Community


12
Sep 08

To Do: America’s Schools in the 21st Century (PBS) – Monday 9/15

Thanks to Kevin Jarrett for this tip! (PS Kevin was just featured on an NPR segment about tech in schools! Listen here!)

WHERE WE STAND: America’s Schools in the 21st Century, premiering
Monday, September 15, 2008 at 10 p.m. on PBS, presents a frank
evaluation of our educational system’s strengths and weaknesses.
Hosted by Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent for The NewsHour with
Jim Lehrer, the documentary will visit schools throughout Ohio, an
important swing state that represents a range of socioeconomic and
geographic school districts. The program will feature schools in urban
Cincinnati, suburban Columbus, and rural Belpre.

See http://pbs.org for local listing times.

But there’s more! Educators from around the nation are going to gather on Thursday of next week to discuss the documentary in Second Life. Kevin writes:

As a fitting follow-up activity, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) will be hosting a free “Educator’s Social” in Second Life on Thursday, September 18th at 9:00 pm Eastern (6:00 pm Pacific). Educators from around the country (and the world) will gather at ISTE’s Second Life Island “Campfire Area” (http://slurl.com/secondlife/ISTE%20Island/213/150/22) to discuss the documentary. I’ll be moderating one of the discussion groups but there will be several others. If you have a Second Life avatar, please consider joining us!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

10
Sep 08

CCK08/CCK08SL – Pre-Week 1

(This post is about the Massively Multiuser Online Course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge being taught by George Siemens and Stephen Downes from September to December 2008. Over 1900 participants have signed up, and I am facilitating the Second Life cohort for the course. Over the following months, I will be posting about the experience, home work assignments, and other materials related to our activities.)

Catching Up!

Because I was so busy with SLEDcc 2008 and SLCC 2008, I have already gotten behind in the Connectivism course! I’m trying to play catch up now, and so far I’ve done some Connecting but not much Learning.

1. The Second Life Cohort of the Connectivism course held their first meeting yesterday, where I discovered I’m not the only one who is feeling behind and a bit overwhelmed and confused. Transcript here.

2. I added myself to the Googlemap for the course.. wow, people from all over the world! Sadly absent is much participation in Africa, I find that depressing.


View Larger Map

3. I added myself to the TwitterPacks wiki for the Connectivism Cohort.

4. I registered and added my profile to the CCK08 Moodle site, and scanned some of the introductory posts. I don’t feel like adding to the din in there though, I think I’ll just stick to my blog for now unless there’s a compelling reason or requirement to participate in the Moodle? (I’ve become anti-course-management-system these days.)

Pre-Week 1 Homework: Introduction

I’m currently located in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I work at the University of Cincinnati in the UCit Instructional & Research Computing department, focusing on teaching and learning about emerging technologies, social networks, and virtual worlds (particularly Second Life). I’m interested in the Connectivism course for several reasons – I want to see a MMOC in action, learn where a mass participation learning experience works and where it fails, and because I am intrigued by the concept of knowledge existing in external networks. I don’t feel I have a very good grounding in many of the other learning theories that came before, and I don’t know where the boundaries of Connectivism exist, but I want to know more.

The course will be a success for me if I a) connect on a deeper level with the members of the Second Life cohort of the course, b) gain a better understanding of the connectivist theory of learning and understand clearly how it is different than behavioralist/constructivist theories, and c) learn to navigate the complex network of websites, blogs, discussions, videos, and other web and virtual world artifacts I see forming in this course without feeling lost or overwhelmed. I hope by the end that I adjust without feeling left behind.

Random information about me: I logged onto my first online social network in 1994 fresh out of high school, and though I quickly moved from ISCABBS to many different BBS systems, I’ve been participating in and moderating online communities for all of my adult life. I believe the online communities, forums, and social networks I have participated in has made up the bulk of my “real” education – my university experience, even in the best of classes, simply doesn’t compare with all of the learning, sharing, and knowledge acquisition that happened for me on the net. It has been a transformative experience, one I want to share and extend to others.

In other words, I’m curious to see if I may be part of the first generation who could be learning in a connectivist way. It certainly seems – at first blush – to resonate with my experience more than other learning theories have. I guess we’ll see!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

9
Sep 08

SLCC & SLEDcc 2008: Thank You!

