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June 13, 2008

Learning From Online Worlds; Teaching In Second Life

A live blog from the Learning From Online Worlds; Teaching In Second Life final project meeting, held at the London Knowledge Lab on 13 June 2008.

Note that the text below has been edited to correct typos and so on but no substantial changes have been made to the original.

This was a really interesting event, organised at the end of a one year project that we funded in last year's round of grants.  As you can tell from the live blog, parts of the meeting stretched my limited knowledge of learning and game theory to breaking point.  Despite that, I hope that my notes are interesting and useful.  On reflection, I think the live blogging would have worked better if I'd pre-arranged for several others in the room to contribute to the blog via the commenting mechanism - that would have provided a more rounded and balanced summary of the day to remote readers.

Learning From Online Worlds; Teaching In Second Life - final event (06/13/2008)
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10:57
Andy Powell -  people are still having coffee but we should be starting shortly i think
11:00
Andy Powell -  there are about 30 people in the room
11:01
Andy Powell -  first up, we have Diane Carr, Martin Oliver and Andrew Burn talking about the project that they'd been working on for the last year
11:06
Andy Powell -  note that i'm fully expecting some of this to be over my head... bear with me
11:07
Andy Powell -  ok, we are starting
11:07
Andy Powell -  Diane Carr is starting with a project overview - note that the project ended about a month ago
11:08
Andy Powell -  project - what can our experiences in Second Life (SL) and World of Warcraft (WoW) teach us about good teaching practices in virtual worlds
11:09
Andy Powell -  how do the cultural aspects impact on this
11:09
Andy Powell -  team had been 'playing' WoW for about 18 months prior to project start but were all new to SL
11:10
Andy Powell -  started by learning SL - kept game diaries of their experiences
11:10
Andy Powell -  from this experience a set of themes were identified
11:12
Andy Powell -  expertise, conventions, SL pain barrier, gatekeeping and territorialism, creative practices, drama and performance, voice issues,
11:13
Andy Powell -  Diane and Martin describing early experiences in SL - -ve experiences of orientaation island, etc.
11:14
Andy Powell -  early part of project spent playing... err... learning i mean
11:14
Andy Powell -  exploring issues around self-representation - hey, it wouldn't be an SL project with that!
11:14
Andy Powell -  integration of voice in SL coincided with early part of the project
11:15
Andy Powell -  project also looked at WoW - which martin will be talking about later
11:16
Andy Powell -  describing WoW is a place that can be explored - SL more like a bunch of addresses - i.e. more like the Internet
11:17
Andy Powell -  project team have maintained a blog thoughout the project - noting that has been useful and interesting in context of research practice - surfacing stuff that wouldn't get surfaced normally thru formal research publication
11:17
Andy Powell -  OK... the project staff also undertook teaching sessions in SL
11:18
Andy Powell -  4 teaching sessions over 2 semesters
11:18
Andy Powell -  trial sessions to make sure that poeople could get in world and find things, etc.
11:19
Andy Powell -  machinima, role-playing, research ethics, discussion session
11:19
Andy Powell -  assessment of those sessions based on student's own assessments
11:20
Andy Powell -  this has been written up on their blog - learning to teach in second life - http://learningfromsocialworlds.wordpress.com/
11:21
Andy Powell -  meetings in SL are odd - anarchic, chaotic but motivating - keeping track of stuff is difficult
11:21
Andy Powell -  distance learners rated the SL sessions highly - and noted complementary aspects of virtual worlds with existing learning management systems
11:22
Andy Powell -  SL sessions more time consuming for the lecturer in terms of preparation - require lots of structuring - hopefully hidden from students (e.g. there tended to be lots of background IMing between tutors
11:24
Andy Powell -  in-world learning activities tended to be potentially ambiguous, potentially disoriented - but these aspects were positive - e.g. student confused by role-playing exercise in-world learned a lot about his relationship to the group
11:24
Andy Powell -  Q: what were the range of ages of students?
11:25
Andy Powell -  A: working with MA students - adults but they were distance learners so details non-obvious even to the tutors on the course - mid-20s - late 20s (guess)
11:25
Andy Powell -  the project team also undertook research in parallel to the teaching experiments
11:26
Andy Powell -  gate-keeping - SL 'pain barrier' - drama and performance - learning and methodology - martin and andrew will be addressing these later
11:26
[Comment From Sirexkat]
Where are Martin and Diane based?
11:26
Andy Powell -  both at the London Knowledge Lab - part of the University of London
11:27
Andy Powell -  describing how project has had internal impact within LKL - SL is now used on other courses
11:28
Andy Powell -  Future research... what would the project team like to do next
11:28
Andy Powell -  investigate the relationship between pedogogic experience and learner experience...
11:29
Andy Powell -  how can negotiation between student and teachers in virtual worlds lead to new pedagogies?
11:29
Andy Powell -  thanks Nick
11:30
Andy Powell -  investigate using virtual worlds for informal support of distance learners - a virtual student 'bar' for example
11:30
Andy Powell -  more investigation into discourse, rhetoric and social practice in virtual worlds
11:31
Andy Powell -  how do social factors impact on learner experience?
11:31
Andy Powell -  finally - methodologies - sorry i fell behind there and missed stuff :-(
11:31
Andy Powell -  Diane now handing over to Andrew
11:32
Andy Powell -  looking at the teaching of machinima in SL
11:34
[Comment From Guest]
sounds like a really interesting and useful event - glad you are there to tell us all about it Andy :-)
11:34
Andy Powell -  we have a slight pause here - tech glitch
11:35
Nick Noakes -  Andy, do you know if the session is being recorded?
11:36
Andy Powell -  no, not as far as i know - sorry - it's not my event and i'm right at the back so won't record it myself
11:37
Andy Powell -  oh... looks like we are switching round to cope with the hitch
11:38
Andy Powell -  Martin Oliver now speaking
11:38
Andy Powell -  "exclusion and communities" first
11:38
Andy Powell -  then "couples playing warcraft"
11:38
Andy Powell -  explaining why the team chose to look at exclusion and communities
11:39
Andy Powell -  theory = an example of the narrative construction of second life
11:39
Andy Powell -  pedagogically = if we are sending our students in, then we need to understand what they will find
11:39
Andy Powell -  research = much interest in what happens within VW like SL
11:40
Andy Powell -  introducing Wenger's Communities of Practice
11:40
Andy Powell -  oh dear - this is where i get out of my depth :-)
11:40
Andy Powell -  i knew this would happen
11:41
Andy Powell -  CoPs defined using concepts such as regimes of mutual accountability, sustained interaction, etc.

