DevLearn08 a Success and More!

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yay - thank you all!

Thanks to the eLearning Guild for a fantastic conference!  And I want to thank all of those who made DemoFest, Breakfast Bytes, and my Friday session so wonderful. I was humbled by your acceptance of my enthusiasm (read: thanks for puttting up with me).  But it seems that there is a real need for what I am doing with Second Life.

And I want to make sure I put up the resources that will help you explore this straightforward way of looking at Second Life.  The tutorial files on the DevLearn links are too big and don’t have audio to them.  Once I return back home, I will create a series of video podcasts with audio (and text for my Deaf and HOH friends) that go into more detail and show a more complete process.

It is apparent that the techniques I use have a possible place with all of you.  The techniques are straightforward and the learning curve is certainly not as steep as it may appear.  As a comparison, I would estimate the learning curve to be less than a quarter of that for flash.  And the complexity is far less.  That’s what I like about this, it allows you to focus more on your content than on the technology.  And after all, it’s about educating people – not about how hard it was to execute.

I sincerely thank all of you and truly honour your kind words.  I know that I was wound up (pretty normal actually) and we could easily have spent a day in a workshop on these techniques. I just want to share my passion for this easy way to create video.  Remember, keep it simple, the return for making it more complicated or polished is often a path to more frustration.  Leave that energy for creating camera shots that add motion and grace to your end video footage.

So come the end of November, check back for the start of a series of videos explaining how to do this and how to fit it into your elearning.

In the meanwhile, the hand out (available on the DevLearn08 link of subquark.com do show the step-by-step process for the tools we talked about today.  Also, do check out Second Life, maybe go play on the sandbox in Enercity Easton (a slurl – link – is posted earlier on in this blog).   Once inworld, use the Search function then the Events tab, and then Education and look for what looks interesting to you.  Even those classes that don’t seem directly related to what you want to do are beneficial to helping you become more comfortable isl (in Second Life).

If you can find a creative outlet (and that can simply be exploring and socializing), then Second Life will become easier to use.  Remember, it’s intended to be relatively easy to use and don’t let anyone make you feel differently.

Thank you again for your enthusiasm and genuine interest in this use of Second Life.  Now that the conference is over, if you truly have an ignited interest in Second Life, then talk to either me, Subquark Hax, or my land partner Ener Hax about maybe setting up some land for extended use.  There are also the public spaces on our estate that you can always use including the fabulous 1950’s atominc fallout shelter turned Martini Lounge!

Most of all, have fun!

Oh, if you think there would be a place for a book on this, please let me know.  The techniques are not directly related to software versions so it might work out well as a workbook or guide.  I am seriously considering publishing this and your input would be genuinely appreciated.  After all, my view is limited and the input that you gave me over the week was very exciting.

Note: I mentioned my first projects and then were asked about them. Here are the links:
Art Gallery for Deaf Norwegian Artist
Deaf Meeting Place

The art gallery is long gone, but I do have a THiNC book displaying all the art available inworld (THiNC books are great ways to create books within Second Life).

Getting the most from Session 708

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DevLearn08 is upon us! To maximize our one hour together in session 708 here are a few things you can do that don’t take much time.

Watch the GuildCast interview, take a quick look at the sample “before” lesson and script, and watch the “original” video. If you are looking for an inexpensive and fairly straightforward way to add video to your eLearning, then this session will have value for it.

It’s not about making a game but about making your eLearning a more immersive and richer experience with the realities of what many eLearning departments face this year. Small budgets, full schedules, limited resources (people and software), and so on.

If you understand fussing over a 2 credit Dreamstime or iStockPhoto image and wishing you could do real video, then this session is for you. The software needed for this is inexpensive ($37 for a highly recommended video capture application) and the actual techniques are quick to learn and use.

The biggest factor here is not the software or technique, but your imagination. Hope to see you there!

GuildCast
sample lesson & script (live on Tuesday)
concept video

Additional suggestions are attending David Anderson’s workshop on Second Life, Breakfast Bytes on Friday morning, and DemoFest Thursday afternoon (table 37 is this topic in action).

New Sponsor Donates Sandbox for DevLearn08

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Newmarket International’s Ed Dev department pulls out all the stops and donates nearly 20,000 square metres for DevLearn08 attendees.

This sandbox allows Guild members to build for up to four hours at a time (just take a copy of your creations into your inventory, it’s like saving frequently).

So come take advantage of this and build a set and try your hand at filming.  See you at DevLearn08 Session 708!

devlearnSim_001, originally uploaded by iliveisl

Wow, when it rains it pours

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The “sample” course I am using in my DevLearn presentation has morphed into more than originally planned. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did not want to just make a lesson on baking cookies (any sample will work, but my day job’s courses are all proprietary).  Don’t get me wrong, I love cookies.

So with the help of my lovely subject matter expert (I am biased as she is my spouse), we hammered out a course that will hopefully add to the corporate enterprise goals of Second Life in a very small way.  Making Meetings Matter is the name of a series of seven courses on meetings tools.

So what is the morphing bit?  Well, I was “encouraged” to submit the final course for DevLearn08’s DemoFest.  This is a competition for eLearning material and is intended to show off new and novel approaches to delivering eLearning.  Our course was selected as one of the entrants!

That is a nice accolade and the material in the DemoFest is different than in my presentation (Session 708, Friday at 10).  The presentation focuses on how to use Second Life as a film studio for those of us on a limited budget (read: $0) and shows how video clips can easily be inserted into your existing training in a rapid and inexpensive manner.