The Second Life Community Convention 2008 and Second Life Education Community Conference 2008 wrapped up in Tampa, FL and in Second Life on Sunday afternoon, two days ago, but it is only now that I am relaxed and awake enough to write about it. I think the things that affect us most profoundly are the hardest to put into words, but I’m gonna take a stab at it.


Last educators standing for the final panel on SL media at SLCC07 in Chicago.

My first SLCC was last year, in Chicago, and I remember driving up with such a feeling of.. trepidation and worry. I remember wondering if all those people I’d met and worked with during the organizing of the Second Life Best Practices in Education 2007 conference would like me in Real Life, worried what the dress code would be, worried I’d not feel as comfortable with people in person as I was in our virtual spaces. I ended up having a really good time, met so many great people, and spent the next year strengthening those friendships through all of our online interactions and at other educational conferences throughout the year.


Intellagirl, Fleep, Typewriter, and Decka at Emory’s Virtual Worlds conference, Feb 2008. Image courtesy Decka Mah.

This year leading up to SLCC, I didn’t have time to be nervous. Organizing the SLEDcc component of the conference was a staggering amount of work! (At some point, I really should write about the differences in organizing a real world conference that served some 4-600 people and organizing a virtual world conference that served 1300 people. With NO QUESTION, the virtual conference served more for far less work, money, time, and effort. Holy smokes. But that’s another post for another time…)


Wainbrave, Frans, Rhiannon, Fleep, Armath, and Jeremy Braver outside the hotel in Tampa.

No, this year I didn’t have time to worry or be self-conscious, there wasn’t any time for it, and when I flew in on Wednesday, got unpacked, my only thoughts were of details and things to do and being anxious to see all of my friends. Looking back on it from the other side now, all I can say is that it felt like the most excellent of family reunions – there truly is nothing better in life than spending good time with great friends.


Jeremy Koester and Sarah Robbins hanging out in the hotel lobby at SLCC08.

I think in any large scale event like this, you come into contact with so many people so rapidly, things begin to blur together, for me in just a general warm happy feeling. But I want to be sure to acknowledge, personally, the people who really made this a terrific experience for me, and I think for the whole of the SL community.


Carol Tucker and Scott Merrick, leaders of “The Stream Supreme Team” made the cross-world connection with those in Second Life possible. Image courtesy Scott Merrick

My personal heroes, the ones who I worked with and was helped by, and who gave so selflessly of their time, their equipment, their expertise, and their passion for Second Life that I simply must call them by name are Jonathon Richter, Jennifer Ragan-Fore, Scott Merrick, Carol Tucker, Suzie Medders, Jeremy Kemp, Daniel Livingstone, AJ Kelton, Anthony Fontana, Bonnie Mitchell, Sarah Robbins, Mark Bell, and Jeremy Koester.


AJ Kelton and others live blogging, twittering, and supporting SLEDcc sessions. Image courtesy http://flickr.com/photos/nkellett/

In one way or another, their contribution to the SLEDcc in Tampa was crucial to its success – they were the ones who answered the call when something absolutely needed to be done and could only happen if someone with a big heart jumped in to do it. I hope you guys know the depth of my affection and appreciation. Thank you so very much. <3 <3 <3


Fleep and Joyce trying to get the programs and sponsor stuff situated.

If I thought it would really convey the awe I feel for all of the presenters and volunteers, I’d list every one of them by name too -it seems like I never really got to sit down and hear all the presentations or thank each person who was working behind the scenes because I was on the go running from place to place myself, but every time I looked into a room, I saw passionate people giving great talks about things they worked on, believed in, and wanted to share with others, helped by great volunteers who were on stand by to solve problems, gopher supplies, stuff bags, and more.


Jeremy Koester manning the SLEDcc Game Control table. 7 of diamonds ftw!

I saw the products of their work in smooth sessions, great handouts and resources, terrific machinima and reports, and the collective and growing wisdom of the educational community in Second Life – I saw the pioneers of this field in person, I got to meet them and hug them and share meals with them, and I feel so tremendously lucky to be in such good company. As colleagues, as friends, the people who share their Second Life work with others are what make SLED special, no matter our other affiliations. Thank you one and all for your terrific work.


