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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Week 5 of Learning in 3D Class: Instructor Technical Problem

Ok, so one assumes that technology is easy to use and that it is everywhere. I was going to Maine for a few days, check out internet cafe's and places to get online. I found one, scouted it out the day before, scouted it our 2 hours before class in teh parking lot to make sure it would work. Then went in right before class, it worked for the first 1/2 hour and then....it died. No internet...the local provider COMCAST wasn't providing signal to the store...nice.

So, we couldn't have class....however, it reminded me of some lessons to always keep in mind with technology.

1) Always have a back up plan. Luckily a student called me on my cell so I had some way of reaching my class.(but really, I had no formal plan)

2) Have a back up non-instructor lesson plan. So if you can't facilitate the class, you can at least provide some instruction.

3) Don't assume that just because technology worked one day or one hour before your class...it will work during your class.

4) Don't panic and roll with the difficulties.

5) Don't leave students hanging for more than 30 minutes while you trouble shoot.

If you can think of any others, please add below.
__

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23 comments:

Marnie Welliver said...

Well now that things are wrapping for the class, I have found that even though there have been challenges and difficulties on all levels, where the technology is concerned, I have still taken away many resources and knowledge.

For the role-playing exercise, on Monday night, it was odd getting started but Matt Monahan, Chase Winters and I found our selves involved in the selling of Brian J. Seely's avatar a.k.a Drop Seiling. Matt performed the salesman role and Chase and I played the customers. We asked Matt many questions about this avatar like can he convert into a CPR dummy. Sure enough, according to Matt, he could. Unfortunately, we did not buy Mr. Seely and instead Chase, Matt and I got enticed by an ice cream sale that was going on by Misty Townsend-Sweet. She was playing the saleswoman and the rest of us were her prospective customers. I asked her if chocolate ice cream was the only flavor she had and lo and behold it's the default flavor. I wasn't buying. I also asked if her ice cream cart was made in America and it is. I refuse to buy outsourced products in Second Life, ha! ha!. Matt and I also discussed that auctions will probably become big in SL because of the new VOIP feature.

I think when one is designing instruction for a metaverse like Second Life, he/she should always anticipate difficulties all around the board and have back-plans accordingly. One of the biggest and most obvious pitfalls to a class like this is and will be technical issues.

I'm finding that the combination of a guided tour along with a scavenger hunt is good but not the best for course design in SL, even though, with a scavenger hunt, one can always go back and review the items he/she found at later times.

Actually, the design archetypes that I feel are the best is operational applicationa and co-creation because they help to make a person's transfer of knowledge to "the real world" more effective because it is similar to "the real world" and it is also hands-on. I think hands-on learning is one of the best ways to cement knowledge transfer.

Marnie

Kim Shaw said...

As far as the role-playing, I can see the usefulness of being able to practice selling an item to a customer. I would assume that this would happen when the avatar involved in selling the project was selling a specific item that he was very familiar with and probably while working with a supervisor or trainer. Since we were doing neither of those, our group had a little difficulty getting started with the role-playing exercise. In the end, we, too, were sucked into Misty's ice cream sale.

As far as course design in SL goes, I'm still having problems envisioning all of its possible uses. I guess that is because I have the mind of a high school teacher. Unfortunately, the versatility of Second Life makes it impossible to consider for use in my classroom. I could never actually ask my students to visit a location in Second Life when other avatars can do things like cause pornographic pictures to rain from the sky! What I have been able to do, though, is visit some locations such as the Globe Theater and create videos there that I can show in the classroom. This is probably the best use of Second Life for me, which I guess is just a video of a guided tour.

If I think about the archetypes and which ones should work best in a 3D environment, I have to agree with Marnie. Hands-on learning is the best way to ensure transfer of knowledge and operational application and co-creation are the archetypes that best match.

Kim

Mach said...

I thought that role playing was fun because everyone had a part in it and taking turn learning how to be salesperson and customers. Everyone had the opportunity to team up with each other and work as a group. It was confusing in the begining because no one knew what they had to do but in the end we all got the clue and decided to go with it. I thought that it was funny when everyone asked how do you eat the ice cream, and people wanted to buy the birds and everything else. Oh and also people were saling anything that they could fine even buying other avatars....lol

Anonymous said...

