I got a great email today, via the Teen SL mailing list, from Travis. Travis is a 'resident' on the teen grid, which means he's under 18 so when he logs into Second Life he is logged into the teen area not the adult area.
The adult grid has seen a huge increase in the companies coming in to SL to use it for marketing. This week Sky News announced they will be the first news channel to have a full time presence in Second Life. Other commercial companies include IBM, Dell, BBC, Reuters, American Apparel, Apple, Weather Channel, and Amazon. Films, albums and perfumes have been launched in SL.
Generally these companies go to one of the three big developer companies in SL, Electric Sheep, Rivers Run Red or Millions of Us. They will create a sim, script activities and objects, arrange events and launch parties, and create avatar shapes and skins for major stars and VIPs coming to launch the sim and promote the companies.
The developing companies have been employing pretty much anyone who gets well known for scripting and building in the virtual world Now here's the interesting part - adults can't get into the teen grid area. Any major builds there, such as the Global Kids sim with erupting volcano have been created in the main adult area then transferred over to the kids area. This usually causes lots of problems as scripted objects with adult owners then don't workin the teen grid where it looks like that adult doesn't exist.
So a group of kids have formed a development company, Digital Refinery, to provide this service0 I think its a brilliant idea! Here is Travis' email:
Hi, Im Travis better known in Teen Second Life as Reallife Orca. And I am here to tell you all about my new company, Digital Refinery
Digital Refinery is a company which specializes in creating immersive and interactive experiences and advertisements for real world companies in the Virtual World of Teen Second Life.
Our mission is to provide support to outside companies interested in establishing brand recognition that is targeted toward minors 13-17 in the Teen area of Second Life.
As cultural and technical experts of the "Teen Grid", we act as liaisons between adult owned islands and the mainland, which is inaccessible by adults. We also act as engineers; creating products and establishing services within the virtual space that are specifically geared toward teens. We create from the perspective of a teen, because we are indeed teens ourselves. Even though we are teens, we believe in and uphold the standard of adult-level professionalism and customer satisfaction.
Check us out on the web at http://www.digitalrefinery.org
Fab! Entrepreneurial too :-)
Seeing jobs advertised elsewhere isn't normally a problem. I love my job and I love the opportunities that are happening at Forthill and in the Council at the moment.
Seeing jobs advertised abroad isn't normally a problem because we'd need to find another job so we could both relocate and work. It's only been something we'd thought about last year when we were both job hunting at the same time.
Seeing FIVE different jobs in New York working with and educating teens using Second Life.....well that's just annoying!
Founder of Handheld Learning
Formed in 2004
Professor Stephen Heppell
Mission - every child with a personal computing and communication device within 5 years
to make learning prsonal and universally acceptable
this is achievable using low cost cnsumer technologies and innovative web programming plus a little pixie dust
forum community, conference, and created redhalo (web 2.0 storage for digital learning content)
2012 death of the desktop computer as we know it
2012 laptops on death row
New kinds of home entertainment and handheld devices
The future is mobile!
Theme of personalised learning
New school buildings have been new glass and steel victorian buildings, still rows of desks and someone at front writing on a (digital) board and ticking curriculum boxes
OLPC Brazil, LIbya, Uruguay, Nigeria, Rwanda commited to over 1 million devices each (not intel, not windows, which is making companies pay attention)
Learning is no longer a classroom-only activity, not restricted to a school building
Mori Poll of 11-21 age group - 97 percent of girls and 92 percent of boys owned a mobile phone.
25 prcent of 7-10 year olds have a 3G phone. Nicolodeon supply 3G content to this age group.
Technology is embedded in many childrens lives
" todays students are no longer the people our education system was designed to teach"
Data bandwidth increasing, costs decreasing online storage costs decreasing. Changes being driven by consumer technology.
HDTV needs 12 mbps bandwidth
Users can access their files everywhere using online storage.
Yahoo now has unlimited online storage, Media Max is 25Gb free. Hard disk die, tempting to have all photos and mp3s online.
Public perception of risk of wifi - panorama program used leading questions and biases reporting
How do we provide personalised learning and universal access?
Do we instead mean more of the same but with new devices and "classroom management systems"
vital to use open standards - so kids in P1 can still read docs in 12 years, and in case company goes bust.
Secure storage, distribution and management of digital learning content.
Interfaces for 3rd party apps.
Its not the devices that are mobile, its the learner - aim is kids using laptop at school, mobile on bus, DS at home, but with same content. Teachers and parents have access as well as kids.
Standard edition free (1Gb of storage) from July 07
Pro version 35 pounds p.a. includes free software and teacher training.
