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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Learning in 3D Class: Week 4

Erika, our guide for ProtoSphere, talks to the group.

This week's class proved to be exciting as we got a guided tour of ProtoSphere from Erika of ProtonMedia, used the VOIP in Second Life and had a group challenge where teams of students (dressed as fire fighters) cleaned up make believe chemical spills in teams of 4 or 5. The idea behind that exercises was to help them learn how teamwork principles can be applied in a 3D world to help with team building, cooperation and coordination.

The ProtoSphere demonstration was great, we got to learn how to use gestures in-world and we got to go play a wheel of fortune game, see a large classroom and experience the social networking aspects of ProtoSphere and how you can click on an avatar and see a person's real-life profile.Our host also explained the different types of companies using the product and gave information on how they partner with organizations to set up and deploy the ProtoSphere application. You can check out ProtoSphere for yourself by viewing a demo at ProtonMedia's web site.

Later in the evening, we discussed designing instruction in a 3D world...Analysis of the learning objectives, Design of the learning events, Development of the in-world scene, Implementation of the technology and finally Evaluation of the educational experience from the in-world learning. Basically, we applied the ADDIE model of instructional design to building a 3D synchronous learning experience. The model is applicable just the specific details are applied differently and the design of the environment in which the learning occurs is critical to success.
The whole class standing around the main campus in Protoshere.

You can see the presentation discussing the ADDIE model for 3D worlds at Designing 3D Learning Events and peek into the class and some of the struggles we still have with the technology. I keep thinking of how similar the initial use of 3D worlds are to the early days of e-learning...first great hype and then great disappointment when the e-learning didn't live up to the hype and then a more realistic and positive use of the technology.

I think we are starting to see the wave of hype for 3D worlds starting to crash (see article How Madison Avenue Is Wasting Millions on a Deserted Second Life) and then, in the next couple of years, we will see more realistic use...but first some technical issues need to be worked out.
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20 comments:

Matthew said...

I definitely enjoyed the presentation on protosphere given by Erica. It was very informative and I was pleased that she seemed to very prepared and was able to easily answer every one of the questions that was presented to her.

As for protosphere itself I am not sure exactly how I feel about it at this point. There are definitely a few negatives that really stick out. Like the lack of cross platform compatibility and the uncustomizability of your environment, such as the inability to resize the windows. It would also be nicer if you could instantly leave people a quick message on the social networking engine. It is definitely an interesting idea, but seems to be lacking just a little bit in the area of interaction between users. It also doesn't seem to be that great for dialup users and the VOIP doesn't seem to go over that well when multiple people are talking, but I guess that would be the case in any environment real or virtual.

I did like the social networking engine as a whole as it gives you a chance to share your resume, skills and interests with other users on Protosphere and also find other users who are working on similar projects and share skills and interests. All in all I think Protosphere is definitely a unique and interesting product, though it seems quite expensive.

VOIP is definitely a welcome addition to Second Life. Now we no longer need to rely on Breeze as a crutch! This is fantastic and definitely makes instruction much easier to follow and allows for more organization and better communication without toggling!

-Matt

Steve Major said...

I think the fourth "Learning in 3D Class" was very interesting and provided us with a great introduction to Protosphere. The tour given by Erica was very informative and helped me gain some practice with many of the features available in Protosphere. It seems to be very similar to Centra, with the addition of a 3D element. There are some strengths and weaknesses that I can see at this point with the software. Perhaps the biggest problem is the cost factor, with an average cost around $100,000 and up. This makes it cost prohibitive for many organizations, but I'm sure that cost will come down as it becomes more developed and attracts more users.

As far as the VOIP feature in Second Life goes, I think that it has great potential, but needs a little tweaking so that you can better see who's talking and come up with a way to organize who is talking at a given time.

Mary Ann said...

For me, this class was the best in regard to the amount of information successfully passed from instructors to students -- and consequently what I learned. I had no technical snafus to overcome and the VOIP in both ProtoSphere and Second Life made it much easier for presenters to deliver their knowledge in a way that students could easily absorb it.

I found Erica’s presentation on ProtoSphere interesting. I see that ProtoSphere has features we missed when our class explored it last week. Prior to this class, it wasn’t clear that the campus we were exploring was just a demo area, or that ProtonMedia custom builds private virtual worlds for their clients. It’s an interesting concept with a lot of potential, but most businesses might be unable or reluctant to make the necessary investment to have a custom world built. The social network tie-in is also quite ingenious, although might need further development.

