Who we are

Bwendtjohnnielog compiler/writer: John Waugh (SL: Johnnie Wendt) An award-winning journalist in real life, John has “lived” in Second Life and other virtual worlds as “Johnnie Wendt” and other avatars for some three years. During that time he has monitored the virtual world phenomena and believes that, although virtual life is still in its infancy, it and the descendants of today’s virtual worlds potentially offer dazzling and unlimited opportunities for education, communication, social prototyping and modification, scientific experimentation and research as well as the arts. He has been engaged by the Second Life Education New Zealand project to independently report and comment regularly on that project as well as providing pointers to what is happening in Second Life and virtual world education around the real world. His blog will appear fortnightly on Friday’s (New Zealand time) if not more frequently. He can be contacted at john.waugh1@gmail.com or at facebook.com/John.Waugh1

The SLENZ Team

nealterry1Joint Project Leader: Terry Neal (SL Tere Tinkle) – Terry is an experienced project manager who managed collaborative e-learning projects for institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) for four years before establishing the consultancy, Blended Solutions, in August, 2007. Terry’s projects have included building e-learning capability in ITPs and understanding how using technology in teaching and learning could better support Māori and Pacific learners. She also won a Flexible Learning Leaders award to visit international examples of institutions working together for flexible learning. She recently led a national assessment of e-learning capability for the Tertiary Education Commission and is working with government on an e-learning communication project. Terry is new to virtual worlds and brings a novice user perspective to the SLENZ project, as well as her proven ability to help team’s work together effectively to deliver agreed outputs within finite resources and time frames. Terry says: “To be honest I have mixed feelings about the project. Part of me is excited by the potential and convinced we need to learn as much as we can about what virtual worlds offer. Like the internet, they won’t go away. That is why I am involved. The other part of me wants to put my head in the sand and wait until someone else has sorted that out, not be taking responsibility for part of it. But I continually remind myself I have the rest of the team to lean on. None of us can do this alone.”

atkinsclare2Joint Project Leader: Dr Clare Atkins (SL: Arwenna Stardust) –  Clare is Research Leader and a Senior Lecturer in IT at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and has been a Second Life resident since November 2006.  Currently responsible for the development of NMIT’s presence in Second Life with the islands of Koru and Kowhai, Clare has a strong conviction that the use of multi-user virtual environments will have lasting changes on tertiary education.

Group members:

griffithsaaronLead developer: Aaron Griffiths (SL: Isa Goodman) – Aaron is a virtual world developer, specialising in interactive educational content designer, interactive content development, courseware design, learning technologies, VR development, educational programming. Director, F/Xual Education Services: https://eduforge.org/projects/slcampusnz/

blackallleigh1Learning designer: Leigh Blackall (SL: Leroy Goalpost) – Leigh is an educational developer with Otago Polytechnic. He specialises in social media, networked learning and open education. Leigh currently works with staff at the Polytechnic developing critical literacies in contemporary Internet use. He supports staff in their online publishing and professional networking, and is working hard at establishing the Polytechnic as a leading institution for open education, online teaching, and professional networking. http://learnonline.wordpress.com; http://wikieducator.org/User:Leighblackall

saltbenResearch: Dr Ben Salt (SL: Orwell Sorbet) Social researcher, PhD Adult Education, SLENZ literature reviewer and project evaluator, Ben’s  main area of expertise  is international comparative adult education. He has spent many years as a social researcher and evaluator for education and business initiatives in the US, UK and NZ. His social science work is informed by his knowledge of  economics (he is a neo-Keynsian), human geography (post-fordism, spatial praxis), socio-linguistics, history, critical theory and adult education.

cochranetoddDeveloper: Todd Cochrane (SL: Toddles Lightworker) – Todd teaches a range of topics in the Wellington Institute of Technology’s Bachelors, Diploma and Cybertechnology programmes, including client-side and server-side scripting (ASP JavaScript), Ecommerce Website Design (DB), Human Computer Interaction, Operating Systems, Software Engineering, Software Quality Assurance, Prototyping, Programming Practice (Visual Basic). He is a polyglot programmer, writing software in a number of imperative/procedural languages (C/C++,Delphi, Visual Basic, JavaScript, Java, Flash ActionScript) as well as being able to produce code in functional (RUFL and Hope+C) and declarative languages (Prolog). His current research is focused by the development and extension of a visual programming language. Todd spent a number of years as a research programmer, tutor and lecturer. He has undertaken commercial work as well as curriculum and course development. He ran a Human Computer Interaction using SLas development platform last Trimester. He is currently delivering Computer Systems Architecture in SL and RL synchronously and is becoming proficient at SL development, and SL to RL crossing. He has presented Cross-worlds art work , also know as Club Temp, at the International Symposium on Electronic Art tomorrow in Singapore.


