Saturday, September 29, 2007

One of the more interesting examples...

I am posting this chat example from this year's body image unit - as I promised to share the real deal and this represents where a chat could go, an how being VERY clear about rules and expectations seemed to keep it cool! The kids are taking care of business, and have begun to establish their sense of community in world wile discussing very real issues-peritinent to their lives. Toward the end of hte chat a very interesting turn of events transpires where the kids are actually "laying down the law" themselves -- pretty cool - Here's the chat:
[9:33] Natascha SMSJourneyer: can i do the questions
[9:33] Siva SMSJourneyer: I'm seeimg to top of the pod!!!
[9:34] Disa SMSJourneyer: 1. i think weve to learned to accept our selvess!
[9:34] You: whats the main message that you learned about body image throught SL
[9:34] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: YES I AR=GREE DISA
[9:34] Disa SMSJourneyer: 2. because of magazines and technology...
[9:34] Natascha SMSJourneyer: um that you can look the way you want if you want that way but its wut u want
[9:34] Siva SMSJourneyer: right
[9:34] Granada SMSJourneyer: yea
[9:34] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: i think you cN WORK TO GET THE body the way u want it but noooooo anorexia
[9:34] Disa SMSJourneyer: 3.yeah i think girls feeel peer presure...
[9:34] You: yup
[9:34] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: ppl might make themselves look like wut theyre not
[9:35] Natascha SMSJourneyer: y3@h
[9:35] Disa SMSJourneyer: 4.idk
[9:35] Natascha SMSJourneyer: l0lzzz
[9:35] Siva SMSJourneyer: Same you don't need to look like everyone else
[9:35] Disa SMSJourneyer: 5.ummm
[9:35] You: next question
[9:35] Natascha SMSJourneyer: y3@h
[9:35] Natascha SMSJourneyer: everynes pretty
[9:35] Natascha SMSJourneyer: no matter how you loook
[9:35] Disa SMSJourneyer: was different because it wasnt aquward
[9:35] Siva SMSJourneyer: nobody's perfect
[9:35] You: what can teens do to deal with the pressures they get to be perfect
[9:35] Natascha SMSJourneyer: i agree with colleen
[9:35] You: ??
[9:35] Siva SMSJourneyer: lol M
[9:35] Disa SMSJourneyer: :)
[9:35] Siva SMSJourneyer: HM
[9:36] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: yes just because celebs look skinny does not mean u need to learn that everyone is pretty in their very own way
[9:36] Natascha SMSJourneyer: even if my head was shapped like a cohn id still be atractivee
[9:36] You: yaa
[9:36] Granada SMSJourneyer: yea i agree
[9:36] Disa SMSJourneyer: whos siva?
[9:36] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: sure. idk
[9:36] Siva SMSJourneyer: Megan
[9:36] Disa SMSJourneyer: oh hii
[9:36] You: teens should just b who they r and not wut the media says they should b
[9:36] Disa SMSJourneyer: loolllll:)
[9:36] Siva SMSJourneyer: hii
[9:36] Natascha SMSJourneyer: yeahh man
[9:36] Natascha SMSJourneyer: true dat
[9:36] Disa SMSJourneyer: hahaa
[9:36] You: whos natascha
[9:37] Natascha SMSJourneyer: nicole lo
[9:37] You: lol
[9:37] Siva SMSJourneyer: Next QUESTION!!
[9:37] You: ok gosh
[9:37] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: i think that the girrls have more prrreesss
[9:37] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: a
[9:37] You: do u think that only girls feel the pressure or do boyss do to
[9:37] You: ??
[9:37] Granada SMSJourneyer: yea sure
[9:37] Siva SMSJourneyer: Both! Girls want to be pretty and Boyz like... buff
[9:37] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: botu
[9:37] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: GIRLS FOR DEF.
[9:37] Natascha SMSJourneyer: bothhh
[9:37] You: bothh
[9:37] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: both*
[9:37] Disa SMSJourneyer: :)
[9:38] Natascha SMSJourneyer: y3@h lolzzzz
[9:38] Siva SMSJourneyer: botthhh guy wanna be all muscular and stuff
[9:38] You: b/c grls wanna b pretty and guys wanna b muscula
[9:38] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: yeah
[9:38] Siva SMSJourneyer: yeah
[9:38] Disa SMSJourneyer: yeppp
[9:38] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: but they can achieve that if they belive~
[9:38] Siva SMSJourneyer: NEXT
[9:38] Natascha SMSJourneyer: i D0n+ r3Ad m@g@zin3zzzzz
[9:38] Granada SMSJourneyer: nicole ure fat and pregnent
[9:38] Granada SMSJourneyer: hahahhaha
[9:38] Disa SMSJourneyer: haha
[9:39] Siva SMSJourneyer: lol ummm what were we just talking about
[9:39] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: THATS NOT NICE TO SAY
