I am really excited to finally be seeing my SL classroom taking shape, ready for my post-grad students who will be starting in less than two weeks time! I tried so many houses and spaces to try and get the right environment - from beach houses, to palaces, to open beach, to rock pools… nothing quite felt right. I wanted to the space to be defined so that my students would experience a certain sense of community, yet I also wanted it to be open and spacious and aesthetically appealing. Finally, my friend Cara (Cara Charming) very generously gave me this gorgeous build she made with all of my favourite colours and textures. Hey, I have 90% females in my class so its ok that it is a bit frothy and feminine *grin*
So I love the Marrakesh style things Cara makes and she styled the classroom on some of her other builds but bigger to suit my need for space and openness. It has one main large open room for the whole class teaching:
In the room I have blended the traditional with the new. My course is on New Literacies, but in the first class we will be talking about how some “new” literacies are really just old literacies reconstituted in new spaces.. and that does not detract from their value, it simply means we retain those literate practices that are historically and culturally significant to us. To this end, I have some of my lectures developed into book formats:
For others (and the students own presentations) I will use this free whiteboard system developed by Angybeth Shortbread (a media genius in Second Life and so generous to the education community!). It is very easy for students to present their own work on this whiteboard and to do it quickly. The book system I am using is great for me (and I can give copies of each lecture in a small book format to the students to keep in their inventories) but not so practical for new students (lets not call them newbies, that term is becoming so derogatory in its use!).
Additionally I have this gorgeous antique desk set with a scroll and ink sitting in one corner, to remind my students of our history with writing - its a nice juxtaposition I think with the new.
And speaking of new, I am streaming in some machinima to my land so that we can watch the SL machinima within SL:
Also, since I will be talking about new forms of narrative and storying, I am going to show them this storytelling teddy bear. it was given to me by Foolish Frost and when you click on it, it delivers a story in the form of notecards.
I have plenty of spaces for small group discussions - some inside spaces and some outside. Here’s a nice space inside in front of the tulips, overlooking the ocean (which now has super new and improved waves from my friend Mathieu Basiat!)
Outside I have a communal photograph board - students will take shots around Second Life and come back here to show and share them:
I will also be talking about performance narratives and music in SL, and have my floating stage outside for students to play around with their own performances (made by my favourite leading man in SL: the one and only Dell Wilberg!). The fireworks are fun and the atmosphere provides context for imaginative play as well.
Finally, back inside the classroom, I have my magic handbag sitting right in the middle of the room! When the students click on this bag, they will be given a whole heap of landmarks, notecards, and free gifts I have for them - I love this handbag, its such a fun way to deliver information
Oh, and don’t you just loooove the little softly lit alcoves Cara made all around the room to showcase my music boxes, art work, and other magical odds and ends?
So…. I am almost ready I think…. I just need to try and find some more freebies for their giftbags… Do you think I also need a manly bag for the males in my class?