Holiday Goodies!

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> Planet Orbis Project, especially avatar skins, etc…
> Intel Teach Course and PBL
> OpenSim on a USB Stick
> Holistic Education
> Jibe
> Cooking

Our Term 3 holidays will soon come to an end and, although a little more relaxation time would have been nice, I’ll be happy to return to school next week knowing that I’ve had a productive break. ūüôā ¬†I’ve been very fortunate to have the time to work on a variety of projects over the holidays and there have also been a couple of surprise inclusions thanks to one of my favourite tools, Twitter!

OpenSim Project
We had an exciting Term 3 with our TechnoSpirit Project and Term 4 will see us introduce Planet Orbis to a group of Year 5 Maths Students. ¬†We’ve had a lot of fun setting up some basic areas on the Planet Orbis sims and developing some extra terrestrial avatars for the students. (That’s right, their avatars will be aliens!) ¬†Students will be using the OpenSim building tools to create their own crop circle patterns as part of their studies in Geometry. ¬†Part of the fun of this project has been developing the narrative to present to the students. ¬†Keep an eye on our Begonia Island Blog for more details of this project.

Intel Teach Elements Course
Towards the end of Term 3, our Director of ICT passed on information about the latest Intel Teach Elements Course.  After looking into it I was interested in pursuing it further not just because of the ICT content but because the new course is based on Project Based Learning.  I thought that I would dread going through the online course during the holidays, however,
I’ve found it easy to work through and a good starting point for learning more about the PBL approach. ¬†Below is an example of what I’ve covered so far, a comparison between Conventional and Project Based Learning. ¬†This task alone was a very enlightening one!


My daughter and I always enjoy time in the kitchen during the holidays. ¬†We tried lots of new recipes, one of which was a delicious chocolate cup cake recipe. ¬†Hayley wrote a blog post about it and, believe me, these were no ordinary cup cakes! ¬†Hayley called her post, My Day with Chocolate Dreams. ūüôā

Virtual Worlds & Jibe
An unexpected surprise came when I read a tweet by Kyle Komboy, CEO of ReactionGrid, who invited us to try a new virtual worlds platform, Jibe. ¬†My understanding of this platform is very limited, ¬†however, I was excited to have the opportunity to try accessing a virtual world from within my browser. ¬†Normally, in order to access a virtual world you require some 3D viewer software. ¬†Could this be the future of virtual worlds? ¬†Open your browser, go to a URL and, with a couple of clicks, find yourself transported to another world? ¬†Things that amazed me about the experience were how easy it was to access, the speed and incredible graphics created with Unity 3D software. ¬†Months ago I recall accessing the Jibe test site and was excited to see how far the ReactionGrid team have come with this project in such a short time. ¬†I’ll be following the continued work of the ReactionGrid Team as Jibe will allow us to access worlds from mobile devices as well as embed players on our own sites. ¬†(If I look into my crystal ball, I can see parents accessing our Portal, logging into Jibe and walking through a school Art Exhibition in-world! ūüôā )


Virtual Worlds & OpenSim on a USB Stick
Another holiday surprise also came in the form of a tweet and was about setting up OpenSim on a USB Stick. ¬†I now have an entire OpenSim grid that can run from my USB Stick without the need for internet access and at no cost! ¬†There are a number of advantages with this type of approach and you can read more about this topic in our Begonia Island Blog Post. ¬†By going through the process of setting up OpenSim on a USB Stick, I was fortunate enough to learn more about Roger Stack, his work at Tasmanian Polytechnic and the Holistic Education Network. ¬†Until now, I wasn’t very familiar with the term “Holistic Education” and was excited to read about something with which I could identify.

Education with a holistic perspective values spiritual literacy.  Spirituality is a state of connectedness to all life, honouring diversity in unity. It is an experience of being, belonging and caring. It is sensitivity and compassion, joy and hope. It is the harmony between the inner life and the outer life. It is the sense of wonder and reverence for the mysteries of the universe and a feeling of the purposefulness of life. It is moving towards the highest aspirations of the human spirit.

I’m looking forward to heading back to school next week and to continue the challenges of promoting the use of ICT. ¬†I love the fact that, yet again, Twitter friends have had a positive influence on me as they shared their work, interests and lives.

Special thanks to Clare Rafferty for sharing the easy animated GIF tool used in this post, Gickr.