It was great fun to see my classmates showing up in their firefighting attire for class in Second Life. I’m not certain that the instructions for the chemical spill exercise were clear to everyone when we set off to begin the project. I joined a group and helped create a chemical spill site, although we probably didn’t utilize the available VOIP as much as we might have to truly collaborate on the process. I’d attribute that to not being sure what we were supposed to be doing, and limited class time remaining.

In summary, this was a meaningful and fun class for me. It felt the most organized and productive of all of the classes to date.

-Mary Ann M.

ChaseSteven Bailey said...

Overall, this class was the one I enjoyed the most. I found all the topics to be very interesting and easy to keep up with. Transitions between ProtoSphere, Breeze and Second Life with VOIP were done very nicely. Although some still had technical problems, which is a problem I have come to expect with using technology.

The guided tour conducted by Erika was very informative and presented at a good pace. I agree with others that Erika seemed to be very prepared for the presentation and was ready to answer questions asked of her by all users. I had absolutely no trouble whatsoever fallowing her as we explored this “new world.” The VOIP was a lifesaver as we made our way around campus, conference rooms, pre built lessons, and even a game show.

Erika did a nice introduction of ProtoSphere by covering the basics: communicating with chat and VOIP, moving from place to place, running, gestures, and customizing your avatar. Erika then moved into more advanced features such as: Social Networking and Application Sharing. The Social Networking is a really nice feature that allows ProtoSphere users to get in to touch, view users’ profiles, and communicate with one another much easier. The interface that allows users to edit their profile is very user friendly, making it another advantage to use ProtoSphere.

The new VIOP feature in Second Life made it much easier to follow instruction for class. I also noticed that once I closed the Breeze presentation Second Life preformed much smother and without lags. The chemical spill task toward the end of class was neat, the fireman suits was definitely a plus. I never realized the dynamics of building an application with a team. Each group member could be assigned to build a specific piece and then another could put it all together, giving it the final touches.

-Chase Winters-

Kim Shaw said...

I have to echo what others so far have said. This class was by far the most informative and enjoyable. Transitioning between Breeze, Protosphere, and Second Life was definitely smoother than in past classes.

Erica's presentation in Protosphere was very educational. I now have a better idea of how it might be utilized in an educational or business environment although I am still partial to Centra for online meetings. I'm not sure that I see the usefulness of becoming an avatar to use Protosphere when a program like Centra does all of the same things and more. For example, in a program like Centra, you can still AppShare and hear each other speaking but also have the ability to have multiple users participating in the whiteboard at the same time. Maybe I'm partial to Centra because I know it so well and Protosphere would grow on me if I were to use it more.

As far as meeting in Second Life went, the VOIP was exactly what was missing. I am excited that this feature is available and seems to be working well. The only problem seemed to be knowing who was talking if that person did not identify him or herself. As far as the chemical spill activity went, it was fun to work with a group and discover a new way to collaborate in Second Life!

-Kim Shaw

Kate Krasnokutska said...

This week was frustrating for me, it was hard to follow where we're supposed to be and what we were supposed to be doing. I hope we get more directions on the chemical spill collaborations, given we have time to complete it next class.

From the ProtoSphere presentation, I think there is still a great deal they could improve. For example, a customized campus designed for clients can only be changed by ProtonMedia. The client has no control over it once handed the finished product. So it makes me wonder why companies would pay a fortune for ProtoSphere instead of using cheaper and fully customizable options, like getting an island in Second Life.

VoIP in Second Life proved useful. I agree with the comments above though -- there should be a notification of who is talking and when, to avoid confusion and echo.

Marnie Welliver said...

This was a great class. I learned so much. Erica's presentation was very informative concerning the Protosphere application.

Of course, I had some technical difficulties and was in and out of her presentation the whole time. I agree with Chase, problems are something I've come to anticipate with technology. The parts of the presentation I did catch have proven to be very effective. Such as the social networking area.

I think in the future companies could actually use Protosphere as a nice medium for interviews. If an interview goes well in PS, the company could then have a second interview in person with the potential candidate. Just a thought I had.

I still think Protosphere needs developer/building capabilities added to it. I meant to ask Erica how they built the damaged truck but was unable to because technical woes got my mind off track.

