Sunday, March 02, 2008

Second Life Playground at IL-TCE


On Thursday, February 28, Meg Ormiston, Lisa Perez, Scott Swanson and I facilitated a "Second Life Playground" at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators 2008. We did two sessions of 90 minutes each, exposing probably 300 people to Second Life and giving at least 30 of them some hands-on experience in the world. The playground was a follow-up to our Spotlight Panel presentation earlier that morning.

(Above photo is by Shaz Razul.)

I had created four new avatars for the playground: AppleSlice Latte, BananaSlice Latte, PlumSlice Latte, and OrangeSlice Latte. Apple and Orange were women and Banana and Plum were men. Creating them (my first female avatars!!) was an interesting story in its own right, especially the attempt to make sure that they were dressed conservatively enough for anyone. (Note to about the avatar creation process!)


Happily, some Second Life colleagues and friends joined us in-world for the playground, including Desdemona Enfield, KJ Hax, Masha Brendel, Claird Loon, Victoria Gloucester, Lor Frederickson, Lovey Encore, Esme Qunhua, Cheryl Undercroft, Louise Borgnine, Marvel Zond, shamblesguru Voom, and Zotarah Shepherd. (Did I miss anyone?) It was great for the newbies we were introducing to SL to be able to connect with some others who weren't just standing next to them.


The playground was not without some sturm und drang. Scott was held up at IMSA in the morning (didn't make it to the panel) and missed the first session. Lisa had to leave after the first session. However, Meg was a trooper and was with me the whole time. But the previous day, Wednesday, Meg had held an all-day workshop on social networking that included a substantial portion on Second Life, and that workshop (because Meg had had her participants try to create new accounts in the session) resulting in Linden Labs blacklisting the IP address of the IL-TCE conference, which led to considerable efforts by the "red shirts" (the network/technical guys at IL-TCE) to find another way for us to link into Second Life. This photo shows me, Anne Truger, and Lori Abrahams discussing these issues:

(Above photo by Lucy Gray.)

The efforts of the red shirts led to a single link-up for the panel in the morning (which we hadn't really needed) and only two working links for the first session of the playground, which proved to be stressful for me because we were late getting into the world and I wasted considerable efforts trying to get my laptop to work with a cell modem. (The lag was terrible and eventually I gave up.)


By the second session, Scott had been able to contact Linden Labs and get the IP range of the conference "whitelisted," and the second session of the playground went off without a hitch, with Scott standing off to the side answering questions and generally pontificating about virtual environments and education (he's brilliant!) while Meg and I did the hands-on portion.


(However, and unfortunately, the red shirts were, by the middle of the afternoon, weary of putting such time and attention to such a smallish aspect of an otherwise enormously successful conference --3100 people!--and almost immediately after Linden Labs whitelisted the conference network, the red shirts decided to cancel a 1/2 day workshop on SL that Anne Truger had planned for Friday, thinking that the conference wasn't prepared to devote more resources to it. THAT decision--which, to my knowledge, was made without knowing that our SL linkup was now working fine--was unfortunate and an interesting case-study in how educational technology decisions are often made.)


(Above photo is by Shaz Razul.)

[Update] Oh, forgot to mention that at one point during the later session, I was on one computer (we had four hooked up) as BananaSlice and I looked over and saw (by the whirlygig--wish I'd gotten a screen shot of THAT--a naked avatar. I shouted over the din of the conference, "Is one of your avatar's naked?!?! Who is naked??!?" No one responded. So I walked over and looked at each screen, and sure enough, down at the end, some poor fellow was struggling to figure out how to get AppleSlice's clothes back on; he'd seen a menu choice that said "Take off all clothes" and thought it was a JOKE. KJ was standing there in-world trying to help out. (He was sympathetic: "It happens," he said.) I quickly took over AppleSlice and walked her over into a pavilion nearby and put her clothes back on!

