We've been asked to help out by two different projects in teen second life. In Eye4You we will be running building and scripting competitions. With Global Kids we will be facilitating a program that we have been told will "blow our minds". When Barry at Global Kids realised we were available to help his response was "Holy Cucumbers!" :-)
We didn't think we could help with both because our teen grid avatars are limited to just one sim, but Claudia Linden has made us another avatar each (I am now Katherine Farrell and Katherine1 Farrell) so we can be in both sims. They're in the main (adult) grid just now, so I think we will be spending a few hours 'packing' again. What do you take when you're going to a part of Second Life where you can't go shopping (gasp!)??
Typepad Mobile doesn't like GLOW posts, but I'll try again....
Yesterday I got an email about being a GLOW mentor for Edinburgh Council. It was also discussed at a GLOW presentation that we got at the PT's meeting last night (in fact one of the PTs shouted across the room "You'd be good at that, Kate"). Edinburgh has set the closing date as this Friday, which seems too short a time for people to find out about it, decide about going for it, discuss it with the head teacher, etc. Most people don't even know what GLOW is. I suspect they'll need to advertise the jobs again (maybe in the job bulletin to all staff this time), although it wouldn't be suprising considering the 'advertising' has been an email from the IT manager saying "I don't know what GLOW is, do you?"
Both John and I were vaguely interested in the whole GLOW mentor thing, but in our school it would mean giving up teaching our subjects. The idea is that you get released for 0.7 of the time, and a probationer will replace you for that time (its a good way to find places for probationers!). I teach less than 0.7 in Computing though, so all of that would need to go to the probationer and I would be left with cover classes. I also can't imagine what I would do with all that GLOW time!
I believe the idea is for 23 teachers in Edinburgh Council to work with the other teachers in their cluster (a cluster is a high school and the primaries in the catchment area) on Curriculum for Excellence inspiring work using GLOW tools. It could be fun, but I don't know if its the right direction anf the right move for me. I don't know if it would give me more time for the learning hubs project, and even help to integrate the two projects, or just make me too busy to cope with it. I think I would miss my classes (even 2C who are quite nice now, but probably not 2B who are still terrors ;-) I don't know how I would cope mentoring a probationers too, and a probationer might need a lot of time, and would I really wish 2B on someone else?
I think I'll wait till Edinburgh maybe have to advertise again and consider it then. I did chat to the head teacher, but I don't think I want to leave yet, even if I'm not really leaving and it's just for a year.
This is my first blog posting from within Second Life. I don\'t think I\'ll be rushing to do it again, as its just a bit silly. I\'m using a Blog HUD (Heads Up Display) from www.bloghud.com but unlike another bloghud (the Sloodle toolbar) to do a long post
posted by Katie Farina on Decimo using a blogHUD : [blogHUD permalink]
The buzz in SL at the moment is about Comverse developing mobile phone and settop box thin clients for Second Life. I think the main aim is so you can send instant messages on your phone, but the settop box client lets you move and fly about as well as chat.
I've been rediscovering Snapzilla (AKA SL Pics), which is the Flickr of Second Life. What is strange is that I get much higher traffic for my SL pics than my Flickr pics. In Flickr, most photos have been viewed once. The highest is 542 views but that's unusual (the second most viewed is down to 129 views). With 1321 photos and 4406 views the average is 3.3 views per photo. My lowest viewed photos on SL Pics are at 15 views each. The highest is 232 views. SLPics now has the facility of transfering your SL pics to Flickr, and can also send them automatically to Flickr as soon as they're submitted.
There's a real life (RL) exhibition of Second Life portraits in New York at the moment. You can see them here too. Its quite a disappointing collection. My friend was doing some SL photography and was coming up with much better results (unfortunately this is the only one he's put online).
We've got two groups in Teen Second Life wanting us to work with them again, Global Kids and Eye4You Alliance. I think we're going to split up and work on the projects seperately. Its really starting to annoy me that we are tied to just one sim in the Teen grid, as there are lots of adults wanting to help out and share expertise now but can't. They should move all the projects that want to cooperate next to each other so adults can walk between them.
The University of Paisley are hosting a conference called Massively Multi-Learner that Sean and I are hoping to go to. Daniel Livingston (AKA Buddy Sprocket) is organising it, as well as the Education strand of the Second Life Community Convention later this year (unfortunately in America and during term time). Sessions of the Paisley conference include programming in SL, scientific simulations in virtual worlds, using SL in digital media, and integrating games-based learning into the classroom. Fingers crossed that the school will let me go.
Suffern Middle School are doing some great work in Second Life. Most recently they have been recreating trial scenes from 'Of Mice and Men'. Most of the kids involved have already used SL for projects in Social Studies (immigration and Ellis Island) and Maths (a Geo gallery).
Finally, if you're looking for a real life (RL) job, you can now apply and be interviewed in Second Life. Monster (TMP Worldwide). Apparently its just screening interviews, but I imagine there might be an increase in demand for smart business clothes for your avatar!
If you would prefer a virtual job, try SLJobfinder instead, although I recommend just topping up your account with US$5 and having fun instead!
