15 May 2009

Building a basic educational scene in a Holodeck

Summary: Advantages and disadvantages of building scenes in a Holodeck (2in1 Holodeck)

Situation: (the setting in which this case study occurred)
To solve a task in the MUVEnation project and realize how to build a basic educational scene, its advantages and disadvantages.

Task:(problem to be solved, or the intended effect)
To build a basic educational scene for a hands-on workshop, where all the participants should have their own building space and a tip jar.

Actions: (What was done to fulfil the task)
I visited several places where I found some objects that were useful for my scene. At Edunation, I got a very useful powerpoint presenter. At Xstreet SL Marketplace, I got some lovely bean bag chairs. It was a pity that they didn’t have the hands-up and hands-down script. It is helpful for the tutor to visualize when a participant has questions during a workshop and doesn’t interrupt so abruptly the flow of a workshop.
I got other useful objects from other places such as: Language translator, a tip jar and I built the floor with individual textures that aimed at showing the participants each working space. To help to create the setting, I also used an image viewer with landscaping pictures.
As the final result, I think the environment is practical, functional and cosy at the same time.

Results: (What happened? Was it a success? What contributed to the outcomes?)
I managed to build the scene after long hours of errors and trial
It is almost a success because I managed to build the scene, save it and rez it on demand
The tutorials that were made available to us, especially Marga’s were quite useful as I am a visual learner, so it is much easier when I can see how to make things and try to make them

In spite of not being able to rez the powerpoint along with the other objects of my educational scene, I decided not to stress and rez the scene on demand and then rez the powerpoint and include it there:)

Lessons learned:
Second Life needs to be improved. I am not sure if it is the one that is going to be used in Education but so far it is a useful resource. Nevertheless, the Linden Lab needs to improve it as the lag and crashes decrease motivation and increase frustration and lead people to give up exploring Second Life.
Many building activities, such this one, can be very time consuming what is a great disadvantage as nowadays people need things that are user friendly and time savers.
On the other hand, Holodecks can save a lot of time as you have several settings at the same place. It is very useful for almost all the educational activities and also business. Whenever I create another scene, I will make sure that I
- Reread all the instructions very well
- Try to do it with a colleague

To sum up, Holodecks and tools like Buddy Builder can be very useful to set the adequate environments to teach and learn but they have to be more user friendly and a resource to save time.

Keywords: create/build, task, skills, design

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