The SchomeBase bliki

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SchomeBase home page - The SchomeBase bliki

This bliki provides a (reverse) chronological account of the schomey activities that we were getting up to on SchomeBase - our initial island in the Second Life virtual world.

How come we always end up dancing at meetings in SL?

15th Feb 09 - SchomeBase vanishes

To be honest the Schome team were not doing much with SchomeBase once The Schome Park Programme started. Over the years it had been used by various folk to support informal learning (including members of the JISC RSC community and then folk from the Open University). We decided in late 2008 that our focus was going to be on other things and that we couldn't justify having an under-utilised island ... so we asked Linden Lab to remove it.

8th Feb 07 - and it was good

The Ethics and Philosophy section of the grid is starting to take shape in the South East section of SchomeBase - and it all starts to feel less clinical!

SchomeBase from SW 07-02-08 001.jpg SchomeBase SE 07-02-08 003.jpg SchomeBase from SE 07-02-08 005.jpg SchomeBase SE corner 07-02-08 004.jpg

But hang on - what is going on under the sea?
Rebecca - do you know anything about this? ;O)
What me, gov? 0;-)

7th Feb 07 - Act of god?

I don't know about global warming but something pretty dramatic happened to SchomeBase last night. Transpires that Dan had a plan - which I guess is a good thing - though as you can see from my initial comment in the forum there is some aclimatising to be done! 300px

5th Feb 07 - Global warming strikes SchomeBase!

Globalwarming.jpg Fox brought the inner tube she bought to ride the Tubes of Saturn along to float on the waters of SchomeBase. But where is all the water? Why have the fish been left high and dry?

And now - all the fish have gone. Our native fauna wiped out in one mass extinction.

3rd Feb 07 - Hidden cottage discovered

I was doing my normal patrol of the island to check that all was in order - when I noticed something suspicious. Yup someone has been building without planning permission. The freaky plants guarding the doorway made a certain lover of fauna and flora spring to mind.

Hidden cottage 07-02-03 001.jpg Can you find the cottage?

Do you think you know who is responsible?

The Tudor cottage was clearly inappropriate for the location. It has been replaced by a woodland glade :-)

31st Jan 07 - schome-NAGTY Teen SL Pilot meeting

You might be forgiven for thinking things have gone a bit quiet in here - the truth is we have been so busy getting ready for the schome-NAGTY Teen Second Life Pilot that we haven't had time to bliki about it (oh and Dan was away on holiday too! lol).

We had a meeting of the OU team on the schome-NAGTY TSL Pilot - which for some reason I can't really explain we shortened to SNP - were joined by Alan/Liam and Andrew/Teklac from Liverpool Uni (who are working on the archaeology strand of the pilot).

Our various avatars met up, some for the first time, and introduced ourselves. Then we took a tour of the island and tried out some of the facilities. We sat on the stones of Schomehenge at midnight, flew to the development platform with the help of a variety of inventory items, shot ourselves from cannons, and balanced precariously outside the photobooths for pictures.

Vlad showed impressive skills on the virtual BMX, making his way effortlessly up the spiral track suspended in mid air.

Like many SecondLife events, our meeting ended with an impromptu dance.

Gill has posted an account with photos on the Second Life events page.

15th Jan 07 - Using the photobooth

Having failed to find the photobooth on their last visit, Marie and Euphloozie were determined to succeed this time.

thumb The photobooth seems to be missing something?
Ah, yes, a freaky plant!
Much more lively.
Why not try it yourself?

14th Jan 07 - Different perspectives

At the exact same time Marie saw this
Euphloozie saw this

So, is it safe for Marie to move to the blue piece of path on her right? Whose view is correct?

11th Jan 07 - Trying out Schomer's skills test

Euphloozie and Marie logged on from neighbouring laptops and visited Schomebase to try out Schomer's skills test.

It's a bit disconcerting that the standard Teleport to Schomebase sets you precariously on a sheer face of the mountain, so you always end up toppling down the cliff when you arrive.

I agree completely and have been trying to fix this but without success. We'll need to get this sorted as a matter of priority? --Dan 21:51, 11 January 2007 (GMT)
I hope I've sorted this - turned off the telehub and reset the teleport point for SchomeBase - you should arrive just by the noticeboard in the reception area ... Test it and let me know ... PeterT 06:24, 12 January 2007 (GMT)

We visited the Scho-op Library. Very impressive. However, because the walls are near-transparent, we spent a lot of time trying to walk through them before giving up and flying in through a hole in the ceiling :-)

We walked up Schomer's walkway, which is fairly wide and not too difficult. However, Euphloozie then pushed Marie off, and we discovered that you fall into the water and can't fly out, neither can your friend teleport you out. This obviously makes sense from the point of view of learning to walk in a straight line without copping out and flying. However, if this is a skills test for people who have just arrive, we need to make it clear to them that those properties are switched off, or they'll just think that they haven't worked out the flying controls.

