Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Roy H. Park School island

Our first island was delivered a couple of days before the semester started. Big dilemma - finish class prep or tour hte island; read one more chapter in the textbook or scatter some houses i built around the island to play with. I did both - but let me tell you - i wanted to play a lot more in SL than i did in those first days.

And I still don't get to play as much as I'd like - 4 different classes, 2 brand new. And a bunch of independent studies with kids that want to do stuff in SL. Gotta get them motivated and moving before the semester gets too far along.

Here are some pictures of our island when we first got it:

We bought an island with a mountain. Why? WHy not. Actually tho, the top of the mountain has a great 360 view of the ocean - well so far of the water. There will soon be 2 other islands visible - one of ours and one from another college. The possibilities for a drive in movie - ok - you can't actually drive in, it's on a mountain top. But it will be a great presentation space. We may put a welcome area up there too. And we hope to build an open air amphiteatre into the side.

So far we've just been trying stuff out, trying to set permissions so the independent study students can build and leave things on the island, trying to convince other profs they want to try it out.

But right now - we're waiting for SL to come back online. Darned ol biweekly updates.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Lots more to do these days in SL

One of the happy by-products of the increase in SL residents is the huge jump in the number of things to do. There's still yardsales and show us your skin nights at strip clubs of course. But there are a lot of other fun things to do.

I've just recently noticed art galleries in SL. They have gallery walks - guided tours with one of the featured artists or the arg gallery owner providing information about the pictures on display.

This week I went to the opening of a new island owned by a university in New Zealand. They had a submarine (forgot to take a picture - I"ll have to go back) where you could look out under the water and see fish (well - i saw a fish). THey had a camp fire, beaches, swimming pools - lots of spaces for small group discussion and just hanging out. At their opening they had incredible fireworks displays. Here are a couple of pictures.

The conversation was going on down on the ground, up in the air, on the mountain tops. IN SL you can use camera controls to move your point of view around while you stand in the crowd.

I also went to a brief interview of Howard Rheingold (big name in the study of virtual communities from way back) by GreeterDan over at CNET. They have a cool auditorium for the interviews, comfy seats. And great guests - in the past they had Esther Dyson, Anshe CHung, and now Howard Rheingold. There's always a chance to ask a few audience questions at the end. Here's a pic of that space. It's a bit of a closeup - i'll try to get a pic of the crowd next time.

I also went to a tour of the iVillage loft sponsored by a new group of PR people in SL, to a discussion on how to combine the real world and the world of SecondLife, a discussion about how public libraries in the real world are using social networks (their example was MySpace because it is a huge issue with librarians right now). I visited a giant art museum called the SL Louvre with paintings and sculpture. I went to classes on building in SecondLife, how to shop efficiently (including what to look for in a good skin), and Sunday there's a talk by the StarFleet Academy on the Universal Translator.

Something for everybody - real, fantasy, skills, news, talk, information. I'm overwhelmed.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Building more

I built a 2 story house - but small to fit my little plot of land. no room for stairs so i built a 2 story column to fly up to get to the 2nd story. Not too slick but it worked. Kind of like a fireman's pole(g)

I've been playing iwth textures too. I went to a class to make a trampoline and it was all done with textures. Very cool. The legs were one texture that was mostly transparent iwth a slanted line for hte legs. The top was another texture with a colorable middle and a black edget like a trampoline. Very cool. We got a sound and script to make us bounce too. I am going to try putting that script in a chair(g)

Here's a picture of an earlier house - the one with the curved class atrium. That's me in my fancy party dress sitting up in the air. I was trying to build a dome (for an observation dome on the top of a house but that didn't work out yet)

And here's a second picture - me standing on the wall in my party dress. Do houses really need roofs? or floors?(g) I bought this holiday dress because of the skirt and train. They're huge and they move - it's almost like they're alive. Very cool. And very unlike how I normally dress in SL - leather pants and jacket, tshirt and boots. Wait till the students get a few of me in my party clothes!