The seasons have always fascinated me- the repetition of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter- always changing yet always the same. I like this quote:
“Every truth is fragile, every knowledge must be learned over and over again, every night, that we grow not in a straight line but in ascending and descending circles and that what gives us power one year robs us of power the next, for nothing is settled, ever, for anyone. What makes this bearable is awe.”
As a school librarian, I have quite a collection of costumes: book characters (like the Snow Queen), pirates, pioneers, and the like. I can see a great advantage in virtual costumes. As I prepare for immersive learning environments (The Land of Lincoln) or re-enactments (The Alamo), it seems that some of the advantages of virtual costumes include savings $, cleanliness (no problem spilling a drink), the ease of storage (you should see my guest room closet!), and the creativity (you can make them or find creators who specialize in them).
So many of the things in real life can be recreated in virtual worlds. When I look at the advantages, I also think about how very special the real world will become when we utilize the virtual world for our basic projects. Things worth making for real will be appreciated instead of simply added to a heap of mounting trash and clutter.
I just happened to notice that I started this blog two years ago today. Hmmm…interesting to note that I feel like I have learned so much and yet have so much left to learn. I am as clueless as when I started because technology is a gigantic mountain for me to climb. It’s a good thing I like mountain climbing! Next I must figure out what it means to twitter.
Every day there seems to be a new technology tool to learn! A librarian colleague just shared a great tool for sharing files that are too large to email called drop.io. You can send files and set them to expire… say next week or next year! How cool is that! I am placing my nephew’s pirate movie on drop.io as an example. But, hey a year from now, this link won’t work! Perfect (I was going to put a smiley face here for emphasis but I just don’t really like emoticons.) So- smile and learn a new tech tool.
Amazingly, the Virtual Worlds: Libraries, Education and Museums Conference was just like presenting at a real world conference! My presentation was at the end of the day (1opm my time zone) and I was rather nervous- this being my first virtual presentation. The best part was that my machinima about the grand opening of the Land of Lincoln sim actually played!
The Librarians of Second Life are an outstanding group of librarians who are working together to build information delivery systems with the virtual environment of Second Life. This network is an example of how Web 2.0 allows professionals to collaborate in new ways across great distances. Volunteering time, expertise, and creativity, this group has built numerous in-world exhibits and provides helpful information to newcomers, educators, and individuals from around the globe.
Second Life has been criticized for having a “difficult learning curve.” Finding a network of knowledgeable people to turn to is crucial to learning the skills needed to explore virtual reality.
Without the help of HVX Silverstar, I would not have been able to begin learning machinima (filming within a virtual environment). Numerous other helpful individuals have kindly offered help. As I continue to learn building skills and explore immersive learning environments, such as Renaissance Island, I realize that virtual reality will impact education perhaps sooner than most people think. Children growing up in the digital age are already comfortable with avatars, computer graphics, chat sessions, and Web 2.0. Educators have no option but to consider new technology tools to deliver information to the next generation. Older people are often intimidated and are the ones likely to describe the “high learning curve.” I found the skills needed to learn in Whyville were difficult but children 9 – 13 years of age are apparently quite adept at maneuvering Whyville without difficulty.
I am reading What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee. The author believes that video games encourage high level thinking and learning by immersing the learner (just as I am immersed in my experience in Second Life). Literacy is more than reading and writing, but also viewing images, graphics, listening to sounds, etc. How will this change learning for children? Check this article:
Will children find Immersive Learning Environments a way to learn in the near future?
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/nEMcls3SkEw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
continues as I learn a variety of file formats and codecs. This ice skating machinima was exported as a wmv file (512k).
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/gBSqVHrY8wY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
After trying a variety of video formats and codecs, I have found that compressing to a 512kbs Windows Movie is pretty clear. I plan to keep experimenting until I am able to film a machinima video that highlights the educational potential of virtual reality.