I think the role-playing exercise is an advantage for learning in 3D class; people can actually have a part or share with others. However the using of technology to keep everyone on the same pase is still a big problem.
On the other hand, to record the class will be the great way to make up for those people who couldn't keep up.

Yuming

ChaseSteven Bailey said...

The role-play activity was very interesting. It was neat to see different imaginations unfold in the items some avatars were attempting to sell. The items ranged from shirts, to ice cream, and in one location we even attempted to raffle off another avatar. The role-play activity had all the major players of a retail sales setting: interested potential customers, overzealous sales people, heckling bystanders, unhappy consumers, products, and sales pitches. Although to me it seemed more like an infomercial than a retail sales setting. LOL. At one location I visited, the salesperson had to deal with a person trying to convince potential customers not to buy the product, because it was way too expensive and the product did not perform as promised. In another area I witnessed a salesperson attempting to take advantage of customers by selling items to them that they received for free. So the 3D world is very similar to real world in that there are many people out there just trying to make a quick buck. LOL However, to my surprise it works.


I must admit before attending the first class, I never realized the possibilities of 3D worlds. I definitely see all of the advantages and benefits a person that works in a retail setting would receive by taking part in a similar activity. It would allow them to practice interacting with potential customers, sales pitches, demonstrating knowledge of the products, correct mistakes before they interact with “real” customers, and so much more. The potential impact that 3D worlds could have in today’s world is immense. Training and learning reinforcement activities that were once thought to be impossible become feasible in these 3D world applications. 3D worlds also allow individual users from all over the world to meet in one virtual location, making the six hour plane ride and two hour layover a thing of the past. These 3D worlds and the social learning that takes place in these realms foster teambuilding skills, enhance communication, and bring new excitement to old or boring lessons and instructions.

-Chase Winters-

Mary Ann said...

Technically speaking, this class started off on shaky ground for me. I signed into Second Life and double-checked all of my VOIP settings. I wasn’t expecting problems, since VOIP had previously been working for me. Surprisingly, I could not speak, nor could I hear others. My settings were correct, yet voice was disabled with no way to enable it. There were at least half a dozen people who reported the same problem via text chat.

Since most of the class discussion was done via voice, I got little out of the first 20 minutes or so of class. I finally decided to log off and reenter Second Life. Upon re-entry, my browser asked me if I would like to continue blocking Second Life voice. “Ummm… no, I wouldn’t.” I was back in and able to hear and speak! Things were looking up – or so I thought. I soon found out that Dr. Kapp was now AWOL and we were waiting for him to join us.

After a period of uncertainty and confusion, we established communication with Dr. Kapp via Becky’s cell phone. We received directions for a role-playing exercise.

I grouped up with some avatars that included RuthA, Glory, Hoyt and Trix. Someone complimented me on the free t-shirt I had received at the ISTE Island, so I proceeded to try selling t-shirts. Several people were interested. I had t-shirts in both black and white, as well as a jacket with the same logo as the shirts. Some people paid me $1L for the shirt, and I gave each of my group members a shirt. Between us, we discovered how you pay someone and how you give something to someone.

Initially, a lot of our communication was done via text chat, since there was a loud ice cream sale going on nearby. Toward the end of the activity we used VOIP as we moved away from the ice cream frenzy -- or it drifted away from us.

I wonder about the others who initially had voice problems, like me. If they never recovered voice capability, they would not have received the verbal instructions that Dr. Kapp relayed to us via Becky’s cell regarding deadlines for our assignments. Effective communication is vital in any online course. The impact of unanticipated technical failures on students needs to be considered.

Steve Major said...

It seems hard to believe that we're coming to the end of this class already -- it was just a few short weeks ago when we started our "journey" through Second Life.

The role-playing exercise was a bit confusing due to the fact that the instructions were relayed via a third party, although that was the best that we could do. I can definitely see this being applicable to a sales environment as it could be used to train new sales associates. In fact, in the Advanced ID course, my group is developing a customer service tutorial for Geisinger and I can even see something like this being used to evaluate students' interactions in terms of their following good customer service practices.

I think that the best archetype to use in Second Life, at least for now, would have to be a Guided Tour. Because the technology is so new, you have to assume that most students will have limited experience with the software and will probably need a lot of guidance throughout their first several uses. A guided tour allows for student interaction while still providing a "crutch" that allows the students to rely on the instructor if they get confused.