Lead educator: Merle Lemon (SL: Briarmelle Quintessa) Merle is a Senior Lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology. With MIT for more than seven years she has taught in six different departments and is currently teaching Communication, Research and Computing for the School of Foundation Studies. She has  previously taught eCommunication for the Communications Department, Level 2-4 Computing for Business Services, Computing for Travel & Tourism, Computing in the Classroom for the Secondary Teaching MIT qualification, ESOL (including English Through Computing), and has helped produce resources for Learning Technology. She has used eMIT (MIT’s Blackboard) since her first year at MIT, and designed and run a fully online course for the School of English using eMIT. Merle has had an  clectic background teaching in NZ secondary schools, working as a PD consultant, in public relations, personnel, and as a qualified psychologist and crisis counselor. She has a Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning and a Web Technologies and a Web Graphics & Multimedia Certificate from the International Webmasters Association.  She is excited about the SLENZ project, and is looking forward to a stimulating and challenging year ahead.

sarah-op-2007Lead educator: Sarah Stewart (SL: Petal Stransky ) Sarah is a midwife and senior lecturer in midwifery at Otago Polyttechnic. Born in the UK she  currently lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. Her project, to be done in conjunction with a colleague, Deborah Davis, will consist of collaborating with midwifery educators in Christchurch and Auckland to design, build and evaluate a virtual birthing unit. http://sarah-stewart.blogspot.com/

nullusJames Brodie – James is Head of Centre for Creative Technologies and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltec). He has spent most of his working life in education – primary, secondary and tertiary. He is a teacher, educational psychologist and latterly manager of the Centre for Creative Technologies at WelTec. The Centre is built on collaborative cross disciplinary teaching involving projects in collaboration with industry. This process is supported by the Centre for Smart Product working within the Centre to create industry links and provide industry projects that are managed and workid on by staff and students across a range of disciplines including creative arts, information technology and engineering. With a particular interest in the changing educational world that is so rapidly developing, he believes the advent of web3D and the educational opportunities that are evolving in the virtual world will radically alter the community of learning that we currently experience.

marlerterryTerry Marler – Terry (B.V.Sc., Grad. Dip. Ed., Grad Cert in Flexible Learning) is a Principal Lecturer and the team leader of Otago Polytechnic’s Educational Development Centre, which provides a range of staff training, academic support practices and professional development to support strategic priorities which include a memorandum of understanding with Ngai Tahu, education for sustainability, and internationalisation of vocational education. He was awarded a Flexible Learning Leader in NZ scholarship in 2006, and is currently an active member of the TANZ eLearning Forum. His particular interest is in the interface between learning communities and workplace communities, and he has presented at national and international conferences, including ODLAA (1998, 2006), eFest (2003, 2007), and ITPNZ research forum (2008). Consultancy work with the Commonwealth of Learning in developing countries (India, Samoa and Ghana) has resulted in a commitment to reducing the digital divide, and to finding ways of providing experiences to learners which might not otherwise be possible. In particular, virtual cultural and work experience could be especially valuable to prepare learners from developing nations for work in developed countries, and to assist prospective volunteers or those about to undertake work placements to overcome cultural hurdles which can be disruptive to effective work in unfamiliar situations. He believes the value of Multi-User Virtual Environments in this context needs further exploration.

cummingcolinColin Cumming – Executive Director Operations, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. Colin joined the Open Polytechnic in March 2005 as the Information Systems Director, bringing skills and experience in information systems and consultancy from previous roles with leading New Zealand agribusiness company Wrightson, and through ten years spent working around the world as an IT consultant with Ernst & Young around the world. Prior to this he spent ten years working in IT for Hitachi, primarily in Europe. He has an MBA in corporate strategy from Kingston Business School, London, UK and BSc and MSc degrees from Southampton and Reading Universities in the UK.  Currently the Executive Director Operations at The Open Polytechnic covering the areas of – IS/IM, Library, Logistics, Customer Support, Design & Development, Print and Foundation Learniing. He has a strong interest in emerging technologies in education.

sweetpea-karillionSusan Jenkins (SL: Sweetpea Karillion)- Executive Assistant to the Head of Centre, Creative Technologies at WelTec. Susan provides administrative support to the SLENZ Project team. She has also been a business analyst with Unisys NZ and was heavily involved in BAU and project application development work for two government departments. She has an understanding of the SDLC and risks and issues relating to software/technology development projects. Although new to Second Life, Susan is extremely interested in the advent of alternative learning delivery mechanisms. As a kinesthetic learner she is especially interested in mechanisms that enable students to actively participate in their learning and to experience the outcomes of their actions without the real-world being impacted.

