After six weeks of preparations, The Ed Tech Crew delivered a fabulous inworld event on Friday 17th December! Students from our Virtual Worlds Project Team had been working hard to complete their favourite OpenSim 3D objects as well as assisting with building the set for the event. Our good friends at The Hewitt School (New York), MacICT (Sydney) and Northern Beaches Christian School (Sydney) sent us screen shots for our inworld display, showing just some of the wonderful virtual worlds student work from their schools.
Although we had some technical difficulties just prior to the event, our “Plan B” was put into action and this, together with the incredible professionalism of The Ed Tech Crew hosts, Tony Richards and Darrel Branson, resulted in a great inworld event!
The event was recorded and streamed live by John Wilson from onlinevents. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to John for doing such an incredible job. When we first discussed ways to record and stream the event, we felt that this was something that was best left to the professionals and onlinevents certainly delivered!
Thank you to everyone who was involved:
The Ed Tech Crew – Tony Richards and Darrel Branson
John Wilson from onlinevents
Our Virtual Worlds Project Team
The students from The Hewitt School (New York), MacICT (Sydney) and Northern Beaches Christian School (Sydney)
Special Guests – Steve Collis (Northern Beaches Christian School) and Dean Groom (Macquarie University)
You can visit The Ed Tech Crew site to download the audio and view the show notes. For the next few months, you can view the video of the inworld event on the onlinevents site. If you would like to visit The Ed Tech Crew set, join us on Begonia Gardens on ReactionGrid. The movie below will show you how to access our public OpenSim space and also take you on a tour of the set.
Thanks again to everyone involved and a very Merry Christmas to you!
I was fortunate enough to be interviewed recently by The Ed Tech Crew regarding our school’s Virtual Worlds Project. It was a nerve racking and exciting experience but one that was so much fun thanks to the wonderful Ed Tech Crew hosts, Tony Richards and Darrel Branson. Click here to listen to the Episode 141, Welcome to My Virtual World.
During the episode, we joked about an “Ed Tech Crew In-world Podcast”. I should have guessed that Tony and Darrel would be up for the challenge and so we are now planning an “Ed Tech Crew Christmas Special”.
There is a lot to organise in a short space of time so we are hoping that you will be able to assist us. Our Virtual Worlds Project Team are creating items for an Ed Tech Crew set for the event and we would love to include screen shots of your school’s work in Virtual Worlds. Whether it be OpenSim, Quest Atlantis, Teen Second Life or another platform, we would love to feature it on the set!
Please email your favourite screenshot to <begoniaisland at gmail dot com> together with your school name and any other information you would like to share about your school’s work and we will include it in the display.
Stay tuned for more news regarding The Ed Tech Crew In-World Podcast!
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.
Many thanks to everyone who played a part in our recent presentation at the Expanding Learning Horizons Conference in the lovely bayside area of Lorne in Victoria. Without the support of a number of people, including staff, our Virtual Worlds Project Team and educators from outside our own school, the opportunity to share our story would not have been possible.
Below you will find a copy of the presentation but you may also wish to visit our public OpenSim space, Begonia Gardens, on ReactionGrid. We have set up a number of in-world resources for you to explore. Click here to sign up for a ReactionGrid account then follow the instructions to add ReactionGrid to your 3D Viewer software. You may also wish to view our screencast if you’re unsure how to do this.
You can visit the Resources page on this blog, for a full list of virtual worlds resources.