Friday, December 10, 2010

Final Second Life Reflection

This semester I've had the opportunity to delve deeper into Second Life. I now feel l more confident as a builder, a scripter, and have had the opportunity to explore more educational sims. With our final project, we had the opportunity to design a an educational sim about metamorphic rocks. Since this was my second experience designing something along those lines, I feel that I have seen an improvement in the quality of work. My first sim, was about SL bascis, and my focus area was on building. All information in that sim was shown through interactive poster boards. In the second sim on Metamorphic Rocks, I continued to build upon those skills by also incorporating videos, url providers, survey givers and receivers, and lastly giving objects. After viewing some of the final projects, there are some new directions that I would like to take in Second Life. One thing I'd like to try is the video game approach that was demonstrated by the Hawaiian Mythology group.

While there are some skeptics who believe that Second Life is limited, and may fall to new and upcoming virtual worlds. I still believe that there is still great potential. I hope to continue to learn more about SL and continue to improve in my abilities to create educational sim.

Formative Evaluations

Last week we finished building our module and asked a few people to be our pilot test subjects. Two of the participants were SL users without backgrounds in Geology. Our third participant was our content expert. The participants were emailed on Friday asking for them to participate, and they were asked to complete the evaluation by Sunday evening so that our group could discuss the results prior to our presentation. From the three evaluations, the results were largely inconclusive. Each reviewer commented on different things. One focused on the visual design elements, another was mostly happy, and the other thought that there were a few good points but felt that it lacked interactivity. With such diverse backgrounds, this isn't completely surprising that there wasn't a major consensus. The only thing that they all agreed upon, was the helpfulness of the yellow arrows.

The questions is, what do you take from this? Do the three reviews cancel each other out? Meaning, although one person pointed something out, if it was something major, why didn't the other two share the same opinion? Or, perhaps since two of the reviewers weren't very familiar with Second Life, does this bias their views? At this point, I'm not too entirely sure what to take from it. Perhaps the next step would be to capture these responses, and see how the other respondents react to it. It could just be a case of not noticing everything.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Final Projects

Our final project, up until the the very last day, was nearly in constant flux. Ideas that we thought we could do, didn't always necessarily pan out. We also had to adjust the focus of our project as when we put everything together, it didn't cover as much material as we originally had thought. All in all though, I think that we did a good job. I tried to put in as much hover text as possible to give students clues of what to do and how to use our module. Yellow arrows were also added to give a sense of flow and directions of where they should go.

After listening to the other group presentations, it has shown me how different and how diverse educational sims can be. While there were some like ours that relied heavily on simply conveying information, there were some that were more experiential. The Hawaiian Mythology group's sim was amazing. The amount of technical skills that went into the project, in addition to time too, was just phenomenal. With the phantom walls, holodeck, and the immersive qualities, it shows me how much room there is to still grow. Should this project have continued on, I would love to try some of these new skills and see how things could change and improve.