I got an email recently from Red Cross that was sent to all first aid volunteers asking if anyone would like to spend a week first aiding at the Monaco Grand Prix. You have to pay for your own flight to Nice, but how cool! Unfortunately its during term-time and I don't speak French, but its great seeing the fun opportunities that are available.
There are downsides to volunteering though. Sean went off to first aid at a singing workshop (can't get more harmless than that) but on the way home had to first aid someone in the street. There was blood and he wore gloves, but later he discovered a cut on his hand from a sharp pencil sticking out his bag. The worry was if he had been cut while wearing his gloves. Sean, Daliah and I conducted some science experiments involving gloves, pencils and water, proving conclusively that when gloves get pierced they split very visibly. Sean's a lot happier now, although he's still annoyed his scarf is all gunky and needs washed.
Some random cool stuff:
Penguin and De Montfort University are doing a wikinovel. Its called A Million Penguins, and if you would like to read what's been written so far or contribute by writing a chapter or even just by correcting a spelling mistake, it's here. The authors seem to have a thing for bananas. There's even a banana version of the novel, and a Choose Your Own Banana adventure game.
I don't want to teach dull uninteresting SQA qualifications. I can't work up enough enthusiasm about Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (who uses cheques these days anyway?!) or the differences between centralised and distributed database systems. I want to be one of those teachers who LOVES teaching their subject.
I want to teach video and film production, animation, proper multimedia (not just Powerpoint with some video clips because that's the only software we can afford), web design, games design (using programs like Mission Maker and Second Life), graphic design and digital photography (using Photoshop not Microsoft Paint).
Update: Thinking about this more, the school has an arrangement with Telford College (and technically I'm still on their books as a lecturer in the School of Design, Technology and the Arts, although is a zero hours contract). Perhaps I could teach intro courses (HN units?) that then lead into HNCs or HNDs at Telford.
The school are also looking at Open University courses, however Exeter University do better low-level computing modules in programming. It would be good to do intro courses with the OU, then offer Visual Basic programming courses with Exeter and be able to get the kids to develop programs for Windows Mobile devices.
I blue carded a kid this week. This is what you do when pupils attack you or swear at you etc. It means they get sent home straight away and their parents have to have a meeting with a member of the SMT. This pupil had already been getting daily warnings, so they have been excluded, I believe permanently.
So what did this pupil do to me that was so awful?! ..... They looked at me the wrong way. Yup, I got a pupil excluded for looking at me wrong.
OK, before you all comment about what a terrible person I am, let me explain. Every member of staff I tell this to has said "ahhhh, that look". Imagine someone of the opposite sex standing in front of you, hands on their hips, sneer on their face, looking you up and down as if checking you out in a club, but with a look on their face that says "I wouldn't sleep with you if you were the last person on the planet". That look. I have sent him out for this before. This day he did it twice. In front of the rest of the class. After I had confiscated his phone and moved him twice.
Unsuprisingly there wasn't a checkbox for this on the blue form I had to fill in.
Update: My mum point out this sketch on YouTube
I had a good start to the morning, considering I was out last night at two different events. Friday mornings some of the pupils arrive at 7am for an exercise session (running or 'circus' training) then have breakfast together at 8am. They have breakfast in the room next to mine so rather than sit in my room smelling burnt toast, I go and join them and eat some fruit. A couple of S2 pupils came along at breakfast today, just to have somewhere to sit. They didn't have breakfast, they just sat drinking their cans of Irn bru and Coke, and eating sweets. After interrogation we found out they didn't have breakfast, they don't have anything at breaktime either, and lunch is from the chippie or Greggs the baker (the McDonalds of bakeries). We couldn't persuade them to have any fruit or toast or anything. Sad.
I then had one period (40 minutes) with 1B1. I only get them one period a week, and this week assembly was planned for the second half of the lesson, cutting the time down to 20 minutes to explain the task, get logged on, start the task, log out, get to assembly. Assembly took 5 minutes. I think it was supposed to then be a time for kids to make comments but they didn't have anything to say so basically had to sit around for another 15 minutes. It wasn't fun when they started getting bored.
In the afternoon we had a staff meeting to try and come up with a values statement and a vision statement. Our group came up with something involving long words like inspiring, fostering, etc (I can't remember it even though it was said about a dozen times). A couple of us on the plain English brigade were out numbered. We came up with a couple of better ones though:
They're more like slogans that vision statements, but I think an advertising campaign approach to the aim of increasing our school role will be more useful than a long vision statement that even the teachers have to think about so what hope do the first years with level A or B reading have?! I got told we couldn't lower ourselves to the lowest common denominator, but that's not what plain English is about.
When we escaped the staff meeting John, Emma and I decided to go to the cinema. We went via Tesco to pick up healthy and unhealthy snacks, then went to Cineworld to see Hot Fuzz, which was brilliant. Afterwards I went back to Emma's flat and we got pizza and watched Point Break, so I could figure out why Emma was laughing at Hot Fuzz so much louder than John or I! It was a great evening :-)