11:41
Andy Powell -  this may include hostility
11:42
Andy Powell -  what the team did was to study a sub-group of second life users and how they created a sense of community thru attempts to include and exclude people in an external discussion forum
11:43
Andy Powell -  membership could be claimed - using language such as "i am ..." , "one of us", etc.
11:43
Nick Noakes -  in a forum??
11:43
Andy Powell -  membership could be denied
11:43
Nick Noakes -  does he mean SL group?
11:43
Andy Powell -  @Nick, not sure but yes, i think so
11:44
Andy Powell -  @Nick sorry - not SL group - a more traditional forum i think
11:45
Andy Powell -  discussion in a forum outside SL but about SL
11:46
Andy Powell -  describing the kinds of language people use to include and exclude people from a social group
11:46
Andy Powell -  negative things happen in VWs
11:46
Andy Powell -  need to be aware of them when sending students into SL
11:46
Nick Noakes -  strange to be researching an indicator of SL community that is outside of SL - does he say which community/forum? Seems this might be very different from language used in live text/voice interactions within SL
11:49
Andy Powell -  I'll (try and) ask about this ...
11:52
Andy Powell -  ok, i asked... picture obtained from forum discussions is a kind of charactature of what may be going on in-world but isn't necessarily an exact picture of it - best the team could do given research ethics questions and timescales of the project - so, limitations are recognised by the team
11:53
Andy Powell -  sorry, i haven't captured that exactly - suggest looking at stuff on the blog
11:54
Andy Powell -  now looking at "couples who play WoW"
11:54
[Comment From @silversprite]
11:39 Good that VW other than SL are recognised.
11:54
[Comment From @silversprite]
Communities of Practice (inc. Wenger) has good Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_practice
11:54
[Comment From John Kirriemuir]
Draft report linked from 11:29 a good read. Some great quotes/VLE interest in it. Cheers.
11:54
Andy Powell -  sorry john... missed those comments so they appear out of sequence...
11:55
Andy Powell -  looked for clear examples of stable social patterns - couples used as the simplest unit of analysis
11:56
Andy Powell -  10 people - 4 hetrosexual couples - one mother-son pairing
11:56
Andy Powell -  1 couple who share an account
11:56
Andy Powell -  1 couple where one partner has stopped playing
11:56
Andy Powell -  found that greater experience leads to greater risk taking
11:57
Andy Powell -  couples tend to learn about their identity in terms of the partnership
11:58
Andy Powell -  but also being jealous, getting frustrated, and feeling resentment, ...
11:58
Andy Powell -  tension between sharing resources vs. argument aver availability of resources - whose turn next
11:59
Andy Powell -  i apologies - this is beyond my capabilities to both listen to and understand/blog
12:00
Andy Powell -  implications - boundaries exist in the use of VWs - but they are hard to pin down (they are both permeable and negotiated)
12:01
John Kirriemuir -  @Andy Powell - you're doing fine; appreciate the blogging.
12:01
Andy Powell -  to understand education in VWs we need to understand their use in relation to other social commitments
12:01
Andy Powell -  this has implications for how we organise courses
12:02
Andy Powell -  learning takes place in relation to several topics - social patterns, resource management, structures perceived in the game
12:02
Andy Powell -  noting that much of this work is "toe in the water" stuff - not enough time in project to get into any of this in much detail
12:03
Andy Powell -  Comment from audience: expertise in WoW more easy to recognise than in SL
12:05
Andy Powell -  we're in question and answer mode at the moment
12:06
Andy Powell -  next up is Andrew Burn and Britta Pollmuller talking about "Teaching Machinima in SL"
12:07
Andy Powell -  there is an interview with Britta in on the project blog
12:08
Andy Powell -  Britta is an artist who works with schools in Norfolk but who has now set up independently, initially working in SL as part of Schome Park