Peter freaking out on day 1 of the SLCC! Image courtesy Nexeus Fatale.

It was in Tampa, too, that I finally got to meet the voices on the phone from The Future United. Peter, Leo, Misty, and Joyce, through all those many months of stressing over the details and logistics, were a joy to work with. It’s easy for those of us in the education community to stay engrossed in our work, but SLCC really makes you look up and see all of the diversity in Second Life, and that’s what these guys did for me.


Nexeus working even during the party! Image courtesy Nexeus Fatale.

When they talk about “the community”, they are inclusive of everyone, and they taught me to see more than just the needs of educators in planning a celebration of all of Second Life’s residents. After working with them in person in Tampa, I came away thinking that we have a lot of work to do for 2009, and I can’t wait to get started.


Fleep with Robert Bloomfield of Metanomics fame.

I didn’t mean for this to turn into a big thank you note, but it seems to be coming out that way. I guess it’s because SLCC this year was such a gift for me. As some may know, my grandfather has been very ill and these past few months have been grueling and hard trying to keep up with work and still spend as much time as I can with him. I’d reached such a state of utter exhaustion leading up to SLCC, I almost didn’t come at all. I worried about spending the time away from my family at such a difficult time, I worried I wouldn’t be able to handle all the pressure of pulling things off.. I didn’t even realize what a huge and wonderful support network of friends I had behind me.


Peggy Sheehy, Sarah Robbins, Mark Bell, Carol Tucker, and Scott Merrick at the streaming table.

Sitting here even now, it really makes me teary to think of all the people who gave me a hug and told me they were thinking of and praying for me and my family. I had no idea how much joy and respite it would give me to spend a few days with such warm, caring people, my good friends. Instead of coming back feeling drained and exhausted, I’ve come back feeling rejuvenated and reminded what it is that we’re all working for – a better life, real and virtual, for ourselves, our friends, our families, our communities, and our world. I’ve come back feeling rested and recharged, inspired anew in my passion for Second Life and the people that create it.


SLEDcc folks doing a late tour of the facilities in preparation for the start of SLEDcc!

And I guess in the end that’s what makes SLCC so special. When people gripe about the ticket cost (which is really unfair because the planners do everything they can to make it as absolutely affordable as possible and still put on a good, high quality show) or wonder why anyone would bother coming to the Second Life Community Convention, I wish I could explain what makes it special. They ask, isn’t it just a big geek meet with weird laptop toting people?


Sloodle and Rockcliffe U at SLCC08.

The answer is yes and no, we’re all weird in our own ways, and you’re sure to spot a laptop or a geek around every corner, but of all of the conferences, conventions, and meet ups I attend throughout the year, SLCC is special. For whatever reason, Second Life inspires a kind of creativity and diversity and range of passions in people that when we come together in person, it feels as much like a festival and a celebration of life itself as it does a convention or a conference about a technology.


Bonnie Mitchell, Steven Hornik, and Ken Hudson at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center social mixer.

As I look at all the pictures on Flickr, and see all of those happy, smiling faces, I feel blessed, lucky, and privileged to have been a part of it. My only regret is the time I didn’t get to spend with sooo many people who I really wanted to be with and just couldn’t, but was glad that I at least had a few snatched moments to meet and hug in person – Cybergrrl, Crap, Draxtor, Bjorlyn, Harper, Bevin, geez I could go on for days. And for all the people who weren’t there this year, whose presence was sorely missed (Randy, Prokofy, Dizzy, Douglas, KJ, Joanna, Chilbo, I’m talking to you!), I can only hope to see you at SLCC next year. It was a spectacularly great time.


Jonathon and I finally taking a break!

To Jonathon and all my personal friends at SLCC, Velks and all, I don’t think I need to say anything else other than thank you. I love you guys and I can’t wait until we see each other again. xoxo.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

19
Aug 08

3 Great VW Panels @ Chilbo Summer Fair!


Cecilia Delacroix gives a poetry reading at the Chilbo Summer Fair 2008.

The Chilbo Summer Fair is well underway, with tours, rides, cultural events, and more happening every day this week!

