The Guardian introduced me to SL. Alex weekly article and the laucnh of SL fest made me curious. At the time I was looking at asynch forums for the OU in Scotland. Questions of the relationship between asynch and critical reflections and aslo the issues of creating a sense of place in textual asynch communities bothered me. I was also not really satisfied with the 'pretend' research projects that my OU students do as their End of COurse Assessment. Anyway all these things came together and I took up an avatar.
A wee while later I joined the Schome Forum and very recently I went through a police check and through various emails was found to be an upstanding citizenand Peter T made me an avatar. The first thing I did was log in (without a buddy). I appeared slowly -naked at first- in front of the media centre. Gradually clothes were added and trees came into focus. It seems that in SP I am a jock (well I suppose I am Scottish). On the main gird I went for the urban guy then gave him a black suit a pot belly and a grey mohican - oh and one large eye. How or what to make my SP avatar? On the main grid I was very much impressed by a short balding av with glasses and a brown suit I met in Hyperborea the social science research centre. However, my coding skills were not quite up to fashioning my middle age deskbound or my out on the bike look, so I went for a black (comforting) suit. Working from home hidden behind screen and phone I wonder if I should reveal my hoody jeans combo as the me of SP. Or should I project some other. After all when I log into a meeting over the internet I often put on a shirt and tie and shove all the papers under my desk. In short, should I project an image or should I project my image.
As a person fixity is important to me, when I needed email I bought a domain so I wouldnt have to change I have had the same mobile phone number for over 10 years (and pay far to much). Do I choose to embrace the potential for fuild corporeal and social identities or do I stick. I suppose the answers and more questions will become apparrent in due course.
I have a buddy its Topper, we have been backchatting about the Highlands sailign and caneoing. Should be good. We meet tonight at 8
--RoughBounds 13:52, 29 October 2007 (GMT)
Ahh, the wonders ... Post kids bath I booted up. I thought I would log in to SL and post busy till 8pm when I was meeting Topper. 40mins later I was still trying to get online. For a change it wasnt SL, it was my own connection, server kept timing out, even when I increased the time it waits for a connection. I was furious. I am quite (according to my wife) anal about timekeeping. I could have gone to my fathers or my cousins house nearby but I was home alone with the kids, so that wasnt going to work. As I calmed down I started to compare this missed meeting with the experience of f2f or telephone video conferences with known and knowable incividuals. I a part time firefighter and I sometimes miss meetings when an incident becomes protracted, when something (unpleasant) happens that means I cant concentrate when I get home. In these instances I phone the office and explain that I will not be able to make it and ask them to phone round the relevant people. Sometimes I might have my mobile with me and I can call people direct. Living in a remote rural locale you get used to the phones being down. So when a conference call wont work I just wander down to the river and call them on my mobile. What happens when you cant meet up in SL.
- Maybe you can PM the folk through the forum or even in a public post (in which case other folk will spread the word for you too) - though of course that assumes you have some sort of internet connection PeterT 11:04, 4 November 2007 (GMT)
In the mid 90's I worked in Edinburgh, it was just when mobiles were hitting poeples pockets. I had a friend who was doing research about the geographic information you gave about locations when on the mobile phone, 'i'm on the bus', you know the running commentary , 'yeah I am justy passing the tower now, be with you in a sec'. What struck me (and what I told my friend was that) as more people got phones noone arranged to meet at specific times (or places) anymore. Ping, a text would appear, 'I am running an hour late', 'text me when you are about to leave the house', 'sorry cant make it'. For me this implies impremenant and flexible relations, a fluidity of space and time. People, places, times become detached, yes its all very post modern signs and symbols (Buadrillard). However, SL is not flexible. It is dependent on a software package that sits on an a machine of appropriate spec that has a reliable broadband connection. It does not sit within a suite of overlapping and connected devices, connections and software packages. It is in someway spatially and temporally fixed. Well thats how I felt last night, missing Topper felt like leaving someone waiting outside the pub when the battery of your phone has packed in.