12:08
Andy Powell -  we're going to see two pieces of machinima - one created by teenagers and one by Britta herself
12:08
Andy Powell -  talking about CoPs again
12:08
John Kirriemuir -  12:03 Intuitively agree. Constance Steinkuehler's research in WoW area well work exploring.
12:09
Andy Powell -  teacher as artist - teacher as avatar-artist - teacher as learner in SL
12:10
Andy Powell -  in rl - art teachers are always artists - but this is not always true in other subject areas
12:11
[Comment From Janet Ward]
Hi Andy, I used reflective practice with my students to gather what they saw as the learning from SL, anyone here mentioned/used this?
12:13
Andy Powell -  talking about discourse of distinction - how machinima is similar to animation but different from it - similar to film but different from it, etc.
12:13
Andy Powell -  technical discourse - discussion tools and techniques
12:14
Andy Powell -  Andrew is sceptical about CoP in general - but was impressed by cohesion of the group in the case of the work that Britta was doing with teenagers
12:14
Andy Powell -  talking about "epochal change" - haven't quite grasped the significance of this
12:15
Andy Powell -  "ephocal change" predicted the widespread distribution of technologies of production
12:15
Andy Powell -  sorry this is from an old article but i missed who it is by
12:16
Andy Powell -  machinima may be easier than older animation technologies - but still difficult - production not as fully democratised as some rhetoric might suggest
12:17
Andy Powell -  constrained by need to learn semi-professional practice
12:17
Andy Powell -  Britta now talking
12:17
Andy Powell -  pain barrier - couldn't stand SL initially
12:18
Andy Powell -  could only understand it when using it as means of production
12:18
Andy Powell -  working with 12-17 year olds in teen grid - on Schome Park
12:18
Andy Powell -  in space also used to teach science, maths, english
12:18
Andy Powell -  can't teach painting in SL - so chose machinima instead
12:19
Andy Powell -  set up machinima group
12:19
Andy Powell -  met once a week in evening
12:19
Andy Powell -  some communication using IM...
12:19
Andy Powell -  but most via in-world chat - little use of in-world voice
12:20
Andy Powell -  Britta didn't realise how fast teenagers can type - totally overwhelmed
12:20
Andy Powell -  lol
12:20
Andy Powell -  got used to it and managed to get a word in edgeways by the second week
12:20
Andy Powell -  google 'schome park' for details - others are welcome to join
12:21
Andy Powell -  Murder of a Gentleman - title of the current project
12:21
Andy Powell -  now being shown
12:22
Nick Noakeshttp://www.schome.ac.uk/
12:23
Andy Powell -  it's a film about the first murder on a steam train
12:23
Andy Powell -  scary music
12:23
Andy Powell -  the deed has been done (in case you were interested)
12:23
Andy Powell -  set in hackney i think
12:24
[Comment From Gia]
are any of the clips shown online anywhere?
12:24
Andy Powell -  @gia - not sure, i'll ask
12:25
Ladyjane -  @gia yes i think so - via schome wiki
12:27
Andy Powell -  discussing SL pedagogies...
12:27
Gia -  @ladyjane - thx... looking now
12:28
Andy Powell -  student led (whereas most SL work with teenagers in US tends to be adult led)
12:28
Andy Powell -  playful learning - Britta did not know who her students were
12:29
Andy Powell -  cultural resources are found, synthesised, made, performed
12:29
Andy Powell -  noting UK government agenda around creativity in learning in schools
12:29
Andy Powell -  noting that transforming artifacts can be as creative as building your own
12:29
Andy Powell -  Britta tried to introduce voice - but students did not like it and naturally stopped - too personal
12:30
Andy Powell -  voice made them inhibited
12:30
Andy Powell -  voice disrupted avatar coherence
12:30
Andy Powell -  in terms of teaching it took eveyone back to the noise of the classroom - chat is different
12:31
Andy Powell -  but... the students did use the voice channel to play music to each other (poor quality music!)
12:32
