Mrs Booth’s Virtual Learning Journey with Southern Cross University 2011
Virtual worlds are a 3D space where you have an avatar and can move about – walk, run, fly, build structures, terraform, changing the land, program using a code to make objects do a certain thing, and create other objects that would normally be impossible in real life: floating buildings or underwater cities for instance. The applications are endless.
In 2011 I had a university assignment where I had to create a sustainable building for my science and technology subject. I am sure many primary students have had to create a building for their science project. This is what I did with two other students using virtual world technology. We built a strawberry farm.
I will be using a virtual world program called Sim-on-a-Stick (SoaS) in various classes and am very excited to see what the students do with the program. This is a great resource as it allows you to have your very own virtual world on a USB stick, school/home C drive, or an external hard drive, and for the more adventurous you can even create multiple users. Please note however that Sim-on-a-Stick will not run on a Mac computer though you can link a Mac to multi-user from a PC. Go to Lisa Sim for instructions. The great thing about SoaS is that it is completely safe as it does not need to access the internet to work. Virtual world technology has been used in many gifted and talented programs internationally but I feel strongly that all students should be allowed to experience this tool. This underlines the importance of all learners having access to programs that allow them to engage with their learning and gain successful outcomes. For more information about using virtual world technology in education I highly recommend the fabulous little book written by Judy O’Connell and Dean Groom called Virtual Worlds: Learning in a changing world
Students comment on using Sim-on-a-Stick at Coffs Harbour Public School
Why use 3D Immersive Technology? This is an excellent reason: Mission V and to watch what primary students have created go to their YouTube channel Mission V Education Ltd. This channel also has some great tutorials on getting started in a virtual world
Ethical and Moral Reasoning in Virtual Worlds: The Good Play Project :Howard Gardner and the MacArthur Foundation- Harvard University
Here are the instructions for downloading Sim-on-a-Stick to your USB: Teachers and parents please note that the avatar is an adult female and might need to be edited to create a male or female student avatar which I always do before the primary students are given their USB sticks. I also delete the ‘starlight upper and lower body’ texture found in the texture library (for lower stages). You can find student avatars through this link ilivesl.
Educators be aware that sim-on-a-stick needs NET Framework 3.5 or better installed and if your school firewall is shutting it down go to the firewall and tick ‘allow’ for the OpenSim.exe file. You MUST then reboot the computer before opening the program.
Multi-user sim-on-a-stick instructions Erik Nauman Open Blackboard
What do you think of virtual worlds? Please leave a comment.