Sunday, November 25, 2007

Making contacts in SecondLife

I decided to go back into SL to try and sort out clothing and that hat - funny how even in a virtual world, appearance is important. Every time I have gone into SL, there is always someone there - mostly someone I have met before. When I went in on Friday 9 November, I 'came across' Arwenna Stardust. I was a bit startled and felt I was trespassing, as I had landed in the building she has been showing us around when I had visited with the course group. We had a good chat once I had worked out how to get the 'chat' working. There are so many things to monitor and move - it makes me think of an airline pilot coming into land. Of couse we got on to the topic of clothes, and she was very kind and gave me quite a few clothes for my inventory. I must look awful for her to give me so many!

Lesson: don't choose a way-out avatar when you first join SL. It just makes life complicated.

Arwenna also invited me to join the Kiwi Educators group and, very importantly, showed me how to place a landmark. This made me feel much more secure - I had a base to come back to if I wandered off and got lost! And I had spot in the sandpit. However, I quickly forgot how to place a landmark.

Mental note: have a play and work it out.

I went along to the 8.00 pm group meeting the following Sunday in Koru. I arrived in the sandpit and there was a red arrow pointing the way for me. I used that and the map to find Koru. When I arrived, there were a few people sitting around on cushions, including Arwenna and Isa Goodman. I walked right in - but am not sure whether I should have waited to be invited.

Mental note: find out about the social etiquette for entering into spaces.

I was invited to sit down but had to be taught how to. Logical when you find out. My avatar was very dramatic and leaped in the air and then sat down with a bump. Embarrassing. Do they all do that?

Mistake: I sat between Arwenna and Isa and couldn't see either of them.

Mental note: Sit opposite next time. Also I can't see my own face - not sure how to. Find out how to.

At that meeting I learnt more about SL from Arwenna and Isa. One useful thing - how to search for groups that could be useful. I found an Online Japanese group and was also given a couple of land marks.

The following weekend, I went to another Kiwi Educators group meeting. I was given a hub for newbies. Still haven't worked my way through all the things in it, but gather it's to help newbies explore. Everyone started to talk about things I didn't really understand and I clicked the teleport button to one of the landmarks I had - couldn't remember how I'd got it.

I teleported to it - before standing up despite being warned - and landed with a bump in a place that reminded me of Venice.

Mental note: stand up before teleporting.

This time, nobody was around and I felt uneasy, so I teleported to the Japanese Online group. Nobody there either but sent an IM to the owner. A few days later, I got an invite notification by email from Jupiter Lusch, the Japanese Online group.

In the meantime, it was decided that seeing as I was interested in finding out more about the potential of SL and language learning, I should do my facilitation for the course in SL. A timeline was set. I had two weeks to find places of interest or potential for language learning/developing intercultural competence, learn how to get myself around, and the basics for communicating and what I needed for facilitating.

When I went into SL on 25 November, I met Toddles and we had a long and interesting talk about languages. He also taught be a few more moves, and we worked out how to type in Japanese. It is just the same as typing in a word document - not complicated at all.

I then visited the office and classroom owned by Jupiter Lusch of the Japanese Online Courses.

We discussed SL and language learning, and then bringing the course group to have a look around. It took a while to work out a suitable time, with the time difference - east coast USA - six hours and one day behind, but eventually arranged a meeting for Monday 3 December, 7.30 NZ time. Jupiter invited me to join the group, and the membership above my head changed. I could see the possibility of using the classroom for meetings with other teachers of Japanese from around the world to brainstorm uses for SL, as well as getting students of Japanese to meet and talk about why they are learning Japanese, experiences in Japan, as well as to meet Japanese speakers.

Mental note: find out how to change the membership over my head, back to Kiwi Educators when back in NZ.

I felt comfortable about teleporting myself and about landmarks.

Mental note: find out how to teleport people.


Leigh Blackall said...

Nice post Dep.. I like the mental notes :) I wonder if you have discovered the ALT key for viewing yet? When in SL, press and hold the ALT key, then click the arrows.. instead of your AV moving, your view will move. Is great for taking pics or getting a view on something when you have sat yourself in the middle of it :)

Debbie said...

Thanks Leigh. Knowing this has made a huge difference. I can even see my face now!