Andy Powell -  group production - and with traditional roles - including actors - which you don't get in animations - also noting synergy with drama production and teaching - but also like using puppets
12:32
Andy Powell -  citing Matt Kelland - "Short Fuse" - book
12:32
Andy Powell -  machinima as breaking new ground and as being very traditional
12:33
Andy Powell -  Q and A
12:33
John Kirriemuir -  Anecdotes and research have personally come across so far show voice at best to be mixed response, more usual negative, in teaching attempts.
12:33
Andy Powell -  Q: how is theory of machinima imparted to students?   A: via the forum before going in world - part of schome park forum
12:34
Andy Powell -  noting that this isn't much different from any other after school club - also difficulty in determining the differences between what happens in-world and what happens in external forum
12:35
Andy Powell -  Q: pedagogy and negotiation between teacher and learner - does the virtual environment help with this?
12:37
Andy Powell -  student experience of other gaming environments has direct impact on their experience of SL and how they present themsleves within the environment
12:39
Janet Ward -  Hi Andy, Only 3/46 undergraduates had any experience of other MMOGs at Newcastle this year
12:39
Andy Powell -  SL didn't offer much to students on campus - but did appear to be attractive to distance learners
12:39
Andy Powell -  sorry - i'm picking bits and pieces out of discussion here
12:39
Andy Powell -  its a bit random
12:40
Andy Powell -  Q: how does copyright work in hugely collaborative machinima environment like SL
12:40
Andy Powell -  A: huge area of debate currently in machinima circles
12:41
Andy Powell -  but in case of Britta's work everything is public on the schome park web site
12:43
Andy Powell -  teachers spend a lot of time on Schome Park negotiating between students about who builds what and when
12:43
Andy Powell -  Q: say more about ethical issues?
12:44
Andy Powell -  followed general guidance about ethical issues in internet research - OAIR ??
12:44
Andy Powell -  no big issues
12:46
Andy Powell -  teaching ethics - e.g. issues around use of SL client - had to ensure that all students had an alternative way of engaging - if they couldn't connect to SL
12:46
John Kirriemuir -  Hmmm, copyright good point. If an academic creates a learning resource in SL, in a combination of work and home time/resource (which many do) but then uses it for their university lectures, does he/she or the uni have claim on it? Wonder if this issue will arise in UK.
12:47
Janet Ward -  Hi John,
12:48
Andy Powell -  Q: there has been little reference so far to the relationship between people and their own avatars and the way that their investment in their avatar impacts on their sense of identity
12:48
Gia -  @JohnK I would guess that depends to a degree on their contract
12:48
Nick Noakes -  Linden's ToS also gives them rights to it which is an issue
12:48
Andy Powell -  students not in-world for any major length of time - so investment low
12:49
Andy Powell -  not enough time in project to investigate these kinds of issues fully
12:49
Janet Ward -  At Newcastle anything we produce on our work pc's is considered university property. However I have just produced materials as part of a grant so this then becomes more complicated
12:50
Andy Powell -  students tended to distance themselves from their avatars - disposable
12:51
Andy Powell -  where lecturer has invested a lot in their avatar - e.g. hair, shoes, emotes, animations - this can be quite intimidating for new student avatars
12:52
Andy Powell -  in Britta's work in schome park - most teacher avatars are quite basic
12:54
Andy Powell -  we are about to see Britta's award winning machinima - will give you the title in a mo - then it is lunch
12:56
Janet Ward -  Thanks Andy it has been really interesting
12:57
Andy Powell -  will be back after lunch at 2pm with talks by Tanya Krzywinska and Aleks Krotoski
12:58
Gia -  thx Andy
12:59
Andy Powell -  think machinima is called "Bad Things" - set on 'grim babies' sim in SL i think??
1:00
Andy Powell -  this was a winner at the 48 hour machinima comp recently
