Sunday, November 27, 2011

Raiding The SL Closet

I have experimented changing my appearance in SL before, and let me tell you - I hate it. It takes me about 3 times longer to get ready in SL than it does in real life. There are just so many things to choose from. Changing appearance in SL is a challenge for me because I can't seem to get it to look how I want it to. When I first started using SL I changed my facial and body features, which took FOREVER. In the end, though, I ended up pretty happy with the results. I tweaked most of my facial features like my nose, eyes, mouth, and ears. I also changed by hair color and gave myself some glasses. I didn't change my avatar's initial clothing because I really liked what he was already wearing.

Today I changed the outfit, hair, and exchanged the glasses for sunglasses. He looks ugly, but it was still getting me more used to knowing how to change the appearance of my avatar. As soon as I changed the appearance I went back to the original because I really like it. Just these simple changes took be forever. Yes, I was a little side tracked, but still changing appearances takes forever!!
The last thing I did was change my avatar completely. The original avatar had a ridiculous leather jacket on, so that had to go right away. The next thing I did was change the jeans to a darker color. I didn't change any of his facial features, but his clothes are quite different. Changing this new avatar's clothes didn't take as long, but it was still time consuming. Once I find an outfit and avatar that I really like I will stick with it!

Overall, once you get good at the navigation part about changing appearances it is quite easy and user friendly. One thing that I like is that you can play around with different combinations and then save an entire outfit. A word of caution, if you are perfectionist then editing your appearance can be quite overwhelming and stressful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taking Flight In Second Life

So, after my last post I have played around with second a little bit more. I found it to be a much better experience. My browser was working better and I finally learned how to get from one place to another. I also learned how to run and fly. I roamed around Iowa Island and found the UNI Campanile, an art gallery, and a covered bridge. After I saw the covered bridge I felt like I was in Iowa for sure.

The UNI Campanile
I am beginning to take a  liking to Second Life, even if it is a little bit frustrating at times. I always feel a little
weird while I am moving around in Second Life, but that is just because it's not familiar quite yet. I think the more I get to know the program the more at ease I will feel about using it. Like I said in my previous post I can see myself using this in my professional life, but I can't see myself using this for personal use. It just doesn't seem "fun" to me. Don't get me wrong, I think that it's an awesome concept. I just think that for me personally, it would be used as a meeting place for professional collaboration if anything. Overall, I am glad I'm getting used to (and learning) the basics of Second Life. I think that watching short video tutorials about how to take pictures, fly, run, and view is just what I need to learn it better.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who Would You Be If You Had A Second Life?

Let me begin by saying that Second Life is stressful! The first time that I experimented with it I got extremely frustrated for three reasons:

1) My browser was sticking
2) I'm too much of a perfectionist
3) I wanted to be good at it right away

I spent almost an hour trying to get my outfit just right the first time I signed on to Second Life, which was a mistake. I was getting upset because I couldn't get myself to look how I wanted. On top of that my browser was STICKING!!! UGHH! The browser speed was what made me log off and not turn back to it until I absolutely had to. Lastly, I have a love/hate relationship with learning. I love learning new things, but not if they take me ages and ages to master. Second Life is going to take me ages and ages. It's a very complex program. I do think, though, if I do get the basics mastered that it could be really fun.

When Dr. Z gave us the opportunity to go sit with him while meeting in Second Life I knew I had to. I had to because I didn't understand it. I didn't really know how to teleport from place to place. My browser wasn't running very well, and I didn't get the overall purpose of Second Life. I must admit that after meeting in Second Life while physically being with someone who understood it, I kind of liked it. I wasn't getting frustrated anymore, and I was starting to look at it a little differently. The idea of holding a meeting with my classmates in a virtual world is kind of exciting. We met in Dr. Z's room, which had a table and if we wanted we could have all sat down and talked with each other. That is one of the coolest things I have ever heard of. A meeting without actually meeting. 

I could see myself using Second Life in the future to meet with other educators across the world for collaboration. Even though I'm not totally sure how to run it just yet I do believe that it is pretty user friendly. It's just one of those things that takes time to learn, but I think I am up for the challenge! Second Life offers a lot more than just being a game. It's a place for learning and collaboration to take place; it can either be used for personal use or professional use. While Second Life and I aren't totally on stable grounds quite yet I believe that one day it will happen. I still don't understand most of the basics, but at least I understand what Second Life is about, which is a step in the right direction. I would encourage everyone to try Second Life out. There's nothing lost in trying it. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Flat Classroom Project

Over the last several weeks I have been an expert advisor for the Flat Classroom Project. This was the first time I had ever worked with the FCP, and I have to say it wasn't what I was expecting. I can't imagine the amount of work that went into the creation of something so great. Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis have really constructed something remarkable. If I didn't believe that the world was flat before working on this project, I do now.

It was so neat to see students from across the globe working together to compile information, create videos, and create a site rich with information. The wiki space that I was a part of was about globalization and outsourcing, which actually ended up teaching me a thing or two about the subject. Every time I gave feedback about fixing grammar or using correct citations I saw my suggestions being made. It's so neat to think that the entire project is all done by using the internet. Students gathered their information from the internet, their photos, videos, and they got their feedback from collaborating over the internet. The world truly is flat, and this project has made that more apparent than ever.

However, I don't see how this could disrupt class.... KIDDING. No longer are confined to our classroom walls. Think of the possibilities the FCP has given us!! Students are learning how to collaborate with other students and teachers from entirely different backgrounds than their own. Think of how well equipped this generation of students is going to be in terms of social and people skills! Not to mention their computer skills. Students today are living through the new age of education. Education is global. What a great thing, too!

I am so happy that I was able to be a part of the FCP. I have gained a new perspective as a pre-service teacher, and I plan to continue my learning on global education. It has been an exciting thing to be a part of, and it was a true eye-opener.