Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MUVE Over for a Saint Patrick's Day in Second Life

Last Thursday evening the Chicago Public Schools' Library Media Program held a St. Patrick's Day "Party" in Second Life from 9-10:00. Second Life is a M.U.V.E. or a multi user virtual environment. This is the description of the event on their website:
On Thursday, March 12, the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries hosted a St. Patrick’s Day party in Second Life on our sim. The party featured a live DJ playing Celtic and blues songs. Approximately 85 people attended from the education and library communities. Many came with their avatars dressed in green for the occasion. There were virtual refreshments, including an Irish feast. As in real life, the Chicago River was dyed green. A highlight of the party was an Irish trivia scavenger hunt that led partygoers around the sim looking for pots of gold while they sought the answers to the party quiz. Adding to the festivities, many also wore a special bracelet that animated their avatars to dance an Irish jig. Members of the AASL and ISTE SIGMS attended and this event was the ISTE Social for the week. While the event was couched in the terms of a party, it was also an opportunity for educators from around the world to network in an inviting setting. See the Flickr pics.
Deb Perry, (aka Sweety Footman in SL) technology teacher at CMS, and I (aka Atomic Thespian in SL) attended the Saint Patrick's Day event, and you can see us dancing the jig in this clip:

At this past summer's ITL Summer Institute Kathy Schrock gave us a tour of educational sites in Second Life. She provided us with a link to her online Second Life resources. Second Life is for adults 18 and over, with a separate Teen Second Life for teens, ages 13-17. Many teachers have created environments in Second Life for their students to interact and create Machinima, or movies made in Second Life or other Virtual Worlds. Westport has an educational presence in Second Life on Lighthouse Learning Island.

This year AASL and ISTE have presented several workshops, and several ITL Summer Institute participants have attended these virtual meetings. The workshops involved presentations from:
  • David Loertscher, discussing ideas for a new concept for library media centers called The Learning Commons
  • Joyce Valenza, leading a conversation about significant changes that are impacting the daily operations of a library media program
  • David Warlick, looking at recent developments with PLNs (Personal Learning Networks)
  • Mike Eisenberg, discussing how library media specialists can survive in the current economic crisis
The next AASL-ISTE SIGMS virtual learning community meeting will be on Thursday, March 19th at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT in Second Life. This month’s guest facilitator is Jon Mueller. Jon is the author of the book “Assessing Critical Skills” (Linworth Publishing) and is a nationally-recognized expert in skill development and assessment.

If you have not experienced a virtual world, and would like to learn more about Second Life, please let me know and I will create a workshop for those interested. Email me at bill_derry@westport.k12.ct.us .

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