Monday, December 28, 2009

Visiting other countries in Second Life and My Caledon Art Gallery

One of the most satisfying experiences of Second Life is the opportunity to explore other cultures, learn about other countries and meeting people from all over the world. This past holiday weekend, being snowed in and some other things going on in my life that limited my activities set me on a quest to do just that. Over the weekend I visited Little Norway, Project Murais and several Japanese sims. When visiting sites such as these ensure that you and your group respect the traditions and activities that residents may be participating in, some of these are role play sims and it maybe best to not intrude.

I visited several sims and will provide an overview of a few of them here. These include Project Murias which, according to the website, is funded by Irish Aid, and provides a venue for demonstrating the different issues that are faced by developing countries in education. These illustrations provide insight into disease, irrigation, and an avenue to provide information on those who are providing leadership in their countries. According to the Project Murias Website this sie provides:

The strategic aims of this project are:

  • to create a MUVE with rich resources, artifacts, and experiential learning experiences.
  • to promote, share and publish the work and ethos of the stakeholders and agencies concerned.
  • to use content and artifacts from global and local communities with their particular interest and focus.

As part of the Bachelor in Education final year elective course in Development Education, student teachers are using Murias to construct interactive quests which will explore their understanding of Malaria, Water, Education, Aid and Child Labour.

Keep in mind that the reference to Development Education is the preparation of teachers to teach in developing countries. The Second Life Slurl for this SL site is:

Visit this site and support it, funding ends in February 2010 according to Fli Nurmi caretaker of the site.

Below is an image of a flour mill similar to what you may see in Africa or other developing countries:

Another build at Project Murias illustrates the infestation of mosquitoes which spread malaria:

This is a critical site for education and learning about the challenges faced by developing countries, for teacher education and educating the general public at large. If you don't have a Second Life Account to visit such sites you are missing out on an opportunity to learn about other cultures such as this. We all don't have the travel budgets to travel to these countries but if yuou have a PC and Internet you are able to travel here and experience the insect manifestations, the living conditions and the activities that are necessary to irrigate and grow crops.

I also took advantage of the chance to visit several Japanese sim. I shopped, observed some activities that are part of the Japanese culture and toured and viewed some of the architecture. One sim was set in the era of the Edo Period. Now you have a chance to not only read about the Edo Period but actually visit a site designed to illustrate life during that period. The Second Life slurl is here:

Some of the photos I took while there are below:

Another Sim I visited was Little Norway. The one thing that, for me exemplifies this culture is theStav Kirke. I am very familiar with this type of church as I have often visited the Stav Kirk or Chapel in the HIlls in Rapid City, SD. The Stav Kirke in Second Life is available for rent. Some photos of the Second Life Stav Kirke are here:

Some other images from the beautiful Second Norway sim:

I had to photograph this old tractor in Second Life because I love to photograph old machinery in the world too:

All in all an adventurous SL-acation and very enjoyable as I wandered around. On any given day you can type in the name of a country in search and find a laundry list of sites to visit. Some are good and not so good. You can determine that from the terms that come up in the description. Not only are these sites visually interesting to view, with a variety of activities to participate in that are significant to the culture but it was an entertaining and educational way to spend the afternoon.

On a personal note I have spent some time in Caledon -- Glengarry setting up my own Art Gallery. I am excited and have included some pictures here. I have spent several years taking photos of my home Wyoming which lends itself very well to some gorgeous scenery as well as collecting photos of a vintage type. Some photos of my gallery in progress are here:

I am really excited by this opportunity to share the vintage photos and other artwork I am working on's a work in progress .. and an exciting one at that, I hope you join me on this adventure is always fun to be a part of the Caledon Community.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Education in Second LIfe

On any given day or time of the week you will find a slew of opportunities to enrich your mind, engage in discussions, learn a new skill or improve an old, for free in Second Life. Second Life! why we all thought it was dead or dieing didn't we? Well it appears to not be so .. Tonight I find the following:

Classes in scripting, building, searching, managing inventory, navigating the grid, Second Life basics, communicating, discussion groups on writing, philosophy, religion, languages, politics, etc., etc and the price is right these educational opportunities are free.

One of my favorite finds in Second Life is the Happy Hippo Building Club. for a one time fee of 100L of joining their group you can access most of their resources for building. These include gadgets, scultpties, textures, particles, animations as well as their broad range of tutorials. The also have a website that provides a more in-depth information on the services that they provide. Not everything here is free with membership, but it's nice to have everything that you need to build and create in Second Life under one roof! I will be returning here time and again in order to learn about being creative in Second Life.

