Friday, November 28, 2008

Saturday Morning In SL


It was way past midnight when my good friend Doris popped up in my google chat to ask how I was. I decided to chat on SL Mutenation Island instead of IMing on Google. We had so much fun as I landed on top of her head. It was very relaxing to sit by the fire and chat before retiring to bed. It was almost like a bed time story. I am really enjoying Mvn08.

Thank you, Doris.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Muvenation Island for a Makeover



I was on Muvenation Island on November 27 as planned by group 2. However, I didn't see anyone at the scheduled time, so I sat around for a while, then started in the direction of the beach and met up with Sus, dressed up as clown, who explained how to get my avatar to face me so I can take photos. Then, we went to a bonfire set up by Nergiz. After that, we went to get a makeover. We met, Moira and Dafne. Sus had a hard time getting rid of her monkey suit. It was very funny. I had a good time, but I didn't see any members of group 2.

Here is one from my sets for mvn08 :




Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Waiting for Muves



Catering to my Online Needs
I need a daily routine in order to feel connected to an online course. As an illiterate Second Life oldie with no real knowledge of how to use the environment for learning, I would be interested in finding a guide to help me get a new look for my avatar. I have had the same look for about 2 years. I think it's time for a makeover. It would be great if someone could take the initiative and set up a live online session in SL on how to dress the avatars for various occasions.

Thank you.
Nellie

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Newbies and Oldbies on MUVEnation 08 (mnvn08)


I am not new to SL, but I am new to teaching and learning with SL so I put myself in group 2. However, I am considered somewhat of an expert by many in using Web 2.0 tools and have been integrating e-learning technology into my classes since the mid 90s. I have been learning online in graduate programs since 2003 (MA and PhD). I use Moodle, wikieducator (have used wikidpaces, pdwiki and wetpaint), WiZiQ (have used Interwise, Elluminate, Hotconference and others), and am a webmaster of a few websites. I organize online conferences, present in public online sessions, and am very involved in free e-learning in developing countries worldwide. So, I guess I am not new to technology. I would like to point out that I feel very comfortable in a mess and confusion only sparks my creative juices. I am available if anyone needs my expertise. I would love to set up a few live voice and/or recorded sessions if you would be interested. Listening to a human voice may make the online experience more comfortable and comforting for some.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

MUVEnation Program


Tutorials for Beginners on SL


I have been exploring SL with these excellent tutorials and resources for beginners on SL. I also enjoyed some of the videos provided by SL.

MUVEnation: Week (01-MVN08)



I am fine with being lost and going from one environment to another. I learn experientially so making mistakes aligns perfectly with my learning style. Actually, I may prefer it that way as long as I don't lose points, fail a course, or get kicked out. In other words, as long as there are no penalties for learning from being all over the place, I am fine. I just need reassurance that the program allows for chaos in learning.

I have gone through the steps (activities 1-7) instinctively. I somehow always manage to wind up in places that provide me with learning opportunities. Fate, I guess. However, I would like more. I would love to observe a few SL classes on how to teach English to real learners. The sessions may be recordings, if that's an option.

I managed to find a link again on the main page to MUVEnation Island on SL. I was teleported into a desert. I tried to add some trees so I can sit under the shade. I got bored with no one around so I found the word teleport so I clicked on that and wound up in another area with lots of people. I interviewed them and got some interesting answers on why they were there. I have been exploring SL in various learning spaces for a while now, but lack any real progress. I don't need to make friends vi SL. I have plenty of cyber colleagues. I would like to to use SL for instructional purposes. I need help in setting up my own learning/teaching environments and learning how to use SL effectively. Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chaos: Introduction and Resume (mvn08)


My name is Chaos and I am unemployed because no one seems to want Chaos in their organization. However, I hope my status will change by the end of the year after completing MUVEnation. I am going to use this blog to develop a professional resume. Let me start with my background.

Before I begin, I would like to thank my husband for introducing me to the computer and our three wonderful children for their patience since the mid 1980s. I will use the third person so that the resume sounds professional. Let me begin with my passion for learning outside formal educational institutes as most of what I know I acquired independently.

Background

Past

Chaos has always been curious about life and wanted to understand why people think the way they do and why we are here. Chaos was never satisfied with what school subjects had to offer her and went beyond by visiting public libraries and learning independently for herself and not for others (her parents, teachers, the school, or friends).

