Sunday, December 2, 2007
A third SL site for facilitation - and decision time
I continued my search for useful sites. Aklom had given me the landmark for Terra Incognita - an island developed by Australian, Lindy McKeown (Decka Mah), University of Southern Queensland, for her PhD as an action research program in which participants investigate the use of a 3D environment Second Life in their work.
This could be a possible third site, especially from the intercultural aspect of language learning, because it is an example of a very cultural site - more so than Kamimo. It is very Australian, and would be ideal to host Japanese students (or any overseas students) to enable them to get the feel of Australian culture. It has a Japanese garden; would be interesting to find out why it was included in the build. The site also has more examples of what can be done with the technology in SL: I liked the flying pod that gives you a two-minute tour of the island, and the teleporters in most locations so you could choose where to go next. This would be a fun site to finish the facilitation - if there is time.
Of course, I could ask Arwenna if we could visit her beautiful garden. This too would be a good place to host Japanese students as it is so NZ. She has squirrels and native bird song, and a shop. Good topics to start conversations and interact.
Whilst looking around Terra Incognita, I met a student from Mainland China, who was finishing his undergraduate studies in Canada. He was looking around for an institution to continue his studies. He told me about Little Kyoto, and gave me the LM for it.
I couldn't find any information on Little Kyoto in a search, so am not sure what its purpose is. My first impressions were good, but then I began to feel a bit uncomfortable. There was a character running around with a samurai sword, and a row of shops with some not too tasteful posters. This site really needs a bit more investigating, so is not really suitable to bring the group to, which is a shame because it really recreates traditional Japan.
Decision time: Time is running out, so I have decided that the first site will be the Japanese online site, the second probably will be Kamimo and the third, if time, Terra Incognita. I am torn between Kamimo and Terra Incognita for the second site. I know more about Kamimo, and have invested more time there. The group I am facilitating are not linguists, so Kamimo would be interesting for them as any discipline can actually use it for learning and teaching, either paying the nominal fee to use the classrooms, or the grounds for no payment. Also, it could be used for any of the languages we teach, and would be suitable for intercultural competence sessions, for example as an exercise to see if students could identify any elements of Scandinavian culture. I am not sure about the possiblity of using Terra Incognita. However, it would be suitable for the purpose of showing the group what else can be done in SL. In addition, I can think of some fun activities to set the group members. I would get them to go off and investigate one place each on the island and report back on how they would use it in their discipline. I will just have to be flexible and see how it goes on the night, especially time-wise and size of the group.