Monday, November 28, 2011

I've Always Wanted.......

I have found my favorite part of Second Life, getting to be whatever and whoever I want!!! I have always wanted to be the rocker chick with piercings and tattoos, the girl everyone is afraid of but secretly wants to be! In Second Life I can be that girl, Cinderella, wear a man's suit, ANYTHING.

I did a lot of experimenting back and forth with weight and height but left those aspects relatively the same as they were defaulted. Here is a before picture.
At first I tried to keep it kind of the same as before to be somewhat similar to myself. I then realized, why?! I don't want to be me, I want to be the me I actually want to be! I went for the rocker chick look. Second Life labeled it "gamer girl, " although I feel like the fishnets make her a non gamer but whatever! I experimented with switching my hair color but could not figure it out! I moved the bar back and forth and saw little change--I must have been doing something wrong. After working on that for a good twenty minutes I decided to just pack it in and open it up to you all asking for help!

Here is the after.

So for all of you Second Life pros--if you have any suggestions as to why my hair color wouldn't change I'd be happy to take some suggestions.

Entering the Lion's Den

Quest Three led me to the Lionheart Orientation Island. This island went through the basic steps of Second Life, but also some of the menu options and details that are vital to surviving in the virtual world. This time around I worked on a computer on campus and that made a world of difference. The program ran faster, the screen was bigger, and it was just an over all better experience. I recommend this to anyone who is able to.
I really enjoyed the free gifts we were able to get. Free things are great! I also appreciated the instruction on how to change my clothes. It took a lot of instruction and a little help from a classmate--thanks Chase! I wanted to have a crazy outfit, but I settled with something pretty simple.

I also learned a lot about how the mouse works in Second Life. During class I was kind of confused about how we were supposed to sit down, touch things, etc. This provided a video-like instruction like we have had in the other quests but made me do the task right at that time. I had to grab the beach ball and set it on the table, I had to sit on the green ball and watch myself dance like a crazy person. I was confused why I was dancing around, I didn't read the entire instruction--that clarifed that one really quick.

I really enjoyed working on this quest. It was helpful to go through the two orientations, and it didn't seem as difficult as the previous two. Maybe that is because I am getting better?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Self Reflections

AHHHHHHHH! I kind of just want to scream and curse and yell and run around, that is how much Second Life frustrates me. It has been one thing after another, BUT I have figured out why I don't like it. 1) I am probably one of the most impatient people on this planet. SL runs beyond slow on my computer, my avatar lags and doesn't move in the right direction and then I get mad and click some more and then it freezes...the cycle never ends. 2) I am not good at it. Plain and simple, I am not good at running the arrows, not good at finding things, not good! :)

As it is 11:30 on Sunday after break, I realize now that this whole thing isn't going to come easy to me. Wish I could rewind and go back to last Sunday when I had an entire week to just relax--maybe I should have been practicing and playing on SL...hindsight is always better right? Well, now that I am playing around I have been improving. I don't know how much the videos helped as much as experimenting. I seriously struggle with the basic step of moving from point a to point b. I don't care that I have to admit this, that's the first step right?! It has been a very frustrating couple of hours though (yes this quest took hours, I'm slow). It took me 20 minutes to find the darn amphitheater, but when I did I ran around that place like it was nobodies business!
See here's the amphitheater! Can I video tape myself running around like a crazy person?

This quest got me to thinking about my personal methods of studying. We have established that I am not good at Second Life, but one of the reasons I am not good at it is because gaming doesn't really interest me. I was going through the motions and doing all of the required things, but not really GETTING into Second Life. I must admit, I do this with many of my classes. I will be student teaching next semester, my brain is LONG gone. So, this in turn got me to thinking about my own students. They could be super interested in the new video game that came out at midnight the night before, and here I am teaching them about Abraham Lincoln--how boring! Just like I am not interested in their fancy new game, they are not interested in my subject--now why would I be disappointed in them. It doesn't seem fair!

After watching some of the videos in the last module I realized that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I can include gaming and history in one neat little package. The game might not be a quiz show about the Civil War, but it also doesn't have to be Angry Birds. I haven't quite thought about how I will use Second Life in my classes--I can only reflect for so long. BUT I have made a step in the right direction, I am thinking about how frustrated my students might be with me teaching them in boring ways just like I am frustrated with the "ease" of moving my avatar. A simple reflection, frustration, and anger can go a long way:)

I did manage to take some pictures to prove that I am figuring this all out:)

Iowa's Capital has got to be one of the prettiest capital buildings in our country. I saw it on Friday in person and was just amazed and being a future social studies teacher I had to take a picture of it in Second Life.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Second Life, First Impressions

Well, it has happened...I have been forced to join Second Life and play around for homework--what a chore! I must admit I was excited to start Second Life, but ultimately kind of nervous about it. I am not a gamer, and many of the things I have heard about Second Life are silly and "out there." Starting my experience in Second Life was a mixture of good and bad, but that is to be expected.

First of all, I do think that Second Life is fairly user friendly. I must admit that I struggled with using the controls and figuring out all the buttons--but I am still learning and it seems that Second Life is always changing so everyone is on the same page! In regards to our class's participation in Second Life, I think the major suggestion I would have would be for students to either meet in the classroom or in a general location if possible when starting this unit. The reason I struggled was because I got lost or left behind and then I couldn't find the class and got frustrated--etc. it was a never-ending cycle!! That might have been prevented if I would have had a little background on the program.

I did really enjoy both of the videos, they gave me a lot of background information and just made me a little more comfortable with the program. I think that when I use Second Life more I will be more comfortable--of course, that is like anything electronic so that is to be expected. I also think that it is really beneficial. In a school setting I might be a little hesitant to use it since it is so new that kids might get left behind. I think that it would be a great tool to use in a TAG room or even a Special Education class where all of the children are kind of on the same level. My hesitation comes from my experience, I consider myself an average type student and I got completely lost in the computer aspect of the game. My students might be ahead of the curve, but I am afraid that instead of focusing on the actual goal of the lesson. I hope that when I get into Second Life my mind will be changed--at this point in my experience I cannot see a lot of value for the "average" student and the "average" assignment.