Three upcoming panels promise to be of interest to virtual world enthusiasts:

Virtual Worlds Day Panel
Wednesday, 8/20, 3 PM SLT
Location: Shrubbery Amphitheatre
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/167/129/109

This panel will feature a discussion about the current state of virtual worlds and how they may evolve in the future. What do we hope to see? What would be a “bad” outcome?
Moderator: Fleep Tuque
Panelists: Malburns Writer, Tara Yeats, Olando7 DeCosta


Second Life Community-Building: What We’ve Learned – Island Experience

Saturday, 8/23, 11:00 AM SLT
Location: Shrubbery Amphitheatre
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/167/129/109

This panel is one of a pair of panels that will take a look at lessons learned that can make – or break – communities in Second Life. What’s the “glue” that holds virtual world communities together? What helps people engage? What are the challenges? What Second Life tools and features help – or hinder the process? Saturday’s panel will focus on island communities; Sunday’s panel will focus on mainland communities.
Moderator: Tara Yeats
Panelists: Sophrosyne Stenvaag, Director, Extropia Core; Fleet Goldenberg, Community Manager, EduIsland II, 5 & 6

Second Life Community-Building: What We’ve Learned – Mainland Experience
Sunday, 8/24, 12 NOON SLT
Location: Shrubbery Amphitheatre
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/167/129/109

This panel is one of a pair of panels that will take a look at lessons learned that can make – or break – communities in Second Life. What’s the “glue” that holds virtual world communities together? What helps people engage? What are the challenges? What Second Life tools and features help – or hinder the process? Saturday’s panel will focus on island communities; Sunday’s panel will focus on mainland communities.
Moderator: Tara Yeats
Panelists: Prokofy Neva, Owner, Ravenglass; Fleep Tuque, Land Steward, Chilbo Community Building Project

Check the Chilbo wiki for the full schedule of events for the Chilbo Summer Fair, and hope to see you at these terrific panel discussions!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

16
Aug 08

Chilbo Summer Fair Begins Today!

Chilbo Summer Fair!

August 16 – August 31 – in and around Chilbo & neighboring sims

Chilbo Summer Fair

The Chilbo Summer Fair was conceived as an idea to celebrate our community – an excuse for everyone to get together and have fun and invite friends!

Please check the Chilbo Summer Fair Planning Wiki for the possible schedule changes.

Chilbo Summer Fair Scheduled Events!

August 16 – August 31 – in and around Chilbo & neighboring sims

Open throughout the Fair:

Chilbo Fairgrounds: rides and fun!
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Madhupak/15/65/65
Ferris Wheel , Go-Cart Race Track, Boat Ride, Avatar Cannonball, Skydive Ride, Bouncy Castle, The Dormouse’s Tea Party Ride

Exhibits & Builds:

Scheduled events:

Saturday, August 16

11AM SLT – Walking Tour: The History of Chilbo – Fleep Tuque
Location: Starting at the Town Hall
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/112/230/121

Join us for a walking tour of the Chilbo sim! We’ll poke into the nooks and crannies of the community, visit the places and spaces where Chilbo began, and explore the hidden treasures and artifacts of our community’s history!

12 PM SLT – FlowerBall Reception
The tour will finish up at the FlowerBall, an interactive art build that was voted one of the “Ten Best Art Installations of 2007” by New World Notes. The charming, witty, and extremely attractive co-creators Douglas Story and Desdemona Enfield will be on hand to answer your questions – and hell….maybe musician Aldomanutio Abruzzo if we can get him to come by.
If you do visit, be sure to follow the annoying directions – you’ll get a much better experience if you do. Also – scripters take note: there’s a great deal of complex and interesting scripting involved in the pre-loading of the music clips that makes them play smoothly. Desdemona’s achievement is that you don’t notice all this.
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Madhupak/166/45/68


Sunday, August 17

1pm SLT – Presentation: HIV 101: What is HIV and How Does it Attack the Immune System? – Lizzette Zenovka
Location: SL HIV Education & Prevention Center
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Madhupak/130/80/60


Monday, August 18

3PM SLT – Go Kart Race – START YOUR ENGINES!!!
Location: Chilbo Fairgrounds
SLurl:

Join us for a smashing good time at the Go Kart racetrack in the fairgrounds! Contestants will compete for the best time around the track, feel free to practice ahead of time, but all scores will be reset before the race! First Prize: $1000L Second Prize: $500L Third Prize: $250L


