Category Archives: Groups: Education


PinkSamurai, Karelia, Loris, Gizmo and SilentA converse amongst the flowers

I was delighted to meet with Gizmo Latte, Lluis Pignol and Anna Begonia in RL Barcelona last May. We decided that we wanted to have a regular ‘Italian chat’ on Tuesday evenings as in the good old days of Italianiamo!

We have now had four such evenings, and the following formula seems to be working very well:

ACTIVITY: General chat then an exploration of an environment which stimulates conversation.  Planned to run for an hour.

TEACHING: (1) Bossy teacher who knows about methodology of teachng and learning languages and can ‘lead’ the language (Kareilia / Gizmo)
+ (2) Willing, kind Italian native speakers who turn up on time and are willing to be bossed about by said teachers (e.g. the ever-reliable Loris and SilentA!)
LEARNERS : Anyone who happens to be around at the time and is willing to be directed!

Week 1: Burn2 (collecting tutus!)
Week 2: Burn2 again (balloon tour wearing our tutus + visit to 2 art installations, including a fascinating talk with Xaan/Merlino about their Burn2 build and its inspiration)
Week 3: Edunation Plot and games (Guess who won?!)
Week 4: Dabici’s fantastic Halloween Build.

See Helen’s Flickr streams for photos.

Anyone is welcome to join us … please spread the word .. just turn up on our plot any Tuesday at 9 pm UK time.

Ciao for now!


My Edunation Heroes and Heroines!

As Edunation changes hands, function and appearance, I would like to indulge in a bit of gushing which may embarrass people, but may also serve as a sort of ‘reference’ for my wonderful landlords, landladies, and teachers!

 I shall always be extremely grateful to some key people who welcomed me into Second Life.

Groovy Winkler aka Graham Davies keeps up to date with all things related to IT and languages.   Government initiatives may come and go but Graham continues voluntarily to maintain the most comprehensive and up-to-date website I know related to these topics and his knowledge was translated into a succinct, reflective  and entertaining overview of the history of IT and languages at the recent Eurocall conference in Bordeaux. Through his contributions to various fora, I learnt about Second Life and hurriedly entered it in time for a conference back on October 2007.  Despite the initial frustration of getting stuck in pink bushes [I always forget their name .. help, Gwen! . you know, the ones you get in the centre of dual carriageways in Italy …] and falling into  deep waters, I was fascinated, and stayed.

Dudeney Ge aka Gavin Dudeney put  loads of work into setting up Edunation, the island which houses my principle ‘home’.  He organised the first conference I attended which impressed me so much in quantity and quality, and which inspired me to find out more.  The statue of him unveiled at the recent Slanguages Conference will ensure that he is forever watching over us though he may be less present in SL!  (I’m not very good at reading Gavin, but even I could tell that he was pretty chuffed by the tribute paid to him on this occasion!)

Carolrb Roux  aka Carol Rainbow is just incredibly generous in sharing her time and her skills.  She showed me around her imaginative plot, and I just could not resist renting the one next door!  Whenever I am in a fix, she calmly sorts me out!  (As well as sorting everyone else out!).  I share her preference to be ‘out in the open’ in SL, and love the way she laid out my first rented plot with her pink apple trees, big ferns and comfortable bean bags.

Daffodil Fargis aka Nergiz Kern is one of the most self-effacing yet super-efficient people I have met in SL.  She will claim that it is all a ‘joint venture’ but she is a key reason for the success of Slexperiments (now sort of merged with Avalon), a group of people who meet regularly to talk about how SL can be used for teaching.  She is always the person who gently guides us to ensure that we talk about things which are practically of use, and she has an incredible range of experience and resources upon which to draw.

Anna Begonia will scold me for mentioning her name, and I am ever so slightly afraid of upsetting my favourite SL teacher, so I’ll keep it brief here.  She is quite simply an inspiration for anyone thinking of teaching in SL and I have been privileged to be her guinea pig in the broad range of experiments which she has conducted.  They are all recorded in her brilliant blog and I am using them as a source for a checklist which I am compiling as I prepare to help Helen teach more in SL.

Gwen Gwasi aka Heike Philp has now taken over Edunation I and Randall Renoir aka Randall Sadler has taken over Edunation III.  I am delighted with the collaborative process they have set up for re-purposing and re-designing the islands, and really look forward to being part of an even greater community where teachers can share space, ideas, methods, resources and fun.  Thanks to Gwen’s tireless work and enthusiasm, I have had totally new experiences in the IT world: helping my friends Helen and Antonella to present at a Virtual Round Table, dressing up in Berlin 20s outfits as part of her Telenovela, and contributing to lots of meetings.  If you want to really really laugh, you invite Gwen to any event, entertain her, and just listen to her laughing!

And now to Randall .. what can I say without making him cringe with embarrassment and making you think that I am just sucking up to him?!! We are just sooo lucky to have such a technically competent, imaginative and fun landlord and I am personally so grateful for the amount of time, patience and energy he has given me as he taught me how to unpack and construct a skytower and teleporter, and more recently, how to pack up a scene into a holodeck.  Even when I do the stupidest things, he manages to keep his cool and he does not give up on me!  I’m so sorry that Helen will not be allowed out to be part of the Calico conference which he is organising for 2011.  Good luck with it Randall.

And last, but not least .. . thanks to my constant friend Gizmo Latte who jointly manages the ALL/mflresources interest with me in SL and with whom I spend lots of time in SL .. speaking different languages .. looking at art .. listening to music .. and socialising.  A wise, talented, gentle and friendly person who is totally dependable.   Little wonder that our friendship has extended significantly into the physical world of our makers!

OK.  Enough gushing.  Should give me enough ‘brownie points’ for a while I hope with these particular heroes and heroines … then I’ll do another post about some others!  (You know who you are, but I don’t mind you reminding me!)

October’s resolution

I’m determined to use this blog more to make quick notes about what I get up to .. I’ve been learning so much recently! To remind myself what  I’m going to blog about, here’s a list (and in no particular order) – Burning Life – my new hair style – changing the colour of objects I buy – installing an internet radio on the plot – being politically and ideologically stretched by Italians and French – seeing amazing works of art and meeting an extremely talented, cloaked Italian artist  – visiting a magnificent, romantic sim – thoroughly enjoying Italianiamo – introducing butterflies and a variety of static but intelligent birds onto the plot – wearing high heeled boots (and the consequences of doing this) – changing clothes and avatars without getting embarrassed – using camera controls more effectively – dancing to a wide range of music at a very special bar where my resilience and sense of self esteem have been sorely tested by a special group of people (don’t worry, I won’t let on who or where you are!!)  

Karelia 'At Home'

Karelia shows off toned-down hair colour!

 – having – having my heart in my mouth as I watched one of my best friends undergoing various transformations (but I think she pulled through!) …better stop there for now!  I’m really looking forward to meeting Helen’s friends at the London Language Show on Saturday and Sunday.  I hope she can persuade you to come to my world to meet me and my friends!

Mark / Nik’s ‘A coffee with Pete Sharma’

Nice to see several familiar faces at this evening’s interview. Helen tells me that in her life it is seen as quite rude for the audience to join in during a formal interview. In my world , we usually switch off our voice while the interview is taking place (to avoid echoes and interference), but we can express ourselves whenever we like in text chat. I must confess though that this sometimes means that I lose concentration and stop following a sustained line of thought. Perhaps I will develop this skill more as I get older. (Nik says he’s got used to it now!) Pete sounds like a nice, sensible man.