[9:39] You: what role do peer groups play with this issue
[9:39] You: ?
[9:39] Liz Lowe: hi yellow
[9:39] Natascha SMSJourneyer: WHOS GRANADA
[9:39] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: thats very very hurtful
[9:39] Liz Lowe: Thanks Kira
[9:39] Siva SMSJourneyer: QUESTION PEOPLE
[9:39] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: she said it already
[9:39] Liz Lowe: I missed it. What's hurtful?
[9:39] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: sam was joking around i tyhink
[9:39] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: tHat u can be whatever u want to bee
[9:39] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: think*
[9:39] Siva SMSJourneyer: Somone said nichole was fat and preg
[9:39] You: !!!?!?
[9:39] Natascha SMSJourneyer: :(
[9:39] Natascha SMSJourneyer: wah
[9:40] Natascha SMSJourneyer: wahhhh
[9:40] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: now thats not nice
[9:40] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: we're trying ro do the questions
[9:40] Siva SMSJourneyer: Ok ANYWAYYYYY
[9:40] Natascha SMSJourneyer: you lowered my self esteem
[9:40] You: seriously lets just get them done
[9:40] Natascha SMSJourneyer: now im gonna have to go on a diet
[9:40] Natascha SMSJourneyer: ight lets do this
[9:40] Liz Lowe: Tht is saved in your chat. That is when people get permenantly removed form SL
[9:40] Siva SMSJourneyer: Yeah so no Bullying
[9:40] Natascha SMSJourneyer: ok
[9:40] Natascha SMSJourneyer: sam
[9:40] Natascha SMSJourneyer: lol
[9:40] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: hts why we're trying to do the questions
[9:41] Liz Lowe: good idea
[9:41] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: bullying is not nice and it hurts ppls self esteem
[9:41] Natascha SMSJourneyer: yeah
[9:41] You: what has this unit taught u about the media
[9:41] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: thts th next question
[9:41] Siva SMSJourneyer: OK QUESTION 4
[9:41] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: now back to the qs
[9:41] Disa SMSJourneyer: idk the question
[9:41] Granada SMSJourneyer is Offline
[9:41] Liz Lowe: especially when we're working on a project that is supposed to promote body image
[9:41] You: omg guys seriously
[9:41] Liz Lowe: OK, back to the questions
[9:41] Liz Lowe: brb
[9:41] Disa SMSJourneyer: ok
[9:41] Natascha SMSJourneyer: 4) what role do peer proups play with this issue ???????
[9:42] Natascha SMSJourneyer: answer it
[9:42] Siva SMSJourneyer: The unit has taught me that body image is not everything and you should be happy the way uyou are
[9:42] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: they make people do things they dont rly want to do
[9:42] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: friends help u reach your goals and boost up your self esteem
[9:42] Natascha SMSJourneyer: truee datttt
[9:42] Disa SMSJourneyer: yeahhhh lol
[9:42] Siva SMSJourneyer: oh woops yeah tru
[9:42] Natascha SMSJourneyer: but why do people followthe things in the magaziness
[9:42] You: because of the media.. our generation is very unhelthy ( question 5)
[9:42] Siva SMSJourneyer: Beacause thatt's pretty quote
[9:42] Disa SMSJourneyer: okk questin
[9:43] Disa SMSJourneyer: 6
[9:43] Granada SMSJourneyer is Online
[9:43] Disa SMSJourneyer: it was different because um...we werent shyyy?
[9:43] Natascha SMSJourneyer: um i dont think everyone likes each other in a clasrooom so you try to be somehting your not
[9:43] Siva SMSJourneyer: It's better because like you don't see the people you see the avatars
[9:43] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: i think it was different bcos we rnt actually looking at the person
[9:43] Natascha SMSJourneyer: but when you can be whoever you are
[9:43] Natascha SMSJourneyer: your comfortable
[9:43] Siva SMSJourneyer: I mean what I'm wearing 2day is pretty crazy
[9:43] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: was yur interaction with eachother different in SL then it would've been in a regular classroom
[9:44] Granada SMSJourneyer: im bak
[9:44] You: its easier to tlk to ppl in SL
[9:44] Disa SMSJourneyer: yeahhhhh
[9:44] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: yup
[9:44] Granada SMSJourneyer: yea sure
[9:44] Sternberga SMSJourneyer: true
[9:44] Kobolda SMSJourneyer: its the same thing as online
[9:44] Siva SMSJourneyer: exactly you're not afraid to say anything
[9:44] Natascha SMSJourneyer: deff
[9:44] Siva SMSJourneyer: yeah so... we done