Tuesday, August 19

4PM SLT – Poetry Reading – Cecilia Delacroix
Location: Chilbo Shells Plaza
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/80/100/116

On Tuesday evening, Poet Cecilia Delacroix will perform some of her favorite works in the Chilbo Shells Plaza. Cecilia previously gave a reading centered on a nature/seasonal theme in the Shrubbery Amphitheatre, and is memorialized there for donating the lovely backdrop of images that graces the area behind the stage. Beyond her poetry, Ceclia also enjoys wine, jazz, and running many art galleries in Islandia’s canal district in Second Life. Please join us to celebrate her latest poetry!

6 PM SLT – Virtual Artists Alliance workshop
Location: Chilbo Sandbox
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/197/20/93

Led by Rezago Kokorin, the premise of these sessions is simple: the host introduces a concept or technique that can be applied to building in Second Life, and the remainder of the session is dedicated to experimentation, using the concept or technique for artistic application. Rezago is an accomplished sculptor and photographer in both realities. The workshop sessions are very open and feature a lot of sharing of knowledge among the participants. It’s always interesting to see the variety of creations from a group of people all starting from the same point. Join us for some fun with the prims in the sandbox.


Wednesday, August 20

3 PM SLT – Virtual Worlds Day Panel – Fleep Tuque
Location: Shrubbery Amphitheatre
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/167/129/109

This panel will feature a discussion about the current state of virtual worlds and how they may evolve in the future. What do we hope to see? What would be a “bad” outcome? Panelists: Malburns Writer, Tara Yeats, Olando7 DeCosta


Thursday, August 21

Noon SLT – How does reading inspire your virtual life? (about 50 minutes)
Location: Shrubbery Amphitheatre
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/167/129/109

Olando7 Decosta (Roland Legrand) is not a professional philosopher, though he graduated in philosophy, but he still feels the urge to read some philosophers when he tries to make sense of his life as a Second Life resident. Olando7 will present some of his favorite thinkers in this context (Derrida, Deleuze&Guattari, Baudrillard) during 15/max. 20 minutes, and invites the audience to share their favorite philosophers and writers (also fiction!) and how reading throws some light on their virtual experiences.


Saturday, August 23

Time TBD – Second Life Community-Building: What We’ve Learned – Tara Yeats
Location: Shrubbery Amphitheatre
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/167/129/109

This panel will take a look at some lessons learned that can make – or break – communities in Second Life. Potential focus on emerging plans for Mainland zoning and how that may impact existing communities and new ones. Panelists: TBA


Tuesday, August 26

6 PM SLT – Virtual Artists Alliance workshop
Location: Chilbo Sandbox
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/197/20/93

Led by Rezago Kokorin, the premise of these sessions is simple: the host introduces a concept or technique that can be applied to building in Second Life, and the remainder of the session is dedicated to experimentation, using the concept or technique for artistic application. Rezago is an accomplished sculptor and photographer in both realities. The workshop sessions are very open and feature a lot of sharing of knowledge among the participants. It’s always interesting to see the variety of creations from a group of people all starting from the same point. Join us for some fun with the prims in the sandbox.


Saturday August 30

Time TBA – Music in the Shrubbery – Tara Yeats/Leslee McCarey hosting
Location: Shrubbery Amphitheatre
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/167/129/109

Live performers throughout the day. Schedule to come.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

14
Aug 08

Hype Cycle and James Paul Gee “Building Worlds”

Gartner Emerging Tech Hype Cycle – August 2008

Virtual World News alerted me to Gartner’s latest “Emerging Technology” Hype Cycle analysis, and I was a bit surprised to see where they placed public virtual worlds, particularly in relation to Web 2.0 and wikis.

Gartner shows wikis far out in front of Web 2.0 generally and Web 2.0 and public virtual worlds neck and neck. I don’t think I agree with that analysis if applied to an educational context. Based on my experience in the field, I’d have put Web 2.0 and wikis much closer together and before the peak of Inflated Expectations, and put virtual worlds even further behind. I’ve added some other educational technology markers for comparison (again, this is based on my own “anecdata”).

Where would you put these markers based on your experience?

