Sunday, October 28, 2007

Webheads in Second Life Monday Tours (again)

Tomorrow from 20.00-22.00 GMT (Monday 29th October) we'll be meeting at the Webheads HQ @ Edunation for another Monday night SL Webheads tour. This time it'll be a visit to some Second Life quests followed by a discussion of how something similar may be exploited for language learning.

Using Second Life as a platform for games is becoming more popular, with the recent 'CSI' and 'I am Legion' game launches. How feasible is it to do something similar (albeit on a smaller, less ambitious scale) for language learning?

So much for being able to keep up a weekly Webheads tour / meeting in Second Life - workload has meant it is impossible, but hopefully a once monthly meet is possible for me to organise.

So, after being contacted about this by by Seth Dickens, who is bringing along some colleagues tomorrow, we've decided to restart the tours / discussions tomorrow.

What's the theme this time? Rather than explore more real life cities (by no means exhausted, however, and I'm sure we'll return to this), I thought it would be interesting to explore some of Second Life's quests and treasure hunts, which offer engaging possibilities for anyone hoping to do something similar for language learning.

It's also something that I have researched for the Second Life Teen Grid project I am involved in, and recently revisted the quests on a tour to give some of the other people involved in the project an idea of what we were aiming for.

Hope to see some of you there tomorrow!

Second Wind for Second Life?

Second Life (SL) seems to be back in the news, thanks to the TV programme CSI:New York, which has featured the virtual world in some episodes and also launched a Second Life game based on the show (see video below). As there are competitions to solve crimes and track down murderers by finding clues and filing reports, it could be interesting to English language learners (I've only just joined in so I'm not sure how valuable it is yet).


(above - the CSI SL game also has its own SL viewer and simplified SL orientation to help players with the interface and the game. More photos here)

This transmedia storytelling (thanks to Ewan McIntosh for the link) seems to be something we'll be seeing a lot more of, and Second Life is an attractive option because it is cheaper to build a game using this platform than starting from scratch. It also takes advantage of its existing user base. Could this prove to be a second wind for SL, now that the hype / criticism cycle of the virtual world has slowed down.

Another example of this happening is the game that has been made in Second Life to coincide with the launch of the film I am Legion, which looks like a Hollywood version of the film 28 Weeks Later. The Second Life game is "a multiplayer first person shooter / RPG" game, and so is probably not as valuable as CSI is for language learning possibilities.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Webheads @ Edunation - 1st October 2007

Yesterday's Monday night meeting of the Webheads in Second Life was supposed to be an introduction to the new Webheads HQ @ Edunation III.

Eveything was set for 20.00GMT - I was waiting there for people to arrive when the region started logging out (this 'rolling restart' to regions happens occasionally when servers are reset etc.) . I was teleported to another sim and couldn't find my way back for another twenty minutes! Finally, I managed to get back to Edunation, but not to the Webheads HQ, which remained inaccessible for the rest of the evening.

Not able to proceed as planned, as people started to arrive, we sat back in the comfy bean bags and chatted, watched a Teachers TV podcast and then Dudeney G demonstrated the fabulous new Flickr in SL tool that he has been developing.

How does it work? Well, you can type a tag and then when you touch the too it displays an image from Flickr that has been tagged with this word. We all got carried away trying it out and much fun was had by all.

Find out more by watching the Voicethread slide show (below) and by reading the chat transcript below.

You can also go and check out the Webheads HQ @ Edunation, where hopefully we'll soon have a copy of the tool that you can play with.

Come and join us there next Monday evening from 20.00GMT...

