took part in a Virtual Worlds in Education Roundtable panel discussion (a ‘first of the month’ panel is a regular departure from the normal roundtable format, before you ask!) on predicting the possible and preferable future of virtual worlds in education. As the meeting took place shortly after Second Life’s Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon posted his own predictions for the coming year and decade, his comments naturally became a point of reference for much of the discussion.
We all seemed to have high hopes for the potential of Augmented Reality and mobile technology to enhance and extend the capabilities of virtual worlds – though I felt there to be a lot of uncertainty about how exactly the very different worlds of mobile AR and desk-bound virtual worlds will best be meaningfully and usefully merged. Charles Stross’ “Halting State” presents one picture, but still a little way to go to get there.
From M Linden’s blog post a few things stood out:
Chris and myself were both excited by the prospects of an improved API for communications between SL and the web. Currently a large degree of hackery is required to connect web 2.0 applications to SL – the app might provide a simple API, but to connect that to SL almost always requires creating an intermediary service running on a server to act as a go-between.
M’s predictions for 2020 were a mixed bag. Some outlined systems that are perfectly feasible already, or have already been demonstrated (The VUE group at Edinburgh have demonstrated video/virtual conferencing already, along the lines M suggests might happen in 2020: ‘Walls in your office become portals to the metaverse’)
“Second Life is galactic.” Some discussion here, that is Linden Lab want this outcome then they will have to work hard to ensure that SL makes itself an essential hub world for the growing number of other virtual worlds out there. Second Life is currently a de-facto standard – with the largely compatible OpenSim being one of the main competitors. Can Linden Lab pull off this feat?
“Second Life becomes a standard in business, education and government.” Well, it already is largely a standard for virtual worlds – simply because it is the dominant virtual world. Again, the issue for 2020 is whether SL will stay that way…
“SLHD blurs the distinction between real and virtual.” This is possibly the only area where M actually makes some far-sighted predictions. And what he is looking to is virtual world technology that provides the physical sensations of the places, objects and avatars one interacts with. This IMHO is something that will remain in the research lab, demonstration systems and theme park – I don’t see this as being a regularly used technology to access virtual worlds by 2020. If nothing else, it goes against current trends towards more mobile uses of technology, and increasing access via mobile and low powered devices.
M also suggests that improvements to content management and protection are in the pipeline – this comes a little late for many inworld vendors whose hard work has been cracked and made freely available due to flaws in SL’s security and copy protection mechanisms. (I am talking here about scripted objects, where the scripts themselves should be secure – an inherent feature of digital technology such as SL is that it simply is not possible to prevent theft of textures and 3D data for models – as this data is required by the client to render content. Scripts are supposed to be secure – but have not been.)
In discussion I made one prediction for next year that I’d like to withdraw – I said that at the first VWER meeting of 2011 we’d almost certainly meet in SL, not some other virtual world. It’s still most likely place to hold the meeting – but an OpenSim grid now how to be a very strong second place contender.
It was a long and free flowing chat – apologies if I’ve missed out your personal highlights!
Some festive reading for folks not suffering under the weight of recently released books on education in virtual worlds.
First up, Virtual World Watch released the 7th in the series of reports surveying use of virtual worlds in UK further and higher education – get it here. The other report is the SLOODLE project’s final report to Eduserv. No, SLOODLE isn’t ‘finished’, the project is continuing – although the pace of development may be slower until additional funding is secured.
The VirtualWorldWatch reports are also Eduserv funded – and will happily continue for a while yet. John Kirriemuir has done a good job reading through a large number of responses, seeking out commanalities and identifying current issues. From the summary on the VWW blog of the latest instalment:
Overall, the picture is one of more virtual world activity in UK academia than in previous years.
While cases of virtual world use in academia have steadily risen, evaluations and evidence of their effectiveness has been fragmented and low-key. Though the same observation could be leveled at many other technologies – take a bow, Virtual Learning Environments – used in education.Many academics – possibly a significant majority – are still wary, sceptical or openly hostile to virtual world use in education. More visible proof of where it works may swing the more open-minded of them. With the mass of teaching and research activity currently under way in higher education, it’s only reasonable to hope for more (and better) evaluations, and clarity concerning where virtual worlds can be put to good use and where not. For proof, evidence, data and convincing arguments, 2009 to 2010 feels like the year of virtual world expectation.