RezEd Interview with James Paul Gee

If you’re involved in education and virtual worlds and haven’t yet joined RezEd, take a minute to do so now. They’re creating not only a really terrific community, but also a very rich repository of resources, information, interviews, and best practices. SLEDcc has a group that you can join, but I’ve been very impressed with the quality of their podcasts and best practices guides.

James Paul Gee - image courtesy http://rezed.org

James Paul Gee - image courtesy http://rezed.org

This week they interviewed James Paul Gee, author of the seminal book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (a must read). In the interview, he discusses how video games and virtual worlds can be used to help address some of the major deficiencies in modern educational systems – letting learners produce the lesson content instead of just “taking it in” and how virtual worlds help kids develop complex literacies through experiential and situated learning. Good stuff!

Podcast is 23 minutes long, and is worth the listen.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

9
Aug 08

Letter to Linden Lab Re: Mainland Policies

Ad Farm Alley in Mangyeong
An ad farm along the Linden Road in Mangyeong sim seems much unchanged, despite changes in Linden Lab policies about ad farms announced seven months ago.

The Second Life community is all abuzz over a recent post from Linden Lab about upcoming changes in mainland policies. Several vocal SL bloggers have chimed in, including Gwen and Prokofy, comments on this blog, the Missing Image, and SLUniverse, in Italian, Russian, and in Germany, and reported on by New World Notes, Massively, Silicon Alley Insider, and Reuters.

Because of my professional work in Second Life, it is very rare that I publicly discuss my frustrations. I still believe that the Second Life platform is on the leading edge of the hundreds of virtual worlds (or more accurately, virtual environments) out there. I am still committed to Second Life, I pay my tier every month even though it gets harder and harder in this economy.

Griefer fireball in Chilbo
A griefer fireball in Chilbo (slightly camouflaged by our bushes) that has been sitting undisturbed for over 14 months, despite abuse reports to Linden Lab, on a parcel of land that was claimed in October 2006 by a resident who has not logged in (as far as we can tell) once in nearly two years.

I am still a committed community leader, I founded a mainland community, manage Second Life projects at work, and have taken a lead role in organizing a portion of this year’s Second Life Community Convention through the Second Life Education Community Conference.

But in light of Linden Lab’s recent blog posts, I feel compelled to speak my mind as both a citizen of this virtual world. These are my personal views and do not represent any of the professional, community, or other organizations I work with or represent.

My post to the closed forum is cited in full below:

Dear Jack,

I have invested thousands of dollars in building the Chilbo community on the mainland over the past couple years, as have others in my group, and spent countless hours of time working with mainland residents, dealing with abandoned parcels, griefers, and ad farm jerks. This is a very serious investment for me. Further, I’ve extolled the virtues of Second Life and virtual worlds to literally thousands of educators and administrators at workshops and conferences all over the US. I can’t even calculate how many residents, universities, and colleges have come into Second Life directly due to my hard (uncompensated by Linden Lab) work. I feel I have paid my dues as a Second Life resident and then some with a cherry on top.

Regarding the mainland, in the past 6 months, representatives of Linden Lab have kicked me in the teeth in several ways: they have placed abandoned parcels for public auction despite the fact that our community owns the land on three or even all four sides, at least once resulting in me paying over $20,000L for a 512m parcel because it was literally right next to our Town Hall in the heart of our community; they have worked out private deals with other residents who are NOT members of or invested in the area around Chilbo, giving them abandoned land for $1L that they then turned around and sold for extortionist prices; they have sold huge tracts of abandoned land near Chilbo through private deals rather than putting them up on auction, which were then cut up into small parcels and sold for extortionist prices; they have left griefer objects on abandoned land for literally years; and they have failed to address nearly every single ad abuse report we’ve filed despite a supposed change in policy all those months ago.

