Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Web 2.0 and the law (and textures, too!)

We're stuck as far as being able to get into SL, so after spinning my wheels for a few days, have decided to bring in the legal aspects that govern online behaviors. Even though cyberspace is still (mostly) an anarchy, more and more legal statutes are being created to protect people and to bring order to chaos (I'll keep my own opinions to myself here in the interest of allowing people to make their own decisions. Just how far the government needs to go in protecting people from themselves is an ongoing debate).

We've been reading an article over the past two days, stopping to take apart the arguments and decide how we feel about them. The kids' attitudes range from outrage to fear to "just-ingnore-it-and-it'll-go-away." They'll be journaling on the topic tomorrow (ran out of time today) and I'm interested to see where their thoughts take them.

On a different note: the kids have been creating textures using Paint, Picasa and Microsoft Office Picture Manager (three really easy-to-use programs, two of which are already on the computers. Picasa's a free download and that was a easy, too). It took a long time to get the jpg's uploaded as we have 13 laptops all trying to access the same wireless port at the same time. Needless to say, we ended up splitting the class into groups and uploaded over three days' time. But they had fun playing. Now if only we can get into SL so they can see the wonders they can do with those textures...

Till later,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What a month!

Sorry I haven't posted in nearly a month...the day-to-day running of the classroom has kept me far busier than I really have time for. To bring things up-to-date....

First off...Thespis is in SL at school! Yay! The techs managed to do their magic and get me access to the Teen Grid right from my laptop at school. This means I've been able to project the image for the class and show them some of the stuff they'll be able to do once they are all in world (I'm assured the techs are working on the program that's needed to create the student accounts. My biggest hope is that, once they've gone through all this for my class this year...things will be in place for future years and future classes. If we want entire Spanish classes coming inworld, the teacher can't wait 3 months for the accounts to be created!).

The kids got excited all over again when I showed them what could be done. While I don't like the fly animation I bought with the animation HUD I have (the kids make fun of it and I let them. It'll wear off eventually), everything else works well. We did find a leftover motorcycle and reported it to the sim owner. They actually enjoyed finding that and got quite excited about riding it. But permissions were set that only the owner of the bike could actually control it :( .

I also took a day and showed them what could happen with building and with textures. Really a very brief overview. I'm not expecting anyone to remember how to actually do it. But the theory is that I'll show them the once...then, since we're not in-world, we'll make some of our own textures and, once they ARE in, they'll learn how to upload the textures and begin playing around with the prims.

So, to that end, today we used the Paint program and created textures. It was fun to watch them play around and draw stuff they've obviously been drawing in Paint for a while. Everyone was familiar with the program (a pleasant surprise to me), so I turned them loose while I left the projector on and created a piece of my own. I then downloaded Picasa to my computer (I'm still using a temporary one, but that's a whole different story for a whole different blog). When I bemoaned the fact that they didn't have Picasa on theirs...several of the kids checked and said they did! Turns out it's on ALL the laptops, but not the big machines along the side of my room. So those on laptops were able to then tweak their drawings using Picasa's tools. I ended up with a very nice zebra skin, if I do say so myself (and I wasn't even trying!).

Next step will be to upload all the textures to the wiki, not only to brag a little about each one, but to share them with each other and have a place that they can go to grab what they need. I love Torley Linden's site for textures...but he hosts them on Flickr and the school blocks that site. So...we work around it and create our own :) !