Going to workshops…and doing some secret squirrel networking…in Second Life

“You can take the teacher trainer out of the classroom but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher trainer.”, to paraphrase someone. Anyhow, just done the first of two workshops and am about to do the next one, but thought I’d do a write up while it was still fresh.

Interactive Role Play delivered by Shannon Yambushi at the Learning Experience Lodge was my first experience of being a SL student. I found that I didn’t fill in the analysis grid issued on MUVEnation moodle until after the event, and to be honest, only paid lip service to it, preferring instead to write garbled notes as I went and concentrate on what was a really intersting workshop. As a big part of my job involves observing teachers, I went into default mode and found myself thinking things like: “Stop facing the chalkboard and turning your back on the group….and what are you using something as real life as a chalk board anyway? Can’t you write on a giant fish with a sparkler instead of chalk or something? Mmmm….really welcoming, stimulating environment….well measured pace in the main-bit rushed in places…informal and formative assessment throughout….you could see that individuals learnt by asking them to try out the gestures you’d instructed them to make summatively…you didn’t, however, mention any progression to further or higher-level sessions….grade 3 I think, but nearly a grade 2…”

So we looked at the concept of role playing (as opposed to RPGs) in SL and concepts such as OOC (Out Of Character), IC (In Character) and the 733t / SMS (Short Messaging System). I was surprised to find that in PG areas it is fine to maim, injur, kill, bleed / make bleed / rip limbs off and generally be as violent as you wish…as long as there is no nudity. Bit like RL then – we’ll be happy to watch films like Hostel, SAW, Cannibal Clowns from Outer Space etc…but get your bits out and you face the wrath of Mary Whitehouse. Or the ghost of Mary Whitehouse. Or a legion of Daily Mail readers. Or something.

I learnt about “Godmodelling” (where you force your RP playmates to feel something that is,n’t their choice: “Bob kisses Bill and Bill feels all tingly inside”), interpretive, narrative and expressive role play, the etiquette of RP (“uh – okay – I’m not enjoying this anymore, so I’ll be off now) and, most usefully, how to create and use gestures (“Bex Mavendorf smiles whilst wondering when dinner will arrive”). I also learnt that by creating subfolders within the “Calling Cards” areas of my inventory, I can create specific groups and hold conference calls / chats. Very useful stuff.

After the workshop had finished I asked Shannon what she considered to be the most important aspect of running workshops, (as per MUVENation instructions) and she was really happy to chat, answered in detail, and became a new SL friend:

[2009/01/24 8:55] Bex Mavendorf: I want to run some classes in sl, so could youm tell me what you think is the most important part of delivering a successful workshop – this one was really good, BTW![2009/01/24 8:55] Shannon Yamabushi (busy response): I am Teaching a clas right now I see your IM and will repond but takes a little effert to do a class on rolepalying. please help me and give me am oment to finish class then I can be there. [2009/01/24 9:00] Shannon Yamabushi: OH thank you![2009/01/24 9:01] Shannon Yamabushi: I can after class sure[2009/01/24 9:16] Shannon Yamabushi: one make a plan on the order you present it[2009/01/24 9:16] Shannon Yamabushi: two use props like black board or tools to show what your tlaking about[2009/01/24 9:16] Shannon Yamabushi: three set a time limit and ask questions after each part[2009/01/24 9:17] Shannon Yamabushi: as if there are any questions[2009/01/24 9:17] Shannon Yamabushi: then sumerise at end askign if there are questions again[2009/01/24 9:17] Shannon Yamabushi: endo f class for you revue and evaluate what you did and what you might havem issed to get your point out and what worked[2009/01/24 9:17] Shannon Yamabushi: reqrite and do it all over again next class[2009/01/24 9:17] Shannon Yamabushi: reqwrite[2009/01/24 9:18] Bex Mavendorf: very much like teaching in RL then![2009/01/24 9:18] Shannon Yamabushi: Yep[2009/01/24 9:18] Shannon Yamabushi: I had a actress in my class I Can’t tel lyou who. promised but said this is exactly like perfomring but more live like on stage[2009/01/24 9:19] Bex Mavendorf: i can see thet – teaching and acting are similar…only teachers don’t get paid as much!!![2009/01/24 9:19] Shannon Yamabushi: yeah -_- buttips are always nice ^_^[2009/01/24 9:20] Shannon Yamabushi is Online[2009/01/24 9:20] Bex Mavendorf: thanks shannon – i have no linden dollars but promise to get some and leave a tip – you have really earnt it!– Instant message logging enabled —