1:04 [Be Right Back Countdown] 60 minutes
1:06
Ladyjane -  Link to the murder clip: http://schomepark.blip.tv/file/971966/  Thanks to Shri for that.
1:56
[Comment From Shri Footring]
Hi, just had a skype message from Jane telling me about this and asking for the url for the Schome machinima. I've sent it to her:
2:05
Andy Powell -  ok, i'm back and we are starting
2:05
Andy Powell -  a few images are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/eduservfoundation/sets/72157605592770875/ just to give you a feel for the place
2:06
Andy Powell -  Tanya Kryzwinska up first
2:06
Andy Powell -  talking about WoW
2:06
Andy Powell -  learning the "language" of WoW
2:06
Andy Powell -  how can we understand the game in terms of learning?
2:07
Andy Powell -  about 50% of the room have played WoW - maybe a bit less
2:07
Andy Powell -  what is WoW?
2:08
Andy Powell -  MMoG - started 2004 - using aspects of game mechanics that were originally developed for table-top role-playing games
2:08
Andy Powell -  fantasy based - e.g. as per lord of the rings
2:08
Andy Powell -  but somewhat tongue-in-cheek
2:09
Andy Powell -  cartoony influence
2:10
Andy Powell -  comes out of a set of games called "Warcraft" - which originated circa 1994
2:10
Andy Powell -  players located in a troubled world in which there are factions
2:11
Andy Powell -  slow evolution (thru patches) additional material - usually making the world larger
2:11
Andy Powell -  players progress thru layers
2:11
Andy Powell -  players can play solo or in groups
2:12
Andy Powell -  but long term players tend to treat it as a team game
2:12
Andy Powell -  groups form thru guilds
2:12
Andy Powell -  guild membership helps you to progress
2:12
Andy Powell -  WoW demands a lot of time and energy to play
2:14
Andy Powell -  what questions might we ask? - commerce, socio-cultural, formal/textual/design
2:16
Andy Powell -  commerce... how are players retained? who is it aimed at? how do commercial factors shape the game, etc.
2:18
Andy Powell -  socio-cultural - what is being learned, why is it important, what are the implications of interacting via avatars, how does the formal game element shape people's interactions, are there significant playing patterns, addition, how are rules and policies policed?
2:19
Andy Powell -  formal/textual design - how do aesthetics relate to mechanics, how is player positioned within game space, what factors encourage engagement, etc. ??
2:21
Andy Powell -  key questions are around meaning, learning and pleasure
2:22
Andy Powell -  games and virtual worlds are exciting because they bring together people from multiple disciplines
2:22
Andy Powell -  going to talk about game literacy
2:23
Andy Powell -  how are players conceptualised?
2:23
Andy Powell -  implied player vs. real player
2:24
Andy Powell -  relationship between players and game text
2:24
Andy Powell -  games industry is risk averse
2:27
Andy Powell -  in WoW you only see the game from the perspective of one virtual player typically
2:27
Andy Powell -  to learn the game we have to learn to decode what is on offer
2:28
Andy Powell -  'decode' cf Stuart Hall (not the one from It's a Knockout)
2:28
Andy Powell -  players bring things to the game, the game gives things to players
2:28
Andy Powell -  ok, now onto learning thru playing WoW...
2:29
Andy Powell -  range of reasons for playing WoW...
2:29
Andy Powell -  social, escape, fun...
2:29
Andy Powell -  but learning is foundational to playing WoW
2:29
Andy Powell -  individual learning is key to progress thru the game
2:29
Andy Powell -  this is linked to the game design
2:30
Andy Powell -  it keeps you learning - even after 4 years of playing
2:30
Andy Powell -  how can we understand that learning - in terms of understanding games as 'texts'
2:30
Andy Powell -  pattern recognition is core to this
2:31
Andy Powell -  game demands high level of information and communication management
2:31
Andy Powell -  players must 'read' the game's cues
2:32
Andy Powell -  proxemics - not heard this before - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxemics
2:32
Andy Powell -  judging the semiotics of spatial relationships