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Need More EVIDENCE ? ? ?

If you are having your doubts about the level of engagement and investment our students experience while working in SL check out this chat:
[10:40] You: ARe you home?
[10:40] Atami SMSJourneyer: yeah i stayed home sick today
[10:41] Atami SMSJourneyer: wat time does 8th period start
[10:41] You: How cool is it that you're able to attend class form home?!
[10:41] You: Are you feeling better?
[10:41] You: We start in 10 minutes
[10:41] Atami SMSJourneyer: a little. i will b in skool 2morrow, though
[10:42] Atami SMSJourneyer: ok, i'll come back cuz i was working on my house
[10:43] You: Right. Thanks for coming to SL today!
[10:43] Atami SMSJourneyer: ur welcome
[10:43] You: I'll be back in about 5 minutes. Do you remember your pod from yesterday?
[10:43] Atami SMSJourneyer: i g2g work on my house. i'll b back 4 class
[10:43] Atami SMSJourneyer: i'm on blue
[10:43] Atami SMSJourneyer: i remember

Monday, September 24, 2007


OK OK - I know I brag about these kids a lot--but thise is what one of my students (ehehem--a GIRL) did last night from home:

Today the kids in Whiting's classes were pretty amazing - they have managed to change their appearance pretty authentically, create and deliver a note-card, join a group, all the while whale riding and driving all over the sims! There was a lot of peer mentoring and collaboration but most of it took place in the real world - not in SL. They still don't have the "in world communication only" thing down yet. Many of the students told me they have logged in from home (a lot more than last year) and as I mentioned earlier in the past, most of them have already experimented with the building tools. My hunch is that this year's class had a much greater senses of anticipation since they watched the 8th grade class last year and drooled....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

First day chaos~

OK - Thursday we gave the kids their accounts, assigned a few minor "housekeeping " tasks for them and - what eles but the grid was down for updates! I heard one frustrated student exclaim "Well, I hate Second Life already!" I explained the nature of the grid to them, the frequent updates, and the reasons for them. We watched some very cool machinima - and they left.

Regardless of the fact that I remember going through similar days last year - it was very distressing for me to watch the kids lose their sense of excitement and anticipation - but, nonetheless I started out today with a positive outlook - and we began again.

This time , they all logged in successfully and this year the kids seemed to grasp the basics in half the time that it took the kids last year! Within ten minutes I had kids who were changing textures on clothing, using gestures and animations - and the best part of the day was when the same student who complained that he "hated Second Life" yesterday - was actually building and had changed his avatar completely! I asked him how he knew so many things and he said - "Oh, last night I logged in from home and figured it all out" Now he is a peer mentor and one of SLs biggest fans! Another bright spot was when one of our students who was absent today logged in from home - the evidence is already emerging; they just want to be there ----All four classes today wer full of laughter and a sense of wonder - loud for sure, and Diane and I just toured the desktops in awe --Build it, and they will learn.

Monday we begin the project and all they know about it so far is that they will need to have the skills to alter their avatar's appearance. Hehehe - wait till they get going -

The skills they will be asked to apply on Monday:
  • joining a group,
  • creating a note-card and delivering it to the teacher's inventory,
  • taking and saving a snapshot,
  • managing their inventory
  • changing their appearance
All this will happen while they begin their exploration of "body image" and self-worth". From wat I witnessed today in terms of exploration and participation - we are on our way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Whiting First at Bat!

Our health teacher, Diane Whiting, was first in line this year to return to teaching in Second Life. She has her students for 10 week semesters and is anxious to revisit her experience with the Body Image Unit. We briefly discussed last year's experience and what perhaps we would approach differently this year. One thing that is a bit different is that the student accounts are completely unique this year. Although they will all share one of three new last names, SMSJourneyer, they will have Second Life first names generated from a list of the minor planets. This led to some lengthy but quite interesting names! As a result of this method of generating names, the students will have a greater semblance of anonymity as their teacher and I will have access to their real life identity but it will be totally up to the individual student if and when they will or will not choose to disclose their real life identity. If you have been following the blog, you will remember that last year all of the students shared the last name of Hillburn, and their real life last name became their second life first name. For this reason it was often easy to recognize an avatar in world by their name (assuming you knew their last name in real life). Whew - Did you follow that?
So why am I going into this lengthy explanation of the avatar account name creation process? Simply to set the stage before the students enter, and to acknowledge at the start that we have a greater potential for true anonymity this year- Let's see where that might take us...

Monday, September 03, 2007

SLCC 2007

Here is my badge from SLCC 2007! Being my third community convention, the enormity of the growth in the Education Track is nothing short of amazing! Besides having great fun, I made invaluable contacts, renewed precious friendships and added an abundance of ideas and practices to my education inventory! Thanks to all who have supported Ramapo from the inception, and to those new believers...
Met many Ramapo Volunteers in person, and even grabbed a photo opp with Philip Rosedale:

Here we go ...

First off, I apologize for my absence theses past weeks, and I hope to catch you up on the latest innovations on Ramapo Islands. We now have acquired three new sims - to be named Airmont, Indian Rock, and Harriman, and Firesabre Consulting is working with Ramapo to create these engaging learning spaces for our students.

Our kids from last year will be keeping their accounts this year and will serve as mentors for the incoming class. The three new sims will be dedicated to 1. Math, Science, and Technology 2. Multimedia (machinima) and 3. Foreign Language.

So far the plan is to leave a great deal of land for the kids to create as that was one thing we learned last year; they want to build! In fact, left to their own devices, they will use up every prim we have! So another focus this year will be to learn how to build with "prim efficiency".