--RoughBounds 09:54, 30 October 2007 (GMT)
Just been online with topper showing me around. Ita halloween and I kept getting guisers coming to the door as I was trying to have a wander and find the media centre. It was the only place I knew and then I couldnt find it. Topper TP'd me to where he was, just outside the Scho-op on the grassy bit. My slow movements and the lack of response from my PC meant it was hard to keep up. Topper has just strted using voice and I found it disconcerting to hear in world. I know their is some debate around this issue, though I havent seen it much on the forum, I must look out for it. Moving, press to talk, flickering graphics as my card tries vainly to load, it was somewhat of a strange experience. I have to say Topper was a genial and patient host, as I once more shot of into the sky or fell into the water.
- Here's a link to a debate about voice chat in Schome Park PeterT 11:04, 4 November 2007 (GMT)
Cup of tea beckons reflections tommorrow
--RoughBounds 21:01, 31 October 2007 (GMT)
I suppose the reflections on last night relate to the disorietnation of using VOI as well as text. Makes me think about time space compression, you kmnow increasing connectivity compresses space and time. Hoewever, this feel qual different from email, forums, chats and VC.You feel physically present. In SL with text you feel physically present but somehow the text adds a layer, fingers on keyboard mediated through the machine, while voice, voice seems to uncover the artifice. The feeling of dislocation is amplified by the newness of SPii.
Today I logged onto a MG event and was chattign happily by text with someone on infolit island. As people arrived it seemed to make me more sluggish, I actually struggeled to get inside the building. The lag between keystroke and movement was so great, no idea why.
I headed for the Japanese or Zen Garden only to find that I had missed the session, must have got my times mixed up. I really wanted to see how a session was run, next week I suppose.It was back to VOI and quite confusing. The chat was hard to follow, voice and text with multiple overlapping discourses. At present I am still at the stage of coming to terms with the portal, the buttons and functions. Of course that is part of my experience of SPii as a knowable social reality. As is the difficulty my computer has in coping with teh graphics (I have set my vision to min). So I suppose in SPii I have visual and mobility issues. It reminds me of a book bny James Kelman How Late How Late it was. I suppose it also makes me reflect on how discourses social and medical models of differening abilties in RL might apply to the digital divide (or more accurately continuim).
--RoughBounds 20:55, 1 November 2007 (GMT)
Logged on to flashmeeting with Sparkers, or tried to at least, flash server seemed to be down. Went to the forum and found alt venue of SchomeBase had been arranged. I realised that thecomfy seat and laptop I had set up for the flas wasnt going to work as since the most recent SL update my laptop will not run SL in any meaningful way. Quickly to the desk boot up and of to SchomeBase. The discussion centred round 'purpose'. This is my interpretation of the discussion . I understand 'purpose' as a form of place making and an understnading of how to place oneself. This is based on some research I did for Janet MacDonald last year and extends out of my own work with place based and imagined communities in the West Highlands. More explicitly it should be read in relation to Heideggers essay 'Building, Dwelling, Thinking'. I am not stuck on this but at present I lean towards a tighter reading of this in contrast with Ingolds looser reading and taskscape. Ok that was a bit of a digression. The other and perhaps overlapping part of last nights discussion related to voice use. Voice worked quite well last night, voice took primacy but it was fairly measured and people were able to backchat using text. Though its strange that whereas in Flashmeeting most people let the text chat pass as whispered and inattentively read asides in SL text interupts and cuts across voice 'hold on I just want to stop and read this text'. Is this because text has been the prime medium in SL and people are still privilging it, ie tthis will pass with time, or is it something intrinsic, I feel the former. Going back to 'purpose' ... need to think about this a little I have lost my train of thought ...
had really a very interesting meeting yesterday with someone from the library (cant recall here Spii name) - flash worked, though it has some new features that dont seem to quite work on my machine. It was about the potential for research on SPii. It made made reflect on my own 'purpose' in SL. At present I am the standard 'hanging out and asking questions' ethnographer who has pitched up on an unknown shore, think M Mead rather than Sauasare or whats his name. In RL its taken as a given that you wander about fairly clueless in 'the field' and use this as a research tool the people around you have to teach you because you dont know nothin'. However, how does that fit with the idea of 'purpose' - well I cant see that it does. Perhaps thats why so few people are conducting ethnographic/anthro research in SL.