The DemoFest submission goes beyond this by taking a complex (and dry) topic and serving it up as a short podcast.  Think a bit of a blend of CommonCraft simplicity (in the way that the complex concepts he teaches are so easily digestible) with Second Life video as the medium.  A very user centered approach explaining what is often made to be a dry topic.

My day job is with a company that creates software for the hospitality industry that deals directly with meetings. Thus, I am aware of the dire lack of real meeting skills in Second Life. 

I hope that our Making Meetings Matter series also adds to the meetings community in Second Life (they will be available free inworld).

oops! Our bad! And happy Halloween!

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A funny thing happened on the way to the sim . . . it seems that we (myself and Ener) overlooked the sl issue of teleporting to map found places.  In other words, when you do an inworld map search without coordinates, you end up at ground level in the centre of the sim (128,128).  The map search has no way of knowing if any structures are at that location and so drops you at ground level.

Well, I have been telling folks to search for Enercity Park as a starting place to use our resources.  Only problem is that Enercity Park is part of a planned nine sim city.  And that city has catacombs under the streets.  The catacombs are there just for fun, but they are “trenched” and under the apparent ground level.

So if you TP straight to Enercity Park you end up under the catacombs and this can be disorienting for new sl folks.  And to add to the confusion, if you have audio on, you will hear moaning.  And although it’s not funny, I had to laugh at what kind of experince that must be!  Teleporting ans ending up under water, under a structure that you can’t walk out of and hearing moaning!!!  =D

Well the moaning is from zombies placed there for Halloween!  Only they are spawning above you so you might have no clue what the heck it is.

Well, maybe it’s a learning experience (gee, that sounds good).  Since you are allowed to create objects in that sim, just rez a box and sit on it.  Then edit it’s position to about 34 metres up.  Ta dah!  Out of the catacombs to freedom!

Obviously, we will address this, but can’t help to wonder how many people experienced this.  Beware, damage is enabled and the zombies do bite . . . happy Halloween!

First eLearning Guild video podcast

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Thanks to the patience and phenomenal work that Brent Schlenker has been doing for the elearning Guild, their first video podcast is up on GuildCasts!  And I am humbled to be the first one, albeit there were some technical difficulties.  Brent was very patient and it was a new exercise for me.  I never use audio in Second Life mainly for selfish reasons.

With the ability to IM anyone anywehere in Second Life, it is not uncommon to have several IMs going on while chatting to one or two people working together.  I can not imagine doing that with voice!  I also find that text chat is more cocise and to the point.  Imagine how much I would ramble if talking!

So we started off great guns and then I lost his audio.  Well, not so much lost as it went from clear and an equal level to mine to being what sounded like a fly!  We bothe relogged but to no avail. 

Fortunately, Brent was quick on his feet (and that was after he had done a full day of online forums!) and recored himself and sent me the file.  The final video is clearly edited (as in obvious) and a combination of his audio track, the original audio track pulled out from the video to remove the failed audio noise.  This then resulted in some whacked out lip synching (but SL is not the best on that front yet).

It did reinforce the approach I have to using audio in Second Life when being fiolmed for elearning material.  In the time it took to piece (butcher?) the vodpod for the Guild together, I could have filmed enough material for a lesson!

Well it was fun and frustratiting, but a great learning experience as well.  And done mainly with free tools which is a big part of my session.  It’s great if you have Avid and Adobe Premiere like we do and certainly makes editing go far faster, but the reality of corporate eLearning departments is that they have very tight budgets.  And that is important for me to get accross and also opens this up to the person doing this as a one person shop.

Thanks Brent!

First Guild vodpod

DevLearn08 Breakfast Bytes

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Come participate in an informal discussion, Second Life – Giving it a Second Try, over breakfast Friday November 14th with David Anderson and myself.  You will come away with a greater knowledge of Second Life and it’s place in eLeaning.

About the facilitators:

David Anderson is offering a DevLearn08 workshop entitled A Practical Guide to Using Virtual Worlds/Second Life for Learning.  If you are new to Second Life, thinking of exploring it, or ready to move ahead, his workshop will be incredibly valuable for you.  I have participated in online forums held by David and his information is not only current, but he provides resources that allow you to act right now.

My DevLearn08 session, Add Second Life to your Training without Having Users Log into Second Life, follows a case study in which a text-based lesson is converted into a more immersive learning experience.  Starting with a “text and image” lesson written by a subject matter expert, we will write an easy-to-follow script that will help us create inexpensive video footage using Second Life.  This video footage will then be integrated with the lesson to create a richer learning experience.

If you attend David’s workshop and my session, you will be equipped with the knowledge to effectively start using Second Life right away.  We both will provide resources that will help you right now.

We hope to see you at DevLearn08! And join us for breakfast!

 


David Anderson
Elearning Guild Annual Gathering 2008,Originally uploaded by oque


David Miller
elgStageComplete_009, Originally uploaded by iliveisl

Meet me for virtual coffee?

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Well, I was flattered to see this (first off, I did not know that a DevLearn08 Twitter group had been started – so job well done by the Guild!).

Twitter is such a great tool for conferences, especially when used for spontaneous meetings such as “hey, 2nd floor by the coffee cart, come talk about sl in between session.” Must be a tweet from me, Mr. Second Life on the Brain!

Gee, I could Tweet from within Second Life via that Tweet HUD and we could meet next to the coffee cart I have next to . . . ”

elgStageComplete_003,Originally uploaded by iliveisl