Ann Hummel said...

Five down one to go. Hard to believe that this class is wrapping up so quickly.

The exercies on Monday was interesting. I was having mic problems so I watched a group doing the salesman exercise. I realized how much easier the voice over edition makes it to communicate with others. I can't imagine doing that with just the text chat. The voice adds so much more to the program.

I read over the above posts about everyones thoughts on designing in 3D. Everyone has such excellent thoughts. I've really enjoyed this class and how it has worked out. I think one of the things I learned most about designing an educational lesson or class in a setting like this is the fact that you need to not rely on the technology. Always creat a backup plan. Dr. Kapps list of tips are right on. I couldn't agree more with his thoughts on that.

Matthew said...

I agree with Marnie that this class definitely was quite a learning experience. I feel that it went fairly well for being such bleeding edge technology. Technical difficulties cannot always be avoided. I do think that in this case some of them could have been controlled though.

The role playing exercise was one of the best activities we have done in this class so far. It allowed us to work as a team(which I feel is one of the best way to utilize learning in a virtual world) and also to take advantage of the VOIP.

When designing a lesson in a virtual world I do think one of the best things to try and utilize is a group dynamic and the ability to complete some or all of the lesson as a group or in small groups. I think it is best to stay away from a traditional classroom setting as I feel it defeats the purpose of using a virtual world as a medium. I know it does create a sense of comfort and the like, but again overuse of it defeats the purpose.

-Matt Monahan

Rebekah said...

During the first part of class number five, we looked at several examples of the role-playing exercise from week 4. I was amazed at the creative interpretations for the toxic spill scenario. One group demonstrated how they used a larger prim to encapsulate the prim that represented the toxic spill. Another group designed a fence-like barrier to contain the spill. While I could not see it, based on others’ comments, this group included a dead bird in the spill. Nice touch.

For me, the most effective aspect of SL is the capacity to communicate spontaneously with people globally by alleviating language barriers. Is there any another application that allows individuals who speak different languages to communicate this easily?

Conversely, I inadvertently stumbled into a communication pitfall during this class. Specifically, when using SL it is important to verify that everyone in the class is receiving the communication. After Dr. Kapp lost his internet connection, I was able to contact him by phone. Subsequently, I focused on trying to verbalize his instructions accurately. Unfortunately, I failed to consider that I should have repeated the instructions in the text chat. Therefore, I apologize to anyone who did not have VoIP available during class. Sorry!

However, I learned something from this experience. I realized that it would have taken quite a long time for me to type everything that Dr. Kapp told me into the text chat. If I were teaching a course in this environment, I would create text-based instructions of the primary components of the class that I could copy and paste into the text chat. This would help to maintain the interactive perception of presence by alleviating the time-lag associated with typing. I agree with Yuming’s statement that recording SL class sessions, like we do in Centra and Breeze, would be advantageous.

Additionally, I think, as Dr. Kapp suggested, that combing storytelling with the role-playing archetype could potentially be a dynamic combination. Perhaps machinima projects for future classes in SL may involve student teams recording their portrayals of stories that include problems and solutions. For instance, the SL oil derrick could be affected a hurricane. Hurricane clips from the NOAA site could add to the sense of realism. Team members could also collaborate to create prims that represent containment booms. Exceptionally clever students may even create scripts to animate objects that act as biological digestive agents.

I feel that this moment has been opportune to experience SL for the first time. The existing infrastructure made exploration fascinating. Yet, it is apparent that the full potential of 3D learning environments has yet to be realized. Therefore, SL continues to be a stimulating environment for anyone who recognizes the future potential of this incredible resource.

Steven Davis said...

"Unfortunately, the versatility of Second Life makes it impossible to consider for use in my classroom. I could never actually ask my students to visit a location in Second Life when other avatars can do things like cause pornographic pictures to rain from the sky!" - Kim Shaw

This is very true Kim, its one of the drawbacks to the current second life.

However, there is a Teen SecondLife availible where they aim to make the world suitable for a younger audience - it is completely seperate from the adult oriented grid. Perhaps you should take a look at Teen Second Life if you would like to teach it in a highschool setting.

Aman tyagi said...