Pro server 25 pounds p.a.
giving away free storage, but get a distribution method for small educational publishers
Think learning while mobile not mobile learning
Think above the level of a single device
keep to open standards
think beyond the classroom as well as within it
seek architecbures of partication
...and don't panic
If you've got an inservice day tomorrow and you're looking for a way to get out of it, why not turn up to eLive instead! Its on at Murrayfield Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday. Come along and
let me bore you learn about Second Life in the curriculum on Tuesday afternoon, or mobile phones in school on Wednesday :-)
As an extra treat, after eLive finishes on Wednesday there's TeachMeet too!
In Second Life I can easily create a primitive object (I can "rez a prim") by right clicking on the ground and choosing 'create' from the menu.
This prim has a central point with x y and z coordinates that tell you exactly where it is on the sim (island or large plot of land). I can change the coordinates on the object's properties and the object will move position.
The object properties tell you the size of the prim - the length (x), breadth (y) and height (z). You can change these numbers in the properties and the prim will change size. The largest size in any direction is 10 metres. The smallest size is 1mm.
The object properties also let me change the rotation of the prim along x, y and z. I can spin objects any way. I can also cut and skew prims.
All of this sounds really complex, but you can just use the handles on the object to move, resize and rotate an object really simply and easily. The numbers however are exceptionally useful when you want to do accurate building without textures overlapping (the computer doesn't know which texture to display if they overlap so they flicker a bit).
So all this means that if I want to build an object like a large hexagonal sloping roof or a semicurcular ampitheatre then I need to use FORMULAE. Maths in action :-)
We went to the Pixar after hours event last night. It was great fun. There was the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra playing film music, people dressed up as Pixar characters, and animated films by Edinburgh College of Art students. My favourite films were Penguin and Piper by Aaron Johnston (did you know that there really were experiments done in Antartica on the effects of bagpipes on penguins!), Vinyl Days by Mark Wagner (the iPod vs the Gramaphone, the video doesn't show too clearly but at the end the gramaphone is shown as marked 'extinct' in a display case with extinct stuffed animals), and Don't Touch by Louis Hudson (the sound doesn't seem to have transferred well, as the sounds of giggling kids to torment the curator are missing)
We then all headed on to Bierex to meet up and celebrate with Emma, who has just got her first teaching job, but unfortunately in Folkestone (mainly because the GTCS won't give her a probation year because the countries she stayed in when she was 12/13 won't give her a letter to say she's not a criminal. Grrrrr.) It sounds like a fantastic opportunity though, a brand new school that hasn't even opened yet! We're going to really miss her lots though! :-( We have all said we'll visit her, but I think the quickest way there is getting the Rosyth ferry to Belguim then popping across the channel!
I had a meeting with my head of Faculty and one of the Deputy Headteachers on Friday. I will not be able to use the fab new SQA units (digital media, games design and web design) to either the S5/6 this coming year, or as a replacement for Standard Grade when we change course choice to being a year earlier in S1.
Why? Because there is no exam. No exam means no course, and no final mark, which means it doesn't count towards the Scottish Executive figures. The Progress Awards for getting sets of three don't count and neither does the National Certificate when you get 12 units.
It wouldn't be too difficult to add courses to the new units, as they are grouped in threes anyway - you could write a Games Design exam for the three Games Design units, and the same for the Digital Media and Web Design groups. It means setting and running new exams every year, which I think the SQA are really trying to get away from.
Can someone figure this out? SQA - are you listening?? What about the Scottish Executive? Can you guys get together and talk about what you expect from each other please? SQA - please come up with some exams and courses, ASAP (preferably BEFORE 2012), and Scottish Executive - make your minds up about the education system!! If you want nice measurable results from kids and schools, help the SQA to make the courses more like what's being expected from 'Curriculum for Excellence'. No wonder people are worried about the future of Computing education.
In the meantime, I'll be trying to decide between offering Computing or Information Systems. It shouldn't be a difficult decision - I think I'd rather work in MacDonalds than teach Info Sys again. I can't find any way to make it interesting. The only plus side is that the multimedia unit is practical, rather than the theory unit in the Computing course. Who thought it would be a good idea to make kids learn the theory of something fun but not actually do the fun, practical stuff?!
The school was in the news on Thursday (vandalism in the area) and Friday (about the new courses we are running) and it looks like we're front page news today. A 16 year old boy has been stabbed to death at 3.15am this morning in an area that is in our catchment. I'm presuming a celebratory end of standard grade exams party has gone very badly wrong.
I'm just glad comments aren't allowed on today's news article, as the kids got very upset and angry about the comments posted on Thursday's article. I can imagine comments being far more upsetting now.