CHAT TRANSCRIPT:

SusNy Foss: Hi Baldric
SusNy Foss: Edunation 3 can take up to 60 people
Dudeney Ge: Graham - can you hear us now?
SusNy Foss: Hi Graham can you hear us?
Kita Coage: i'v lost sound ....
SusNy Foss: People who wish to use the space for teaching would be added to the Consultants-E group
Kita Coage: back
SusNy Foss: Now we can just lean back and enjoy :-)
Dudeney Ge: Video quality in SL is pretty good, I think
SusNy Foss: Any smart way to see TV screen just in front of my eyes?
SusNy Foss: Cam controls of course, but not fast enough
Dudeney Ge: So put mouse pointer over screen, then Alt + left mouse button + move mouse forward
SusNy Foss: Hmmm - got a trackball style mousie, not working that way
Dudeney Ge shouts: People outside the glass! Come in!!!!!
Pedro Lustre: hi all
Dudeney Ge: Click the loudpseaker (bottom right) to get all seven audio volume controls
Kita Coage: hi Pedro - long time ... :)
Norse Writer: hi thre
Dudeney Ge: Hi Pedro
SusNy Foss: Hi Pedro, welcome
Dudeney Ge: EduNation III has sunk into the ocean, so we're just relaxing instead
You: aha...that's better
Pedro Lustre is Offline
Dudeney Ge: So, Graham, did you have any plans for the new space?
You: good question, Gavin
You: I was going to ask people what they thought should be there tonight
You: what do people think?
You: Sus, what do you think we need to put in the Webheads space?
SusNy Foss: teachersTV look good
SusNy Foss: I'm hypnotized
Dudeney Ge: I had a little idea for a writing class in SL
You: lol
You: really?
Norse Writer: me too Susny
Norse Writer: :)
Dudeney Ge: We're nearly finished designing a Flickr browser that will take a keyword and then go to FLickr and bring back pictures and display them on a screen, one every x second... I thought it might make a fun activity
SusNy Foss: Well, well - as everyone could build there, either there will be a huge amount of useful stuff crowded all over, or chaos
Dudeney Ge: If somebody wanted to do some creative writing - or similar
Dudeney Ge: Chaos might be fun :-)
You: it uses tags to find the pictures I presume?
SusNy Foss: sounds like an interesting engine
Dudeney Ge: Yes, so you can type 'Barcelona' and it will go and get an image tagged with Barcelona
Norse Writer: The flickr idea sound great....
You: sounds like a lot of fun
Dudeney Ge: We've got a basic model working
SusNy Foss: Could you show this now?
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to Barcelona
Norse Writer: btw. where can i get some more info/learn about how to interface web and SL?
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to Paris
Norse Writer: cool
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to baldric
You: seems to work well already Gavin
SusNy Foss: Norse, I've got a SLTweet HUD so I can write on my Twitter form in world
SusNy Foss: I sort of like it
Dudeney Ge: It only does one at a time - I want it to do automatic every x seconds - but it's getting there
Osnacantab Nesterov is Online
Dudeney Ge: Yes, twittering from here is good
You: lol that's funny...looks a little like onme of our cats
Norse Writer: Realy SusNy - i must learn more about that....
Dudeney Ge: You can try it by typing /1 tag and then clicking the screen
SusNy Foss: Where can I see the Flickr screen
Helter Alexandre is Offline
SusNy Foss: Got it
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Norse Writer to Oslo
Flickr Browser whispers: I don't know what kind of picture to show you.
Type '/1 sometag' to tell me what tag to search for on flickr and I'll remember it.
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Norse Writer to Oslo
Dudeney Ge: It'll fall over if everyone does it at the same time :-)
SLTweets Hud v0.78: SLTweets HUD Plus v0.78
SLTweets Hud v0.78: Hello Baldric, ready to Tweet?
SLTweets Hud v0.78: Say '/123 help' for help
SusNy Foss: / secondlife
Norse Writer: he he
Dudeney Ge: There's Oslo, apparently
Flickr Browser whispers: I don't know what kind of picture to show you.
