Teaching Technology through MUVE

Following the MUVEnation project (MUVE: Multi-User Virtual Environments)

Module 1, Section 3, Activity 1 – Exploring educational places

Posted by slandete on Sunday, December 21, 2008

I’m in subgroup 1.4 of MUVEnation.For topic of educational places to search, we sort of decided “Computer Science and use of Web2.0 communications through Internet“. I’ve explored several places but in this post I will focus on four of them; to see all the search results please check the wiki page of the group here. The 4 places I’ll discuss are Sloodle Island, the Podcaster’s Place, Dell’s computer and the Web 2.0 galleria.

1. Sloodle Island (slurl)
sloodle

Just arrived into Sloodle Island

This is a whole island about Sloodle, a mashup between Moodle and Second Life. Whether Moodle is Web 2.0 or not is debatable, but it is a good teaching tool nevertheless and I didn’t find many educational places related to Web 2.0 tools, so this is the place I’m going to study.

I liked the idea of a walking tour through the process of downloading, installation and related tools that is depicted in this picture:

sloodle2

Walking tour through download, installation and tools

You can see that the paths for the 2 versions are clearly distinguishable, marked by arrows on the floor of different colors. First thing, you “grab” from the stand the version of sloodle that suits you (windows, mac or linux) and you walk to some boxes that tell you the installation steps of the module itself, its menu block and assignment. After that, there is a vending machine that offers, for free, tools related to sloodle that you can use in-world: Sloodle Toolbar v.1.4 (tested with the sloodle module in MUVEnation’s moodle and working perfectly) and the Sloodle Set, which is basically a physical stand that I could not set because I do not have the permission to authorise any objects in MUVEnation’s sloodle and is basically a tool for Moodle administrators.

There is also a tutorial about the use of the Sloodle Toolbar, as seen in this picture:

Sloodle Bar Tutorial in Sloodle Island

Sloodle Bar Tutorial in Sloodle Island

In the island there’s also tutorials about building objects and a sandbox, and a very useful guided tour of a course example that you can enroll and in which you can see in use a variety of tools: a quiz HUD, a musical test, etc.  That gave me a lot of ideas about possibilities of presenting the information and assessments.

This Island is oriented to 2 types of people: admins that want to get sloodle working in their moodle websites and plain users. Sadly, this is not clearly stated anywhere, and usability will be improved just by having a post asking whether you want to install sloodle in your own moodle site or just use some sloodle tools inworld in order to connect with someone else’s moodle site, and separating both areas.

There does not seem to be a group that you can join or an event calendar for upcoming courses.

Update: Thanks to Daniel Livingstone comment (see below), I know now that there’s a group for people using sloodle named sloodlers. You just have to use the search function within SL t find it.

2. Podcaster’s Place – ISTE Island (slurl)

A place about podcasts in Second Life, contains links to tutorials and how-tos. It isn’t really an educational place but a place with links to podcasts. Since podcasts can be considered a web 2.0 tool, I decided it was worth a visit.

Podcaster's place in ISTE island

Inside Podcaster’s Place, reading a notecard with helpful links

The only educational content is a notecard with links to webpages about poscasting shown in the picture above. The place is probably oriented to people willing to listen to podcasts but the creator probably did not have in mind possible educational uses within SL. There was not a group or information about events.

3. Dell’s Computer (sulrl)

dell

Flying inside a very big computer

Being in there made me feel like I was part of Honey, I shrunk the kids.  You can navigate inside a computer and see its components, like the RAM modules in the picture above. Other than that, it’s a pity there is no other educational value. Dell’s people probably had in mind just an audience of people looking for short entertainment so they didn’t bother placing some signs or adding some video to explain things. There isn’t even tags around the components to identify them.

4. Web 2.0 galleria – Merx Island (slurl)

Merx Island - Web Galleria 2.0

Inside Web 2.0 galleria, about to get a twitterbox

This place holds a very promising name for a not-so-promising result. The only thing really useful was a free twitter tool: the twitterbox, a HUD you can wear in order to tweet and be tweeted in-world. There’s no indication on how to use it but it’s pretty straightforward to configure, I guess this place is designed for savvy users.

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2 Responses to “Module 1, Section 3, Activity 1 – Exploring educational places”

  1. Hi there…

    Thanks for reviewing SLOODLE island and picking up on some of the weaknesses – we are actually struggling to finish off the signs, teleporters and other useful features.
    There IS a group (Sloodlers) but you need to use the search menu in Second Life to find it. A sign would help greatly, of course. As would more informative sections and directions elsewhere…

    Hopefully we’ll get there eventually!

  2. slandete said

    Hi Daniel,

    thanks for the tip on the sloodler’s group, I have asked for enrolment and hope to use sloodle extensively and contribute to the community.

    S.

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