The other thing I was reflecting on was the nature of data. I have been focussing on quite meaning orientated things and also my experience of having a knowable social reality mediated through an imperfect machine. These are the tools at my disposal and I hoped these would help me to ground futher work in a rich/deep understand of SL. However, its clear that SL can capture a great deal of textual and statistical information, in fact the networks and connections the things we capture on tape and on the page are held and (presumably) accessable on some distant server. In addition, this date could actually be coded and sorted by another computer programme. So on one level we can understand SL with little people input. Question, does this capture the experience - Answer I dont feel it does. Ah, the guy I work with has just reminded me we need to finish putting a price together for a job, better go ....
--RoughBounds 09:34, 7 November 2007 (GMT)
Met with Euph P, Fox P and Amba Sp from the staff and dark wolf in text prebrekfast mode across the water. Looking over the chat log doents give you any real sense of the conversation, or perhaps I mean the experience of the conversation. I suppose this goes back the point above, about being able to analyse transcripts and record lots of data, but does it give a true picture of SL as a knowable social reality. It was interesting when we started talking about transgressing SL and SL/RL boundaries. I met Amnba av on the main grid when I first started and I know have her a a friend on facebook, I think Fox had gone by this piont and the postie also came so I am a bit foggy and strangely would rather half rememeber than check the chat log. But I indicated to Amba that we might arrange a f2f using facebook and asked Eup P is she had facebook. When I got back from the postie turns out she had drifted away as well. Darkwolf askjed about facebook and about skype (as we were talkign about falshmeetings), said something alognm the linges of this wouldnt be appropriate as we (the staff am I staff dont know) are all potentiallu knowable or known whereas the anon of the younger users needs to be protected. But of course as someone pointed out on the chat voice erodes that a little. Anyway soemone come round better cut thsi short
--RoughBounds 16:40, 8 November 2007 (GMT)
I am watching Euph interviwing faz and kali and jpskater. She began nby asking about the wedding and now she is talking about the RL sexuality of one schomer in relation to etheir performance of the different sexual identity online. I am note writing and watching and its very comlex, rellay I am letting the chatlog take the strain and trying to catch immeduiate reactiosn. It clearlyu doesnt work.
Interesting chat about identity and how we might perform our identity inworld. I actually got lost in the chat and cant recall what was said. When I logged on I could hear but not see, it was a strangely disconcerting experience. The text on teh screen felt disembodied just becuase the visual representation of that voice was missing. Eventually it resolved and people can slowly into focus.
I was most interested in something that someone raised durign the guess your age game. They said it was more difficult to guess the ages of young people in SL. I remembered something about youth and certainty and grewign older and becoming less sure, and wondered if SL is a more certain wolrd. How does one convey your uncertain nature in a virtual world ...
--RoughBounds 21:12, 22 November 2007 (GMT)
- Hi, Roughbounds. Have you considered using the Slog for taking note of your impressions as you go along? Of course, then your notes would be accessible - which would be quite a scary thing to do in research terms. Fox.
Are these notes not accessable and editable, I dont know.
I went to teh new staff event last night. It was Amba Eup and I. Started of talking about research methods Euph's research on geocaching and research(ers) working on webforums. We also touched on the totalising (my words) nature of the knowledge we can have about schome. This came up in my discussions with Peter last week. Just because we can know all this stuff does it make is meaningful. I keep coming back to this in my notes because I think it is the central conundrum. How does qualitative social research 'hanging out and asking questions' work in a world where this is rendered meaningless by the ability to track watch record every thing. Somehow I think it still does. I suppose the I wonder in SL and on online asynch and synch forums about the relationship between RL and the screen. About the spaces that people occupy and the machines they use, about how they use them and why. Amba sent me an interesting message in facebook about her research interests (following from our aborted disc), asking wquestions about the relationship between RL And SL - who why where. I have to admit I am still uncertain about this world, but uncertaintity is good.