Type '/1 sometag' to tell me what tag to search for on flickr and I'll remember it.
Dudeney Ge: So it's /1 tag
Dudeney Ge: Then left-click to get a pictire
Norse Writer: it is
Flickr Browser whispers: I don't know what kind of picture to show you.
Type '/1 sometag' to tell me what tag to search for on flickr and I'll remember it.
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for SusNy Foss to secondlife
Dudeney Ge: Check the blue floatingtext above it to see if it's fdoing anything at the moment
floor: Please use the laptop keyboard to change slides.
Dudeney Ge: I think it's running slowly due to SL - worked a lot quicker earlier
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to webheads
SusNy Foss: sometimes it would make sense to move away from the group environment and watch one screen only
Norse Writer: Well, SusNy if you could show me to some info about the web interface sometime I would appreciate it
Dudeney Ge: Yep - that can be done by parcelling up the new place if needed
SLTweets Hud v0.78: Contacting server...
Dudeney Ge: So different media can be done in different spaces
Norse Writer: cool
SLTweets Hud v0.78: Your tweet has been posted on Twitter.Com.
Dudeney Ge: The only trouble is you can't parcel floors - only flat space
SusNy Foss: I also heard about a device for Could you place screen in the ceiling so we could lie flat down on the ground (or a mattress)
Dudeney Ge: The screens can go anywhere you like
SusNy Foss: oops - forget about first part of that sentence
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to beer
Dudeney Ge: Hmmmm.... results can be .... unpredictable!
Dudeney Ge: Yay! Beer!
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Baldric Commons to edunation
SusNy Foss: Fruitbars!
Dudeney Ge: You need to click the screen now Baldric
Dudeney Ge: And wait a little
You: ok now I get it
Bee Kerouac is Online
Kita Coage is Online
Dudeney Ge: First you set the tag, then click the screen
Dudeney Ge: It needs a bit of reining
Dudeney Ge: refining
You: what about explicit content - I mean if you don't want that? Can you set it to only retrieve PG photos?
Dudeney Ge: I'm also working on something that grabs a screenshot of a webpage dynamically and displays it on a screen
Dudeney Ge: No - I'd have to investigate, Baldric - not sure if FLickr divides things up like that
Dudeney Ge: The FLickr API is a little complicated
You: I think you can turn on a parental or safe search button
Dudeney Ge: Ah, ok - so it must be in the API as well - I'll take a look
SusNy Foss: hmmm, explicit content - does that mean brutal violence?
Bee Kerouac is Offline
Dudeney Ge: Amongst other things, presumably :-)
You: here comes dennis
Flickr Browser whispers: I don't know what kind of picture to show you.
Type '/1 sometag' to tell me what tag to search for on flickr and I'll remember it.
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for SusNy Foss to newborn
You: hi Dennis
Dudeney Ge: Hi Dennis
floor: Please use the laptop keyboard to change slides.
You: come down here and join us
SusNy Foss: Dennis haning around!
Osnacantab Nesterov: Hi, everyone. SL has been down for me.
SusNy Foss: hanging
You: we've had problems too
Bee Kerouac is Online
SusNy Foss: which keys could be used to change slides?
Dudeney Ge: Keys? As in keyboard keys?
SusNy Foss: is there a "laptop keybard " somewhere
Dudeney Ge: At the moment you just click the screen to get a new one
SusNy Foss: That's what the Fkickr screen whispers to me
Dudeney Ge: I think that's the PPT screen behind it you're clicking Sus
SusNy Foss: OHh I see
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Baldric Commons to osnacantab
SusNy Foss: multiple screen challenged
Dudeney Ge: That photo doesn't look like Dennis at all!
You: here comes bee
Dudeney Ge: Hey Bee!
SusNy Foss: Hello Bee
Bee Kerouac: ouch
You: hi bee..one more space left here
Bee Kerouac: hi there
SusNy Foss: have a beanbag seat
You: come and take a seat
Osnacantab Nesterov: Hey. How did my photo get there?
SusNy Foss: lol
