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Saturday, 1 September 2018

Project Mustard

Just uploaded my build of the project Mustard space plane to the outworldz server, so please feel free to download a copy for your virtual world project. Project MUSTARD (Multi-Unit Space Transport And Recovery Device) or MUSTARD, was a 1960’s design concept from the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) able to place payloads of up to 5000lb (2,300 kg) into low earth orbit and stood some 118 feet  (36 m) tall. The unique feature of the space plane was that each stage was piloted and so able to land on a runway and be used again. The project was finally cancelled however in 1970.
The build is in three parts, the launch pad , launch tower and space plane. I would recommend that the launch pad is rezzed and positioned first followed by the launch tower and finally the space plane.

If you have any questions, IM Skipper Abel or visit Spaceport UK for look around a similar version in Second Life and please see accompanying CC licence, enjoy.

Monday, 20 August 2018

UK Rocket History

Britain is believed to be at the beginning of a new space age. From the late 1940’s until the early 1970’s Britain remained at the forefront of rocket technology. The three builds of RTV1, Skua and Petrel werehighly successful examples of the research vehicles devloped during the period.All three builds are now available for download ar openworldz


ELDO (European Launcher Development Organisation) was established to provide a European satellite launch facility. ELDO members were Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Australia. The design was for a three stage rocket named after the Greek god Europa. Of the eleven planned launches ten actually took place.
The Europa-1 rocket measured some 31.7 m in length and weighed in at over 110 tons, able to carry a payload of 1000–1200 kg into a 500 km orbit. With Britain’s Blue Streak forming the first stage, Coralie made by the French formed the second and with the final stage provided by Germany.

If you have any questions, IM Skipper Abel or visit Spaceport UK for a test launch in Second Life enjoy.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The Observatory at Greenwich UK

I have uploaded my build for the 28 inch refractor housed at the Greenwich observatory to the site. The telescope itself  was made by Sir Howard Grubb of Dublin 1893. The instrument, which by the way is still in place and the building open to public view; well worth a visit if you are in the area at any time. The refractor is the largest of its type in the UK and remains one of the largest in the world. The build comes as two uploads, the observatory itself and the telescope assembly. The spiral staircase is a little on the tight side for movement and so I would recommend that upon entering the building you zoom the camera in close to your avatar. The telescope assembly should be placed on the second floor which is in the dome area.

If you have any questions, then contact Skipper Abel in Second Life.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

The Old Gasworks

My build of the old gas works is now available at the outworldz site. The build downloads as a zip file made up of a number of folders each having separate components, in this way you can include all or some, plus have the option to use separately, they include:-

Coal Shovel
Coal Trolley
Furnace block Gasometer Gas works compound Gas works office Pipes Tool shed The office block has two floors connected by a staircase and I have included transparency effects on windows, however I have not included any office furniture. The build circa 1930-40 and was used as part of a sim project for my students. I have included a CC license for this, please feel free to download and use, any comments welcome, enjoy. Should you have any questions then IM Skipper Abel in Second Life

Bye for now

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Virtual ships

My builds of two coastal steamers recently uploaded to outworldz seem to be growing in popularity. The  SS Southern Star coastal steamer  shown here, is a medium size cargo carrier vessel circa early 20th century. If you are building a dockland scene at your sim then you may find this is a useful asset. The boat will rez as two separate object, so once they are in-world simply align and link.

The North Star form the same period is a smaller build and will rez as a single object. I used both of these vessels as part of my own dockside feature in one of my recent sims produced for Foundation Degree students.

Please feel free to visit the outworldz site and download a copy and if you have any questions, then contact Skipper Abel in Second Life and please see accompanying CC licence, enjoy.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

AI bot for C#

Having read the book Robot Proof recently by Joseph E. Aoun that looks into the implications for Higher Education in the age of Artificial Intelligence, I decided to break with my tradition of posting prep notes for the coming academic year on our vle and create a conversational agent using the Pandorabot platform. My students can access the bot either from the web and below you can see a screen shot of the page.

Or meet-up with the agent, Tether Gistnut in SecondLife, by the way the name is an acronym if anyone would like to have a go a cracking it. The image below shows my landing point in SecondLife with the teleport board just to the right.

Just touch on the board and you will be transported to Tethers space station on the planet Mars, you may like to try and have a conversation about that.

