Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Second location for facilitation - Kamimo Island

At another impromptu meeting with Isa on Monday 26th, we ended up in Arwenna's garden. What an ideal place to bring visitors from overseas to experience a piece of NZ. Arwenna contacted someone called Aklom Haifisch, form Norway for me. Aklom joined us in the garden and we had an interesting discussion about the work she does and related projects.

Educational value of SL: Where else could you have discussions like this with academics and technical experts from not only different parts of NZ, but also the world?

Aklom doesn't teach languages but has done some joint research into SL and improvement of social English. We arranged a meeting for 10.30 Tuesday 27th on Kamimo Island, her base, for her to show me around. That was an interesting experience, and really pushed the concentration and motor skills. For a start, when she wasn't flying, she was on skates! She gave a lot of information, and it was hard to take it all in, especially as someone had sent an IM and I was trying to respond, listen to what Aklom was saying, and keep up.

We visited a number of places, one being a classroom with video and smart board. Lecturers can load up a video, and students can click on the arrow above 'say' at the bottom of the SL window, to watch it. Anyone can hire the classroom for L500 (about $2 - US I assume). You just add the hours you want to the calendar to book and then pay Aklom. Anyone can use the grounds for free, for activities.

There are other buildings with unusual rooms for meetings - the hut by the sea, and the building with the grass roof, which will eventually have a teleport to a room in the sky. There is a secret room too, and a waterfall to negotiate - quite tricky, especially when you get inside and have to find where to land. But it's worth it. The next challenge is getting out again!

This is definitely worth bringing the group to as it is a place that any discipline can use.

Aklom showed me how to activate voice and hearing by going to the Wizard in . I thought I hadn't made it work, until we met up with some of Aklom's friends who were both talking. They had sound waves above their heads. Noone was typing so it was quiet. Then I picked up some sound. I clicked a button near the mic, and then the mic. Immediately there was a shrill feedback. Noone knew where it had come from - I did. I had to own up. They asked me to tone the mic down. Hearing voices changed things. I took me right out of the scene and I became an observer rather than a participant - like watching a cartoon. It might be because my avatar wasn't typing when I said something, so I couldn't identify with it.

Aklom spent over two hours with me, which was really kind. That is what I am finding in SL - a real sense of community.

I had an impromptu but very necessary meeting with Leigh on 28th - when we eventually found each other. I had sent him a land mark (LM) of where I thought I was. I had been there the night before, true, but I had moved away from it and was totally lost.

Mental note: teleport (TP) someone rather than send a LM - at least they end up beside you.

Leigh practised teleporting and sending landmarks with me. I feel confident doing that now.

Mental note: learn how to send offer of friendship so that people are on my contact list. Without that I can't teleport them. Make sure to get the correct spelling of their names too.

To do:

1) email Aklom to check a few details as she is not likely to be there for the facilitation - I will have to be the guide, so will also need to go back and practise finding the various places.

2) IM Jupiter Lusch to confirm time and date of visit.

3) check a possible third place to visit.

4) do some background reading on VLEs and language learning. This article by Petersen looks like an interesting.

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