So my last piece of work for this year - get my blog entry for December 2008 written.
OK the follow-up to the last blog. The eight sets of voting systems have been tracked down and delivered. Each kit consists of a case, an RF receiver, 40 clickers and some software. However, the delivery came in a box of cases, a box of clickers and then a pack of receivers + software. I had a great hour or so putting them together. I’ve had fun distributing them to people too, I gave one to each of the four departments in EC who responded, gave three out to individuals who asked nicely and kept one for myself for staff development.
I demoed them at a faculty elearning event together with Tim Davis, who did a session on computer aided assessment with CU Online (it does work …. sometimes) and John Goodband who’s actually used audience response systems in teaching, not just played about with them like I have. Unfortunately not many people could come because a couple of other events were scheduled for the same time. I asked around a bit and it sounds like my event was scheduled first, so really everyone else should have backed off a bit. I have another event scheduled for the 25th Feb (my Dad’s 84th birthday!!) when I have Will Stewart from Bolton doing the dissemination from the ASEL project (on using audio to provide feedback for students) so no-one had better schedule anything to clash with that.
The bid with BDSO to Europe is coming together. I’m hoping we can get that off the ground, and I can use the SGI working retreat to put something together.
I’m now not going into the Uni unless I have a meeting - I decided the airconditioning was too intense to endure, and with the very poor network it just makes sense to work at home. I still don’t leave work before 7:00 p.m. if I’m in, but will put off coming in as long as possible. Ideally someone could fix both, but I’m not holding my breath.
The writing commitments have got a bit out of hand. I still haven’t been able to finish off the proceedings, and I now have volunteered to collaborate on five papers. They are on:
identity and second life
teaching theatre studies in second life
cultural attitudes to immersive virtual worlds
There’s also the chapter to the CIPEL book to write, and the PhD. Best not forget that.
I’ve added another wiki - I’m finding wikispaces a great way to post all the information I have in one place for other people to read. The only downside is that, since wikis are normally collaborative spaces other people expect to be able to add to them. Some are, but some are just for compiling my own material. The most recent is http://markchilds.wikispaces.com/ I was surprised recently to find out that at Coventry we can’t update our own staff pages. I have stuff changing all the time and there’s no way I’m going to contact someone else to change my page every other week, so I’ve put the wiki together as a space to direct people for the most up-to-date information, not what I was doing a few months ago. I’m also going to put my CV on there, to deflect all the requests I get for it from the uni.
One thing to add to the staff roles and so on, is that I’m now chair of the educational land use committee for Chilbo, the community I’m part of in Second Life. I’m hoping it will get me a bit more embedded with the muvers and shakers in SL. So far I’ve just been arranging my desk and working out where everything is. If you’re in SL pop by - I’ll add a SLURL to my wiki at some point.
You know sometimes you day something and wonder how far everyone’s current language has deviated from the one we grew up with. “Add a SLURL to my wiki”.
New things for December were:
creating video and machinima - the first of these were for a colleague who is running a course on an introduction to Higher Education - one of the machinima I;ve done was also for the course, the rest were of a pantomime that the slam dram society did at the Open University island. All of these can be seen at https://files.warwick.ac.uk/mchilds1/browse for a limited time only.
Trying to track down various solutions for video capture. I’ve been asking around for something that can do this, and think I’ve got a solution, thanks to Furrkh Aslam and Emily Oliver who’ve been using Tricaster. This is, in the first instance, for a guy in EKM called Nigel Denton who want to tape a visiting lecturer, but long term I think it’s a strategy EKM want to use for a lot of their visiting lecturers. Getting something easy and reliable is the main thing there.
I think I’ve also got a space for EC on the ELTAC project, which is looking at using Echo 360. I had the bright idea of doubling up the functionality of the cameras so we could also use them for webconferencing. Yes it’s a bright idea, but it’s also been part of the plan from the start, so no kudos there.
I went to visit Eduserv (the funders) to talk about the Theatron project, which I’m managing. We also had a face-to-face with most of the project partners and an inworld meeting with half the remainder. It looks like things are really coming together with that - all of the projects are underway and coming up with findings and we now have six theatres in the rezz-on-demand tool (though I still can’t persuade the developers that rezz should have two zeds in it). I’ve also now done some evaluation of learning in Second Life, by surveying the students I did a session on Theatre Design to. That’s the good news. The bad news was from my supervisor, which is that spending twenty minutes in SL is just “tinkering” and I really need to talk to people who’ve spent a decent length of time in there. I’d like to go back and talk to the students to get some interview data from them. I’ve just read Sian Bayne paper in ALT-J on the uncanny in second life. She gets some really rich data through interviews, that I always envy, very open full reflective discourses by people who sometimes sound madder than a box of frogs.
The SL thing has been taking over a bit though this month - I think at one point I had two meetings in a row in there, followed by a few hours test machinimating the pantomime rehearsals, followed by a bit of a chat, followed by an interview the next morning. Something like six hours out of twenty four spent in SL rather than RL. Which results in me spending my time reading books rather than anything else when relaxing, just to be offline for a while (though still not qualifying as the real world though, not when those books are about Hastur, Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath).
OK - enough for this year. I would conclude with an annual rant against Christmas, but I assume that’s pretty much just echoing what’s going round in your heads.
Till the next one.