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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Virtual World Discussions

I have been using Second Life now for over four years and keeping in touch with developments that surround the general theme of education and training is an aspect of my virtual and real world activity that I always find interesting and often surprising. So I was pleased to stumble across the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable site the other day. The name probably tells you all that you need to know about the purpose of the site and I can recommend a visit.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Project reports July 2010

The virtual world student feedback reports for the projects that I ran for my Level 3 BTEC National students completing their final year in the Software Development course are now available in-world at
One difference for me with these latest two trials is that they were conducted on our Open Sim platform, which when you consider is still in Alpha release, all considered did perfom extremely well.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Common Currency in a virtual world

It does not take long in SL, before you realise that the whole experience can be improved if you have some money or Linden Dollars to purchase stuff and there is some excellent material around, or even better making money by selling stuff. Just recently I have been taking some excursions into the metaverse according to Open Simulator. In fact I now even have a sim running on my desktop, a very singular experience after the comings and goings that you get in place like SL. One of the things that struck me about OpenSim and there is increasingly a lot of it about it seems, is that there does not seem to be too much by way of resources. I began to ponder this and it came to me that maybe this is because of the complete absence of money, maybe, possibly. Lets face it OpenSim or SL almost by any other name and I am still to reconcile all this, does not have an equivalent of Linden Dollars, even though they are mentioned on some of the panels, stranger still. Then the other day, and probably a while after many others discovered it, I found out about the Open Metaverse Currency (OMC) and the number of virtual worlds that are using it; it seems there is an exchange rate with SL, terminals available and a link to PayPal. . There is a good web article here with some nice videos that explain the whole thing. If you have any thoughts or experience with OMC then please feel free to comment on this post.
Kind regards Skipper

Monday, 19 July 2010

Just how emmersive will it get?

That is the question that I was asking myself the other evening as I was standing on a small hill looking through the palm trees to the sight and sound of the waves rolling in, the gulls calling as they flew over head and in the near distance the faint cracking of a camp fire. I know that the on the near horizon there is talk of SL HD and that will improve the visual for sure, great.
So I began to look around the net for some insights and the first that I came across was from Digicents blog: -

Smell reaches out into a new, visceral dimension, transporting viewers, gamers, and music fans into the realm of the senses. Atmosphere, mood, emotion and characters can all be enhanced with scent.
The Power of Scent…
o makes content extremely immersive and compelling
o creates mood, such as foreshadowing or ambiance
o intensifies emotions, such as fear or love
o establishes place and season
o helps develop characters
o gives a heightened sense of reality

How will this work, well according to Wikipedia: -

The prototype connected to a personal computer via USB or serial port and was designed to emit a smell when a user visited a web site or opened an email. The device contained a cartridge with 128 "primary odors," which could be mixed to replicate natural and man-made odors. DigiScents had indexed thousands of common odors, which could be coded, digitized, and embedded into web pages or email

So in the near furure in SL one evening soon, I may be standing on a small hill looking through the palm trees to the sight and sound of the waves rolling in, gulls calling as they fly over head, and in the near distance hearing the faint cracking of a camp fire, while at the same time taking in the smells of the ocean, cant wait.

Then the other day I saw something that blew me away, Touchable Holography, what is that, follow this link to core77, and a CNN demonstration, now lets start getting getting ready for the real holodeck!!!!

Comments welcome, Skipper

Sunday, 27 June 2010

New web virtual world search facility

I have just been uploading my SIM images and comments to a new site at Once you sign up to the service, you can upload screen captures via email direct from the SL viewer, nice one. You can Teleport in-world from images each of which can be annotated with text and or tags to aid searching, and you can even include video content. One word of caution here though is that you need to take care at the point of account creation as some details cannot be changed once set, and there does not seem to be a way of deleting. I have been browsing and searching the site and find that its about as easy as it gets to use. If enough sign up to this then it could become a really powerful search tool. Recommended, Skipper

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Virtual World Project Reviews

As part of my regular house keeping work here at Shimmer Island, I recently decided to take a look at the resources available in the main hall area of the facility. I am really pleased to say that the main tutorials continue to be popular with visitors and so they have remained as they are. Looking over at the smaller hall, I decided to remove the usual video display of project work and replace it with a new feature. If you teleport over now you will find some new books have appeared. These are project overviews with student feedback statistics of trials that I have carried out in the virtual world. Touching on each resource will produce a pdf file. I have more in the pipeline so you may like to teleport over now and then. Please feel free to take a copy and if you find the survey results useful, then they are free to use, I will only request that you site the original source. if you have any further questions about use or the projects themselves, then please feel free to IM me, Skipper Abel here at Shimmer Island.
regards Skipper

Monday, 17 May 2010

Tranceformational Learning

I came across a really interesting site the other day, which I think you will find is well worth a visit. The site is called ImagiLearning, by the way its not their actual logo that I have used here in the post. The key thrust of the group who run the site centers of what they call Tanceformational Learning or TL. What is TL, well here's a paragraph from one of their pages:-
Tranceformational Learning blends the elements of learner centered instruction, concepts of game design, current brain research, and virtual world technologies to create experiences that engage the full mind of the learner in learning that goes beyond the traditional. Since the brain does not always clearly distinguish between "real" and "virtual" experiences, if we can create activities that trigger emotional, visceral responses leading to increased synaptic connections...learning is enhanced. Rather than simply connecting the new content to 'normal' patterns in the brain, Tranceformational Learning leads the brain to make wider and 'altered' patterns of synaptic connections with the new learning. We believe the result is increased learning.
They have a presence in Second life which naturally gets my interest and I suspect the interest of many who are wondeing where these new web 2.0 and 3.0 tools are likely to take us.
please comment with your views, regrads Skipper

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Solar Cell Project Feedback

The latest virtual world project, which involved my project BTEC level 3 students building solar panels in OpenSim has now come to an end. As you can see from the accompanying screenshot there has been a good amount of activity taking place.

The feedback report from my students is available from this link. Please feel free to take a look, If you have any comments, then by all means drop a reply to this posting.

For more details of the project, you may like to visit my OpnSim blog at

Kind regards Skipper

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

SL viewer 2 and the killer apps

Even from my early days in Second Life, graduating as I did from 3DML, anyone remember Flatland Rover? Enthusiastic as I was then and still remain, one of the frustrations was in the need to have a seamless connection with wider services that support cross platform collaboration. Well OK there is the Sloodle project, brilliant, though maybe sometimes a bit techie, and I soon learned how to worked out a way to talk to an sql database and use xml-rpc to talk back into Second Life from the web, all good stuff. From your non-techie user there are white boards and chat and of course speech with all its disclosure implications. Then the other day I found viewer version 2 and its greatly enhanced media on a prim feature, Wow. The screen shot shows me using EtherPad on a prim and typing into it directly from SL. The comment on the second line is also me talking into SL from a web page, this is for me the first new generation killer app. Remember having to snapshot all your slide images to jpegs and upload them to an SL board, well now you upload to Google Docs and paste in the shared url, Wow again. Web pages can be scrolled and media played including Flash games. If you have any thoughts, idea’s even anecdotal please feel free to comment, me I am off to play.

Regards Skipper

Saturday, 30 January 2010

OpenSim rollout blog

We have just started a new blog, that we shall be using to journal the rollout of the OpenSim platform for our FE and HE students here at Bromley College, as we continue to explore the possibilities of Virtual Worlds - so please feel free to visit and comment.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Blog from a Shimmer Island visitor

Object-Name: SI Blog
Region: Star Beach Island (194304, 294656)
Local-Position: (194, 182, 22)

Hi nice SIM

Aso Galicia