What's an ELO? An ELO is an "enhanced learning opportunity" that allows the over-achiever to get that extra chunk of knowledge on a particular topic and by doing so achieve a higher grade in the class. And, yes, I fit into that category. So, posted here throughout the semester you will find a series of posts labeled "Enhanced Learning Opportunity" which provided advanced or more detail on the topic being discussed.
Partying in SL - Everyone Can Do It
The ELO for Second Life has two parts. Well, really one, but I'm an over-over achiever. The "official" ELO was to party on the TC Island beach, dance to the Liyana Band (an African band consisting of disabled individuals), leave beach litter and meet up with friends. First, here is my friend and I lounging on the beach.
I don't know why it looks like our legs are through the chairs. I guess SL still needs to work on their graphics ability for some views! Next we decided to listen to the Liyana Band and dance to the funky music. When the music was playing, it was difficult to chat because the video was such a memory hog. This is important to remember when using SL in a classroom to demonstrate multiple features at a time.
The dancing was an unusual experience. I've heard of people going to parties in SL before but had never experienced it myself. It was actually kind of fun although I'm not sure how long it would actually keep me entertained. That being said, I love the possibilities it offers for individuals who for one reason or another are unable to dance in RL. Once again, it levels the playing field and allows people to enjoy the experience equally.
Finally, we needed to create an object to leave some "litter" on the beach. I found this to be the trickiest part of the whole activity having never actually created objects in SL before. Here is my attempt to create an object. My first object was a pyramid. I then created a ring which I was hoping to balance on top of the pyramid but instead it ended up slicing through the pyramid. Oh, well, I guess I need more practice with this!
Before leaving the beach, I finished watching the video play through including the interview with the band. Their last song is called "Roots" which seems to be very meaningful for the band because they are proud of their African roots and how they are able to capture the essence of their culture in their music regardless of their own personal limitations. Roots is also meaningful for us when we integrate technology into curricula because we also have to remember the roots of the learning task (what are we trying to accomplish?) and the roots of the learner (how much knowledge of technology do they already bring to the classroom?). Another song they play is called "Never Give Up". It's meaningful to the band because they were able to overcome adversity and reach their dream of playing in the US. They also want to spread their message of hope to everyone around the world. This theme is also applicable to technology in education because we must have the same hope that we will be able to integrate technology into curriculum for all students, to create an equitable education for all, and we must never give up hope of achieving that.
Blogging from SL - All about BlogHUD
This second part of this ELO was demonstrated in class during our introduction to Second Life. BlogHUD is a tool that lets you blog from within SecondLife. As a free user, you can post your blog to the main BlogHUD site and your own BlogHUD page. As a pro user, you can cross-post to your own blog or photo sharing site. I opted for the free version for now. Teleporting to BlogHUD gives you the option to accept the free or pro BlogHUD option which you then "wear". In order to post a blog you simply start a chat beginning with /9 and the post gets automatically sent. The following image illustrates what a personal BlogHUD page looks like:
Here is a snapshot of one of my blog posts on the main BlogHUD page:
You can see what I'm up to in Second Life anytime you want by visiting my BlogHUD page. My most recent post is that I'm dancing to Liyana band on the beach. The other great feature is that you can teleport right from my posts to the location that I posted from. Come join me and dance on the beach!
Just for fun: Here is a picture of our class is Second Life...