This was the poor guy who clicked the wrong button (that's Meg on the left):

(Above photo is by Lucy Gray)

All-in-all, I think our collective SL efforts at IL-TCE 2008 were admirable and I'm sure just a taste of what will come next year.


Here's the in-world chat that occurred during the first session:

You: hey all
KJ Hax: Shambles rocks!
Masha Brendel: Ah- Dewey
You: hey!
shamblesguru Voom: 1:30 a.m. .. not too late ? .... ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz......
Masha Brendel: lol
Marvel Zond: Hey Dewy
Masha Brendel: stay with it
KJ Hax: of folks they would like to hear speak at ISTE?
shamblesguru Voom: Oh wait ... someone is Baking ... I'll wait for the coissants
You: hey all
You: yes, i made it
You: we have three people
Lovely Encore giggles
KJ Hax: We are always looking for presenters!
OrangeSlice Latte: hi all
Cheryl Undercroft: Hey Dewey
KJ Hax: ...and so is Dewey for that matter!
Desdemona Enfield simmers.
KJ Hax: Are there many questions from the playgrounders?

(Above photo is by Lucy Gray)

BananaSlice Latte: One of our guests has a speaker suggestion - Dan Buetter...he did the keynote here this morning
KJ Hax: Helllllllllllooooooooooooooooooo....
KJ Hax: Anyone out there lol
Desdemona Enfield: hello
KJ Hax: Tell us about yourselves!
Masha Brendel waits patiently for ... something
You: hi
Masha Brendel: :-)
KJ Hax: Any q's?
You: i'm here
You: we got two computers to work
KJ Hax: Ya Dewey we know ya! :)
Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...
KJ Hax: Yer a regular...
Louise Borgnine shouts: Hello to the ICE Playgrounders from ISTE Headquarters in Eugene, OR
KJ Hax: Same with Louise, Vic, Cheryl and ...
You: but, the problem is, the people operating orangeslice and bananaslice aren't necessarily paying attention to y'all
KJ Hax: Ah!
KJ Hax: I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes lol
Marvel Zond: Hmm.. what all are they doing?
BananaSlice Latte: sorry, basic questions here
Masha Brendel: throw 'em out there
Desdemona Enfield: It takes time for the user interface to become transparent. It is like learning to type.
OrangeSlice Latte: bye!
Desdemona Enfield: At the start, the UI requires a lot of your free attention. But after a while, it becomes automatic.
Desdemona Enfield: At that point you can multitask at several levels of reality and maintain concurrency of several interactions.
KJ Hax: hey we need to replace
KJ Hax: that wave sound
KJ Hax: with crickets lol
KJ Hax: y'all are a wild bunch!

(Above photo is by Lucy Gray)

