Monday, 22 August 2016

Westworld at Kitely

Remember that this week 21st - 28th August features as part of the Kitely History month the period 1800 to 1914 and Westworld, the hypergrid address is Hub.

Image courtesy David Kariukiption

And be sure not to miss out on the Grand Ball on August 28th at 11 a.m. Pacific on the Kingdom of Florin region. Please be encouraged to get in role for this one.

If you would like to interested offering an historic world then please contact Serene Jewell in-world or at for some lands and plots.

Monday, 8 August 2016

BIO Med Virtual Laboratory

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

Two new project requests

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.
Fig 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

Finally, I am getting around to mentioning my virtual world project 2015-16. I am yet to create a final user report for this, but it will appear in second life along with all the others at this slurl. The project was named  Crypto Island see fig 1
fig 1
and it gave me the chance to try out the use of \serious games as a tool for learning. And so 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).

fig 2
The scenario placed my students back in Britain of 1942 see fig 2,

where they were tasked with decrypting enemy messages, this of course meant they first had to learn about encryption techniques. The game element I introduced was for them to decipher the codes before damage from nightly air-raids see fig 3, 4 reached a predetermined value. In the event that the target value was exceeded, then the encryption would become correspondingly more difficult.
fig 3
fig 4

Students start by learning the fundamentals of encryption based situated in an old factory learning space, see fig 5.
fig 5

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.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Rocket Science in the virtual world

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.
Fig 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 BromleyCollege, very encouraging; there is a YouTube you can follow up on if you have moment.

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 College for more virtual worlds specifically Functional Skills and Bio Medical science, so please stay in touch for developments.


Monday, 24 February 2014

Treasure Hunt on an Alien Planet

The first virtual world project this year is basically a SciFi treasure hunt. A famous constellation class star-ship has crash landed onto an alien planet. The task for my students is that once in the virtual world, your task will be to explore the region for Dilithium crystals, these can be identified as small coloured cylinders scattered at random throughout the virtual landscape. Your task will be to identify the crystals by colour, allocated to your project using the table below. Having located a crystal, you should then record its x,y location. The data will then be used to write a desktop program capable of automatically navigating the map in such a way that crystal locations are avoided.


As you can see I have made good use of builds from OpenSim creations as well as creating a fare few of my own.

Comments welcome, regards Vega

Thursday, 28 February 2013

The 2013 Project Commences

This week saw the start of my OpenSim project for 2013, which in the end saw a very different implementation from the original designs around a Formula 1 race circuit. As you can see from the screenshot we are using a residential centred approach, with the various builds acquired courtesy of OpenSim Creations and Linda Kellie, really worth a look if you have yet to visit these two sites. The sim will be in support of a Java desktop project , where students will produce a GUI app through which it will be possible to simulate control and status of electrical domestic appliances and produces summary power reports accompanied by an estimate of cost per Kw/Hr. A side effect of all this was that I finally got to seriously look at current charges per Kw/Hr, and subsequently found myself walking around my home in real life turning stuff off!

As you can see from this second screen shot the avatars are mostly arriving, one just in cloud state, and very much default in both clothing and appearance , though in my experience this will be just about the first thing that will change. Each of my students will be provided with a variation of appliance configuration that will be replicated in OpenSim and so will act as a control to the performance of their app. In the real world of course you could simply take yourself off and check the results you were getting with actual appliances, this not being particularly realistic, virtual is certainly the next best and possibly more fun thing. So what about actual appliances themselves, well I built most of these with one or two exceptions, they are turn On and Off using a Touch event and send data to a central meter that displays the consumption and cost as text, but first the students have the task of installing them in situ. This main building by the way was part of the Open VCE project and houses our SL Scripting exhibition built by Clive Pro.
Please stay in touch for updates, Vega