SPP - The regatta

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The Schome Park Programme - The regatta


The second Schome Park Regatta took place on the evenings of Friday 12 October, Saturday 13 October and Sunday 14 October. The three-day event included six races, a prize-giving ceremony and a post-regatta celebration. In addition, there were planning meetings and training events at which Sparkers could learn to sail different boats in world. This event was entirely organised by Sparkers, with Sparker T and Sparker A taking the lead.

Benefits and impacts

The event took approximately two weeks to plan, using the resources of the wiki, the forum and Second Life. The summary plan for the final day, posted on the wiki, illustrated some of the ways in which the Sparkers planning, organising and technical skills had developed, especially when viewed against the first regatta, six months earlier. It included a ‘long skill race’ ‘short motor time trials’ and an ‘open race’ and gave precise details of the signalling system, procedures for protesting against others’ rules infractions, other rules and incentives for participation.

In order to carry out this plan successfully with a substantial number of competitors, entering and leaving at intervals, along with some spectators, the organisers and other participants overcame the following challenges:

  • technical ‘Second Life’ skills regarding terraforming, making circumnavigation possible, removing buildings,setting out the course, making objects phantom etc;
  • overcoming the communication challenge (since ‘chat’ only operates among avatars in close proximity) by inventing the flag system, scripting it and carrying it out successfully;
  • bringing in terminology and conventions of real-life competitive sailing;
  • organising an event, being mindful of diverse expertise, skills and availability, while maintaining an atmosphere of both fun and fairness.
SPii regatta 07-10-12 001.png


Overall the event was a considerable success; however some participants, especially including staff members, lacked sufficient expertise in sailing techniques to compete effectively.

Key lessons learnt

This event was effective in terms of very broad diversity in the range of activities it promoted. With very different levels of skills in different domains people were highly engaged and the chat logs showed excellent evidence of people learning from one another.

This event was key to our developing understandings of the ways in which the project, when operating to its potential, contributes to the development of what we have called ‘fluid leadership’ whereby the constant flow of learning and teaching exchanges among participants is experienced in intense, effective interactions (See Peachey et al 2008).

Related links


Peachey, A., Gillen, J. & Ferguson, R. (2008) Fluid leadership in a multi-user virtual environment educational project with teenagers: Schome Park. Paper presented at Ecologies of Diversities: the developmental and historical interarticulation of human mediational forms: meeting of the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research, San Diego,USA. September 8-13.

NB. Contrary to what the history might indicate, the original version of this was written by Fox. PeterT just cut and pasted it in here from the original wordprocessed version.

The Schome Park Programme - The regatta