180 Degree Turn Around

Which is a skit on the title of my favourite A-Team episode “West Coast Turn Around”. God I’m a sad sack.

There were only 2 of us at the orange group’s meeting this evening – but it was a wholly successful meeting despite (or maybe because) of this. My fellow attendee was Uncle Writer, the only other member of the group to have posted regularly to the forum and wiki.

We took a look at a few of the places I’ve mentioned on the group’s travel guide, with a view to looking at what worked and what didn’t and as we flew and wandered around, came up with the following:

  • there are too many virtual classrooms that look like RL classrooms that don’t seem to belong to any specific subject area, so just seem a bit sameish and vague.
  • there are areas that look like they belong to a child who overbuilt when on a Sunny Delight-induced sugar-high until the novelty /e-numbers wore off, leaving some areas that are really no more than cluttered, overly busy but functionless wastes of space
  • there are some beautifully designed buildings with crappy furniture inside and vice versa
  • there are too many empty spaces with nobody about and nothing going on (though this may be to do with time differences)
  • some people seem to just own areas on SL because they can, and build for the sake of it – but seemingly without imagination or a definitive plan (“We’re a college – let’s have an island!”). This worries me as I fear that I could / am go / going down this route.
  • Contrary to what I thought, it IS possible to teach asynchronously on SL
  • Beautifully designed, minimalist and imaginative areas can be interpreted in any number of ways by practitioners – and that can only be a good thing.

    After a couple of hours of exploring various areas that we both felt were worth mention we sat for a chat (again, outside and around an open fire – this seems to be the best place to come up with ideas. Maybe we should all teach around camp fires in RL?!) and came up with what I think is a brilliant idea:

    Whilst exploring I showed Uncle a virtual web quest unit on Education UK Island. We agreed that the concept of a web quest was a good one in SL and made for an imaginative method of delivery, doing away with dry old virtual classrooms with virtual desks and virtual inflexibility and making use of the sort of imaginative methodology SL should be adhering to.

    We went on to talk about how web quests could be set up…then between us managed to come up with the conceit of using a web quest to deliver our guided tour to other MUVEnation participants. This would immediately do away with the need to be online at a specific time to “physically” show groups of avatars around our recommended locations. We would simply write one treasure hunt question for each location, publish these questions to both our travel guide wiki page and on a note card, tell all participants where they could find the note card, then ask them to find the answers to all the location-based questions. These they could then write on their own note cards (which would give them a bit of rezzing / scripting practise), to be posted in a virtual mail box placed in an agreed and advertised location. Ta da! Asynchronous – and available for everyone to do at a time that suits, rather than a prescribed time and date (even better this time of year whe everyone in the world has holiday plans).

    So – from coming very close to jumping ship and joining another group to coming up with something that’s really fired me up – a bone fide 180 degree turn around!

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