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Meeting webheads at Online Educa 08 – part II

December 15th, 2008 by Cristina Costa

I am still marveled by the Online Educa Berlin 08 experience. It mainly has to do with the fact that I was able to meet and talk to so many interesting people, and to learn what they are currently doing.

Like I already mentioned in previous posts, Online Educa unexpectedly become a webhead meeting too. It doesn’t take much to organize one. Webheads are quite spontaneous people and any place is good to host a get-together. Berlin, in this sense, was a stupendous meeting point. We had so much fun. I have been in closer contact with Heike Philp since the Training the Trainers Online Conference. Although she’s also an webhead, we hadn’t actively engaged in many discussions at the webhead’s headquarters…I am not even sure why… However we knew each other, and after the online event we started skyping more and talk about our projects. Once Heike learned Buth and I was going to be in Berlin, she decided to come too. That was quite a surprise and I am glad she came, because we sure had a great time.

Heike has a new project starting soon about Second Life and Language Learning. Teaching and learning Languages in SL seem to have a big impact in environments like this. I personally like the fact that I can embody my presence through an avatar, and use voice activated speech to interact with others. The fact we can visit different places, and construct artifacts is also appealing to me… the way I see it it should make me feel I am part  of that environment in a rather meaningful and contextualized way. However, this is not what usually happens with me. I am still fascinated by the fact my avatar represents me in a more tangible way, and that I also get to go places while there, etc… but, at the same, time I usually feel frustrated by the fact I can’t figure out how to control my avatar’s movements, and body language signs, with proficiency. Constructing stuff in SL is even harder… Equally upsetting is the fact that when I don’t crash, someone else does. Even though this is becoming less frequent, it is still a reality for many people who are running on older computers or have a slower connection.
Nevertheless, I really want to learn more about SL, and hope to include it as part of my Personal Learning Environment and Network. I still see many limitations for it to work at a larger scale and for a wider group of people. As my dear friend Hala Fawzi says – she is not a Second Lifer – and she does not say that because she doesn’t see the learning benefits of being part of such environment, but simply because her internet connection is still not fast enough to ‘enter this world’.

However, it look things are changing. Heike’s project – Access to Virtual Action Learning live ONline (AVALON) seems to address some of this issues mentioned above, and she does talk about accessibility and usability. I hope you enjoy the video. It was recorded at the Xmas Market in Berlin, as you can tell from the background music.

[bliptv Ad7NCAI]

Also, if you want to be introduced to SL in a friendly, supportive environment, then you should consider the Virtual World Session Graham Stanley, Nick Noakes, Dennis Newson and  Nergiz Kern are going to offer as part of the EVO Sessions. They are totally free and a lot of fun! I will join them too. 😉

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One Response to “Meeting webheads at Online Educa 08 – part II”

  1. Nice article about Berlin. I didn’t get there this year, but I was presenting our course, Business Talking, there last year.

    My university is peripherally a part of AVALON. The Scandinavian (and US) contribution to AVALON is all connected with the Kamimo Project, of which Kalmar is a part, but when we actually came to write the EU application, all the decision-makers were off on a jolly, so we farmed it out to some colleagues in the north of Sweden.

    What I’m working on right now is a 5 European Credit course called ‘Teaching in English in Second Life’. It’s an internal Kalmar project, rather than being part of AVALON, but, of course, the two will feed into and out of each other. You can read more about the process here: http://tieisl.blogspot.com/

    God Jul – Merry Christmas

    David Richardson
    Högskolan i Kalmar
    HV
    English
    Kalmar, Sweden

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