Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Changing appearance and avatars: Module 4

In module 4 of our Second Life expedition, we covered different ways to change the appearance of our avatar and creating completely new avatars.  Second Life gives you the opportunity to change things such as height and weight and hair color in a snap. As you make these changes, you save them as outfits to be used or switched out as desired at any time.
I found this module to be easier than the last one that involved using my avatar to move and/or purchase objects. I don’t have to move my avatar around while doing this and I can be as creative as I want to be. Here is a photo of the before and after shots of my avatar and changes to her appearance.

My before avatar (looks kinda like me)

 My after punk-avatar

The next step in the process of change was to create a whole new avatar. Once created, you can switch from avatar to avatar as the situation or need may arise. Here is a photo of my new avatar.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Actions in Second Life: Module 3

Sometimes the simplest tasks take the most time! In module 3 of Second Life, I spent more than the average user time trying to pick up and move a beach ball. Motions are still pretty rough for me, though this was an interesting exercise to practice our skills. After seeing avatars play an instrument in the module 1 video, I thought this would be easy. This is just not true. Even walking is difficult at times! For someone who has not played many video games, this exercise was very difficult to complete. 

The module offered a lot of helpful information and once I remember it, then I think my experience in Second Life will be all the more enjoyable. Creating or acquiring assets still confuses me a little, but I'll learn. Second Life does offer many extra means of entertainment such as music concerts, plays and videos. This will be interesting to try out in the Second Life world.

Starting a video in Second Life is as easy as a wave of a hand.

Snapshots: Module #2

As I was maneuvering around Dr. Z’s place, I found that movement could be simplified by using the jump, run and flying modes.  Getting used to jumping through floors and windows was something new, and I found myself guessing if each movement would even work. I became stuck on the trampoline for awhile and had to use the flying movement to get off of it. 

What is frustrating to me is how my computer is running slower with this program. I keep pushing a motion button when it doesn't move right away, but when it kicks in, my avatar goes crazy! I was stuck in a wall for 5 minutes before I teleported back to Dr. Z's place. Is this why humans don't fly? 

Here are some photos of my Iowa Island adventures:

 I finally got on the roof!

 Stuck in some sort of statue!

My avatar drowning because I can't figure out the "up" button! Clearly I need to work on flying!

Second Life Intro: Module 1

For our latest technological experiences in Emerging Instructional Technologies class, we are using Second Life. Our initial task is to create an avatar to complete 7 quests within Second Life's virtual world. As we have been focusing on gaming within education for the past few modules, this will be an interesting project. 

Second Life is open to anyone and is used to communicate and interact with others online. Though some landmarks in the virtual world are based off of real things, many are made up or represent a different time period. Second Life does not have to be just for communication, but also for learning. Many schools are using Second Life as a virtual school where students can actually visit such places as the pyramids or experience flying. 

At this point, I am beginning my exploration into Second Life and the module set. My avatar mostly represents me, but I found that I can waste a lot of time changing outfits and hair color. Right now, the most difficult part is moving. I’m using the arrow keys on my keyboard as suggested, yet sometimes my avatar simply won’t move. I hope this will be cleared up soon as I continue with my modules. I’ve had no interaction with others yet, but assume this will change as I proceed with the assignments.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


During our cybercitizenry unit in Selection and Integration of Instructional Technology class, we discussed the positive and negative effects of media on children. So what exactly is the place of digital media in our students’ lives and how do we approach positive social interaction? Our next project for class was to utilize digital media lessons and resources on commonsensemedia.org to present a specific topic concerning media or cybercitizenry to students, parents, and teachers. Common Sense Media strives to provide trustworthy information to parents, educators, and kids and to educate them about media and technology.

The goal of the project was to create a short lesson plan to educate and promote positive and healthy ways of communicating online and to test students’ knowledge of digital media and how it affects their lives. Click here to see my Cybercitizenry Lesson Plan.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Attempts at Gaming with Portal

As I am not an avid gamer or really have played any video games this century, I was definitely worried about being able to actually play a game and get past level one. After adhering to my requests that I didn’t want to play a game with shooting or murdering in it, my boyfriend helped me find one that was simple, yet interesting. Portal turned out to be a good choice and I made it to level 13 (of 19, I believe) in an hour.

The game is pretty simple once you figure out what you’re supposed to do. Wikipedia describes Portal as:

“The game primarily comprises a series of puzzles that must be solved by teleporting the player's character and simple objects using "the handheld portal device", a device that can create inter-spatial portals between two flat planes. The player-character, Chell, is challenged by an artificial intelligence named GLaDOS(Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) to complete each puzzle in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center using the portal gun with the promise of receiving cake when all the puzzles are completed. The game's unique physics allow momentum to be retained through portals, requiring creative use of portals to maneuver through the test chambers ("Portal (video-game)",20, para.2).”

The most difficult part of the whole game was working the controller! I can’t count how many times I pushed the wrong button and paused the game or ended up stuck in a corner! Baby steps…

After level 4, I was in The Flow. I knew the premise of the game and could maneuver well enough to get to the next level without much direction from my boyfriend. While it wasn’t the most exciting game I’ve ever played, it was a good start.

As discussed in class, the game would work well in a mathematic setting. Considering it’s a game on problem solving, this could tie into any course, not just math. It would be interesting to use in the classroom to aid with instruction or as a reward for completing another task. Utilizing games in the classroom has potential, if used the correct way.


Portal (video game). (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 3, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal_(video_game)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

21st Century Classroom Walkthrough

In our Selection and Integration of Instructional Technologies class we’ve been discovering how the world is adapting with technology in the 21st century. Schools, however, are having problems following suit (not always their fault!). The need for teachers to teach in 21st century classrooms and not in similar fashion to the Industrial Age, is essential for students to succeed in today’s society. 

Our class has reviewed Principal Shawn Holloway’s (from Manson Northwest Webster in Northwest, Iowa) model of assessing effective instruction in his classrooms using a walkthrough procedure . Since I’m not teaching at this time, I chose to review a class I am currently taking to see how well the qualities of an effective 21st century classroom are being met. Check out my 21st century classroom walkthrough.