2:32
Andy Powell -  kinesics - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinesics
2:33
Andy Powell -  reading the actions and movements of monsters, etc
2:33
Andy Powell -  representing yourself - being able to 'read' other player's gear
2:34
Andy Powell -  self-representation options more limited than second life
2:35
Andy Powell -  avatar representations tell you about the player's history
2:36
Andy Powell -  gear stats - relatively complex mathematical processing required to compare and balance the kinds of gear that are on offer
2:37
Andy Powell -  quest patterns - quests are a core part of the game - but some players weigh up which quests are worth doing
2:39
Andy Powell -  guild/raid management - running a guild and/or a raid is a complex task - some guilds are 350 (one even 2000) people - so running it is a full time task
2:40
Andy Powell -  management experience is real - timekeeping, time managenment, structuring loyalty to the guild, rewarding members
2:40
Andy Powell -  reward structure set by the guild - not by the game itself
2:42
Andy Powell -  guilds are very broad and diverse - e.g. 40 person raid will include people from all over europe and inter-player communication is not just about the game but about people's real life issues
2:43
Andy Powell -  recent in-world meeting/conference 'University of Azeroth' looking at use of WoW for learning
2:44
John Kirriemuir -  Read somewhere recently that running a WoW guild is increasingly good thing to have on CV (so long as interviewers are of course clued up).
2:44
Andy Powell -  summing up - skills learned in WoW are transferable to real-life
2:46
[Comment From Janet ward]
I wonder if they have compared other shards of WoW than just Europe
2:47
Andy Powell -  we're in Q&A at the moment
2:49
Andy Powell -  Aleks Krotoski coming up next - but prob after a quick tea-break
2:50
Andy Powell -  Q: is WoW a database that people are invited to play with?   A: No, that's what SL is(!) - WoW is a narrative experience - WoW shares characteristics of a movie
2:50
Andy Powell -  SL more frightening because of lack of structure
2:51
Andy Powell -  WoW is primarily a social space
2:52
Andy Powell -  Comment from audience: "protest in SL is an attempt by players to bring a ludic element" because they are so desperate to bring some kind of structure to it
2:53
John Kirriemuir -  2:50 Hmmm. Frightening to people who need crutch of structure? WoW arguably more frightening as real time, against you, onslaught of onscreen information in many forms. Find am less in control of things social, pace of events, in WoW than in SL. Just personal view.
2:54
John Kirriemuir -  Question for speaker: Have there been any demographics of people found (apart from people with a lot of time! and researchers) who are significant users of both WoW and SL?
2:56
Gia -  @John K - WoW more frightening BECAUSE of structure maybe? For a n00b existing complex social hierarchy may be intimidating
2:57
Andy Powell -  WoW has more learning built into the game - but less flexible in terms of allowing educators to structure their own approaches to teaching
2:58
Andy Powell -  sorry, john questions cut off before i could ask - had one of my own as well - will try later
2:58
Andy Powell -  5 minute break now for tea - back in a mo with Aleks
2:59
Janet Ward -  Hi
3:01
Janet Ward -  I think there is a cultural perspective to which is more frightening. Asian postgraduate students found Sl very confusing in contrast to WoW or The Sims whcih they had expereince of.
3:02
Gia -  @ Janet - interesting! I wonder how much culture does play a part and how much is individual personality
3:02
John Kirriemuir -  Janet: interesting.
3:03
Gia -  I think it is also a question of age: SL seems to appeal much more to 25 and overs
3:03
Janet Ward -  I think it will be interesting to see HiPiHi the MMOG the Chinese are developing
3:10
Andy Powell -  hi, back again...
3:10
Gia -  *waves @Andy*
3:10
John Kirriemuir -  Picture of next speaker: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toastkid/1813567627/
3:10
Andy Powell -  focus back again on second life