Or a class on making clothing..from New Citizens Incorporated which is a link to their calendar of events. They offer a variety of classes, and as defined in their group charter they:

Designed primarily for new residents, but open to all, NCI offers in-person advice from our team of NCI Helpers and NCI Land Officers classes, contests and social events, interactive tutorials, freebies, help notecards and landmarks, sandboxes for building, a new residents mall, Ginny Gremlin park, games, and newsstands with free in-world publications.

The classes at NCI are free, however they do have various donation/tip jars located on their sim area, throw a few Lindens in them to ensure that this free service continues. Be sure and check out their wiki for more information on what New Citizen Incorporated has to offer residents of Second Life.

Another opportunity for learning is at Rockcliffe University. The website for Rockcliffe provides a great deal of information on education, research and virtual environments. According to their website they offer a variety of courses in several areas a few of these are:

  • Sloodle
  • Moodle Course Management
  • Power Point Tips & Tricks
  • Welcome To Your Second Life
  • Open Office
  • GIMP
  • Inkscape
  • Photo Shop
  • Paint Shop Pro
  • Dreamweaver
  • Podcasting & Garage Band
  • Blogging
  • Vlogging
  • Video Production & Editing With iMovie
  • Video Editing & Production With Windows Movie Maker
  • Twitter & Twitter Tools
  • Social Networking

I suggest checking them out they offer a variety of educational programs, orientation, and traditional educational programs to meet everyone's needs. There are a lot of things going on at Rockcliffe this is definitely one to watch!

Another great place to go to learn the basics, engage in a community, and perhaps take advantage of being able to "experience history," through role play, such as that provided by Caledon Oxbridge. The University of Caledon Oxbridge is also one of my favorite places to take new residents of Second Life, it has one of the better orientation sites I have seen.

I have visited University of Caledon Oxbridge off and on for over a year now and I am impressed with their growth and the changes they have made. They have free avatars for new residents, less than 30 days old and offer free residential spaces for new residents as well. University of Caledon Oxbridge is definitely worth checking out, as is Caledon.

Here is a calendar of their classes:

More information on Caledon can be found on their wiki, this exemplary site is definitely worth the visit and the opportunity to learn more.

Another site in Second Life that offers learning opportunities, that are free, is The Learning Experience. The website provides a great deal of information on the educational programs and services provided by The Learning Experience. The Learning Experience is another education entity in Second Life to watch! Kitviel Silberberg has some great plans ahead for TLE and we should see some things coming forward from those.

As you can see the classes offered by TLE go beyond learning Second LIfe basic to literacture, Spanish, and history. Taking advantage of what TLE has to offer will provide you with some great opportunities to learn new things!

There are several places which provide language learning classes, not the least of which is the Goethe Institute in Second Life. Information on the Goethe Institute can be found here at their website. Information on their Second Life presence can be found on their website.

Not only is the Goethe Institute an educational build, it is, in my opinion one of the most artistic sites I have seen in Second Life, what a great place to learn!

Another resource for free education is the Institute for Cooperative Education which, according to their website, offers classes on three different levels in Second Life skills from beginner to advanced. These skills include building and scripting, in addition to this, you can attend classes on business management and entrepreneurship. ICE classrooms take advantage of the creativity of the Second Life environment, the surroundings are innovative and cheerful.

Another site which offers tutorials, resources and freebies to help out new residents and those who want to learn more about Second Life is International Schools Island. Information on ISI can be found at this site regarding the educational and informational services available at ISI in Second Life. However in order to truly grasp everything that ISI has to offer it is best to travel to the island in Second Life (search for ISI) and see for yourself.

In my estimation though the "granddaddy" of them all is the College of Scripting, Music and Science. The programs and courses offered by the CSMS are profiled in this Second LIfe wiki, which states that "the college was created for the purpose of helping Second Life and it's residents, so that the average user can come and learn to script in LSL."

Some of these enterprises offer tutorials which you can participate in on your own or groups classes, some of these are one night and some of them are a series. In addition to this you may participate in a group discussion or explore things on your's up to you! Second Life offers many way to learn and enrich your knowledge about a variety of subjects.

While many of these courses are free some of the sites and instructors ask for tips, if you participate in the classes support these initiatives by throwing some lindens in the tip jars. We need to keep these initiatives in Second Life going by showing our support.