I find myself wondering if and when I’d have learned about this community resource if I hadn’t enrolled in the Emerging Environments for Learning unit led by Peter Evans (as part of my M.Ed study through the University of Southern Queensland). It is possible I might have come across links to it on some of the sites/blogs I visit but there’s no guarantee: let’s call it serendipity! John Seely Brown acknowledges the power of serendipity for learning 🙂 but that’s another post perhaps.

A new node in my network (see George Siemen’s blog connectivism), a  fellow learner, Deepak Prasad, posted on what I’ve discovered is an awesome resource: WikiEducator where we are invited to join this community in “turning the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks“.

I’ve copied an extract from the home page that explains its purpose:

The purpose of WikiEducator

The WikiEducator is an evolving community intended for the collaborative:

  • planning of education projects linked with the development of free content;
  • development of free content on Wikieducator for e-learning;
  • work on building open education resources (OERs) on how to create OERs.
  • networking on funding proposals developed as free content.

I can see I’ll be visiting it often and hope to be able to contribute in some way as well as benefit from the extensive opportunities it presents: a vision well worth working for.  The Content page currently covers Education Background (the full continuum of formal education from early childhood to tertiary, and teacher education); Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC); technical and vocational education; professional development (elearning and ICTs, free and open education resources, workshop toolkits and health); active development hubs; funding sources & other.

It’s supported by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) which is “an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies”.

One resource example is the Designing for Flexible Learning course offered by staff in the Educational Development Centre of Otago Polytechnic and is designed to help both formal and informal learners access and interpret models, research and professional dialogue in flexible learning. I followed links to a great section on reflecting on learning (the context being with blog tools).

Leigh Blackall and Bronwyn Hegarty look to have constructed some amazing learning experiences and spaces here. My apologies to any others contributing to these I haven’t recognised in this post.

I’ll be sharing this resource with my fellow learning designers, something we do is share links to interesting resources in our community of practice. I suspect I could spend every waking moment exploring leads less awesome than this one, and the informal professional development time ‘allocated’ in our working week certainly couldn’t afford to support such a learning path. However, when it might contribute to the ‘greater good of humanity’ I believe being paid doesn’t matter so much.

USQ has been exploring a web 2.0 approach, particularly in the unit with Peter, using tiki wikis and mahara for an eportfolio. It was certainly an interesting learning experience, adventuring through interesting learning spaces. The knowledgeGarden wiki pages we produced during the unit have been relocated and are open to public access.  I have some pages there you may like to visit and there are many more well worth visiting:

Thanks for any interest,

Janice


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I’m sure variations on this question have appeared elsewhere, in spaces where educators and learning/instructional/educational designers are sharing experiences and exploring the potential of MUVEs (multi-user virtual environments) for teaching and learning. The myriad conversations are lively, creative, connected, critical, reflective, practical and illustrate the intense interest virtual worlds such as Second Life engender.

The number of Australian universities (and other sectors such as TAFE) with a presence in Second Life is on the rise. Queensland University of Technology is one of the more recent entrants, inspired by established examples such as University of Southern Queensland’s Terra Incognita, an inspiring sim from visionary PhD innovator Lindy McKeown <aka Decka Mah>. I’ve been fortunate enough to be working as a learning designer with QUT in Teaching and Learning Support Services (TALSS) at a time when support for exploring the teaching and learning possibilities and activities outside and inside the organisation was beginning. My avatar, Rilla Shan, was only a couple of months old at that stage and had been developing basic mobility and communication skills whilst discovering what the environment had to offer in education… and socially.

I’d heard about Second Life a couple of years before from… yes, a librarian! I’d been involved in a TAFE Learnscope project with her previously and had continued to exchange ideas and information on emerging technologies and learning. However, I didn’t follow up on it as the tone was one of doubt in terms of value in a real world context and there were other interesting paths being explored for digital storytelling through the basic Windows MovieMaker application, Audacity for sound editing, podcasting, wikis, blogs and other ‘web 2.0’ tools for publishing.

It is involvement in the field of education that has brought me into Second Life. Innovative people and open attitudes abound I’m pleased to find; here I am encountering a strange ‘land’ with its own protocols, standards, communities, skill-sets, tools, learning, administrative and support challenges. I had played some PC games such as Myst, my children were engaged in some multi-player games, yet Second Life didn’t feature.

It would be interesting to know how others have come to enter Second Life. Responses welcome!

It may pay to read the instructions for effective use of this WordPress blog opportunity… but as usual I will leap in and try the rapid prototyping approach. This is better than holding off on tapping the keys until I’m confident the words are judged worth publishing.

It is now four weeks into the current unit I’m studying through University of Southern Queensland, Instructional Design for Flexible Learning. Discussion forums are plugging along but a little quiet this past week as our first assignment, a project outline, is due. It’s unfortunate timing for me as responding to high priority issues has been my work focus with study coming off second best. Throw in the work-life-study balancing act where journeying to visit family and friends was also a high priority, a simultaneous quandary on the project … and I’ve had to request some extra time to submit. Ah well!

I’ve decided to go with blogging for my reflective log we’ve been asked to keep throughout the unit. It’s easy to share with my cohort that way with the bonus of keeping me commenting on other areas of interest related to work projects, readings and education overall. I may well create another page in this blog for the reflective journalling, just as I have created one focused on Second Life in education.