30 Dec 2008

Season greetings!

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday:)

Here are some thoughts about this time of the year!

Oprah Winfrey

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called "Opportunity" and its first chapter is New Year's Day.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What can be said in New Year rhymes,

That's not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,

We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,

We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,

We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,

We wreathe our prides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,

And that's the burden of a year.

Have a great New Year!

21 Dec 2008

Exploring educational places

MUVEnation Course
Activity 1, section 3, module 1 - group 1.3 - Chestnut

As all the Chestnut members seem interested in the topic Teaching in Second Life but belong to different fields, it was suggested to define subtopics according to our professional fields.

Then the search began. First I used the search engine Google. I used the key words “Teaching English in Second Life” and I accessed some interesting articles about the topic such as it can be found in the following links:
But there were no indications of SLurls.

Delicious wasn’t very helpful either or SLbrowser. Only with the search facilities in Second Life was I able to find the following SLurls that I advise people to explore.

So, I chose Teaching English in Second Life. I selected three islands as follows:

1- Virtlantis 122, 115, 23
This is a place where anyone can improve his/her English according to one's needs in an
autonomous way. All the island is worth visiting. For example: We can find a BBC Grammar
Challenge (Quiz, audio, grammar explanation)

2- Education UK 239, 52, 21
This island is also an educational place where we can find virtual WebQuests. It helps people
to design virtual WebQuests based on Bernie Dodge's work: a structured learning activity
which develops into several phases: introduction, task, process, resources, evaluation and
conclusion. They are suited for almost all subject areas.

3- English Village 140, 118, 110
It's a sim for language teachers where people can learn English in a very varied way: watching
a movie or TV, attending an event, going dancing (...) or just engaging in a chat. All in English.

To see some pictures of these inworlds, please go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/morgenstring/

30 Nov 2008

Avatar appearance and identity

In your blog, describe your experience playing with your avatar’s appearance: do you feel comfortable with your new appearance or is it going to take more work – share your reflections on this। How do you feel the changes you made to your avatar have affected your digital identity? How do you think your appearance affects your interactions with others and their interactions with you?

I think it’s funny playing with our avatar’s appearance. We are free to be whoever we would like to, to dress up the way we want, to have any kind of wigs, tattoos or piercings that in RL we wouldn’t have in formal contexts; at least I wouldn’t as I have a traditional, conservative image in RL.
I don’t think that the changes I made affected my digital identity because my purpose in SL is to see how it can be used for educational purposes so I never pretended to have a different identity from mine in RL.
In my opinion, our appearance affects the others’ interactions with us, at least in my particular case it happened.
When I created my account in SL I chose a default avatar, the professional woman. I wandered through several landmarks until I met an avatar who was very friendly and asked me to try a different skin. As I agreed , he offered me a skin, shape, hair and told me where to find clothes and accessories for free. When I saw myself with the new avatar, fancy clothes and accessories, I didn’t want to try anything else because I thought that avatar was like a piece of art, i. e. it was really beautiful ... :() The feedback I got from several avatars reforced my opinion :)
To sum up, I strongly believe that the way we project our social presence in SL affects the way we interact with other avatars and vice-versa. Nevertheless, until someone helps me to create an avatar that resembles me in RL, I will stick to the one that Victor offered me :)

9 Nov 2008

The Story of my first steps in Second Life

Please share here your stories about your first hours if life in Second Life। Reflect on your experience: How would you describe your first steps? What were the technical issues, if any? What did you feel about the avatar you chose? What was orientation island like? Could you find help as needed? Where did you go? Did you speak to other avatars? What would improve the experience, if anything? What previous knowledge and skills helped you?

My first hours of life in Second Life

After creating my account I was directed to the Orientation Island where I learnt the basic skills of navigating in SL, though I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping to have more information than the one provided.
Then I explored some landmarks. I met some avatars who gave me information on the way SL worked.
The avatar I chose was the professional woman. I would like to change it but I didn’t know how. Fortunately, in Vestibular Brasil I met an avatar with whom I talk about this issue and he gave me the shape, skin and hair that I’m wearing and explained to me how I could get free stuff inworld.
One of my favourite places is Shakespeare company. There I met some avatars who loved reading and the idea of creating a reading group arouse. The Bibliophiles Anonymous was born but my main problem is getting time to read for pleasure...
I think that one of the most positive aspects of SL is the fact that most avatars are friendly and helpful. However, SL should be more friendly user because it can be difficult to understand instructions in a foreign language and it is worse if you aren’t familiar with language programming, scripts, and so on.
In my opinion, there should be a kind of SL for educational purposes under the philosophy of Moodle. It should be opensource, free and with no need of language programming. For instance, in your inventory, you would have objects that you could edit easily as a chair with a pose and so on. At the moment, that’s one of the difficulties I feel. I was lent a space to train but I have difficulties in creating objects like a new floor, walls, and so on, so I hope to learn that from our activities inworld.