Protosphere is a valuable tool in the corporate market. It's so convenient for world traveling employees/CEO's who need to have a conference or meeting with a boss or perhaps a client. It can be used world wide, anytime.

As for second life for this class, I found it to be effective for showing the class just what this 3D virtual world is truly capable of, in a professional learning context. One could see from this class, how real-world work/life situations can be played out and developed nicely in SL. Which in turn, leads to improved problem-solving skills, better team-work skills, communicating effectively and overall improved technical skills (building the chemical spill etc.)

Anonymous said...

This was another interesting and informative class in 3D. Erika, the guest presenter, did a great job showing the class different aspects of ProtoSphere. This was actually the first time that I was able to get into ProtoSphere successfully, so I was pleased with that. ProtoSphere is very similar to Second Life and I found Erika’s help in showing us the basics very helpful. I also thought that the game in ProtoSphere was really neat.

The VOIP is a great addition to Second Life which make it much easier to have a successful class. There were a few technical issues at first with echoing, but they were fixed rather quickly. I do agree with what the others said above, in that there should be a way to show who is talking and when. This would make Second Life much less confusing since it would add organization.

~ Kristen

Ann Hummel said...

I think this was my week for major technical problems. I downloaded the VOIP SL and made sure I had Protosphere updated about 4 hours before class started. I returned to my laptop about 20 minutes before the start of class and my operating system had a major malfunction. I only saw a blank white screen. Still not sure what happened, but I didn't get the scans and everything complete until around 7.30.

I missed Erica's presentation, but everyone's comments helped me to see that I missed a great one. I was glad I could make it to the rest of class though. Thank goodness I didn't have to re-install my operating system.

Anonymous said...

This was a great class. I really enjoyed the presentation by Erica in ProtoSphere and was able to follow everything up to the point when we tried the Application Sharing, I then got kicked out of Protosphere and wasn't able to get back in. Found some other students with the same problem and we waited together and chatted in Breeze.

Also, the oil spill exercise was cool. I was able to get all the gear from my inventory, wear it and join a group, but couldn't figure out how to help with creating/containing the spill.Luckily some of the other people in my group had more skills! I was building triangles trying to help! haha

Very nice class Dr. Kapp.

Jen Cerreta

Anonymous said...

The Week 4 class is a great and productive class. I have learned a lot from Erika's presentatin on ProtoSphere. She was well prepared and she explained things clearly and logically. The more I know more about ProtoSphere, the more I like it. The feature of social netwroking engine makes Protosphere more powerful and useful.
I am still not sure if my VOIP works in SL. Many classmates tested it at the same time, and I do not know if my test was approved.
The activity in SL was fun, although I was confused what to do at the beginning. Thanks to Jay's help, I did a pretty good job.

Hongyan Yuan

Corey said...

It was cool that Erica was able to come and demonstate some of the cool features of Photoshere. I really enjoyed how you could set up mini games that would entice the learners. The use of uploading a whiteboard or App share was a really cool way to teach as well.

I am still having a difficult time realizing how Second Life or Photoshere could really be used in an Elementary or a Middle School Setting. Yes I understand that it is an alternative to the standarized teaching, but with those childern at that age level I just don't see it working. Those kids would be more worried about how to control the Avatar rather than listening to a speaker. It would take half the year just to teach the students on how to use the controls.

Anyway, Erica did a great job explaining the funcitons of Photoshere and the Voip in Second life was pretty cool as well.

Corey said...

It was cool that Erica was able to come and demonstate some of the cool features of Photoshere. I really enjoyed how you could set up mini games that would entice the learners. The use of uploading a whiteboard or App share was a really cool way to teach as well.

I am still having a difficult time realizing how Second Life or Photoshere could really be used in an Elementary or a Middle School Setting. Yes I understand that it is an alternative to the standarized teaching, but with those childern at that age level I just don't see it working. Those kids would be more worried about how to control the Avatar rather than listening to a speaker. It would take half the year just to teach the students on how to use the controls.

Anyway, Erica did a great job explaining the funcitons of Photoshere and the Voip in Second life was pretty cool as well.

rhouck said...

