Monday, May 27, 2013

Reflecting on the move to Jokaydiagrid

This is now the 6th year in which I have taught the course Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds. Though the name is being changed to Games and Simulations, and the course has gone through a redesign each term, it still has the same goal. To explore the potential of 3D virtual spaces for learning.

Home base is now Jokaydiagrid. I am unexpectedly pleased with the transition away from Second Life. Jokaydia lacks the critical mass that offered so much on Second Life, always people to find (40,000 at any given time in SL, often only 1 in JG), always educational, art and music events to attend, talented designers creating beautiful, fanciful, terrifying vistas, and accessible experts from every field willing to meet with curious learners. But the very thing that makes SL a resource to experienced users makes it formidable, inaccessible and scary. In the limited time a one credit course affords, there wasn't enough time to fully take advantage of SL.

Jokaydia is welcoming. Easy (relatively - for those who have been climbing the steep learning curve). And in the first two weeks that my students spent getting acclimated to the new environment they were not accosted by anyone but me. The 17 men and women who are students and the 4 returnees who are helpers have adjusted well. All have created an avatar and learned the basics. Some have already had opportunities to meet together in world, meet other educators and participate in an event.  Not bad for week 3 in a place that often seems empty.

My "classroom" is as it was in SL non traditional and evolving. Some would say messy. But that is what makes it interesting for me.

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