6 building mini-challenges for educators in Second Life
June 23rd, 2010 • MUVEs
During the MUVEnation programme, I often heard: ‘I’m an educator, I don’t need building skills! There are a lot of freebies out there!’ To this I always explained that even educators need to know how to interact with objects without frustration or fear to destroy everything. That when we use a classroom or display objects inworld, we need to be able to apply simple modifications, position and align comfortably objects in the space.
For this purpose, I have created, in April 2009, a series of mini-challenges aimed at developing basic skills, necessary for building (or better putting things together) in Second Life. I wanted to exploit the advantages of: a) micro-learning by creating activities that could be carried out in just a few minutes; b) learning by doing and exploratory learning by designing activities that achieved through practice and which solutions had to be “found out” by the learners themselves; c) self-paced learning by giving total freedom to participants to carry out the activities in their preferred rhythm and order; and finally d) create a (sort of) playful learning experience.
The mini-challenges were structured as follows:
- One evocative and short title
- One image that shows what has to be achieved by the student: the image of the challenge.
- One simple instruction about a task to perform which evidence of performance can be shown by the students in a screenshot With eventually, a question.
- Finally, a set of resources that would help the student to solve the mini-challenge, if required
I published each mini-challenge in a dedicated forum, and asked the participants to reply with the visual evidence of their performance. I loved designing these mini-challenges and the participants enjoyed doing them. And I have received positive feedback about them:
- “Marga this is an excelent approach to get the teachers ready with the SL basis. I enjoyed it a lot! The exercises are easy and fun, the overhead comes when you have to take the picture, upload it to flicker, get the code for the medium size and create your record here! Nice idea!” Max Ugaz
- “Thak you very much for the opportunity Margarita. The tasks are very simple. At the beginning they look somehow challenging especially for a newbie like me. But I manage to master some skill by attending workshops given either by MUVEnation colleagues or other instructors in other regions inworld. I see these are the basics.” Hamid Mernaoui
I only wish I have realised how successful this approach was and have used it to design the activities of the introductory course!
Here my first 6 mini-challenges. I have been asked permission to re-use these mini-challenges in other teaching contextsAnd I have happily accepted. These challenges are released under Creative Commons, by attribution, non-commercial. If you build upon this work, remix or translate it or even build extra mini-challenges like these, please share! I am also happy to share the verctor files I used for the keyboard and mouse in the pictures.
01 – How to take snapshots of your interface?
Take two photos of your interface with your avatar facing the camera:
- the first with the snapshot button
- the second showing the snapshot window, by using the Screen print key of your keayboard
Put the photos on your Flickr account and post it here, in medium size, as a reply to this discussion.
02 – I go nuts when I see all these numbers
Create 4 boxes on the ground:
- The first will be a perfect cube with size at X:1.750, Y:1.750, Z:1.750
- The second will be a large prim X:3.250, Y:3.250, but with Z:0.750. Mind the dot!
- The third will be a tall and thin prim X:O.950, Y:0950, Z:4.500
- The Fourth will be a wall X:0.200, Y:3.000, Z:5.000
If your prims with the modification get half buried in the ground, then lift them up by pulling the blue arrow. Now guess! What are all these numbers for? Which coordinates X, Y, Z help you to make an object larger? Which help you to make an object taller?
- Opening edit tools – Second Life Video TuTORial QUICKTIP
- Learn building at the Ivory Tower of Primitives
- Strongly advised: The 1-prim barstool trick – Second Life Video TuTORial (If you manage to make a barstool, sit on it and add it to the photo)
- For a quick overview on building: Building is Second LIfe
03 – One meter higher please!
Take a photo of the 4 prims created during challenge 02, but positioning them precisely on the space, in the MUVEnation sandbox
- First prim, the cube, at position X:135, Y:205, Z:25
- Second, the large prim, at position X:138, Y:205, Z:26
- Third, the thin and tall prim, at position X:141, Y:205, Z:28
- Fourth, the wall, at position X:143, Y:205, Z:32
Now guess! What does the black bar with numbers in the upper part of the screen indicate? If someone asks you to put a box a little bit higher, which position coordinate do you have to change: X, Y or Z?
04 – Remind me again: How do I duplicate an object?
Take a photo of 10 walls, their size is X:0.200, Y:3.000, Z:5.000. You will have to make the first wall and then reproduce the others 9 horizontally. To duplicate just SHIFT+click+drag on X. Once finished, make sure that all your walls are spaced horizontally, 0.500 between them! What? Aha! Work out how you do this by increasing your horizontal position!
Now guess! Which coordinate do you have to drag to duplicate a prim vertically? How do you make sure that your objects are positioned precisely at 0.500 from each other?
- Go to the Duplicating prims station in the Ivory tower of primitives at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Natoma/176/196/26
- Shift-drag to copy objects – Second Life Video TuTORial
- Copy prim
- Building in second Life Basics 4: duplicating objetcs
05 – Rotate that prim and show me the East!
Take a photo of a wall with size X:0.200, Y:3.000, Z:5.000, with the initial rotation at 0, 0, 0, when you are rotating it to the East. Your photo must show the rotation circle on Y (green) around the object and the related grid with East and West positions. Final rotation should be 0, 90, 0.
- Go to the Rotating prims station in the Ivory tower of primitives at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Natoma/161/171/26
- Rotating a prim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHSSfCRPIZ0
06 – Under the grid
Rez two boxes, standard size in the sandbox. Sit on the first. And put the second one at Z:24.500, then rotate on X it at 225. Activate the local ruler mode and make it visible by touching the green/orange position ‘sliders’ (or tiny triangles or whatever you prefer to call them). Take a photo of yourself under the grid!
Now guess! What are the differences between world and local grid? Why the local grid is useful?