You: we're having trouble keeping our large crowd engaged
KJ Hax: Someone toss out a dance floor or something!
Cheryl Undercroft: I always think one of the best parts of SL is talking with people from all over
Masha Brendel: mob mentality might ick in soon
Cheryl Undercroft: WHere is everyone in
You: becuase we only have two "play" computers to use
Cheryl Undercroft: SL from.
Masha Brendel: :-)
Cheryl Undercroft: CT
KJ Hax: NJ
Victoria Gloucester: NY
Louise Borgnine: Oregon
You: and every one needs hand-holding
Marvel Zond: Oregon
Desdemona Enfield: Well, there are several engaging topics... such as what people experience being here.
Masha Brendel: Iowa CIty, IA
You: illinois!
Desdemona Enfield: Ohio
KJ Hax: Are there many sessions on SL at the conference?
shamblesguru Voom: So tired I can hardly stand up ..... I'm off ... see you guys ..... have an ICE time
You: one full-day workshop yesterday, one spotlight session today, this playground, 1/2 day workshop tomorrow, kj
Lovely Encore: sweet dreams shambles
Masha Brendel: GOod night!
You: bye shambles!!!!
Marvel Zond: Ahh... lol.. Goodnight, Shambles
Cheryl Undercroft: Bye shambles
KJ Hax: Night Shambles!
You: thanks for coming bye
Desdemona Enfield: be well, shambles.... donna let SL make a shambles of your life.
KJ Hax: ty dewey
KJ Hax: who were the presenters?
You: kj, your pants aren't rezed
You: meg writer yesterday, all day
Desdemona Enfield: Whose pants?
Masha Brendel: KJ
Desdemona Enfield look down.
KJ Hax: Yes Masha?
You: today's panel was myself, elaine tulip, meg writer, and kyle thorne, who couldn't make it last minute
KJ Hax: What a shame!
You: tomorrow's 1/2 workshop is jessiemarie flanagan
KJ Hax: I saw him tweet about that.
KJ Hax: Terrific!
You: meg had quite a time yesterday; sl wasn't accessible for most of the day
KJ Hax: 1/2 day???!?!?!
Marvel Zond: Do we know why...?
You: yeah, jessiemarie is with DEN, and the "1/2" day is really 2 1/2 hours
You: do we know why......good question
KJ Hax: That's a nice chunk!
You: pants still not showing, kj
You: can you rebake?
KJ Hax: 1 sec
You: not that it really matters
KJ Hax: better
Masha Brendel: ROlling restarts?
You: no, it was an IP issue
Masha Brendel: ah
Masha Brendel: ahh
Masha Brendel: SOME details
Masha Brendel: lol
You: the whole IL-TCE network is one IP address
Masha Brendel: they are fussy about details
Desdemona Enfield: Oh, i doubt they mind.
KJ Hax: Ive never met Meg but we've been talking for months...
You: i guess Linden Labs doesn't like that
Desdemona Enfield: Too many other issues.
KJ Hax: hey all
You: btw, i'm getting a lot of lag, mainly because i'm on a cell modem
KJ Hax: I have to run
Victoria Gloucester: I have to go back to paying attention here
Desdemona Enfield: wow
KJ Hax: kids in the hall
KJ Hax: 4th graders
Victoria Gloucester: Hope you all have a great conference
KJ Hax: need to teach 'em!
Victoria Gloucester: Bye everyone!
Marvel Zond: Goods seeing you VIc and KJ!
You: meg says hello
Masha Brendel: Bye!
Louise Borgnine: Bye, thanks for dropping by
You: she's standing right next to me
Desdemona Enfield: If you work in SL, you will become in the quest for methods of engagement. Much experiementation here on how to use SL effectively.
KJ Hax: ok all
Marvel Zond: I'm going to have to run as well...
You: thanks, vic!
KJ Hax: take care. might be back later!!!!
Desdemona Enfield: bye Marvel.
Marvel Zond: Good luck with the conference, Dewey!
Masha Brendel: I am heading out as well- time to be productive.
Marvel Zond: Bye, All!
Masha Brendel: Good luck, Dewey
Lovely Encore: :)
You: thank you all for coming!
Desdemona Enfield: yw
Louise Borgnine: See you again!
You: we'll be here again later today as well
Cheryl Undercroft: Dewey, what are some of the ideas your visitors now have for SL?
You: wow, lag is really bad; you hearing me?
Desdemona Enfield: FirstLife is a real distraction.
Desdemona Enfield: no lag for me
Desdemona Enfield: sim physics is a tad slow.
You: new crowd just stopped by