SusNy Foss: you myst have tagged it on Flickr
SusNy Foss: with osnacantab
Osnacantab Nesterov: I did.
You: lol...I put your tag in
Osnacantab Nesterov: Harlech Beach!
You: I like this a lot Gavin
SusNy Foss: This is a Flickr show machine that is tag driven
Dudeney Ge: It's quite good, isn't it?
SusNy Foss: love it
Dudeney Ge: Lots of possiblities
You: bee, this tool Gavin's developing displays tagged flickr photos
Bee Kerouac: looks interesting
SusNy Foss: is there a script
Bee Kerouac: how do you do it?
Dudeney Ge: I'm working with EP to get it working perfectly - she's a genius
Dudeney Ge: Yes. it's a script that links into the Flickr API
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to octopus
SusNy Foss: Is that a script that you're going to make available or sell
Dudeney Ge: Free, when it's finished
SusNy Foss: sounds perfect
Dudeney Ge: One tries :-)
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to baldric
Osnacantab Nesterov: How does this marvellous free motive work on the Internet?
Bee Kerouac: too much lag here
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Baldric Commons to beeconch
Dudeney Ge: I love the whole Baldric = cat thing
Dudeney Ge: You're lagging?
You: just tagged one of bees photos
Able Thursday is Offline
Bee Kerouac: lagging behind...definitely
Dudeney Ge: I've only got 1.2% packet loss
You: I suppose if there's no image it shows the black screen Gavin?
Dudeney Ge: I'm getting 57 FPS - is anyone else lagging hugely?
Dudeney Ge: Yep
Bee Kerouac: almost 3rds red here
You: I'm not lagging
Bee Kerouac: how do you project the photos from Flickr here?
Osnacantab Nesterov: I'm seeing 4 black tyres.
Norse Writer: im not lagging right now
Bee Kerouac: can I project mine?
SusNy Foss: apparently no problem here
Dudeney Ge: The screen queries the Flickr API then sets the parcel media texture to the image, Bee
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Baldric Commons to hss07
Bee Kerouac: greek to me but understand API somewhat
Dudeney Ge: Bee - type
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to tag
Dudeney Ge: and then left-click the screen
Bee Kerouac: oh this is the summer school
Dudeney Ge: type /1 tag
Bee Kerouac: in january
Dudeney Ge: e.g. /1 Barcelona
SusNy Foss: yes, you're right
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for SusNy Foss to Copenhagen
You: it works really well with special tags
Dudeney Ge: Yes, it does
floor: Please use the laptop keyboard to change slides.
Bee Kerouac: 1/ozzie
Dudeney Ge: I'm going to try to get it to set a diferent media texture for each avatar - so we could have one with communal browsing and one that only you see what's on it
Bee Kerouac: how do Ihange the tags?
Dudeney Ge: So one screen would serve each avatar the picture of their choice - on the same screen
Dudeney Ge: Bee type /1 tag
Dudeney Ge: e.g. /1 Barcelona
SusNy Foss: very useful feature indeed
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Bee Kerouac to ozzie
Norse Writer: yeah, a realy nice feature.
Dudeney Ge: Then left-click the screen to get an image
Dudeney Ge: You have to wait about five seconds or so after you left-click the screen while it gets the image and displays it
Bee Kerouac: oopsz..this is not mine
SusNy Foss: others might use same tag Bee
Dudeney Ge: Must be a cat called ozzie
SusNy Foss: yes :-) cute
Flickr Browser whispers: I don't know what kind of picture to show you.
Type '/1 sometag' to tell me what tag to search for on flickr and I'll remember it.
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Bee Kerouac to babi
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Kita Coage to kulkanin
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Baldric Commons to farruca
Dudeney Ge: Anyway, it's one new tool we're working on for some fun. When it's finished I'll dsitribute copies
Bee Kerouac: lol
SusNy Foss: Please do
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to gavindudeney
Dudeney Ge: Nothing :-(