8 Nov 2008

C। Do you see yourself as a pioneer? Do you think you are more innovative than others in your organisation? Do you think your organisation is lagging behind? Tell us how you feel about this.

In a certain way, I can consider myself as a pioneer because I like trying new digital tools with my students and I am open to change. At the moment, I am working with some students who need reinforcement in some curriculum topics and they are using Wikis to record their work and progress.
In my opinion, it is very important to use Web 2.0 as a way of helping students to develop competences that will be required in the 21st century, in our knowledge society as it is dominated by digital technologies.
Quite often the problem is that our schools don’t have the required infrastructures, equipments or resources to promote an active, digital learning with our students.
It is urgent to create the necessary conditions in schools and also train teachers to use these Web 2.0 tools and MUVESs (for instance, the computers at school don’t have the requirements to run SL. I have to use my personal PC when I want to work with it) in the most effective pedagogical way.

2 Nov 2008

B. We all explore new technologies, some grab our attention more than others, some seem revolutionary, others simply bore us. Tell us about that new tool, or set of tools, you have just discovered that really excites you, talk about the potential it has to change your work. What do you want to do with it?

Web 2.0 has tools that can be used in education and, depending on the way, they are used, they can enhance learning.
Some time ago I explored wikis and I really think they are a powerful tool to work in a collaborative way. It allows students, even when they are separated in time and place to work and get things done. I tried it with my students (13-14 years old) and they really enjoyed it. They used wikis to do a work based on a Webquest on Eating balanced food. They did some research on the Net according to the sites that I had previously selected and they did the tasks of the webquest on the wiki. They said that it was a different and interesting way of learning and working the curriculum in a collaborative way with their peers.

1 Nov 2008


When I heard about MUVEnation I was very excited and really thrilled when I knew I had been accepted in the course as it has as objectives to help teachers acquire the necessary competencies to integrate massively multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) into their teaching practice ; by exploring the links between : virtual worlds, learning and motivation, active learning and pedagogical approaches that include socio-constructivism, situated learning, project based learning, learning by doing, game based learning, simulations and role-playing. (MUVEnation)
First we had to introduce ourselves, then create our blogs and finally do the pre-week assignment:
A. I am your friend. I don’t work in education. You are talking to me about the idea that we all learn from each other, in all kinds of contexts, and that this can often be richer than more formal classroom based learning. I am sceptical. Tell me about an informal learning experience you have had online in which collaboration was involved, show me a concrete example to help me to see what you mean.

Well, in fact I think that learning online can be very enriching. The experience I’m going to tell you about took place in a formal learning context which originated sharing and collaboration in an informal context when we shared issues related to our jobs.
I am doing my Masters in Pedagogy of eLearning and the first academic year was completely online. For the first time, I used a blog, a wiki and Moodle. One of the activities I found more enriching was our discussions in Moodle foruns. We also had to do some pair and group work and we used chat and sometimes we talked on the phone. As we were interested in having a good final work, we worked collaboratively, that is each of us had a task to perform but we discussed our parts in the group and our works were revised by all the elements of the group until everyone agreed with the final version. It was the first time that we did a powerpoint online and it worked nicely because we all were motivated and committed with each other.
At the same time, we used e-mail to share other documents about our subjects at school and talk about professional issues.
It was a great experience because I learnt a lot and I could work according to my pace and my free time, I didn’t have to travel go and forth and it was a very important experience to me which motivated me to apply to this course because I think that when people are motivated and interested in learning and sharing there’s no difference between face-to-face or online learning. Besides for people like me who like to think and reflect before answering, online learning is much better!

31 Oct 2008

Virtual Worlds

This blog will elicit my learning experiences with MUVEnation!

About me

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. B.B. King