I, too, am quite skeptical that a change in mainland zoning policy will do anything but hurt honest community building groups like Chilbo, and will indeed like so many other changes, only help those who want to make a quick buck. In all my years in Second Life, I’ve always been working towards creating open, diverse, pleasant mainland communities, and no one at Linden Lab has ever bothered to take the time to look and see that our community owns land in 6 neighboring mainland sims, that our community actually uses the group tier donation model, that we ALREADY HAVE community standards but no way to enforce them, that we meet regularly to resolve our own disputes and issues, and that we are very serious and dedicated in our investment into Second Life and the mainland. They just pop in when they finally address an abandoned parcel, sometimes dole it out to someone who has a connection with them and sometimes just throw it up on public auction, and it as if our community, our hard work, and our investment of time and money doesn’t even exist. We’re left to fend for ourselves and pay through the nose if we want to try to continue to grow and keep a cohesive feel to our little tiny spot of goodwill in the anarchy of the mainland.

My suggestions:

1. Remove blanket banlines and pay-to-enter barriers from the mainland PERIOD. If you want absolute privacy, buy land on an island or eject jerks and implement individual bans. Blanket bans and pay to enter zones are the bane of mainland existence, worse than ad farms in my opinion.

2. Make the process for reclaiming land absolutely transparent so mainland communities can plan ahead and not feel subject to Linden Lab’s whims. If you don’t pay your tier after X months, your land is cleared and reclaimed automatically the very day after that period expires. 3 to 4 months is more than reasonable.

3. When a parcel is abandoned or reclaimed for lack of payment, all landowning group owners and private landowners in the sim should be notified FIRST and get FIRST SHOT at a private, closed auction. This should be relatively easy to automate. This would allow existing residents to work it out amongst themselves who wants to compete for the land. This would encourage cooperation and self governance by people who already have an investment in that region. Only after a set period of time if no existing landowner in the sim bids should that parcel then be put up for public auction. STOP ALLOWING EXTORTIONIST PROFITEERS TO BENEFIT MORE FROM LINDEN LAB POLICIES THAN GOOD HONEST COMMUNITY BUILDERS DO. IT IS THE COMMUNITIES THAT RETAIN RESIDENTS, PROMOTE PREMIUM MEMBERSHIPS, AND INCREASE USER HOURS, NOT LAND FLIPPERS.

4. Linden Lab has for years claimed that they eventually wanted to put more governance in the hands of residents since they do not have the staff or the time to resolve all disputes. So do it. Where organized communities exist, empower long-term residents with established records of good payment, good stewardship, and good relations to manage the sims instead of Linden Lab. Enforce our community-generated standards or allow us to enforce them. Whether through appointment or elections or petitions or through some other means, give community managers the ability to remove offensive ads, griefer objects, and banlines. Put your money where your mouth has been for the last 5 years.

5. Do what you say you will do. Consistently. Across the board. In a timely manner. Quit making special deals with residents who are friends of Lindens at the expense of those of us who don’t cultivate insider relationships.

A short forum or blog post can barely do justice to the injustice I feel Linden Lab has done to its best customers. I rarely ever speak of it, I keep a good public PR face, I do my best to soothe the irritation of the residents of Chilbo, newbies, teachers, and students. I am a good citizen of Second Life, but I am angry, frustrated, and distrustful of the company who repeatedly says they want to do better but somehow ends up implementing policies that make my work harder. Maybe this time will be different, but I won’t hold my breath.

Sincerely,

Fleep Tuque
Founder, Chilbo Community Building Project
Web: http://fleeptuque.com
Email: fleep.tuque@gmail.com

Chilbo Community in the Mainland of Second Life
Web: http://chilbo.org
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilbo/112/222/121

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

3
Aug 08

Educators: CCK08 – Connectivism & Connective Knowledge Course

In about a month, the Connectivism & Connective Knowledge Course will begin. From the course wiki:

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge is a twelve week course that will explore the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge and explore their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning. It will outline a connectivist understanding of educational systems of the future. George Siemens and Stephen Downes – the two leading figures on connectivism and connective knowledge – will co-facilitate this innovative and timely course. The course will run from September 7, 2008 to November 29, 2008 and will be fully delivered online.

Course Wiki: http://ltc.umanitoba.ca:83/wiki/Connectivism
Course Blog: http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/connectivism/
Course Tag: CCK08

I don’t know why, but I’m really excited about this. If you have any interest at all in the future of education, and how the internet and open courseware and social media is changing what education might potentially be (higher education in particular?), I’d invite you to sign up. It’s free, it’s completely up to you how much or how little you participate or connect, and I have a feeling that this will generate some really interesting conversations.