The second workshop I attended was the very hands-on Valentine Garden Bench session at Rockliffe University. I really enjoyed this – all the group members got to make a bench following step-by-step instructions in a very well designed wprkshop / classroom area. Materials were given to all group members including textures, posing balls and a notecard at the end of the session re-iterating the instructions required to make the bench. I got chatting to the tutor who had delivered the session, again, as per course instructions…and am now going to see how Cornwall College and Rockliffe University can make links within the wolds of HE and Teacher Education in SL:

[11:43] Bex Mavendorf: do you have any tips foir a successful workshop? I’m about to buy an island for my college so any tips would be useful![11:43] Physicist Oh: oh thats quite a question[11:44] Physicist Oh: what do you plan to do withit at the college[11:44] Bex Mavendorf: its for our higher education and teacher training departments[11:45] Physicist Oh: Isee, Rockcliffe does some collaborative work with rl colleges[11:45] Physicist Oh: that is one area of interest to us[11:45] Bex Mavendorf: in the UK?[11:46] Physicist Oh: I’m not sure just what links we have, i’m more invlolved in diong the workshops like this one'[11:46] Bex Mavendorf: i want to trach teachers how to use SL to deliver their lessonsa[11:46] Bex Mavendorf: but rezzing is a part of what i want them to learn[11:47] Physicist Oh: you might want to contact the head of our school, Phelan Corrimal[11:47] Bex Mavendorf: cool![11:48] Bex Mavendorf: sorry to throw all these questions at you[11:48] Physicist Oh: We may be able to do some workshops for you, but i don’t know for sure[11:48] Physicist Oh: no, thats perfectly ok[11:48] Physicist Oh: he might give you some tips on setting up your sim also[11:48] Bex Mavendorf: cool – we have an architect and money to buy a region[11:49] Physicist Oh: thats great, what school is it[11:49] Bex Mavendorf: i’m investigating in world workshops to see hoe they are run[11:49] Bex Mavendorf: yours was the best so far[11:49] Physicist Oh: thanks[11:49] Physicist Oh: i teach rl too, so i tend to be organized lol[11:49] Bex Mavendorf: it’s Cornwall College – we are linked to University of Plymouth[11:50] Bex Mavendorf: i work in the teacher education department[11:50] Physicist Oh: brb, let me get notes out[11:50] Bex Mavendorf: you should get back to your group[11:50] Bex Mavendorf: sorry to take up so much of your time![11:51] Physicist Oh is Online[11:52] Physicist Oh: its ok, i think everyone is doing ok :)[11:53] Bex Mavendorf: everyone did as they were meant to – so your teaching methods are obviously successful[11:53] Physicist Oh: I think Phelan could be a big help to you, he is on quite often. And if its ok i’ll drop him a copy of our chat[11:54] Physicist Oh: I try to be pretty detailed, and make sure everyone is at the same place[11:54] Bex Mavendorf: that’d be cool. my head of department is bascule twine – it’d be worth chatting to him too[11:54] Physicist Oh: ok, and he’s free to im me also[11:54] Physicist Oh: what do you teach at the college?[11:54] Bex Mavendorf: ditto![11:55] Bex Mavendorf: teacher education – but I’m also the closest the department’s got to a learning technologist[11:55] Physicist Oh: jack of all trades[11:55] Bex Mavendorf: hence me being the one who will look after an island here![11:55] Bex Mavendorf: yup – master of none!!![11:55] Physicist Oh: haha[11:56] Physicist Oh: well, if you mastered all this it would just be time to start on mastering something new[11:56] Bex Mavendorf: do you run any other rezzing sessions?[11:56] Bex Mavendorf: lol[11:56] Physicist Oh: i have quite a few, and my colleague is doing an intro series, she has a class here at noon, you might want to drop in on[11:57] Bex Mavendorf: noon SL time?[11:57] Physicist Oh: yes, just noticed, it starts in a few minute[11:57] Bex Mavendorf: better go leave her to it then![11:57] Physicist Oh: in a different classroom[11:57] Physicist Oh: i can go and tp you to it if you wish[11:57] Bex Mavendorf: that’d be good![11:58] Physicist Oh: ok, pick up your bench and i’ll head there[11:58] Bex Mavendorf: cool[11:59] Physicist Oh is Offline[11:59] Physicist Oh is Online[12:01] Physicist Oh: bex, i crashed before i got a chance to copy our chat, can you make me a copy[12:02] Bex Mavendorf: no probs![12:07] Bex Mavendorf: this should copy the conversation to you…

So , I genuinely enjoyed both sessions, made more friends, learnt a bit about how to (and maybe how not to ) run workshops on SL…now just need to think of a subject to run my own workshop about, and hope it can be half as good as these were.

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