You: to be honest, people are just beginning to think about it
Desdemona Enfield: When you interact with SL people who as also FirstLife engaged, you have to expect long pauses.
You: the interface itself is the main topic of conversation
Cheryl Undercroft: Oh ok
Desdemona Enfield: I have hear people say that the interface should be simpler, but the problem is that the interface is rich in capability. You do not want to lose those abilties, or bury them under levels of control.
You: it's my cell modem, des
You: i still see masha, marvel, vic, kj
Cheryl Undercroft: It gets easier to use quickly. I have only been here for about 8 weeks.
Cheryl Undercroft: And can now get around without falling into water or off staircases.
Desdemona Enfield: yes, most of the remarks may derive from peoples initial experiences.
Desdemona Enfield: I still fall off cliff and sit by accident.
Cheryl Undercroft: Having ISTE as a starting place is good-lots of nice people to help.
Desdemona Enfield: yes
Desdemona Enfield: And you just learn one thing at a time. It's like any software application.
Cheryl Undercroft: And the benefits outweigh the problems. I have seen a couple of neat educational sites, like NOAA.
Desdemona Enfield: You are learning concepts and motor skills.
Desdemona Enfield: Hi Banana
Cheryl Undercroft: Hello again Banana
Lor Fredriksson is Online
Lovely Encore: Hi Banana
BananaSlice Latte: hello, how are you?
You: that's how long it took for my graphics to catch up
Cheryl Undercroft: Fine, thank you
BananaSlice Latte: we're in ilo
You: so now i see cheryl, des, lovely
Lovely Encore: I am doing well, thank you
Cheryl Undercroft: That's it!
Desdemona Enfield: One unexplored area of SL is the use of SL as a means of maintaining motor skills and intellectual acuity among people 70+.
You: but again, too slow
Lovely Encore: people over 70 or your graphic card?
Lor Fredriksson: hi
Desdemona Enfield: Hi Lor
Cheryl Undercroft: Hello Lor
Lovely Encore: Hi Lor
Lovely Encore: Hello Orange
Cheryl Undercroft: Hello Orange
Desdemona Enfield: Hehe, there are people selling computers to retired people to 'improve mental skill', but most of the programs provided are absurb.
Desdemona Enfield: most of the programs offered provide no human interaction, therefore they are boring. except for web browsing.
Lovely Encore: when chat is lagging it is a challenge to have a quick whit
Cheryl Undercroft: Oh, it's time for school to be over-gotta go for now, Bye everyone.
Desdemona Enfield: bye Cheryl.
Lovely Encore: Nice to meet you Cheryl
Desdemona Enfield: be well.
OrangeSlice Latte: boy, dewey's computer is totally laggy
Lovely Encore: Hello Esme
Desdemona Enfield: Hi Esme
Esme Qunhua: Hi everyone.
Esme Qunhua: I'm an ISTE docent. Just thought I'd stop by. see if anyone needed anything
You: hey lor!
Lovely Encore: wow..did you just notice lor?
Lovely Encore: she has been there awhile
Desdemona Enfield: It's a camera angle issue, probably.
Lovely Encore: seee...she has been there so long she fell asleep
Lor Fredriksson: yep
Desdemona Enfield: Dewey, have you adjusted the max bandwidth down, so that that client could know that it has to optimize?
Lovely Encore giggles
OrangeSlice Latte: hi dewey
You: hi orangeslice
You: no, des, i'll try that
Lovely Encore: Hi Orange
You: des, i just tried the lower bandwidth
You: let's see if it makes a difference
Desdemona Enfield: I am speculating that it might give priority to chat messages.
Lor Fredriksson is Offline
Desdemona Enfield: (guess not)
You: things are quicker
Desdemona Enfield: is chat lag less?
You: yes, MUCH!
Desdemona Enfield: yay
Desdemona Enfield: We learn something new.
CDB Barkley is Online
You: must less, des
Desdemona Enfield is no longer a member of Les Des.
Desdemona Enfield: (giggling)
Farley Scarborough is Offline
Esme Qunhua: ouch
Lovely Encore: Hello Orange
Esme Qunhua: well good luck folks
Desdemona Enfield: be well, Esme
Lovely Encore: nice to meet you Esme
