Our Virtual Worlds Project

At the end of 2008, we embarked on our virtual worlds journey with the introduction of Quest Atlantis in our Year 6 English program.  You can find more detailed information about this project on our My Quest Atlantis Blog.

As Quest Atlantis is designed especially for middle school students, we started to explore ways in which we could extend this type of virtual world experience for our students.

After exploring options such as OpenSimActive Worlds and a closed estate in Teen Second Life, I was amazed and excited at the possibilities.

I was aware of the wonderful work being done at Suffern Middle School in New York by Peggy Sheehy and, a little closer to home, at Northern Beaches Christian School by Steve Collis.  I think the real “light bulb moment” came to me when I read Steve’s blog post, Practical Examples of 3D Virtual Environments for Learning in High School.  As I watched the accompanying movie I was, to say the least, completely blown away!  You may wish to read more about Booralie and Ramapo Islands on their blogs.

I have been very impressed with the possibilities available to students and educators using a virtual world such as Second Life.  In particular, the opportunities for students to develop 3D design or “building” skills are enormous.  Their completed objects and buildings have a real purpose as they can then be featured in the virtual world and used by teachers and students as part of the curriculum.  I have loved “playing” in jokaydia’s building sandbox so I can only imagine how much the students would enjoy this type of activity!

At this stage, I have explored a number of different educational areas in Second Life’s main grid.  I am particularly grateful to Dean Groom for suggesting that I explore the islands of jokaydia.  It was the perfect place to start for a Second Life newbie like me!

We are now at the stage where we will soon be putting together a project proposal and I have been in discussions with different staff members to gauge the interest in this type of curriculum development.  Their reactions have been extremely positive and part of the purpose of this post is to provide a little more background information to interested staff.

For those who have never experienced a virtual world, it can be difficult to visualise based on the blurry descriptions of an over-excited ICT Trainer! 😉  I hope the links in this post and the slideshow below will give staff a little more insight into the exciting possibilities of this type of project.  If you are unable to view the slideshow below, you may wish to go directly to flickr and view the full set of images.

2 thoughts on “Our Virtual Worlds Project

  1. This is a field that I want to get involved in as well. Has it taken much time to feel comfortable in second life. I have trained in Quest Atlantis and been part of the closing ceremony for the netgened project, but we used reaction grid in SimCity. Look forward to hearing how you get on with your proposals to staff and where you take it from here.

  2. Hi Anne 🙂
    I actually signed up for Second Life a few years ago after seeing a fabulous presentation by Lindy McKeown at the 2006 VITTA Conference. However, my initial experience in SL was not a positive one and I put this down to the fact that I was “thrown in at the deep end” with complete strangers. I wasn’t comfortable at all and only got as far as making a basic avatar.
    After seeing the work of Peggy Sheehy and Steve Collis, I decided to revisit SL. I asked for advice on Twitter re the best place to start for a “Second Life returning newbie” and I was told to go to http://jokaydia.com/ This was excellent advice! I’ve also found that by visiting places designed for educators, I am much more comfortable knowing that I am with “like-minded” people. The ISTE Islands are also excellent. I have *thoroughly* enjoyed re-joining the SL community and am so excited at the possibilities.
    I didn’t find it difficult, it was *exciting*! Apart from exploring the different educational areas in SL, I’ve also had so much fun learning to build. I just found a couple of helpful blogs/wikis outlining information for newbies and worked my way through those. I feel that giving the students the opportunity to create their own space and learn 3D building skills is a great way to go.
    I’ve had a look at a few options but I am definitely leaning towards the closed estate option in Teen Second Life. The possibilities for development are huge and there is so much support material available. The other options appear to have some limitations.
    Re Quest Atlantis, I cannot speak highly enough about this program. I have had nothing but positive feedback from teachers, students and parents. I see Quest Atlantis as an excellent lead-in to a virtual worlds project such as a closed estate in Teen Second Life for students from around Years 8 onwards.
    I’ll keep you posted on all of the developments!
    Lucy 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *