16 July 2008

Oh, The Places You Can Go!

I have realized, with something of a jolt, that I am the "newbiest" of newbies to Web 2.0 in the classroom. Here I thought I was gaining some foothold in this exciting new world, and then, WHAM, I get knocked back to earth. This is not a bad thing.

Last night I read Vicki Davis' post, at her blog Cool Cat Teacher, "A Second Look at Second Life Filmaking." When I was at the Google Teacher Academy in June, I heard several teachers talking about using Second Life in the classroom. Since then, I have been reading bits here and there about it. I am familiar with Second Life only in the most basic of ways. I still don't understand how you can make real money in a virtual world, but that's for another time.

Vicki's entry made my head hurt. NOT in a bad way, but in a way that made my brain have to stretch and work to visualize the possibilities. I read Diane Carr's article Machinima in Education, recommended by Vicki, and whimpered. Then I visited Machinima.com.

I watched a couple of videos and suddenly understood that I had seen machinima before. Last spring two different student groups put together videos that integrated video from games into their overall presentation (specifically, re-enacting battles from history). At the time, I thought it was a great idea to put the videos together that way. Educationally, it seemed to work too, as they were showing their understanding of battles and strategies through the character action. After reading about machinima, I want to go back to those students and talk to them about their process and using virtual worlds in class projects.

At the same time I am getting excited about all of this, I realize, with some sadness, that Second Life and Machinima are not in the cards yet. I still have a long way to go to get up to speed with Web 2.0, but that's okay. I realize there is much to do where I am, let alone where I'll be in two or three years!

It's a brave new world and I'm excited to be here!