Monthly Archives: December 2012

My summary of the course ‘is one life enough?’

class 7_002

Development of attitudes towards learning and education

Having returned to formal education after quite a gap, I found that this module actually made sense to my own ability to learn. (https://inishblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/week-2/)

Jean Piaget’s theory on how we slot information into what we already know, based on previous learning and experience, ( http://psychology.about.com/od/piagetstheory/a/keyconcepts.htm ) is, in my opinion, the basis for adult education.This was very apparent right from the onset of the class.

As an adult I find that the method used for delivery of this module takes into account your own pre-conceived ideas, and without dismissing them, enables you take on board new ideas through discussion and debate. Also Vygotsky’s belief

(http://www.simplypsychology.org/Zone-of-Proximal-Development.html published 2010)  that we can learn through guidance from others was also apparent within the group, both from the tutor and other participants. I found that I learned best from ‘scaffolding’ within the group and from the tutors.

On a more personal level, I had my own reservations about information I see on-line through social networking platforms, and the validity of their research. What I have learned is that I can dip into any of these content creators, learn from their research, and through listening to the experiences and views of others, I can form a more educated theory of my own. I guess that makes Vygotsky and Piaget right after all!

Online Course vs Real.

For me this has been an amazing experience. I live in a Town with no university and work full time. To study at this level would mean taking at least two hours of travel to campus – that is, IF the course is offered at night-time – or at weekends. I had always avoided the usual formats of online classes. However – the fact that this course was held in a virtual space , and that we had virtual bodies that could interact with each other and the environment, -embedded the illusion and comfort zone of a familiar learning environment.  This made it totally different from other online class formats.

I feel there is something here that could be used by educators at all levels. If anyone has any links to research on this I would be very interested – please leave a comment.

Knowledge gained and new skills developed

On creating an online presence – I feel I have been living in the ‘dark’ ages when it comes to my personal online presence. I really didn’t have a clue about twitter, or blogging. During this course I have learned to create accounts, use the tools available within the social networking platforms, and now surf the web in quite a different way.

Rgulations, Conventions and Etiquette.

see blog entry https://inishblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/essay/

Social Networking – Establishing and maintaining relationships online –

I have learned two main points on this:

  1. That linking with what interests you professionally and personally are two different things, Although sometimes it is a good thing to share both with all, it can get confusing if you establish relationships as a Fae , then share that with your professional life as a politician! (or maybe not!) inish xmas_5
  2. Maintaining those relationships is probably more important on line than it is in real life. If you are inactive on line you can be quickly forgotten, where as in real – relationships formed are not expected to stay in contact quite as regularly.

Intellectual Property (IP), copyright – Still a bit of a minefield – and seems to be growing organically with each case and evolving with the changes that happen in various platforms.

Summarising yourself – “the elevator pitch” – YOU REALLY CAN SAY THINGS USING A FEW WORDS!

Working in groups, & presentation

presentation 1

As avatars – age barriers were blasted away! That was a huge relief for me when it came to the group work. We were able to focus on personalities and skills much quicker that we would have, had it been a ‘real’ classroom.

Sitearm Madonna also shared the best piece of advice on presentations I have had to date. – to start off  a clear message and to end with the same message.

Message – group work was really fun!

End message – group work was really fun!

Question

I am left with a question for the tutors and module developers. What is the next stage now that this module is the success that it is? Can this method of delivery be extended to offer a full online Level 7 or 8? If so sign me up!

As I have stated before, I am an early school leaver, lone parent, and recovering dyslexic. I learned more in this course than I did in a year at school. I honestly feel that this course needs to be evaluated with a view to developing the format further to open up learning at all levels to ALL age groups.

How old knowledge has been altered or modified

In simple terms – I had always felt that social networking was a bit of a ‘joke.’  I saw no value in using social networking for anything more than a fleeting pastime. I now realise the value of them if used properly, with thought and planning. I have discovered that sites like twitter will take you by the hand and lead you to things that interest you or are relevant to your professional or personal life. Something that google tries to do by throwing up suggestions based on your search history. This just doesn’t work in the same way as when you choose to follow something based on your own personal choice or interest.

Application and implementation of learning

During the course I remained true to my Second Life avatar throughout the course. Now I am ready to take my ‘real’ avatar and applying what I have learned on this course -begin to develop a professional online persona. I also hope to continue to blog as Inish – for someone who usually shies away from the written word – this is a real breakthrough for me and certainly not an expected outcome of the course.