OrangeSlice Latte: Hey lovely, how's it going?
You: i can't see orange for example
Lovely Encore: I am doing well, thanks.
You: the lag is not that much removed
You: bye esme!
Desdemona Enfield: welcome back, Jabb
Lovely Encore: Hello Jabb
Claird Loon: Hi, Jabb! I'm back!
Jabb Oh: how do I teleport myself to other places?
Lovely Encore: hello claird
Claird Loon: Hi, Lobvely!
Claird Loon: Lovely!
Claird Loon: Ok, to tp (teleport) - you can do it a couple of ways.
Desdemona Enfield: You can call up the map (map button on bottom of display) and search for a region, then double click on the map.
Jabb Oh: nu ...
Claird Loon: One, if you have saved landmarks, is to call them up on the map, like Desdemona said (even if you don't have landmarks)
Jabb Oh: I have places listed in my Groups
Claird Loon: Another is to search.
Jabb Oh: ahhh. landmarks
Claird Loon: Groups are actually "groups" that you are affiliated with.
Claird Loon: Landmarks are places to go.
Lovely Encore: there is a Landmarks folder in your inventory
Claird Loon: BTW, Jabb, you asked before about movies ... if you click on the ISTE box next to you, you will get a notecard about movie night at ISTE
Jabb Oh: cool
Claird Loon: A bunch of people created their own SL movies (called machinima)
You: hi claird! I'm having huge lag issues
Claird Loon: Hi, Dewey!
Jabb Oh: still can't seem to go anywhere that isn't on your card
Claird Loon: Sorry about the lag. Ugh!
Claird Loon: Jabb, you can pull up the search button on the bottom of your screen
You: fortunately the chat isn't lagging too bad
Claird Loon: Search for places.
Claird Loon: If you find something you like, you can click "teleport" and it will bring you there.
You: but the graphics are way slow!
Jabb Oh: aggg ... just can't seem to find that teleport option
Lovely Encore: right click the landmark?
Claird Loon: did you find anything in search?
Jabb Oh: but I don't have it as a landmark, only a group
Claird Loon: where do you want to go?
Claird Loon: let's start with that :)
Jabb Oh: I wanted to check out educause
Jabb Oh: they are in my group
Ragitake Takakura is Offline
Lor Fredriksson is Online
Jabb Oh: I found them on the map
Desdemona Enfield: double click on the map.
Jabb Oh: just don't know where the tp is
Claird Loon: try doubleclicking the map, as Des suggested.
You: i'm gonna log out a bit
Claird Loon: Ok, Dewey.
You: (we have a break here)
Claird Loon: Hope it's going well in RL!
Desdemona Enfield: You may not go exactly where you want to, regions sometimes direct you to a specific place.
Claird Loon: I'll try to come back for the next session
Desdemona Enfield: But there will be a red arrow pointing to where you had wanted to go.
BananaSlice Latte: hi there
Lovely Encore: HI Banana
Desdemona Enfield: You can get rid ofthe red arrow by clicking on it.
Desdemona Enfield: Bye Claird
Desdemona Enfield: Bye Dewey
Claird Loon: Jabb, I couldn't find Educause in a search for places.
Desdemona Enfield: welcome back, Banana
Lor Fredriksson: Hi again
Lor Fredriksson: sorry I had to deal with conference things
Desdemona Enfield: i Lor
Lovely Encore: Hi Lor
Claird Loon: Hi, Lor!
Desdemona Enfield: no problem, Lor.. it is expected in Second Life that first life takes precedence.
You: we'll be back at 12:15 slt
Desdemona Enfield: We just all get used to being second class connections (humor).
Lor Fredriksson: I'm showing some people perspective
Lor Fredriksson: the screen is your camera view
Lor Fredriksson: now they are looking at your face
Lor Fredriksson: I'm in RL behind you
Lor Fredriksson: at the tables
Lor Fredriksson: did you want to show them the dEN house
Claird Loon: ok, I'm gonna make like BannaSlice and split.... I'll try to get back for the next round ;)
Desdemona Enfield: hehe
Lovely Encore: lol
Lor Fredriksson: guess now
Lor Fredriksson: OK
Lor Fredriksson: later
You: we'll be back at 12:15 slt
Lor Fredriksson: ok

1 comment:

Karlette said...

Nice job at capturing the feel of SL at the conference!!!