Agreed - was planning to put an arch (or even rotating sign) around the path saying 'No fly zone' at the point where the no fly zone starts. PeterT 06:26, 12 January 2007 (GMT)

Slightly soggier, we set to work on moving the piece of pathway into place. We found the piece fairly easy to move and spin, however, lining it up was difficult. This isn't helped by the fact that when it looked lined up to one of us, it was obviously wildly out from the other's perspective. In the middle picture below, Marie is standing on the missing piece, unable to move on. However, from Euphloozie's position, the piece looked pretty well aligned.

Of course, this could just be because we haven't figured out perspective in SecondLife. However, in the third picture, Marie has just walked to that blue bit of path from the blue bit where Euphloozie is standing. She did so by walking across the red piece, using it as a bridge. It hasn't been moved since she crossed - that's a working bridge.

Camera controls are the key to any building work in SL (View>Camera controls) - without those you will never get the bit of bridge lined up (though if it works with the bridge just sort of in position that is probably good ...) PeterT 06:32, 12 January 2007 (GMT)
Yes, we spent some time fiddling with the camera controls - but just grew more confused.

At this point we got stuck. We arrived at a big blue platform with various pieces of track beside it which wouldn't seem to move. We didn't spot a photobooth.

The DIY Photobooth is the platform with the big sign (backdrop) behind it. You select the backdrop you want (we need to add some more/different ones) then turn yourself so you are facing the main island, then use your camera controls to line up the photo you want and click CTRL' which will save the image to your hard disc. I know - there need to be some instructions on the ramp itself ... As for the pieces of track on the big blue ramp - the ones on the edge, which are mostly stood on end, are set so that anyone can copy them. I have asked Glyn and Terrence to build two sonic tracks. The plan is that there will be ramp sections on the other big blue platforms (over the DIY Photobooth) that folk can use to build their own sonic tracks ... PeterT 06:32, 12 January 2007 (GMT)
OK, I was being too literal in my interpretation of a Photobooth. This is more a photo opportunity! We didn't realise we had to copy the track. Thought there wasn't very much of it :-) Fox Phlox has just picked up a BMX that I'm rather pleased with on Help Island, so I may bring a couple of those up to the track and have a go with those.
Love the idea of BMX bikes on the sonic tracks - maybe you could leave one there that folk can use - or better still give one to Kieron to put in the store PeterT 09:13, 14 January 2007 (GMT)
You can also get dog sleds: useful for when it snows Martin le Voi 15:18, 15 January 2007.
Euphloozie moves the missing piece
How did that work as a bridge?

8th Jan 07 - enhanced Photobooth

Over the weekend Dan improved the DIY Photobooth by increasing the size of the backdrop screen and repositioning the controls. You should give it a try.
My second attempt at using the DIY Photobooth - with enhanced backdrop

4th Jan 07 - UK Educators Group - Eduserve meeting

UK Educators in Schomebase Arena

Members of the UK Educators group met on Schomebase to further discuss the recent Eduserv call for bids. Art Fossett from Eduserv was there to introduce the bid, and then to answer questions from interested parties.

It was also the first event held on Schomebase that welcomed visitors from outside the Schome/OU group. The island peaked at 24 visitors, a decent tally for an island still in infancy.

Again the tone was one of enthusiasm, although the questioning was tough for poor Art who felt like he was being interviewed. It was good to see another good turnout from the OU. A full transcript of the meeting can again be found on the simteach wiki. There is also an entry in the SchomeBase bliki and it's also made it on to Flickr and Snapzilla

4th Jan 07 - DIY Photobooth

I decided to start work on some of the 'activities' for the SL skills. So built a ramp out to the Pinacle, which folk have to walk along without falling off. Then there is a bit of the ramp missing, which you have to move and rotate so you can get to the DIY Photobooth. Then once 'in' the DIY Photobooth you need to master camera controls and taking snapshots. So nothing too difficult there then! lol
My first attempt at using the DIY Photobooth

21st Dec 06 - Playing Prisoners' Dilemma followed by 'dancing'

Strategy Gaming in Schomebase Plaza

Elsa Dickens bravely stepped into the limelight to run a strategy game in the Schomebase Plaza. Two teams of two participated in what was a "Prisoner's Dilemma"-style game of negotiation, collaboration and treachery.

Aside from the fun of playing the game itself, the time was hugely valuable in discovering the strengths and weaknesses of such activities in SL. Moving objects around within time constraints was not easy at all, and a modified game board of a more automated kind would help the game enormously.

The ability to have private IM discussions within our teams whilst standing (virtually) next to each other is a huge strength of this kind of medium. Something which cannot be achieved with both teams sitting round a (real-world) table.

