Thursday, 11 December 2008

Micro-Learning Induction Session

For this particular activity, I found it initially hard to keep to the KISS principle (Keep It Short and Simple) for an induction activity, despite having the instructions below :


* To design an induction activity for new users to Second Life based on a set of identified competencies from the extended Global Kids Curriculum (GKDx)
* The GDKx is available here on the Simteach wiki

Have a look at GKCx, Level 1, Modules 1-4:
# Select a mission that you would like to develop from one of these modules.
# Imagine an educational activity or resource that takes into consideration the following aspects:

* Allows the development of the mission's powers
* Is engaging, playful
* Complies with the list of principles for an effective design of an orientation session.

The modules listed are:

* Avatar: Appearance
* Getting around: Walking and Flying
* Getting around: Taking a closer look
* Communicating: Chat

After a lot of thought and hesitation, I decided to create another avatar to help me 'feel' and experience the frustration of the newcomer to SL again.

Once I did that, I knew which area I wanted to work in : Appearance. This is the first thing that most people want to change, improve and customise. So, I based the micro-lesson on Level 1 Module Avatar: Appearance.

My own frustrations: I personally get frustrated, bored and 'blocked' with too many written instructions and explanations. They hinder rather than help. As 3D virtual environments are exactly that - visual and aural - I believe that a video tutorial is the best resource to use for a pre-induction session. It can be played again and again without the learner having to be in SL. Once they feel confident, they can go in-world and play.

Based on these principles : KISS and virtual/aural, here is the developed micro-lesson. The target audience is language learners :

Overview : Now that you have your avatar, you may want to change its appearance. Let's do exactly that and at the same time, revise adjectives, together with comparatives and superlatives to describe a person's appearance. Time to play!


By the end of this activity,
- You will be able to change your avatar's physical appearance using My Inventory, the pie menue.
- You will be able to change your avatar's clothes.
- You will be able to customise and switch the appearance of your avatar using My Inventory.

Before entering SL, watch this video and take notes if necessary. Watch it as often as you want.

Once you feel comfortable with the video content, enter SL, go to a sandbox where you can experiment (example: Warmouth 26.223.96 (PG) ) and follow the instructions below.

Mission :

When you opened your SL account, you chose an existing avatar with a set of clothes. I chose Online Gamer and male gender.

First, you're going to change the look of this avatar but not the clothes.

Physical Appearance

1. Make it shorter
2. Make it fatter
3. Change it's gender (male to female or female to male)

Saving your Avatar Shape

You can save multiple shapes and change them whenever you like.
To save a new shape:
1. Choose the Save As button below the sliders. A window will appear with a default name New Shape.
2. Double-click on New Shape and rename it with a name you'll remember! You will then be able to find it in your Inventory easily.

Eyes are saved as separate from both Shapes and Skins. Use the Save As button and give your eyes a great name!

Now, let's play a bit more with the eyes, mouth, skin to do the following

4. Make it older
5. Make it younger

Now, click 'Randomise' to see what happens. Continue to click, just for fun. Does the avatar appear stranger, more attractive?

As you change the avatar, save it so that we can all see your results in our group meeting later this week in SL.

Here are the physical transitions of my Online Gamer avatar.


As seen in the video tutorial, change your clothing, the colours and the textures. Once you are satisfied with your clothes, save the outfit or outfits.

Save your look first

To save your current (or basic) look do the following:

  • Right-click your Avatar and choose "Appearance";
  • Choose "Make Outfit";
  • Give the outfit a folder name that you'll remember in the field provided at the top of the "Make Outfit" window;
  • Check all the parts of your appearance that you want to save to the folder (to save your complete avatar, check all available items)
  • Click Save.

See you in the next session with your own transitions :-)

Fin :-)