Present

The Internet is providing Chaos with a huge library full of information. Chaos spends more time online than she does sleeping. In fact, Chaos stopped sleeping in a normal way so if you hire her, she will never say that she's too busy because she never is. Chaos always finds time for online work. Chaos has developed learning and coping skills as a result of her work with the computer and the Internet. Chaos started with word processors, then progressed to html and web authoring tools such as Dreamweaver and FrontPage. She advanced by developing her own learning objects, WebQuests, and social network groups. She has created some ning and facebook groups and belongs to many social networks for her continued learning. In case you missed anything; Chaos learns online.

Philosophy of Life

Chaos has always connected to spiritual things or things she couldn't prove. Maybe that's why she started her doctoral studies so she can learn how to conduct research and understand the academic world and specifically organized institutions of learning. She never understood the need for learning school subjects in institutions of learning. She is doing her dissertation study on blended learning and instructor use of technology in higher education. Her philosophy is a mixture of existentialism and Buddhist mindfulness meditation practice.

Technologies

Chaos has been exploring various technologies since the mid 90s with the advent of the Internet. Chaos brought a great deal of chaos as she explored ways of integrating technology into her English high school classes. The teachers and parents did not like the idea of students playing on the Internet for entertainment while at school. They didn't see any value in bringing the Internet into learning and instruction. Chaos did not give up. In fact, she remained steadfast in her beliefs that the Internet would become a huge resource of information for learning one day. Today, the Ministry of Education, administrators, principals, and students are very pleased with technology. Teachers, however, still feel threatened by the Internet as a learning tool. Chaos is currently doing her PhD or doctorate as they call it at the University of Phoenix. She is researching blended learning and instructor use of technology in higher education. She is completing her final year of course study in educational leadership specializing in curriculum and instruction. Chaos hopes her research findings will lead to improvement in instruction and learning and in professional development.

Innovations

Chaos has encountered lots of road blocks from school stakeholders, colleagues around the world, and from friends in trying to use technology for instruction and learning. Only her family has shown support from day 1. In order to manage with all the opposition, Chaos practices mindfulness meditation, the Alexander technique and Reiki. Chaos believes in people and in giving everyone an equal chance. Chaos does not view herself as a pioneer. She is driven by a need to help others, love for education, and ways of improving instruction and learning. Her needs are not innovative in any way. They are shared by many people.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

MUVEnation: eLearning for Best Practices


What a way to start a new month. I have just signed up for MUVEnation, a European project co-funded by the European commission as part of the lifelong learning program initiative 2007-2013. I hope I will be accepted as only 20 participants are allowed from countries outside of Europe.

Teachers are constantly learning as they search for best practices to improve instruction and learning. The Internet offers wonderful opportunities to learn and share. FOC08, CCK08, and now MUVEnation are examples of free online courses educators can access for professional and personal developments.

I have been using technology since the mid 80s. It all started when my husband decided to surprise me with an electric typewriter, only it had a different name. It was called a computer. At first I was surprised, then disappointed and later a bit frustrated as I tried to use a popular word processor. Once I got the hang of the word processor, my husband brought me a new version which was completely different. I now had a new software to learn. However, before I got the hang of this one, my dear husband brought me a newer version. It went on like that for a few years as I learned one, another turned up. After a while, I started enjoying the process of learning new things. Gradually I began to use my know and started integrating computers into my EFL classes. At first my students were reluctant to use computers in class, but after a while things got easier and they enjoyed the lessons a lot more. However, my life did not get any easier, I had to fight with their parents, other teachers, and the administration of the school who claimed the students were not learning; they were wasting their time playing games. I did not give up. I did everything I could to learn how to make the lessons engaging and effective. I had to prove that technology would work. It seems kind of strange now that I think of it.

Today, I am no longer fighting the system. I am still the only teacher among 250 who integrates technology into her classes at my current work setting, but that is better than none. No one criticizes or interferes with my work. Parents, teachers, the administration allow me to do as I please. I get as much computer time as I want. No one else goes near the computer lab. I have a projector, a screen, audio, video, Interwise (virtual classroom), and anything I wish. The principal approves and pays for any project I decide to join. I'm blessed. After 34 years of teaching , I am still enjoying my work. I am not burnt out as the saying goes. I love my job.