Sunday, May 10, 2009

First Class Summer 09

Today was the first day of the new term. Small class of 4, compared with last year's 16. Former student and current friend Eru is helping out this time around. Today I am going to reflect on my goals and maybe accomplishments:

My goal for today was to project warmth and welcome in a cozy, engaging learning environment.

I used text only today for several reasons:
  • Past readers know that I don't like using voice - so any chance I can, I avoid it. :-)
  • Text is force-ably slow, so I believe that gives newer users time to keep up and experienced users time to reflect. (But I am not sure about this - maybe it just makes it slow and boring.)
  • Text has a lot of uses and skills associated with it that take time to learn, so I immerse the group in those skills right away (local, group, IM, cross chat, back chat, abbreviations)
  • Voice often takes time to set up.
While this course is not about SL per se (it is about issues related to teaching), the first class is necessarily about the basics of SL. I encourage and hope that more experienced users will use this time to think about teaching practice, how one teaches the newly initiated, what strategies I use and what strategies they would employ.

Here's a little shopping list of the techniques and activities we sampled:
mini lecture - with a couple slides
explicit instruction
group discussion
"Esme Says" game - yep like Simon only with yours truly in the lead
Eru's agility exploration - lots of walking, running, flying and bumping fun and chat
Touring the college island - our home, and ISTE island

Here are the tools we used:
local and group chat
the map
the mini map
environmental settings (to brighten to darkening day)
teleporting and landmarks
sl how-to books with notecard givers
Mysti tool follow chairs for touring
ISTE TP board
Angrybeth's community white board
two seating arrangements
Eru's amazing agility toys (mazes, slolom challenge, dino ribs, flying tube...)

My challenge is to balance my conflicting desire to create a cooperative, activity-based, learning environment with my desire to impart lots of information NOW. (I don't think of myself as being didactic, but certainly have that impulse.) This group promises to make this easy - as each is curious and all are helpful.

Now that the first exciting hurdle has passed, I anxiously await for the activity to begin in Moodle. Oh, and yay, barbarathelibrarian has started her blog:

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