Interesting Elsa pointed out at the end that the teams were oblivious to discussing tactics openly from round 1, when they could have chosen to work together. Instead both teams sat behind their metaphorical fences and made decisions independently.

Xmas dancing

The interesting low tech approach gave lots of scope for issues to arise ... For more info see the 'Help trying out a game' discussion topic.

After the game we partied ... which involved a lot of frenzied dancing. Schomer maintained an educational element to the event by demonstrating the futility of break dancing in a skirt.

The use of the Plaza to host the game and then the party demonstrated its versatility - nice one Woop.

18th Dec 06 - Virtual meeting of Schome Educators

We held a meeting on SchomeBase - which started out as an exploration of the island (including the building area) and ended up as a discussion of the Eduserve funding call (using the discussion circles on the archepelago). We also discussed the discussion circles themselves - and it was suggested that we try a goldfish bowl approach - so we then created a second large group discussion area with one smaller seating circle inside the larger outer one. We need to test this out to see if it works ....

16th Dec 06 - SchomeBase terraformed

SchomeBase from the North/North East
I found out how to lower and flatten the land - and went for it - as per the plan needless to say. When I started on the mountains I was inspired by the pinacles that develop when you are using the 'Raise land' tool - and so went for a tall pinacle with a kind of volcanic crater next to it (you can't really see the crater very well from here - but you can fly right into it).
The islands off the West coast of SchomeBase
OK so I got carried away when I realised what was possible, and a square island would be odd - so I added a cluster of little islands off the West coast of SchomeBase. I thought these might become the discussion area (What do you recon?)

Here are some other views of SchomeBase:

SchomeBase from the North West
The mountains from the North
Looking across SchomeBase from the top of The Pinacle

Incidentally, in that last picture I'm stood on the platform that Dan has built as the starting point for the observatory on top of The Pinacle.

15th Dec 06 - SchomeBase Planner added to building zone

Schomebase planner

I created a planning area inspired by the tour of the ISM yesterday. It's up in our 'out the way' building area, comprising the following elements

  • a snapshot of Peters sketch (see below) along with the legend of what is what,
  • a 'satellite' image of schombase as it is at this moment in time,
  • and some 'shapes' representing the various ideas from aforementioned sketch.

I'll be very interested to hear if this helps out with planning and design. -- Dan

Where is this? And how do I get to it? --Olly 15:25, 16 December 2006 (GMT)

Head to the North West corner of Schomebase, then head 300 metres up (you'll need a tool like the Flight Feather to get that high). Should be easy to find as it's a big slab 60x30m. -- Dan

14th Dec 06 - field trip, playing field, emerging plan

The SchomeBase playing field
A full day - I started to make a playing field where we could try out some of Mark's mass avatar games (to see what the system can cope with) - had major problems with the ramps at each end - but Elsa saved me (thank Elsa).
"Mass avatar games" - I like that! I think I'll go with that as an expression! :-) --Mgaved 10:38, 15 December 2006 (GMT)
Elsa also added some flowerbeds to the reception area that Dan started yesterday. The playing field is right next to the reception area at the NorthWest corner of SchomeBase.

You can just make out the reception area and playing field in this picture ... it was a misty morning when I took the photo ...

The SchomeBase reception area and playing field
Dan's alternative playing field
Dan has been busy again - following our field trip he decided (very wisely) to add a building platform above SchomeBase so that we could do development work there (and keep the island itself 'tidy').

He has also build an alternative playing field with four coloured zones - think this should be fun as people fall off the edges! I must admit that my playing field was worrying me - felt very schoolish thing to have - or am I just paranoid?

I thought the playing field was really just a temporary thing to test how movement of groups occurs, so we shouldn't get too worried about it being a permanent fixture. - Dan
Hi all, sorry head down with thesis right now. Indeed I am not too 'precious' about the playing field, maybe it does become more permanent if it's successful, but as Dan suggests I saw it as a short term project to test a 20 person high movement game in SL to see what happens, what breaks (or doesn't). I think small objectives like this might help us build up some solid knowledge of what works and doesn't. My gut feeling is that Linden Labs are singing up what SL can do and we need to get some real data out --Mgaved 10:36, 15 December 2006 (GMT)
Yes - temporary field is the way to go - unless we have so much fun playing mass avi games ... PeterT 07:18, 17 December 2006 (GMT)
My first bash at a plan for the layout of SchomeBase (do stick your oar in in the SchomeBase planning topic) and/or comment on the things I've said we need in the 'What do we need on SchomeBase topic'.
1. The Reception area with noticeboards
2. The help-desk
3. The underwater caves (which also go under the mountain)
4. The meeting place (a social gathering area)
5. The discussion area (Cloudbank 9)
6. The sandbox
7. The OU library
8. The playing field
9. The observatory (Olly wants one of these)
10. The sailing area (Martin said he'd give us a boat)
a to n are plots of land that folk can 'bid' for (ie put in proposals for what they would do with them)

The mis-shaped sausage at the top of the picture is a mountain - the yellow bit is very high. The other black lines are meant to be paths.

