EdTech 531: SL Building Basics

After reviewing the building basic videos and understanding how prims (primitive objects) work together I constructed a simple lamp.  I pulled in a texture I had used in a previous course of a Tetris image to create a Tetris lamp.  Then placed it on a display block that I customized by pulling in an image created in Fireworks.

For simple objects, the process is relatively simple.  My particular item was comprised of two prims I linked together.  The tricky part was aligning them on the axis so they create a cohesive object from all angles.  Honestly, I’m not sure that I have this just right at this point, however, with practice I should be able to create more complex objects.

tetris lamp & display_001

I then tried to create a couch out of four prims. This was a much bigger challenge to construct and get to a place where I felt like it was a decent virtual object. I can’t imagine the time it takes to construct an entire structure. I found a Minecraft texture image online that I used to create my video game themed couch. This just might turn into a complete line of products with a video game theme to them.
Minecraft couch_001

EdTech 531: Second Life

This week’s adventure in the pursuit of my masters degree takes me to delving into Second Life. Second Life is a virtual space that can be used for a virtual meeting space. In Second Life, there is a wide range of activities, meeting spaces, and interactive features.

This isn’t my first Second Life experience. I was first introduced to second life machinima as part of my professional development experience in 3D GameLab. Then again to the virtual space as a way to create a simulation game to experience educational concepts in EdTech 532.

The quests I’ve been working through in EdTech 531 have been a great refresher to the use of controls in Second Life. Overall, the system is pretty simple to navigate for users that know how to use a web browser. This interactive space has unlimited possibilities as the users create and modify their own spaces within the world.

EdTech 504 – Chapter 5 Summary

Chapter 5 Summary

Argumentation and Student-Centered Learning Environments

The opening line of this chapter by Nussbaum encompasses education perfectly. “Humans play games! These games often involve argumentation, which is the process of constructing and critiquing arguments (p. 114, Jonassen & Land).  The educational system is a game as learners we need to identify the winning condition of learning in tasks presented by educators and how best to meet those conditions.  In the case of argumentation, the game is creating a well-backed argument to either defend one’s position or to dig deeper into the curricula through systematic questioning.  Nussbaum refers to this as learning to argue and arguing to learn.  With the release of the Common Core State Standards, this has become a skill that is increasingly more important in classroom instruction.  As the high-stakes tests that evaluate student and teacher performance on these exams are looking for students to justify their responses by citing their sources back to readings.

Nussbaum indicates that “argumentation mapping” is an initial first step.  This would be the same as prewriting for a paper.  In the case of argumentation, typically students will be engaging in their arguments in verbal interaction or through a series of responses in a digital environment when a face to face interaction is not possible.  The mapping of the argumentation aids an individual to follow a linear thought through the possible arguments it also can be used to map out the conversation that occurs as part of the discourse discussion.

Collaborative reasoning is another form of argumentation that is often used as part of a lit circle model in elementary and middle school.  It is also an element of Socratic seminars as well.  In this model the following ground rules exist:

think critically about ideas, not about people;

try to understand both sides of an issue; and

restate what someone has said if it is not clear (p. 126, Jonassen & Land).

Students run the conversations in collaborative reasoning and teachers take a step back and act more as an observer.  This model does take some front loading for the teacher to take more of a back seat to allow for the free flow of in-depth conversation and questioning to create argumentative discourse to gain a deeper understanding of the content.

Argumentation as game play is done through scripted questioning style to gain a deeper understanding.  The programs created allow students to think more critically about the content often by using technology tools to create a dialogue discourse to gain clarity on a classmate’s position.

Jonassen, D. (2012). Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments (2nd ed., pp. 114-141). New York: Routledge.

EdTech 531 – Minecraft: Survive The Night

With the creation of a new world in Minecraft, there is a certain level of anticipation that occurs.  This anticipation is even greater when the world in which you create is in survival mode.  The first seven minutes in survival mode goes quickly when you need to acquire supplies and it is uncertain about where you will spawn.

Locating wood to create planks and sticks was not a problem.  Once I crafted these basic supplies, I built a crafting table in order to construct larger items such as a door, storage chest, and furnace.   The problem was in locating coal to build torches.  On the first several nights, I sat in the dark because there was no coal to be found at my initial location.  I kept on block space open on my roof in order to at least have moonlight and dug a pit below it so if something decided to creep into my home base it would die upon impact.  At least that was my theory with a drop of 10 blocks below the entry point from the roof.

My next plan to begin to grow food, as foraging didn’t yield very much.  Understanding this could take several day & night cycles to become harvestable I decided to do this sooner rather than later.  Harvest came, and I crafted bread, which I promptly ate.  My daughter with amazement (who had only played creative) exclaimed, “You need to eat in Minecraft!” To which I responded, “This is hard work, you need to keep your energy up.”

Each day I ventured farther from home base in search of a better area to mine on my search for coal in order to light the darkness.  I was fortunate to find a nice vein of coal in a nearby mountain side.  On my way back to home base, I was attacked only to lose my precious and valuable coal supply.  Lesson learned from this build a second crafting table and a storage box to keep coal on site to minimize loss of supplies.

As time went on, reality was suspended as my four-year-old and nine-year-old huddled around me to watch me do my homework on Saturday night.  We didn’t need TV to entertain… only a homework assignment from Dr. Haskell with a mission to survive.   With the cheers of get the creeper and I hear a spider watch out coming from either side of me, I kept crafting tools, foraging for supplies, building outposts, and venturing farther beyond our home base to explore this newly created world.  The most impressive point for my son was when I built a sword.

I survived several nights! Mission accomplished and reality suspended for several hours.

EdTech 531: Minedraft

This particular assignment took a bit to problem solve what I wanted to create.  Once I had my preliminary design idea, I used Minedraft to map out what my structure would look like.  I went for a practical creation or recreation rather.  I decided to recreate the lab classroom I teach in at The Founders Academy.

The challenge as a relative newbie in this build that I ran into was creating computer monitors while still keeping the scale of he room.  Using the pictures on the wall was relatively easy.  Wherein the problem lies was in creating this same look on freestanding tables.  When all else fails, this teacher turned to the experts for this assignment.  None other than my students.  The amazing creative and resourceful individuals gave several suggestions to creating the effect I was looking for.  I settled on using glass to attach my pictures to get a sense and feel of computer monitors in a lab setting.  For the overhead lights in the room I used glow stone rather than using torch lighting.