It was fun playing the customer and seller role. Exploring Second Life lead me to the BNP Paribas tennis court. So i decided to do my lesson plan on teaching young kids how to play tennis. Everyone will agree how quickly the last 5 weeks passed and that we just have one more class to go. It was fun and hopefully second life will help take technology(in 3D world) a giant stride forward.

Anonymous said...

As many classmates said, taking Second Life course is a fun experience. There are so many new things to do, and so much knowledge to learn in this 3D world. I truly enjoyed the past 5 meetings although sometimes confused and frustrated. As we are reaching the end of this course, I am thinking more and more seriously that how we can take advantage and benefit from this new tool in academic and business world. One thing for sure is we need to be familiar with this tool. We should be able to drive this tool without problem before we use them. My frustration on week 5 was I could not speak via VOIP, and my experience on role-play exercise was not very successful.
Regarding the design archetypes, I think each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the topic. I personally feel more comfortable with Classroom Emulation and Guided Tours.
I believe this class leads me into the world of instruction design in 3D worlds, opens my eyes on how to use Protosphere and Second Life, the tools which are developing very fast and have great potentials.

Hongyan

Anonymous said...

This was a very productive week for me. I learned a lot in this particular session! I've been tooling around SL since the beginning of class and have gotten used to the text means of communication. It certainly added a new dimension to add the voice! It became, in the sales situation, more chaotic, more frenetic and more difficult to control. At the same time, the entire environment took on a more realistic perspective! I found myself functioning more as I do in real life, trying to sift through the numerous conversations and hone in on the ones that were important to me. When trying to sell, I would have probably been more effective had I had a better product...lol. Free ice cream just didn't make me a million. Eh. ;) Marnie was a tough sell as well...lol. I am so sorry this class is ending so quickly as there is so much more I would like to explore. I wonder about the learning curve for students, though, and I do agree with the poster above who mentioned the best approach as being a guided tour. I also wonder about 30 students on a voice over connection, in the same room. It's tough to manage them when they are sitting right in front of you, I think giving them headsets and computers would hasten the chaos. Additionally, I wonder about how that many kids in the same computer lab would be able to converse without mass confusion. Headphones only block out so much. In foreign language classes, they use separate carols for kids. I'm thinking that would be necessary here as well. Thanks, Dr. Kapp, for a great set of lessons. Can't wait 'til Monday!

Anonymous said...

Oops! That post above is mine!!

Misty

rhouck said...

Personally, Second Life has been a bumpy road of technical issues. For the last class, I plan on driving over to Becky’s house so that I can enjoy one class without crashing. Currently, I am working with Dell and second life to iron out these issues, however, this will not be resolved until class is over.
As far as role playing, MaryAnn and group practiced selling and exchanging money back and forth. This type of environment would work well with viewing a museum, medical industry, etc.
One of the main reasons I want to resolve Second Life technical issues is for my grand children. The limited time that I spent with them in Second Life (due to technical problems) they truly enjoyed the environment. Becky and I have many islands booked marked for them to explore. The first one will be the Van Gogh museum. Together we spent about ten minutes exploring the 3D paintings. This type of environment peeked there interested.
In Monday night’s class, I did not have VOIP which made the class cumbersome. However, I called Becky and was able to get instructions for class assignments.

Corey said...

Technical difficulties are always the best aren't they? (ha ha) Anyway my class experience started out just like it did the week before, I couldn't hear or speak to anyone in Second Life. So I did what anyone one would do. I rebooted my computer and when I can back not only did my sound still not work but, Dr. Kapp wasn't there either. After receiving some very helpful advise from some people I finally managed to get my mic and sound working.

To ge to the project. A few of use were envolved in the role-playing exercise. At first we had a lot of difficulties figuring out how to sell an object to another person, but after listening to the other students in the class we picked up on a few pointers and were able to make the sale of a pair of shoes successful. I guess that is one advantage of being able to hear the entire class at one time trying to sell something. It was frustrating to try and talk to your group members only without someone else interrupting. It was a good class even through Dr. K was not able to join the enitre time.

Corey Aucker

Anonymous said...

Last class was definitely interesting. I was a bit late because my commute to and from my internship takes about 2 hours on the bus so I wasn't able to get to class on time. So to my surprise, when I entered class, I had no idea what was going on and had no idea where dr.k was. Technology definitely is unpredictable and it certainly does help to have a backup plan. The role-playing exercise was interesting and a great way to put into practice some practical skills and also gave us an opportunity to interact with one another.

