SPP - Archaeology
Archaeology was the shared thematic interest for considerable activity during Phase 3. Archaeology had been one of the three main curriculum threads during phase 1, when professional archaeologists were involved. However, partly owing to inexperience in organising and recording events in this environment, with this kind of virtual community, archaeology had perhaps appeared less successful in the first phase than it was – as became evident through simmering interest in phase 2 and a real resurgence in Phase 3.
- an investigation of Pompeii, among a recreation of some of its ruins, during which participants were surprised by a sudden volcanic eruption;
- the creation of museums including one of steam engines and a 50s N. American diner;
- the recreation of many archaeological sites and artefacts eg. the levels of Roman roads, 'El Castille', the Mayan temple at Chichen Itza, Guatemala, and aquaducts;
- a simulation of processes involved in marine archaeology, including recovery, preservation and curating of finds.
Benefits and impacts
There were 17 in-world meetings, generally lasting one hour, amost wholly on Friday evenings. These attracted a small core of students and staff; many others participated occasionally or at least once. The in-world activity was supplemented by much preparatory activity and communication on the forum especially, and some recording on the wiki. The very persistence of this interest, possibly characterised as remote from stereotypical pursuits of teenagers, and its academic quality yet absence from the formal curriculum, is in itself a remarkable feature of life on Schome Park.
A team constituted solely of Schome Park students met (for the first time!) to contest the national final of ‘Learners’ Y factor’ at the Handheld Learning conference in London October 13th-15th 2008. They presented their explorations in archaeology and came second.
We did not succeed in getting even short term involvement of professional archaeologists, when this was attempted; but this was probably because our efforts to do so were rather ad hoc, as specific interests eg. in marine archaeology, emerged. This problem in itself could be linked to our lack of success in capitalising at the time in the interest in archaeology that was stimulated by Phase 1 activities.
Key lessons learnt
Archaeology is a theme that is well suited to creative, multimedia exploration in this environment that also facilitates good levels of thoughtful discussion. It is likely to remain a minority interest among students as among the population, but is an example of how educational domains beyond the usual confines of the formal curriculum could be pursued in this project.
- Report from Phase 1 on Reconstructing Hadrian's Wall in Schome Park (Greaves 2007)
- Schome Park Archaeology
- SPP Time Explorers/London Presentation
Greaves, A. (2007) Reconstructing Hadrian's Wall in Second Life. Glasgow: The Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology. http://www.hca.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/case_Studies/reconstructing_hadrians_wall_in_second_life.php (accessed 9-Nov-2007)
NB. Contrary to what the history might indicate, the original version of this wasn't written by PeterT. He just cut and pasted it in here from the original wordprocessed version.