Once you are there, get close enough and Tether will home in for a chat. One of the great advantages of the virtual world here is that you will a 3D persona of the bot and you can be with others in the conversation. You will also find that Tether is able to offer short video tutorials for C# that display on the media screen. This is proving to be a fun and popular implementation, so do feel free to teleport over and give the facility a try. If you have any questions then please IM me Skipper Abel in SecondLife. Bye for now and enjoy.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Carbon Free 2018

My virtual world project for level 5 students was named Carbon Free, so no real surprises on what is likely to be required here. The project requirement is to create a desk to application written in Java that will simulate the electrical consumption of a small residence that is powered from renewables.  As with the presentation of all my virtual world projects the purpose for me is to see how the environment can be structured and presented in such a way that it produced a viable pedagogical ly sound solution. As with earlier ventures I have made use of Note boards notecards, interactive simulations and activity logging to a MySQL database.

On arrival a series of four numbered note boards explain the task and how to proceed with the simulations; note rotating carbon molecule was purely aesthetic.

At this point students are made aware that there are five renewable energy types hey need to understand and these are:- Water turbine, wind turbines, Solar cells, solar collectors and wood burning stoves, though this last category seems to have dropped from inclusion recently. While each of the builds is powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, there will be a particular notecard based tutorial accessed through a picture in each of the builds. 
The image here shows the eco warrior’s solar pod; as with all the builds you can purchase scripted versions at Slmarketplace or free unscripted versions at Openworldz. The pod is powered by a wind turbine, solar cells and a solar collector. 

The screen shot below taken inside the pod shows a number of domestic appliances some of which are switched on (green messages) while other are switched off (red messages); an appliance can be switch on or off by simply touching. 

On the wall of the pod a power monitor can be touched on that will report on the consumption of appliances, the power available and carbon saving and this is data that students are able to use as a means of verifying their own simulated results.

The tutorial that can be accessed in the pod is for a wood burning stove shown in the image here. Touching the picture will dispenses a note-card that explains the physics and then poses a question to be solved; each question has randomised values so students will receive a unique version.

Once the question on the postcard has been solved then the postcard is dropped into a postbox outside each of the builds.

The virtual world learning project ran for a week and the six participants clocked up close on 600 transactions, a busy and as far as I can tell very successful time. 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Azimuth Island project 2017

The project for my Level 4 and 5 students has now opened in OpenSim on Azimuth Island. The project presents students with an experiential situated virtual learning space populated by a collection of classic astronomical telescopes to explore developed in recent history in thee UK.

Azimuth Island

The principle mission is to learn the basic principles of telescope design that will encoded into desktop program written in either the C or Java languages. The main learning zone is based in a virtual model of Woolsthopre manor, the home of Sir Isaac Newton.

Woolsthorpe Manor

The touch event data loggers are functioning really well and have recorded 600 touch events and over 250 lines of real time conversation from a group of six students to my SQL database. The learning simulations have received good responses from the whole group.
Given that the learning from the virtual world will be transferred into a desktop application and given the fact that some students were not able to attend the class I decided to send an email suggesting we commence a series of tutorials in-world as a means of both support for those who have completed the exercise and assist those who are not able to attend the group session.

Inside students use 3D simulations to learn about Focal, length, Resolution, magnification and other working characteristics

Learning Simulations

Monday, 22 August 2016

Free space for Educators from ImageLearning

if you are a virtual world education and would like some free space for classes then ImageLearning are about to be making several locations available for educational groups looking for unique spaces to gather for discussion.  Any locations will they say be be "as is", in that ImageLearning will simply be providing a virtual space in the first instance it seems. This very generous offer has been made possible by the fact that not all of the current spce owned by them is currently used, though I guess this may change so I would recommend getting in quick on this one, and of course I am certain that any donations would be appreciated.

I have copied below some of their suggestions that you may find useful:

A traditional, formal amphitheater.
A cinema.
A legal courtroom.
A stone church sanctuary.
An airport lobby.
Meeting rooms in a fire station and police station.
Hospital ER, Physician's Office and Morgue.
Television studio with multiple sets.
Hibachi Restaurant.
60's Diner.
"Old Time" School Classroom.
Pizza Parlor.
Rustic Beach Bar.
Small Beach Cabins.
Large Beach with surf and sand.
Undersea area for diving.
Small Old Mansion on the Sea.
Deepwater Fishing Trawler, for small groups.
Onboard a jetliner at 30,000ft.
SciFi Locations Aboard the Starship Imagine
Dining Room/Mess.
Flight Deck.
Formal Briefing Room.
Bridge Conference Room.
For that "unique" experience:
A sinking ship.
A burning building.
A haunted psych ward.
Coming Soon: Medieval Village.

