We’ve invited one of our students, Ellie, to be interviewed about her participation in our Robotics Project. Here’s what Ellie had to say…
Ellie, you’ve created an amazing spiral staircase design! Where did you get the inspiration for your design?
I thought about LEGO and the Harry Potter Castle. The spiral staircase is an amazing design, and I added my own twist to it, putting it in a transparent cylinder so that avatars don’t fall out and other avatars can see through.
How did you use Scratch 4 OpenSim in your design?
I used the Scratch 4 OpenSim software to change the colours of the stairs. When an avatar stepped on a step, it would change colour.
This has been your first experience using OpenSim, what have you learnt?
I have learnt so much from this first experience! There is only a little to learn before you are creating complicated designs and attaching scripts from Scratch 4 OpenSim. I feel confident enough with the program now to create just about anything. The only thing that I need is time to do it!
Ellie, thank you for participating in our Robotics Project and congratulations on your fabulous work!
We’re excited to welcome our Year 9 Robotics Students to Begonia Island as part of a new project, the Robotics Research Laboratory. Students will be using OpenSim to create their 3D objects, then Scratch 4 OpenSim to program them. The tutorial below outlines the steps involved to create a simple 3D object and transfer the Scratch 4 OpenSim content across to OpenSim.
Other useful links: Download Scratch 4 OpenSim Download the lineSegment Script (You will need to save this text file and use the code to create your own lineSegment Script in OpenSim. You will need to add this Script to every programmable object along with your own Scratch 4 OpenSim Script.)
Good luck to our new Begonia Island residents and we look forward to seeing the results of your research work!
A few months ago I read a magazine article about crop circles and looked at the beautiful patterns and thought, “That would be a great OpenSim building activity”. At the time, we were still working on our first project, TechnoSpirit, so I “filed that one away”.
I had discussions previously with one of our Junior School teachers who was already involved in our school’s Quest Atlantis Project. Roger was keen to learn more about the OpenSim building tools and how they could be used within the Maths curriculum.
Months passed and Roger spoke to me again about OpenSim building activities but this time he was keen to include it as part of the Year 5 Extension Maths curriculum. In particular, the students were going to be focussing on Geometry in Term 4. Could a virtual world be used to teach Geometry?
With Roger’s experience in Quest Atlantis, he understood the value of immersive environments and how adding a simple narrative to this project would increase student motivation in the virtual world. And so “Planet Orbis” was born! The students would be extra terrestrials from the imaginary planet and be known as “Orbisites”. They would be on a mission to communicate with the people of earth via geometric patterns that would be created in-world.
So how was this project actually organised? Our private grid is made up of four sims. One is used as the Begonia Island Sandbox and the remaining three are being using for the Planet Orbis Project. One sim has been created as Planet Orbis using an incredible OAR file that is based on actual Mars terrain data! Two sims have been devoted to a wheat farm where the crop circles will magically appear and, rather than leaving the terrain as flat grass land, the students can explore a farm house and surrounding area that is being created by a member of our Virtual Worlds Project Team.
And so, last week, we welcomed fourteen new Orbisites to our virtual world! The orientation session went just as expected. The students watched the “Planet Orbis Mission Movie” with excited yet bewildered looks. (Who did that strange alien voice belong to? ) They walked, ran and flew around the sims until OpenSim crashed. They discovered how to edit their appearance so that their extra terrestrial avatars became something that would be right at home in any Doctor Who episode. They learnt about the Mini Map and Map features in OpenSim and that you can use coordinates to navigate your way around the sims. They were enthusiastic and excited as most of the students had never ventured into a virtual world.
I’ve noticed that all virtual worlds sessions seem to finish in the same way – students leave feeling happy and enthusiastic about their learning and I leave feeling incredibly proud of their achievements.
It’s hard to believe that our OpenSim Project was officially opened to students just a few short months ago in May. Since launching this project, it has been a real privilege to be involved in both face to face and online conferences and presentations. Recently, we were asked to share our TechnoSpirit Project at the Ignite 2010 Conference held at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
The Ignite 2010 Conference is organised each year with both face to face and virtual worlds sessions that are held “in-world”. Therefore, I was able to be a presenter without leaving my home!
The focus of the presentation was how we created the TechnoSpirit sim using existing OpenSim resources as well creations by our Virtual Worlds Project Team. We also looked at how the use of virtual worlds can motivate reluctant learners, even when the topic may seem unappealing to them at first glance.
Special thanks to Dean Groom (Manager, Educational Development Group, Learning & Teaching Centre, Macquarie University) and Jo Kay (Freelance Digital Designer and Educational Technology Facilitator) for their wonderful assistance in preparing for the presentation and Adrian Bruce for the in-world images.