Our little intrepid group of educators had their second workshop session today – and it was a douzy. We started with a quick review from last week, checked to see if anyone had questions, and asked them what was their favorite new learned thing from the previous session….answers included:
how to “wear” something, how find things in inventory, how to focus in on something (camera controls)
Then we teleported up to our skybox classroom and had fun rezzing items from the standard-issue Library folder. I was surrprised at what all was in there – a go-kart, a rocket launcher, a beach ball, chairs, plants….all sorts of goodies. And, as is always the case when you teach, you learn things yourself. Did you know that when you rez something from the Library folder, then take it back, it goes into your regular inventory? News to me….
We had a little trouble getting everyone up there to the skybox – some late-comers, and some people having lag problems. But Chimera played “sweeper” while I lead them through the rezzing exercise. Once everyone was warmed up, we went out onto the skybox “deck” (large, roofless, open space with a grid pattern on the floor which we are using for building projects) for their first building lesson. Chimera led the way, from her platform perch above the deck and it all worked out very well. She walked them through rezzing a sphere, moving it, resizing it, naming it, and then coloring it. Of course, each participant is at a different level – some are experienced SLers, some are brand new. But we tag team – while Chimera is teaching, I stay close to answer the questions that people might have, trying to work them through their difficulties in private IMs, so as not to choke up the local chat. We’ve set it up so that Chimera and I are the only ones talking (we take turns), and that keeps the possibilities of active mics, the inevitable screeches or interruptions to a minimum. I do notice though that the newer members have trouble simultaneously following the lesson and what’s going on in chat. Tricky for everyone, really.
After our building lesson, we moved on to a navigation item (each Thursday session will have the same three components – a fun game to start, a building lesson, and a navigational thing). This time – filling out your profile. We had just gotten started when Chimera thought it would be fun to experience a tornado in Second Life. She set it off and —whooosh!! Before we knew it, we were all blown in the air and sucked down through a hole in the Skybox, falling and tumbling over 2000 meters through the sky, down to the ground. It was quite an adventure. No one was sure what was going on, but they were good humored about it.
And that was our session. I have to say that one thing I find disconcerting about teaching in SL is that, as we’re going, I’m not sure how it’s going over with the “students”. I can’t see their faces to know if they are with me. Are they nodding off? Are they confused? Do they have questions? We ask for feedback from them in the local chat, but that’s sporadic, and not everyone answers everytime (for some of them, it’s hard to find local chat, monitor it, and type while they’re trying to concentrate – so I understand). But that is one drawback of teaching virtually.
We tried recording this session using Garageband. It worked great for the parts where I was speaking but it didn’t pick up Chimera’s part, becuase, of course, I needed to change the input from my microphone when it was her turn. Rats. Ah well, it’s all a grand experiment!