ImageLearning also say that "We are developing several new spaces of various kinds, and will make many of those available as we are able." So if you are interested then teleport over to

If  have questions, feel free to contact John Jamison, PhD.via email or Virtual Bacon in-world

through email, or leave a message in-world for Virtual Bacon.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Virtual Lab

Following my previous posting on the virtual laboratory this latest blog is by way of a progress report on that project. The building itself I decided need some small changes to internal textures, which simply meant renewing floors walls and ceiling. My first task surrounding the requirements for assets was to construct some suitable workstations.
Fig 1
The screen shot image 1 one show the Centre Workstation. At present the doors and draws are static, but I can animate these is that’s a requirement. The gas taps I intend will be interactive as function the functionality for the Benson Burners, and is the case for power sockets.

Fig 2
Talking of interactivity, the taps can be turned on, and producing a steam of water that flows and pools into the sinks accompanied by the sound of running water, all of which will go to increase the sense of real and hopefully immersive nature of the user experience see fig 2.

Fig 3
The screen shot fig 3, shows a similar workstation placed along the lab wall. I managed to download a nice microscope build as an iar file from opensimcity, and I want to work on these so that the eyepiece displays the media of a microorganism growth. I have included a negative pressure cabinet on either end of the workstation, but not sure until I meet with the team if they will require and interactive features, but far so good I feel. Please stay in touch for further updates.


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bio Med and Functional Skills in the virtual world

Following my presentation at the College HE day on the use of virtual worlds I have subsequently received two project requests, the first was from our Bio Med team who asked would it be possible to have virtual lab that students could use to become familiar with equipment and use. So first things first I went about setting up a sky platform and installed a build; I actually found this one at OpenSimCity, and after making a few texture changes fig 1.

Fige 1

I met with a couple of team members, where I am pleased to say they agreed and we talked about some details of use and functionality.

The second request came from Functional Skills math’s, and just like with Bio Med, my approach basically was, can we get the virtual world to do something for us that the vle does not, and of course my answer to that is provide a simulated life experience, it really is important I think not to simply reproduce vle or documented content and drop it into a virtual world. And so my plan is to present students and staff with an urban set of life experiences, and as a starting point using a cafĂ© facility where students can order beverages and food, work out their payment and change, then sit down chat and enjoy the virtual ambience see fig 2.

Fig 2

This is the basic setup, and I have used an existing urban style sim that we already have running for this.  I will be getting my head down for some serious building and scripting in the days ahead on both projects, So if you are interested then please stay in touch and as always feel free to comment.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Crypto Island

Fig 1
If you have read the previous pot then you will no doubt have realised that is referred to the considerable success of the Only Rocket Science project that ran in 2014-15, so did I run any project 2015-16, of course, I just hadn’t got around to blogging. The project for the last academic year was Crypto Island see fig 1; the clue is in the name, and the project was designed as a case study for me to investigate the use of serious games. As a pedagogical tool, the use of games, often popularised as gamification using points scores, badges and leader boards can bring a competitive enthusiasm and engagement to learning. While these interventions may prove effective early on, eventually participants can often come to feel punished or controlled by a system that relies completely on extrinsic rewards. Moving away from the view that a game is a tool used to support learning, and that instead the game is a medium through which one learns, presents the opportunity to consider the more intrinsically rewarding benefits of serious games, in essence that the game should not only be fun but produce emotional, behavioural and cognitive engagement, in a combination that is key to success (Iten., N.  & Petko, D. (2014). Learning with serious games: is fun playing the game a predictor of learning success? British Journal of Educational Technology doi:10.1 1 1 1/bjet.12226).