3:10
Andy Powell -  Aleks Krotoski, University of Surrey and the Guardian
3:11
Andy Powell -  title of presentation is "Putting the social into social world research"
3:12
Andy Powell -  general overview - looking at social networks within second life
3:13
Andy Powell -  has been working at Linden Lab continuing her PhD work
3:13
Andy Powell -  SL as platform rather than game - (a "capitalist nightmare")
3:13
Andy Powell -  no aim
3:14
Andy Powell -  different affordances than games like WoW
3:15
Andy Powell -  being social in SL takes multiple forms
3:16
Andy Powell -  group chat in public
3:16
Andy Powell -  more intimate - talking in private in public environment or talking in a private environment (both in-world)
3:16
Andy Powell -  what is "ludic"?
3:17
Andy Powell -  Community vs. code
3:17
Andy Powell -  CoP = a consensual hallucination (Gibson)
3:17
Andy Powell -  mutual experience - collaborative
3:18
[Comment From Candy Schwartz]
playful
3:18
Andy Powell -  ah, thanks
3:19
Andy Powell -  SL is a communal space but coders inside LL don't think about community at all
3:20
Andy Powell -  need to create that community
3:20
John Kirriemuir -  Andy: On-off debate about Ludology in games research area e.g. http://www.ludology.org/articles/ludology.htm
3:20
Andy Powell -  Community vs. ToS
3:21
Andy Powell -  in the beginning SL was a big group hug
3:21
Andy Powell -  as it grew things started to devolve
3:21
Andy Powell -  e.g. demise of town hall meeting
3:23
Andy Powell -  LL is now seen as a service provider - cf. an ISP - which means that they do not control all aspects of the service
3:23
Andy Powell -  talking about the Tax Revolt
3:23
Andy Powell -  first organised protest within the world of SL
3:25
Andy Powell -  talking about Copybot - tied up with the attempts to make the grid open source - allowed code out that let people copy everything in-world - lead to concerns about IPR, value of in-world property, sales, etc.
3:27
Andy Powell -  second life branding issues - LL trying to grab back their ownership of the SL brand
3:28
Andy Powell -  Community vs. currency
3:28
Andy Powell -  what is valuable?   individualism vs. collectivism, capitalism vs. communism
3:29
Andy Powell -  who has influence? - social capital, what does it mean to trust?
3:29
Andy Powell -  who is friends with who?
3:30
Andy Powell -  what makes and breaks reputations?
3:31
Andy Powell -  important to remember who is behind the avatar
3:33
Andy Powell -  researchers tend to psuedonymise (sp?) the person behind the avatar - but probably need to psuedonymise the avatar as well
3:33
Andy Powell -  because avatars are long term constructs
3:35
Andy Powell -  concern that presense of researchers in-world would take from but not give to the in-world community
3:35
Janet Ward -  Concern from who?
3:36
Andy Powell -  concern from other avatars when Aleks first started doing research inside SL (I think)
3:37
Andy Powell -  sorry, i'm struggling to follow the thread here - probably my fault
3:37
Andy Powell -  suggesting that LL know very little about how much educational use is being made of SL
3:38
Andy Powell -  other than in limited case - e.g. island sales that are explicitly for educational purchases
3:39
Andy Powell -  noting that singapore government is sponsoring educational institutions to go into SL
3:39
John Kirriemuir -  Yes. Have encountered "research fatigue" (as a researcher) from people/avatars who are fed up being asked survey or research questions.
3:39
Andy Powell -  LL recognise that educational community will become increasingly important to help to sustain SL over time
3:39
Gia -  that is surprising as they recently released a 20min podcast ("Inside the lab") that dealt specifically with Education
3:40
Andy Powell -  but LL don't quite know how to foster that community
3:40
Janet Ward -  SLED
3:40
Andy Powell -  LL considering implementing tagging, so that you can flag land and other objects as educational
3:41
Janet Ward -  Sorry, just meant to say that SLED database was very active
3:41
Candy Schwartz -  "Educational" doesn't necessarily mean connected with teaching and learning activities - sometimes more marketing
3:43
