THE SLENZ PROJECT
There is a difference between
immersion and activity …
Learning in Dallas … Snowflake Lannock has a giftbox for Aotearoa-NZ learners.
Learning in Dallas … virtually speaking. [All Pictures: Merle Lemon]
Sometimes one listens to the presentations and reads the publicity about a person’s role in the world – any world, real or virtual – and fails to see the difference between commitment and involvement, between being immersed in life and just being active … and often noisy.
Those who play a full role in life – real or virtual – might identify with the old story of the breakfast plate loaded with bacon and eggs: the pig who “donated” the bacon was committed, the fowl who laid the egg might have been active, but was only involved.
I believe there are many “involved” in virtual worlds – builders, technicians, academics and educators, making names for themselves as “experts” and who appear to be able to talk-the-talk and use the right jargon – who are not “immersed” and not committed to virtual worlds and in actual fact never will walk-the-walk of real virtuality, and do not understand what being “immersed” in a virtual world really means.
They only pay lip service to the idea of virtual immersion – only entering virtual life for “work”, rather than “learning” to live within it.
They are there because they see that being on the virtual world band wagon provides a career-enhancing opportunity. They will invariably move on to the next career-enhancing fad as soon as it comes into their view, and is greeted with wonder by the chattering classes. They will then become the critics, the doom sayers of the old wave, and the “promoters” of another new wave.
Getting into a virtual world … educators Jane Field and daughter.
Manukau Institute of Technology lead educator for the SLENZ Project, Merle Lemon (pictured right) (SL: Briarmelle Quintessa) is not like that: since joining the SLENZ Project team less than 12 months ago she has quietly immersed herself in Second Life and become one with it. For her the suspension of disbelief is part and parcel of immersion and an integral part of learning, and the best way of providing the best learning opportunities possible in a virtual world.
It is very difficult to get her to promote herself or her role but tomorrow (Monday) she will launch a Foundation Learning programme which will eventually see about 150 New Zealand students, ranging in age from 18 to 45, “virtually” acquiring some of the skills needed to get a job or further education and training in the “real world”.
To this end she staged an all-day face-to-face training exercise for the Foundation Learning team in the Learning Technology Centre at MIT South Campus early this month and has written about it, albeit probably reluctantly, on her blog, Foundation interviewing with SLENZ.
Somewhere in a world … Terry Neal, Dr Susie Jacka and Tania Hogan.
The training workshop which began with a Karakia (traditional Maori prayer that both welcomes and brings everyone together) was attended by SLENZ Project co leader Terry Neal (SL: Tere Tinkel),; Maryanne Wright (SL: Nugget Mixemup), and Tania Hogan (Tania Wonder) from MIT; Jane Field (Morgana Hexicola) from Otago Polytechnic with her daughter; Vicky Pemberton (Sky Zeitman); Martin Bryers (SL: Motini Manimbo) from Northland Polytech; and Dr Susie Jacka (SL: Littoral Farshore) from Unitec.
The presenters from around the world included: Jenny Wakefield (SL: Snowflake Lannock) of the Dallas School of Management at the University of Texas, who gave instruction in communication skills, use of contextual menus, handling the inventory, more complex movements, location and SLurls, camera controls, and security issues; Second Life’s Pacifico Piaggio, a faculty member from the University of the Pacific, and Second Life resident Doran Horngold, an elementary school librarian from Houston, Texas, who passed on her collection of note cards with teaching resource SLurls and information.
“The workshop provided a great opportunity to gel as a team, to learn skills and to share ideas, ” Merle says. ” The day was tiring but rewarding. It provided all collaborators with the reassurance that they would never be on their own, and that there is a support structure soundly in place.”
Merle could have added that she, with her hard-won knowledge of virtual world immersion, is one of the major foundations of that sound support structure. But that is not something she would say.
What was the question?- Martin Bryers listens to the real world
answer from Vicky Pemberton
Filed under: Education, Education in Second Life, Education in virtual worlds, Online identity, Second Life, SLENZ Project | Tagged: Dallas School of Management, Doran Horngold, Jane Field, Jenny Wakefield, Manukau Institute of Technology, Martin Bryers, Maryanne Wright, Merl Lemon, MIT, NorthTec, Otago Polytechnic, Pacifico Piaggio, Susie Jacka, Tania Hogan, Terry Neal, Unitec, University of Texas, Vicky Pemberton | Leave a comment »