Dr Malcolm Shore  – Malcolm gained his degree in Computer Science from London University and  had a career in the RNZAF followed by 10 years in the Government Communications Security Bureau serving as Director Information Systems Security. He is currently working for Telecom NZ and concurrently holds the position of adjunct Senior Fellow at Canterbury University in which capacity he teaches and researches in computer forensics and information warfare. A Technology Strategist with Telecom NZ he is leading the thinking on how Web3D and virtual worlds impact on the services Telecom offers and the way in which Telecom provides its customers with their online experience. Dr Shore has been involved in developing experimental builds in Second Life as well as trials in other virtual world technologies such as OpenSIM, Exit Reality and Google Lively. Dr Shore is one of the founders of the NZ National Virtual World Grid, an OpenSIM Grid operating on KAREN and providing free virtual world capabilities for educators.

Murray Price – Healthcare and Life Sciences Business Manager, IBM New Zealand Ltd. Murray has been involved in Information Technology for more than 20 years in a variety of roles, all non-technical. As the result of an acquisition he has been with IBM in Christchurch for more than four years, initially running the South Island and latterly heading up the Health and Life Sciences practice for IBM nationally. Murray’s client focus areas have been the Health Boards and Universities. He has an excellent understanding of these sectors and the demands these clients have. Significant achievements over this time have included the sale of the first BlueGene Super Computer in the Southern Hemisphere to the University of Canterbury. This system is the most powerful in the Australasia and is being used to further research into many areas including BioEngineering, Climate Change and Astronomy.

John Eyles – John Eyles is an artist, educator and businessman. He is married with four children and lives on a small island in the South Pacific called Waiheke. John wears a number of hats: Visiting Fellow, Auckland University of Technology; Research and Alliances Leader, Telecom New Zealand; Chair EON Foundation; Director of a new media company, and shareholder in English-To-Go, an online education company he co-founded in 1998 that has customers in 150 countries. He was a Flexible Learning Leader in New Zealand in 2006. He has been playing, learning and doing business on the Internet for fourteen years. His passion is the use of social media to foster and harness the collective potential of distributed groups. www.johneyles.info


The SLENZ Update blog is designed to provide an independent view of the development of the SLENZ Project as well as to monitor/report on progress and technological/social developments in virtual worlds around the world with an emphasis on education and Second Life®. The blog is based on John Waugh’s (SL: Johnnie Wendt)  personal experiences in and observations about MUVEs (Multi-UserVirtual Environments) and MORPGs (Multi-user On-line Role Playing Games) and may not reflect the views of the SLENZ Project, individual SLENZ team members and/or the team leadership, and/or the various tertiary institutions and other organisations involved. in the project.  The views expressed  and posted are completely John Waugh’s own unless otherwise stated. Second Life® and Linden Lab® are registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc. No infringement is intended.

5 Responses

  1. Hello,

    Great articles you write about the virtual world. I was wondering if you also blog for other virtual worlds, besides Second Life? I would like to suggest that you take a look into Frenzoo and I’d be happy to know your thoughts about it.


    Frenzoo Team

  2. […] and Belma was wondering how she could help enagage her students. After attrending a PD session with Claire Atkins she was introduced to Second Life and saw an opportuntiy to motivate students. Anecdotally, to […]

  3. […] New Zealand virtual world education group, Second Life Education New Zealand (SLENZ), has set up a research project in the on-line virtual world of Second Life for  New Zealand […]

  4. Fresh from Sundance Film Festival:

    LIFE 2.0
    This feature-length documentary follows a group of people whose lives are dramatically transformed by the virtual world Second Life. They enter a new reality, whose inhabitants assume alternate personas in the form of avatars. The film is foremost an intimate, character-based drama about people who look to a virtual world in search of something they are missing in their real lives. A young woman in Detroit becomes a star designer of virtual clothes and houses; an American and a Canadian fall in love online then struggle to build a real life together; a man creates the avatar of an 11-year-old girl who he believes is an expression of his subconscious.

    The results are unexpected and often disturbing: reshaping relationships, identities, and ultimately the very notion of reality.

    SUN 20 FEB
    2:30PM Event Cinemas Newmarket
    FRI 25 FEB
    6:45pm Event Cinemas Newmarket
    SUN 6 MAR
    2:30pm Event Cinemas Newmarket

    SUN 11 MAR
    12:45pm Angelika at Reading Cinemas Courtenay
    6:45m Angelika at Reading Cinemas Courtenay

    Trailer: http://www.life2movie.com/life2.0/gallery


  5. […] the support, encouragement and guidance of two of the best teachers in virtual worlds – Clare Atkins & Aaron Griffiths. Thank you both for sharing your passion & enthusiasm for virtual worlds and their educational […]

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