Andy Powell -  noting that LL suffer a little bit from having their material seen purely as 'promotional' in nature - even when it is intended to be made available in research context
3:44
Andy Powell -  into questions...
3:44
Andy Powell -  and answers...
3:50
Andy Powell -  sorry, asking a couple of questions myself so not blogging - Q: are LL aware of our current SL snapshots and are they of vaklue to them... also whether Aleks' work investigating social networks extends outside of SL to take account of how people use their avatars to blog, tweet and so on.  A: yes, snapshot reports are known about and valuable - no research to date not really considered social networks outside SL
3:51
Andy Powell -  Q: how much anonymity does education in SL need - and how much does LL need to know about what is going on in that space?
3:52
Andy Powell -  80% of people that hit the registration web page are lost within 1 hour - LL suspect that large proportion of that doesn't like psuedonymity
3:53
Andy Powell -  LL looking at getting rid of psuedonymity for first avatar (i.e. will offer the ability to use your real name)
3:54
Janet Ward -  Perhaps its more to do with the problems inherent in the registration process
3:54
Andy Powell -  yes... i wondered that also
3:55
Candy Schwartz -  Or with what happens once you're in, in terms of slowness and crashing
3:56
Andy Powell -  note: two meanings of anomymity - anonymity from other avatars (even people on the same course as you possibly) and anonymity from LL
3:56
Janet Ward -  They could really improve the orientation process as well
3:56
Andy Powell -  Note that NMC have tried to build an improved registration and orientation experience targetted at educators
3:57
Janet Ward -  Yes, but I was getting my students to assess SL so they needed to do through SL process
3:57
Andy Powell -  ah, ok
3:59
Andy Powell -  Q: can only understand elearning by following individual learners over time to understand how and why they participate in these kinds of virtual spaces - most work we have heard about today is too general
4:00
Andy Powell -  Q: suggesting that Aleks is too close to LL and that will change the kinds of questions that she asks/researches!   blunt or what!?
4:01
Janet Ward -  Back to use of reflective practice of individual learning
4:02
John Kirriemuir -  3:59Q slightly unfair; lack of funding, lack of time since some VWs emerged means major longitudinal studies difficult?
4:03
Andy Powell -  OK, day finished - apart from drinking session and the like
4:03
Janet Ward -  Thanks again Andy
4:03
Andy Powell -  hope this was useful - and apologies for obvious lack of knowledge on my part thru most of it
4:03
Candy Schwartz -  It was great - thanks so much
4:03
Andy Powell -  over and out
4:03
John Kirriemuir -  Andy: great stuff. Very useful; I have a few potential research ideas out of it; cheers.
4:06
Ladyjane -  thanks Andy
4:07
Gia -  Thanks (sadly missed the end due to office interference)

Schedule
11 - 12.30
Session 1: Learning from Online Words, Teaching in Second Life
Diane Carr, Martin Oliver, Andrew Burn.

1.30 – 2.00 Lunch provided

2 – 4 pm: Tag team events
Each session will begin with a 20 min presentation from an invited speaker. 

2 pm – 3 pm
Session 2: Virtual Worlds, Subjectivity and Methodology
How do we conceptualise the participating/learning/playing subject, and how does this relate to the questions that we ask as researchers, and the methodologies that we employ? How will we know learning (or meaning or pleasure) when we see it?
Invited speaker: Tanya Krzywinska

3 pm - 4 pm
Session 3: Putting the Social into Social World Research
How should we define or study the social in Second Life? What of the intersections between agency, community, code, terms of service, and various in-world currencies (such as reputation, stats or credibility for instance)? How might these things relate to learning and teaching practices? What do newbie educators and students need to know about SL culture and etiquette?
Invited speaker: Aleks Krotoski

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Comments

That cover it live looks great...
very neat - and see a few names I recognise in the comments.

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