The application of the learning from the tutors, guest speakers and lecturers was immediate and reflected in the blogs we were ‘forced’ to write (;-). Our final presentation implemented the learning on a visual and verbal scale.

Feeling at the beginning and end of module

It took some time at the beginning of the course to adjust to the idea of returning to ‘formal’ learning. I had the preconception that because it was from a real university it would be stuffy and geared towards academia and things that would fly over my head.

At the first class, it wasn’t long before I realised that I couldn’t have been further from my expectations! The course helped me get an understanding of citations and referencing very early on, and that was a personal fear of mine.

There was so much new information to take on board which refreshed my ideas and renewed my interest in learning. (Which again proves Vygotsky right!)

The feeling at the end was that I didn’t want it to end – a feeling I am sure that classmates shared. I am left wanting more, but unsure what or how to do that.

What was not useful about the learning

I really have to say that the learning has all been useful. The only thing I would change is a little more time and focus on the group project. The group project we worked on could have travelled more extensively throughout Second Life and gathered more ideas and comments if we had had more time. A consistent thread within the class was that it was difficult to meet up as a group. Perhaps some extra timetabled classes to actually do group work would be useful (with some willing facilitors on hand to help if needed).

Group dynamics and tutor/student dynamics

Although we all come from very different professional settings – we all have something to contribute and learn from each other. The group was not afraid to ask questions and to share ideas and experience. The tutors enabled the group to learn this way and even though the time allocated to the subject was tight – they remained flexible and at a pace that suited us all.

Although the atmosphere was very relaxed, it didn’t take away the seriousness of producing the evidence needed to credit the module. Tutors were no less demanding of students and deadlines than they would be in the real college.

The group I worked with on the project became like a little ‘family’. This is a dynamic I don’t think would be possible if we were within the college campus. Relationships on-line seem to form much faster than in the real world. In Second Life, we could travel together, shop together, dance together, and slap each other – all in the space of a couple of hours. Impossible in real! Sharing these experiences brought us close very fast.

Time and the group project prevented the class as a whole to connect as deeply as I would hope for – but having said that I have made many friends as a result of this course that I intend to keep! Maybe we should all meet up for a pint in Temple Bar as our avatars??

Follow up needed

A cert giving night in Gogarty’s pub !

Invitation time!

bill board - texture by B.ro

bill board – texture by B.ro

The day is almost upon us ….13th of December 2012 12 noon  -Second Life time (8.00GMT) – Ties That Bind 2.0 presentation. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dublin%202/205/87/27

As we traveled around with the display, we ‘friended’ those who interacted with us, and  invited them to attend.

Now it is time to do some more inviting. Our group discussed different ways we should invite. We decided to make an events page in Facebook and B.ro agreed to this. http://www.facebook.com/events/235722419891120/?context=create.

We will also ‘tweet’ closer to the time and use our blogs.

I took on the task of advertising the event within the virtual world of Second Life. I started with the simplest form of advertising … a billboard at the venue. Using the texture made for our presentation by B.ro, I added the information on the presentation and built an easel to hold it (picture above).   I have prepared a note card to send to groups as well as individually inviting friends. We were asked to invite ‘relevant’ people to this presentation, and as the subject mater is on virtual worlds and networking, the relevance is wide open as these things affect any of us who use social networking platforms or virtual worlds.

By using the virtual world to invite people by virtue, should attract those already immersed in on-line communities.

The course has certainly opened my mind to consider my own virtual presence and hopefully the presentations will do the same for the audience.

I have discovered that advertising events in Second Life anything more than a few days before, will fall on deaf ears.  Newer viewers store group notices and with the new allowance of 42 groups that can be a lot of notices to get through.  Once the invitation  is sent, it is more effective to target those who are actually on-line on the day.  This will be done in two ways – (1) an instant message to groups (2) individual invitations to people on friends list.

Unfortunately it was not possible to add the presentation to the events list as you can only do this if you personally own the parcel, the parcel is owned by a group that you are an owner of, or that you have the ‘host events’ ability for the group.

Until the presentation

Inish 🙂

All the group working

Guest staring Acuppa Tae & Locks Aichi and class of 2012!