SPP - The spARTans

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The Schome Park Programme - The spARTans


In January 2008 a Telecommunications class from Los Angeles joined Schome. This was a new departure, as the students were enrolled in a formal, assessed class. They knew each other and worked together in both the physical and the virtual worlds. An initial assignment was to explore the Schome forums and wiki to find the answers to a set of questions. Later, the students worked in pairs to develop and complete an in-world project. They were also required to make a video, describing and assessing their project, including some assessment of what they had learned. The 17 students worked on 9 projects: a Second Life interpretation of the Boston tea party, a lemonade stand, an American diner, an X-wing dealership, a classical music recital, a chess game, a flight to the moon, a documentary of the project, and a wedding. All project videos are available on the SchomePark YouTube channel http://uk.youtube.com/user/SchomePark.

Due to the time difference, it was not easy for these students – who named themselves the SpARTans – to interact with those from the UK. This meant that the groups were unlikely to meet in world unless the SPARTans were logging on during class time (10.35-11.15 on Monday, 08.00-09.30 on Wednesdays and Fridays). However, the groups were also able to interact through the forums and the wiki.


All students were active in world and in the forums, as the table below shows. They reported that they had developed in-world skills such as building and navigation as well as the knowledge-age skills: team-working, co-ordination, communication and time management. Projects also involved subject-based knowledge ranging from the principles of architecture to the history of chess pieces. Athena and Estella, who worked on a classical music recita, reported: ‘We started contacting real music educators from around the world and building relationships with them and we met some really amazing people in the process.’

The SpARTans’ teacher commented:

I can’t say enough about the quality of the Schome Park project and what it has meant to my students. They are totally engaged and committed to their learning experiences […] Two students immediately took the lead (building on video game skills), and the rest of us are learning. It is particularly significant to me that one of these students was a very shy, reluctant learner last semester, and now she has blossomed into a leader.


The Telecommunications class included two students who were too old to be enrolled in Teen Second Life. After debate, it was decided to take these students on as Schome staff members, but this solution did not prove workable and these two students did not complete projects.

As Schome was understood by Schomers to mean ‘not school, not home’ – the involvement of a school-based group with deadlines and assignments was felt to go against the ethos of the project as a whole – and this provoked furious debate on the forum. The view of SpARTan Zzzzz was:

Yes, we are getting homework and have to deal with the "School Project" mentality whilst in Schome. But thats only during class. This 'project' is introducing us students to a revolutionary concept. Schome. And in Schome there is miles of elbow room, as far as I've seen so far. So many industrious individuals (like myself maybe?) may choose to do some schome-ing outside of the classroom. I know I already have my hand in one project (the trial of Lioney) and am attempting to get my other hand in another (the Titanic). So although we do have to deal with school, our expieriance here is not limited to just that. And that's what make Schome so awesome.

The SpARTans’ original assignment – to answer questions about Schome and Second Life was subverted when Zzzzzz posted the questions in the forum, and Schomers supplied the answers. This prompted a debate about cheating, the nature of the assignment and the principles of Schome.

Key lesson learnt

The SpARTans developed knowledge-age skills in response to their environment, organising individuals, manipulating objects and learning from the results. They did this in a meaningful context in which they took responsibility for organising and planning sessions. Their teacher prompted them to reflect on their activity and to express their reflections. They built knowledge together through dialogue; they also actively worked together towards goals which involved communication, creativity, leadership, motivation, problem solving and teamwork. Their learning was therefore active, authentic, constructive, cooperative and intentional – and these attributes were associated with them demonstrating knowledge-age skills at high levels.

Avatar name	         Forum	  	  No of    Time on Schome Park    Project
                Reg date    Last post   postings    Alpha    Beta	
AerodragonX	 9 Jan 08    23 May 08	    5	   46 hours   10 hours    X-wings
Astrid	         3 Nov 07    21 Apr 08	    2	   15 hours    2 hours    Tea party
Athena	         9 Jan 08    11 Apr 08	    5	   16 hours    4 hours    Classical music Part 1 Part 2
BabyBrecker91	12 Jan 08    21 Apr 08	    2	   27 hours    2 hours    Moonflight
Clownindenial	 9 Jan 08    14 Jun 08	   51	   56 hours   13 hours    Diner
Danimals	 9 Jan 08    25 Jan 08	    0	   20 hours    3 hours    Tea party
Estella	 9 Jan 08     5 May 08	    5	   19 hours    5 hours    Classical music Part 1 Part 2
Gremlin	 9 Jan 08    25 Apr 08	   10	   23 hours    5 hours    Documentary
Jethro	        16 Jan 08    23 Apr 08	    1	   34 hours    2 hours    X-wings
Johnny	        11 Jan 08    19 Jun 08	    9	   27 hours    4 hours    Moonflight
Koah	        16 Jan 08    16 Apr 08	    3	   17 hours    4 hours    Documentary
Ophelia	 3 Nov 07    21 Apr 08	    4	   26 hours    3 hours    Lemonade stand
Qwin	        12 Jan 08    21 Apr 08	    2	   18 hours    7 hours    Wedding
Silvermist	11 Jan 08    30 Apr 08	    8	   22 hours    7 hours    Wedding
Thespian	12 Jan 08    18 Jun 08	    6	   20 hours    5 hours    Lemonade stand
Tsuyoshenko	20 Feb 08     4 Jun 08	   30	   12 hours    8 hours    Chess
Zzzzz	        27 Oct 07    21 Apr 08	   25	   49 hours   11 hours    Diner
Noel	        10 Sep 07     5 Jun 08	    8	   24 hours    3 hours    Teacher

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 spARTans