I don’t have formal training in learning theory, I’ve only taken a few grad level courses, and I’m a bit worried that it will be over my head, but I’m hopeful that there will be room in the course for people like me who have a sincere interest but haven’t yet gone through the grad school process or haven’t taken formal classes in some of the background concepts that will be used.

Here’s a podcast where the course facilitators talk about what led to the course being offered and what they expect/think/hope will happen.

If we can work it out, the Chilbo community will host and I’ll help facilitate a Second Life cohort of the course for synchronous weekly meetings. This will probably be limited to 50 participants or so, but if you’re really interested, let me know.

Zemanta Pixie

29
Jul 08

Blogging About A Panel About Blogging!

Hey what do you know, it’s time to be recursive!

Starting in about 30 mins, I’ll be joining some luminaries in the Second Life blogosphere for a panel discussion in world. Here are the details from Orange Island’s Media Week program:

12.00 pm SLT: Discussion: Blogging Virtual Worlds
Speakers: Ordinal Malaprop, Koz Farina, Saffia Widdershins, Tara5 Oh, Fleep Tuque
Hosted by Malburns Writer & Tara Yeats

Location – Orange Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Orange%201/191/134/30/

Ordinal Malaprop has developed media devices inworld such as the “Twitter Box” allowing two-way interaction with the micro-blogging service.

Koz Farina is the developer of BlogHUD – a wearable inworld device that allows publishing directly onto the web and subject-based tagging.

Saffia Widdershins is publisher of “Prim Perfect” and other magazines, also broadcasting a weekly show in SLCN.

Tara5 Oh writes the acclaimed “UgoTrade” blog as Tish Shute and has particular interest in ongoing development.

Fleep Tuque is an educationalist and blogger particularly interested in community building projects, including the Chilbo one she started inworld.

Mal Burns & Tara Yeats host the weekly “Metaverse Week In review” video-cast which looks at all things “Metaversal”.

Hope to see you there!

Zemanta Pixie

13
Jul 08

5 Years of Having a Second Life

It seems not too long ago that I was making predictions about Second Life and Education in 2008, and here we are more than half way through the year and I find myself helping organize the Second Life Education Community Conference and reflecting on SL’s fifth birthday and I’m just as involved and passionate about the future of education and virtual worlds as I ever was, maybe even more so. Lively and Vivaty made big splashes this week and the ever wonderful Dizzy Banjo released a video of the “Message in a Bottle” that he and Lillie Yifu created for the in-world birthday celebration and I can’t help but get a warm fuzzy feeling recognizing the voices of so many friends… (I’m at about 1:08 in the clip!)

My life has changed so much in the last 5 years, it’s hard to separate how much of the change was influenced by my involvement with Second Life, but I think I can say without a doubt that I owe my friend Spatch a huge debt for sending me that beta invite way back in 2003. It took some time for me to get a machine that could run SL well enough to really do anything with it, but once I did, and I had that first epiphany moment – there’s been no looking back.

Whatever the press may say, or my coworkers who make fun, or strangers who look at me oddly when I talk about what I do, I feel very, very good about my involvement with this platform and despite my frustrations with what feels like excruciatingly slow progress on the part of Linden Lab sometimes, I really can’t complain TOO much. This technology changed my life, helped me discover parts of myself I didn’t know existed, led me to people who share my passion for exploring all of this new technology not just for education in a formal sense, but in a very personal sense – as a tool for self expression, collaborative exploration, and shared experiences. Through Second Life and the people I met there, I got sucked into the blogosphere and Twitter, learned to wrestle with Photoshop and machinima, webcasting, podcasting, and managing a personal and professional network of friends and colleagues all over the world. Second Life changed my sense of time and place, and above all, what IS possible if you have a group of committed, caring, smart people who share similar goals.

Second Life hasn’t been a transformational experience for everyone who came to it, most of my old BBS crowd who started when I did have never returned, or never found a niche or a reason to come back except to stop in and visit me from time to time. But for those of us who have, whose careers changed, whose lives changed, it’s been a truly amazing journey. Just like in real life, I’m terrible at sending birthday wishes on time, but happy belated birthday to SL and thanks to all the wonderful friends who have shared in this experience with me.