-Bianca Pichardo

Anonymous said...

The role playing exercise that we participated in last week was interesting. I was apart of a group that consisted of myself, Glory, Hoyt, RuthA and MaryAnn. We had a slow start, but eventually got together and Mary Ann sold a few shirts. It was a good experience since I didn’t know how to buy something off of someone and then use it. I think everyone in the group had a chance to buy something and give something to someone else.

The ideal archetype to use in Second Life would be the guided tour in my opinion. Since this is so new to most learners, it really helps to have someone else act as a guide in showing the class important things. I think it works really well and questions can be asked throughout so that nobody gets lost during the tour. This is a really important archetype to use with people who don’t have much experience in a 3D learning environment.

~Kristen Tricarico

Dawn said...

The role-play activities have been interesting. At first, I stumbled because I was not sure exactly what to do. Both of my groups did eventually begin both the toxic spill and sales activities. The biggest challenge included communication. How can you talk over everyone else? The text chat is difficult to follow when each group is also using it as the primary means of communication. Misty did save us with her famous ice cream cart, which created quite a “sales” environment. It was interesting to see what people were trying to sell.

Looking back over the course of this class, I believe that SL can provide some useful and hands on experiences that will truly enhance learning opportunities. However, I think that SL cannot be used in and of itself. I do not think that SL can provide the entire learning environment because it is missing some very important and necessary features; structure, minimized distractions, organization, etc. As for the most effective design archetypes, I believe the archetype is dependent upon the content. All of the archetypes could serve useful purposes in the learning process and combining archetypes may enhance and/or facilitate the learning process. As with any learning environment/activity, there are pitfalls. I do not believe that those associated with SL (ie... technical difficulties) are more significant than say reading a boring textbook ☺. Those pitfalls can be significantly minimized with a well thought out plan for “what ifs.”

Dawn said...

The role-play activities have been interesting. At first, I stumbled because I was not sure exactly what to do. Both of my groups did eventually begin both the toxic spill and sales activities. The biggest challenge included communication. How can you talk over everyone else? The text chat is difficult to follow when each group is also using it as the primary means of communication. Misty did save us with her famous ice cream cart, which created quite a “sales” environment. It was interesting to see what people were trying to sell.

Looking back over the course of this class, I believe that SL can provide some useful and hands on experiences that will truly enhance learning opportunities. However, I think that SL cannot be used in and of itself. I do not think that SL can provide the entire learning environment because it is missing some very important and necessary features; structure, minimized distractions, organization, etc. As for the most effective design archetypes, I believe the archetype is dependent upon the content. All of the archetypes could serve useful purposes in the learning process and combining archetypes may enhance and/or facilitate learning. As with any learning environment/activity, there are pitfalls. I do not believe that those associated with SL (ie... technical difficulties) are more significant than say reading a boring textbook ☺. Those pitfalls can be significantly minimized with a well thought out plan for “what ifs.”

Katie Rebilas said...

The role-playing exercises in Second Life have great potential for learning. However, it is important to either show examples or provide explicit directions for the learners, so that there is not as much confusion at the beginning of the exercises. In my experience, this can provide a great distraction to the learners and may cause some learners to lose motivation.

My group sold a t-shirt from one person to another. It helped us learn to use the inventory items in Second Life and also helped us to become creative in our role-playing.

I think all of the archetypes are useful, and the most useful one depends on what you are teaching. I think that combinations are also very effective. For instance, for my lesson plan, I combined a guided tour with conceptual orienteering, which was a great solution for my topic of virtual personal training.

There are pitfalls to virtual learning. The most prominent may be the general confusion with new technology and virtual worlds. Many people do not know how to use the technology, which can cause confusion and feelings of anxiety for the learners. This can lead to distractions.

Jason Kojtek said...

I think the first thing everyone has learned about working in 3-D worlds is to always have a solid back up plan.

I have found it very difficult during this course to keep a solid connection and it has resulting in me being constantly booted out of second life. This has made it very hard to participate in many exercises.

I feel that when designing instruction in second life, you can not stress how important it will be to have functioning computers. Without them no matter how fantastic your instruction is, if the learners can not get to it, then it is useless

I really think the guided tour works well. I also think that a scavenger hunt if, design properly can be something that is educational and fun at the same time.