- Although it seems that we have the ability to track/watch/record everything, that's only true if we have infinite time. I've been looking at chat logs of the regatta. Everyone who logged chat heard different things. When they heard the same things, they didn't necessarily hear them in the same order. The more chatlogs you add in, the more complex the situation is. And that's just the staff chat logs. As the staff were sending and receiving IMs, I assume the Sparkers were as well, and there was probably some MSN going on. I think a chatlog is misleading, because it makes you think it is complete when, in fact, it may miss the cental elements of what is going on. For example, I've got PeterT's chatlog for the regatta. At one point, SL crashes, and when he gets back in, he's not in the same IM stream as everyone else - but he doesn't know that, because he was before. So, from PeterT's point of view, people have gone strangely silent - while from everyone else's point of view, there's a lively conversation going on. At the same time, Martin is giving Phloozie a set of instructions for steering her boat. He's sending (in separate messages) 'right', 'straight', 'right', 'NO, RIGHT!' but due to lag she's receiving 'right', 'right', 'straight', 'NO, RIGHT!' Fox
I have actually added some entries but I cant see what has happened to them.
I went to the xmas party, it was rather strange. I like to go to parties, indeed I often stay out till morning when I am in the mood - didnt get home till 8am on Jan the 1st (highland new year, accordians and drams). However I tend to stay in the kitchen and drink to overcome inhibitions and talk, then maybe (big maybe) dance. I have seen dancing in SL before, I delibertately sought it out and I must admit I cannot see what purpose it serves at all. I like dancing, but I do not derive any enjoyment from watching/making my av dance. I began to reflect on whether I could/would perform a different role in SL (ie not be the wallflower who takes a while to adjsut), I didnt feel I either needed to or wanted to. --RoughBounds 16:07, 4 January 2008 (GMT)
- Hi Roughbounds, the Slog can be accessed from here by anyone, however only you can edit the notes. Anyone can view your notes. If you haven't already got an account on there, I suggest posting a note in the SLog help section on the forum or PMing Trixxie - who can sort accounts out. --Marsbar9 Schomer 16:42, 4 January 2008 (GMT)
--Kreila SParker 15.58, 11 January 2008 (GMT)
RESEARCH SKILLS strand
I promised to put the notes from our flashmeeting discussion on the 6th November 2007 on your page and realised once I played our session back that I should have done this ages ago! Here are the key things we discussed and the flashmeeting session is available at
We need to define what we mean by research skills within the context of SCHOME?
How do students access and order resources in a 3D world? What is the scope of student facing research skills within the Schome project context? What is our focus as project participants? What are we trying to accomplish and achieve?
Potential methodological approach: PAR (Participatory Action Research). References? As researchers we see ourselves as key participants "empowering individuals to act"
What would constitute a research skills toolkit? What are the key resources or pieces of information that can be taken to the field and how do we disseminate information and knowledge management skills that are accessible and maleable in 3D environments? Do we need to investigate ways of bridging the real life and second life worlds in order to create fully meaningful new systems or approaches and how do we define these boundaries?
How can we establish meaningful potential outcomes for this work? PAR approaches can often fail to delimit outcomes and manage expectations.
How do we identify what are the barriers and enablers to progressing this work?
Potential ways forward
Could we scale this work down to be a small scale proof of concept in the first instance?
Is there more value in working with a curriculum area, rather then being seen as a parallel activity? This might also make far more sense to the students and be more practice focussed. How can we enlist collaborators to work with us.
Could we focus activity around the existing Eco/Media Centre? Could we experiment with situating the practice of ordering, disseminating and sharing knowledge here with a specific curriculum focus around ecology studies?
