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Saturday, 20 August 2011

learning in, from and about Second Life (the blurring of boundaries)

Well as promised, here is another post about my newly re-found love of second life.

It is very similar to a request I made in Avalon I would recommend you have a look at this great ning. A really supportive and friendly bunch of educators:)

I am fortunate enough now to be in the position where I can observe a lot of experienced teachers in SL. For my own development, as a fledgling English teacher in Second Life, I was wondering how I could capitalise on each observation that I do.

To this end, I have created a work in progress of an adapted RL lesson observation sheet, trying to make it more SL user-friendly. I would greatly welcome feedback on this rough doc (please see below) and comments suggestions on if I have overlooked or missed something. I am also wondering about my approach to this observation sheet as it based on RL pedagogical approaches and these may not be as relevant in the SL arena... Any comments greatly received:)

SL observations

Throughout the observation think about how the affordances of SL are capitalised upon.

How does the teacher get the students’ attention at the beginning of the lesson?
What does she/he say? What mimes or gestures does he/she use?

1 What are the learners doing when the teacher arrives?
How do the learners (re)act?
How does the teacher open the lesson?
Does the teacher explain his/her plan and objective(s) to the learners?

2 Are the learners aware of the objective of the lesson?
What are they doing at this stage?
Are there any organizational tasks that are done by the teacher? (notecards)

3 Are there any organizational tasks that individual pupils do?
Which stages of the lesson can you identify?
How many stages are there? How are they segmented?

4 Which organizational forms are used by the teacher?
Front of class
groupwork /pairwork
presentations (with what media)
individual work

5 Does the teacher give the students any choice concerning the order of tasks/ partners/ places/
activities/ topics/ reading…?

6 How do the learners decide what to do next?
Do they need any help?

How does the teacher lead from one activity to the next?
Is the lesson organized step by step or as a workshop?

7 How do the students move from one activity to the next?
How much time is lost for transitions?

How does the teacher react to learners’ mistakes?

8 Are the learners worried about making mistakes?
(How) does the teacher announce homework? (if any is set- is iit dine in SL/ RL combination?)
How is the homework related to the activities in class?

9 Do the students have a clear understanding of the homework tasks and any materials they will need?
How does the teacher close the lesson?

10 How do the learners and teacher deal with and react to technical problems in SL?

11 Lesson Observation Tasks Students’ experience Class atmosphere and learners’ Behaviour

How does the teacher create a positive learning atmosphere?
How does the teacher encourage learners to use the target language?
How does the teacher manage to get everybody involved?

Does the teacher use any special words, symbols, gestures to help the learners understand or to get their attention?

What else did you notice?
Do the learners seem to be interested?
Do they seem at ease and taken seriously?
Are the learners using the target language?
Are all the learners actively involved?
Are there any noticeable individual groups?

What I want to remember / take away from this observation.

The photo is an attempt to highlight the blurring of boundaries between real life and second life. I was lucky enough to go on a tour of Brighton and Hove Albion's new ground. I couldn't resist pretending that I was the manger for this snap:)


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Second Life

I have watched this video 8 times in a row now. A colleague came over to see what I was laughing at and they walked away in disgust. I guess some people just don't see the affordances of SL!

Expect more SL related musings and postings in this arena.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The school's wookie

This post is about wikis or wookies (I was asked the question what is a wookie on Friday by a member of staff, it was only after my explanation that I realised they were referring to the school's wiki)

As an off-shoot of implementing google docs, I created school wikis about 6 months ago. The affordances of wikis are apparent for me:I have used them extensively at Manchester and for me they just make sense as a learning tool.

I set them up as both a repository for learning materials but also as a space for sharing advice and tips- creating a pool of shared experience and knowledge.

No-one is using them! No-one is looking at them!

I have reminded people weekly about the wikis, I have talked individually with teachers about how to upload materials and edit and add comments. I have given workshops on how to incorporate them into self-development but nothing has changed. It is only yours truly who is adding materials. I am not sure why! I am going to reflect more and post on this. In the meantime, I would be interested to know if anyone has had similar experiences, or if anyone would like to comment on the use of wikis in teacher development.