The sim transported students back to the period 1942 when Britain was at war, see fig 2.
Fig 2

fig 3
Students were tasked with learning about and then cracking encrypted messages. The game element I introduced was for them to decipher the code before damage from nightly air-raids see fig 3 reached a predetermined value. In the event that the target value was exceeded, then the encryption would become correspondingly more difficult.

fig 4
Students start by learning the fundamentals of encryption based situated in an old factory learning space, see fig 4. Where materials are presented on notecard dispenser boards in a low resource demanding format. The emphasis at this phase is for collaborative problem solving, making successive attempts at testing and evaluating their learning using in-world online cryptographic engines. Submission uses notecards that are returned using covert drop points, in this case public letter boxes. Once the practice sessions are complete, actual messages are delivered through telephones placed at various locations around the sim; in order to retrieve message students would have to wait for a telephone call (ring), at which point they simply touch on the telephone to receive a notecard; a particular feature I felt had the further effect of encouraging exploration and collaboration. Once the cyphers have been decoded, they are once again recorded on notecards and returned using the drop point network. When all messages have been correctly deciphered, air strikes will cease, effectively ending the game.



Friday, 15 July 2016

Only Rocket Science

This has been a really good year for virtual world projects. My student project for the academic year 2014-15 level4 and 5 was Rocket Science. The benefits to my students I feel are twofold: first, in using the medium, they acquired the knowledge, understanding and competence to complete the task; second, they experienced the advantages of collaborative, virtual, social, synchronous communication afforded by the visual learning styles of the 3D environment.


Virtual learning would be presented as a signposted, linear, walk-through workflow series of activities, from Orientation to Simulation, as shown below in Figure 1.
The main learning space comprised three tasks that cover Boost, Coast and Recovery phases of the rocket’s flight. The stages are presented as a signposted, linear, walk-through series of activities, carried out using similar workflows that are presented as:  introduction notecard boards, exercise boards, calculator boards and a drop box. Fig 2.
Fig 2
The final simulation stage draws the together the work of the previous stages. It presented the students with a full set of flight-profile calculations, dispensed once again from the notecard board. Upon completion, the notecard was saved and a copy dragged to the drop-box. Students could then check their results by launching a rocket: touching the green button at the centre of the launch console table produces a series of drop-down options prompting for input parameters, after which a soundscape introduces the countdown and launches the rocket.  Figure 3.
Fig 3
If you are interested in the reading more about this, my research proposal report has been published on the Compass website from the by the University of Greenwich. As an added incentive for me, I was given the Research Award for 2015-16 for research from Bromley College, very encouraging, there is also a YouTube if you would like to take a look, feedback welcome.
The project in fact received even more exposure when I was asked to deliver an impromptu presentation to the JISC ConnectMore16 conference in June.

I have since been receiving requests from within Bromley College for more virtual worlds specifically Functional Skills and Bio Medical science, so please stay in touch for developments.
Bye for now Skipper

Monday, 4 August 2014

Virtual World Student Feedback 2013-14

Taking the form of a virtual field trip for a wider project, the students task was to explore the alien world of Bopak3, created using Open Simulator. 

Foundation Degree Yr1
On the planet, Bopak3, a star ship had crash landed randomly scattering Dilithium crystal essential to it propulsion system across the virtual landscape. As crystals were of different types they had to be classified by group and identified using both colour and location. The students were encourage to plan and collaborate for the task in order to optimize the limited time they would be allowed to spend in such a potentially hostile environment.

Foundation Degree Yr2
Each student was required to establish a habitat on the planet were energy production would be made available entirely from the renewable resources of wind, solar light and combustible materials such as alien wood.  
In order to gather the necessary data on wind and solar energy, students would need to visit the location and use data from weather stations combined with their own observation and assumption regarding the day night cycle.
Each student was provided with an individual habitat with its own unique combination of solar energy technologies.

In order to add to the emersive realism each avatar came ready installed with spacesuit, boots, gloves, helmet and backpack life support

If you would like to see the feedback reports then please teleport over to Coders Central in Second Life and download the PDF files.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Free Lounge for Conferencing

Now I actually have my own sim in Second Life where events can be held, facilities  created and builds maintained, I tend to forget that unless you actually have a plot of virtual land, then being able to facilitate such things as even a general conversational type of meeting can be problematic. With this in mind I decided to create the Lounge

You can make use of the Lounge for small meetings and conferences at no charge, though of course any donations are welcome. I did want to provide something though that was a little more than just a virtual space where avatars could meet and chat. At the Lounge you will find shared media access to the Internet, a set of programming tools, if your meeting is along the lines of software design and finally and interactive whiteboard. To accompany the functionality of the place, you will also find some ambient features like bird song and running water. 

Please feel free to teleport over and take advantage of the Lounge and of course pass on any screen shots and comments.