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to London Bus
Dudeney Ge: Hmmm......
Bee Kerouac: roling restarts
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for SusNy Foss to Farum
Dudeney Ge: People need a lesson in good tagging!
SusNy Foss: tag literacy
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Baldric Commons to dudeney
Dudeney Ge: Still, I think it might have a few creative uses
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Bee Kerouac to mairinque
SusNy Foss: this is near my home!
SusNy Foss: our local lake
Dudeney Ge: I think you're confusing the poor thing!
Dudeney Ge: Nice!
Bee Kerouac: lol
You: ha ha...we're getting carried away
Dudeney Ge: I think one that could serve individual avatars would be good too
SusNy Foss: I think I would call this a good evening
Bee Kerouac: what did you do beforehand?
SusNy Foss: and back leaned
Dudeney Ge: Chatted, watched some Teachers TV, wondered where EduNation III had gone!
Bee Kerouac: look
Norse Writer: :)
You: we were wiaitng to get into the Webheads HQ bee...but never made it out of these comfy seats
SusNy Foss: smalltalked a bit about rolling restart and lost horizons
Dudeney Ge: And islands underwater
Bee Kerouac: right
Dudeney Ge: They say sims come up 'some hours after the rolling restart finishes'
Dudeney Ge: So I guess EduNation III will be back tomorrow
SusNy Foss: has anyone reconstructed Atlantis
Osnacantab Nesterov: Do you all prefer typing to talking?
You: funnt though...the other two islands also restarted but they are up now
Dudeney Ge: I quite like typing
You: me too
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Bee Kerouac to mairinque
Bee Kerouac: ah sushi is there
Dudeney Ge: I have someone sitting near me watching TV
Dudeney Ge: So voice can be annoying
Dudeney Ge: Sushi!
Osnacantab Nesterov: I didn't realise sound was on!!
Bee Kerouac: anyone wants to buy a puppy called sushi?
Bee Kerouac: a giant schanuzer
Chris Eggplant is Offline
Dudeney Ge: Not really - the cat would;t be too happy
Bee Kerouac: schnauzer
Dudeney Ge: Dennis - do you hear voice ok?
Bee Kerouac: I do
Bee Kerouac: can hear you laughing
Bee Kerouac: this would be a wonderful device for my keynote
Bee Kerouac: beautiful
floor: Please use the laptop keyboard to change slides.
Chris Eggplant is Online
Bee Kerouac: can you have a slideshow on this?
Dudeney Ge: Bee - we're working on a slideshow mode now
Dudeney Ge: So it will do a tag and display an image every x seconds
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Norse Writer to Flaam
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Bee Kerouac to nola2007
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Kita Coage to kulkanin
Ladyjane Plympton is Offline
Bee Kerouac: how do you call this device?
Osnacantab Nesterov: Who?
Dudeney Ge: It's a prototype of a Flickr Browser
Dudeney Ge: But it hasn't got a name yet
Dudeney Ge: Maybe SLickr!
SusNy Foss: Dennis, can you hear us
SusNy Foss: SLickr
Bee Kerouac: good name
Osnacantab Nesterov: No. I can hear you fine....My wife just came in and reminded me we are leaving early for Berlin.
Bee Kerouac: dennis travels all the time !
You: Dennis is presenting SL in Berlin, isn't that right?
Osnacantab Nesterov: 3 hours by train.
SusNy Foss: so does Bee
Dudeney Ge: Are you talking about SL, Dennis?
You: Dogme in SL...very impressive
Dudeney Ge: Nice!
SusNy Foss: for which audience Dennis?
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to Berlin
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Bee Kerouac to natureincircles
Bee Kerouac: I cannot see them
Nobody Fugazi is Online
Flickr Browser: Setting the tag for Dudeney Ge to golden gate
Bee Kerouac: lots of echo here
Bee Kerouac: thank you for sharing it with us
Howie Yoshikawa: ok, good night
Bee Kerouac: gnight
You: goodnight everyone
Dudeney Ge: Goodnight!
You: good luck in berlin dennis
Dudeney Ge is Offline
Osnacantab Nesterov is Offline
SusNy Foss: Pajama party!
Kita Coage: nice meeting with you again :) hope to see you soon again