The presentation, guide demonstrated by Erica was well prepared and for me personally, a delight!
I did not experience the technology issue that I am currently experiencing in second life. Although, I am currently working with second life and Dell computers to remeody this issue, it will be a few weeks before this can be corrected. For me personally, this has limited me in class events and has made the experience daunting at times. However, I am intrigued with this environment and can see the benefit for future learning and plan on continuing my quest to figure out my technical issues.
I think that Protosphere definitely is geared to conduct a structured business meeting in a 3D enviroment. Although with Second Life, you can accomplish the same feel, the gestures of raising your hand, whiteboards, talking, etc. are already built into the structure without having to build it, or try to locate the application to purchase.

I found the social networking an excellent idea! It enables companies, or individuals from around the world to exchange ideas, or work on development issues together. These individuals, in an everyday environment, would not be aware that someone else in the world was working on the same problem.

Katie Rebilas said...

I greatly enjoyed Erica's presentation in Protosphere. I think I am one of the few students who actually prefers many aspects of Protosphere over Second Life, mainly because of the greater amount of structure in Protosphere. I see where both have their use, but for me personally, I prefer the structure!

Our class exercise cleaning the oil spill was a bit confusing. I didn't understand the directions at first. It may have helped if we saw a dry run by a few volunteers or even a machinima describing how to go about the activity.

Katie Rebilas

Dawn said...

I thought that class four was the most structured and easiest to follow. VOIP in SL has made a huge impact on that environment. The Protosphere demonstration by Erica was great! She did a wonderful job. I agree with Katie about the structure in PS. I also think this structure is an important part of the learning environment.

The oil spill in SL was very interesting. I found it confusing at first. The gear was a GREAT addition, although it took me a while to locate all of it. My group did not utilize the voice as we could have so we did not do much collaboration.

Great class!

Rebekah said...

Erica did a great job presenting an overview of Protosphere. For me, the most interesting aspect was learning about the potential and the cost for customization. I can see why some enterprises may prefer the structured environment of Protosphere to the Wild West atmosphere of Second Life. However, I prefer SL because it is more of an adventure. You just do not know what or who you are going to find around the next corner. In the past few weeks I have had chance encounters with people from all over the world. Breaking through language barriers in a real-time virtual environment has been an incredible experience.

Heather said...

I was very excited for this class, as I have a fair amount of knowledge in regards to Second Life, but next to none dealing with Protosphere. However technology decided it wanted to fight with me this week. Unfortunately I could only hear about half of what Erika said, although the parts I was able to hear were very interesting. I really enjoyed the wheel of fortune type game and though that it had a lot of potential to create a fun and interactive learning environment.

My response to the article “How Madison Avenue Is Wasting Millions on a Deserted Second Life” is that I reluctantly agree. I have visited almost all the locations described in the article and I have also found them to be desolate. The numbers in the article were eye opening. I got another related shock this week when I was going on a Second Life shopping spree and headed over to American Apparel only to find they had shut down their Second Life store. Read their press release here: American Apparel Press Release.

I think part of the problem with the lack of traffic to corporate headquarters in Second Life is what they are not offering. If you want people to visit, and more importantly stay, you have to give them a good reason to do so. One of the things that astonishes me the most about all of the corporate Second Life locations I’ve visited is the lack of free stuff. People love free stuff in both their first and second lives. It doesn’t take that long to create a T-shirt that can be given away to millions of users. In fact I think if each company gave one free thing away each week in Second Life they would see their traffic increase tremendously. In return, their customers would be reminded of the company every time they put on that t-shirt. Overall I still think Second Life has tremendous potential however, innovative design, original ideas, and a “go with the flow” mentality are essential for it to be considered a success.

Anonymous said...

Week 4 was, for me, the most frustrating week. Protosphere would not load for me, and by the time it did, I had a rough time finding the class. The program kept freezing, and I was just...well, lost. Add to that the fact that SL insisted upon an immediate update, I couldn't get the voice over to work, and our chemical spill killed a parrot. Overall, just not a good week for me. On a brighter note, I'm learning to more efficiently monitor and adjust. ;)
Misty Sweet

Anonymous said...

This class was great! I learned a lot this class and definitely felt engaged throughout. Erica did a great job of showing us around and explaining the different aspects of Protosphere. There were a few problems when she started the application sharing. Other than that, I enjoyed the tour. I really like Protosphere best for learning and training purposes because it is a much more contained environment. It has more of a professional feel to it.

-Bianca Pichardo