Showing posts with label #cck09 connnectivism education leanring web2.0. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #cck09 connnectivism education leanring web2.0. Show all posts

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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Personal Learning Environment/Network

As somewhat of a lurker in the Connectivism 2009 class facilitated by Stephen Downes and George Siemens I have been squeezing in viewing the Elluminate archived sessions when I can. I have to say I am grateful to George and Stephen for their work on this course, it has been fascinating. I am also grateful for the opportunity to be introduced to and begin to define my personal learning network/environment (PLN) and ponder the resources I have in my PLN.

Before I launch into all the different nodes on my Personal Learning Network or Environment (PLN/E) it seems to me that defining what these terms mean is in order. According to my current favorite resource, Wikipedia, a personal learning environment is a system that helps learners take control of and manage their own learning. This includes providing support for learners set their own learning goals, manage their learning; managing both content and process and communicate with others in the process of learning and thereby achieve learning goals. A PLE may be composed of one or more subsystems: As such it may be a desktop application, or composed of one or more web-based services."

At the foundation of my PLE/N are the Google Alerts I have set. Google Alerts basically harvest new stories, blogs, and other resources on the web for information on topics that I have set. I receive this information back, on a daily basis, in an email. There are directly links to the website, however more importantly each item is listed with a line or two of text the is just enough for me to determine if I want to continue reading the article or not. I usually read these on a daily basis..if I let too much time elapse I can too far behind. These alerts go in to my Gmail account where they are automatically sorted in to folders for me to review. I also use Google Reader, however I continue to see as kind of "clunky," perhaps with time and use I will change my perception, but for now it is something I look at about once a week. The essential benefit of Google reader to me is to be able to set feeds for blogs, websites and individuals I like to follow online.

Another primary tool of my PLN/E Twitter. I use Twitter for many things, to identify people to follow who will provide me with those specific resources that are related to my particular interests. In addition to that I also use Twitter to present my own blogs, those of others and articles related to my area of interest for feedback and comments from the followers I have attracted over the last several months. Someone once mentioned it is not so much about who is following you but who you are following..and I truly agree with that, there are certain people I either search for to see what they are tweeting or those I quickly identify in the tweet stream, who consistently have good links. I also look for Delicious, which are automated tweets based upon bookmarks put into the social bookmarking system and I get alerts from Tweet me news.

I also use Evernote. Evernote captures all those Tweets I want to use as future resources when I put @myen at the end of my tweet. Evernote captures websites, images, and documents or reports that I want to use for future referral. I can tag and sort all of this by projects. The real bonus of all of this for me is that I can access these resources from any PC.

I also have Livescribe Pen. I have found it essential that I take handwritten notes on somethings as I plan out what I am going to write, sometimes to even get motivated on what I am going to write for a blog, for work or just as reminders. On occasion I find that these handwritten notes are just what I need to overcome writer's block. I have never been a journal keeper but the use of the Livescribe Pulse Pen has given me the means to do that. What I like about the pen and notebooks is that my notes are up-loadable to the web and search-able. The only drawback I have found is that my handwriting is bad enough that the translation of the written notes to word processing has not been particularly successful. I also blog and love to blog..obviously. I maintain two other blog sites in addition to this one, and Steve Hargadon noted that he uses Google Docs as part of his PLN in a discussion with HOward Rheingold and I now use Google Docs almost exclusively having purchased a new PC and not following my usual pattern of purchase MS Office for this computer.

I have also used Twine, since starting to look at and use Evernote I have kind of drifted away from Twine, but I hope to take another look at it again. I think this is kind of an example of the problem with their being too many tools...sometimes you can lose focus on a certain Web 2.0 tool before fully evaluating it. I do think Twine is wonderful and has great potential. I understand that revisions are being made to Twine and an upgrade will be made available around the first part of 2010 if not earlier.

I am also in Second Life®, I have benefited a great deal from a variety of professional development activities in Second Life.® These range Metanomics, to Gronstedt's Train for Success, Pathfinder LInden's office hours, and events held by VIO Business,to evening events. I also have spent a great deal of time touring Second Life's® education sites, and chatting with others who share my interests. There are many things which illustrate the potential of Second Life for professional development to tour, historic sites such as Caledon, events like Burning Life, educational conferences and events as well. I am also a member of the Second Life Educators list serve and it seems that there is a continuous stream of thoughts, questions and observations on education in Second Life® from that list serve.

Two WEB 2.0 tools I think I have neglected are Facebook and Linked In. I need to work these sites that I have established to present a more "polished" image to those who view these pages. I view my Facebook page as more personal, for family and friends, however the groups that available for professional development via Facebook seem to be overshadowing that use of Facebook and I am seeing that there is a great deal of overlap. The connections that i have made via Second Life over lap a great deal, not just on Twitter but Linked In as well. Many of my Second Life connections are also my Linked In connections.

I have several connections beyond the virtual in my real life. These extend beyond conferences that I attend in person! I am a member of several national organizations and serve them in one capacity or another as well. These include Merlot and WCET. I find that I can access the people from these organizations with questions regarding the work that I do as it relates to their organizations.

When I remember I try to catch Steve Hargadon's Elluminate sessions through, these are in the evenings and if I don't catch them "live" I can listen to the podcast later. I subscribe to a variety of podcasts. It's not possible to catch them all but I do what I can!

Last but not least, I have blogged about this before, is my participation in John Jamison's Imagilearning SLemester class. I have enjoyed this opportunity very much and looked forward to an ongoing relationship as an alum of the program which focuses on virtual worlds for education and training. John always has a recommendation for another good book to read!

There is also the interesting work of Micheal Trout and the connections that I have made by working with him on eSingularity.

Other resources (and these are sporadic) include Ted Talks, Fora TV and You Tube, I have to confess I am not a huge user of these, my use of these define as sporadic at best. For the last several months I have spent a great deal of time exploring Second Life® almost exclusively.

There are some tools I have "on the back burner" so to speak that I intend to pick up and use more diligently. These include Zotero, Mixbook, Ning, and FolkSemantic.