SPP - 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.