Are you planning to have anything in the sky (like they have on CETLment)? (Martin Le Voi)

I wondered about some sort of "race track"? There are any number of free vehicles and ready made roadways - I wondered if it might help people learn how to move around in ways other than walking/running/flying (Nigel)
Starting to plan SchomeBase
I was thinking about a 'racetrack' in the sky - very sonic like (from PS2) - transparent walkway in sky that you have to move along - was thinking about basic movement skills (walking in a straight line is harder than you think!) - PeterT 07:18, 17 December 2006 (GMT)
Ah yes! With things to pick up along the way? I haven't seen a bicycle yet but perhaps riding a bike for part of the track? That would mean being able to negotiate some small jumps (make it a no-fly area). Some element of skill testing/development tasks to keep it interesting after mastering walking. Nogbad 19:43, 19 December 2006 (GMT)

13th Dec 06 - much later

It's 11pm and I've decided to stop working on schomebase, but the beginning of a welcome plaza is developing, along with a new noticeboard that takes visitors to the wiki. PS: you owe me L$10 for the image upload Peter ;-) -Dan
 : A bargain! Remind me next time we meet inworld. PeterT 06:05, 14 December 2006 (GMT)

13th Dec 06 - a little later

The OU's eLearning Community met in the Digilab - and lots of folk found their way to SchomeBase - but then couldn't escape. Someone suggested that this was part of Schomer's plan for world domination - lure them then trap them for ever - but no, it turned out to be a problem with teleporting from one island to another (you had to go to the mainland and then back out again). So no conspiracy - but not a bad idea ....  ;O)

13th Dec 06 @ 6am - SchomeBase appears out of the mist

SchomeBase exists - this is the first ever sighting of our new island in the Main Grid.
And here it is a couple of minutes later - as Schomer Simpson flew over it. What a sunrise!
Now the fun can really begin ...

4th Dec 06 - Third meeting of the schome SL players

We meet in the Digilab in the Open University Library. Very cool. Main decisions revolve around firming up projects that the group will try to achieve.

For more details of what we agreed in the meeting check out the schome SL players meeting 3 topic in the schome community forum.

27th Nov 06 - Second meeting of the schome SL players

Things are starting to get moving now - many members of the group, which consists mostly of PhD students from the OU, had already got stuck into Second Life and were starting to bliki their experiences.

Check out Second Life Who's Who to see who the schome SL players are.

Check out the Second Life blikis index for a list of blikis about what we are up to in Second Life]]

For fuller details of what we discussed/agreed in this meeting check out the Schome SL Players meeting 2 topic in the schome community forum.

Vladtn getting stuck in - quite literally!

20th Nov 06 - Initial meeting of the schome SL players

A landmark event!? An interesting group of enthusiastic folk got together for an hour to talk about what we might do together in Second Life in order to move forward our thinking about visions for schome. Inevitably there was a lot of background info to cover in this first meeting - which gave PeterT the opportunity to do what he enjoys most (ie talking too much).

For fuller details of what we discussed/agreed in this meeting check out the Schome SL Players meeting 1 topic in the schome community forum.

To find out about future meetings/events check out the calendar in the schome community forum.

9th Nov 06 - SchomeBase ordered

Island3.gif We put in the order for SchomeBase - the schome island in SL MG - today. We've gone for a small 'type 3' island.

6th Nov 06 - schome zone established on CETLment

Jacquie set us up with an area on CETLment (the island she owns) where schome folk could build stuff - and she gave us a noticeboard so we can share info with folk (click on the board to get some info). CETLment is at (128, 128, 45) in the Main Grid - easiest way to get there it to search for CETLment in the map and then teleport there.

Schomezone on CETLment 06-11-19 001.gif

October 06 - decision to buy an island

In October 06 we made the decision to buy an island in Second Life (and another in Teen Second Life) and we sorted out sufficient funding to enable us to do it. We had considered not having an island of our own in SL MG (Second Life Main Grid) - cos schome is primarily about processes and systems rather than physical spaces. However, on balance it seemed sensible to have a base from which we could venture out into the wider world ...

July 06 - Kieron's bright idea

We had been struggling with how to help folk think creatively about schome - all our focus groups and much of the work within the Aspire Pilot was coming up with visions of schome that could best be described as 'school but a bit better'. We are all deeply entrenched in our experiences of the current education system - and this makes it difficult for us to think creatively about what our ideal education system could/should be like. Kieron suggested that we might use Second Life to try out ideas, which we couldn't implement in practice (cos of expense etc). Brilliant idea - maybe having a 'lived experience' of something radically different might help folk come up with more creative visions for schome. So we started to explore ...