Could we explore the development of information and knowledge management skills at a personal level and relate it to the ordering and management of artefacts inworld e.g tagging and the use of the inventory; tagging notecards?
Does SLOODLE have anything to offer us? Could this environment by used to expose existing information management skills development and tools to the students? How could we investigate this further?
Could we undertake an analysis of the existing communication tools available to the students and map their use to research skills activities? We would need to define what we meant by research skills.
Are there parallel activities with the real world that could be effectively translated and employed inworld around ordering and connectedness e.g social networking, tagging. These could prove valuable in germs of gathering and sharing knowledge, skills and information when engaged in problem solving or inquiry work. Students might also be able to demonstrate added value like time saving and group management skills e.g allocation, delegation. These might be easily evidenced where students are creating a presentation or building an artefact of some kind. Being focussed around such contexts might help the broader evaluation and measurement of our "proof of concept" project.
It is important to alert students to the negative contexts of social networking as well as the benefits so they become more aware of problems around the provenance of information and misinformation (A core skill in information literacy development)
Theory We both have an interest in approaching the project through an "information ecologies" perspective. See the work undertaken by Nardi and ODay. Introducing them to these theories could help them evaluate the influences that information stakeholders have within different contexts particularly within a 3D environment.
What research work has been undertaken around 'intertextualities' and the relationships between readers and the screen in terms of a 3D environment?
Resources If we intend to bridge information worlds and use a range of diverse rich media collections from outside the environment as well as the production of artefacts in world what can we use? Ebooks, audio books, rich media and video...can we capitalise on the congruence of technology and the range of literacies required to exploit media for learning?
Much current library and information skills initiatives evident in SL emphasises distribution of content rather then partnership learning and sense making activities.
Could we revisit the Hyperborea and evaluate whether this approach would be appropriate or note. Magazine racks are placed around the walls and are hyperlined to external resources. Could we take this metaphor a set further and make these links to experiential learning activities or teleport to inworld resources (could be people, places and things?
How can we measure the effectivenes of such approaches in terms of whether they support the development of more effective learners?
The following skills will be crucial in terms of measuring effectivenss: coproduction of knowledge peer review of knowledge produced provenance of knowledge collaborative development in building artefacts technical development evaluation and reflection
'Potential next steps Should we use the wiki to build an Information and Knowledge Management Toolkit in alliance with the students and focussed around a curriculum area?
Could we invite a couple of other librarians to meet with the students for an exploratory dialogue to firm up the project scope?
How do we go about enlisting support from a curriculum area to work with?
--RoughBounds 15:43, 5 March 2008 (GMT) I have not logged into this for quite a while. Indeed I have hardly been inworld at all. I think not being in world stems from two things. One relates to time and resources the other relates to purpose. I was interested in research in world and they different ways we might understand it. It became pretty clear early on that schome may be in danger of being colonised by researcher and origonal members had deep concerns about this and righlty so. It also became clear that my usual hang out ask questions take notes didnt quite fit into the way what might be expected of research in world and I needed to contribute to running some events. In the end I realised that I just couldnt allocate the time I felt I needed to develop a coherent set of events backed up by aims and objectives and additional reading. It would have affected my ability to earn money. So I couldnt identify any clear purpose for being in world. Is this how people drift away. Some discussions elsewhere on structure and I have to echo those thoughts. Its a chaotic and complex world to arrive in. Placing oneself is difficult. It takes time and it take patience from existing members and frm you as a new member. At present I feel more comfortable in the forum. I started a what are you reading thread and people actually psot to it. So perhaps I have found something I can meaningfully contribute to.
Yesterday the internet was down in the whole area. Very strnage indeed. Not only that the postie crashed the van into the loch. No email, no work phone (I have a skype no.) and no post. By 2pm I had run out of things to do. It was a nice day though so I went into the garden and did some weeding, figured out the planting plan for this summers veg and tidied up around the fruit bushes. What a difference not being connected makes