Schome Park was Schome's area in Second Life. Made up of two islands, Schome Park Alpha and Schome Park Beta, the islands were used for educational activities and a way for schome to experiment with new education systems. Student residents on the islands were called Schomers, and staff supporting them were called SParkers.
The project began in April 2007, and was originally funded by the National Association for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) and BECTA. After the initial pilot there was strong evidence that the students who had engaged within the closed 'Schome Park' island enhanced their knowledge age skills, and the environment offered affordances that other media lack.
To continued working with the students schome closed the island for a few weeks, and in that time the staff redesigned the island (there was only one island up until the beginning of phase 3) and allowed more spaces for the students to develop and take over certain aspects of the island. This proved successful, and the Schomers set up a government. You can find out more about the government here.
Over the Christmas break the island was again closed, this time due to people being on holiday, and to allow the addition and development of the second island; Schome Park Beta. This island was themed, and for a week up to the opening, preview screenshots were added to the wiki:
The new island build places a grand concept at the heart of its design, with the new island set in an ancient crater. WIth the wider world decaying under the forces of rapid ecological change the crater was adopted as a new home, a safe haven from the harsh world outside. Upon founding the crater colony the residents sealed their new home with a huge roof, created by mining the natural resources contained within the crater. Thus the ancient landscape became the home for a new, vibrant and tranquil (most of the time) community. Entrance to the crater interior is now achieved only through a number of airlocks.
Throughout the whole project students engaged in activities that aren't normally possible in real life, either due to costs or lack of resources. Some of these activities include:
- Archaeology - officialy staff run in phase 1, and then restarted and run by students in phase 3
- Ethics and philosophy - staff run through all 3 phases
- Phyiscs - supported by the National Physics Laboratory in phase 1
- Media making and machinima (SL filming) - supported by staff
- Languages - ongoing via the forum
As well as participating in these activities, several more community based projects were held:
- The Marina - students were keen to have clear waterways over the island
- MySchome - the new Schome Park magazine
- Artificcial intelligence - one of the students held discussions on the forum
Both staff and students were also proactive in searching for more funding, and entering competitions such as the space competition, learners' 'Y' factor, the J8 bid and the E-learning awards. The first two entries are ongoing and work will continue on them throughout the coming months.