Learnt Lessons from a basically well done Presentation

The presentation on May 2, 2013, of the project team’s work on “Future of Education” as a final completion of the virtual study at Dublin Institute of Technology in between social media and virtual worlds with the title “Is One Life Enough?” has now been done – and well done. All foreseeable technical and other challenges had been taken care of prior to the final presentation and luckily the system and all server sided capabilities worked blameless this night, including the voicing, so that good communication could be carried out.

Round table talk connected to the presentation on "Future of Education"

Round table talk connected to the presentation on “Future of Education”

Nevertheless there also were some lessons to learn from a project show taking place in a virtual world:

  • There could have been the try to promote the event even more intensively, maybe by involving some selected persons personally at an earlier stage of the preparation of the presentation to ensure a wider audience.
  • Bill and me could have designed the presentation form more interactively, maybe by doing parts of it as a role play with interviewing and questions and answers leading to our core thoughts to make better use of the options a virtual worlds holds and to ensure a more lively experience for our guests.
  • We had a lot of topics on the agenda for the short time the presentation could take and some of them we had to skip, such as the hands-on activities, which had been prepared with huge amounts of time. Also the use of supporting music for the event felt unsuitable in our chosen setting of presenting mainly oral and by the slideshow.

With this said, we are pretty satisfied with the presentation as it turned out. It has fostered a fine discussion of the topic of contemporary web 2.0 tools and soon to come hardware inventions entering the traditional scene of education and turning around the requirements for, what the education of the future has to face, e.g. by implementing new roles for both teachers and students in learning processes, that include the use of social media and virtual worlds to a higher extend.

Discussion of the "Marriage" of Social Media and Virtual Worlds

Discussion of the “Marriage” of Social Media and Virtual Worlds

A very interesting discussion was about the question, whether we would see a more advanced “fusion”, a “marriage”, of the use of social media and virtual worlds.

In our project team we had used integrated social media in the virtual environment from the beginning of the study and in our preparing work, so that it also was natural, that the presentation platform at BABEL Language School contained several boards and screens of our content with the ability to be used actively by the use of the “shared media” feature of Second Life, which now also is available on Firestorm and Singularity viewers. For the hands-on activities 6 boards were prepared with documents on Google drive, to offer the option to combine social media examples, which our audience would estimate, would make their way in the future, as well as to add comments on the necessary evolvement of educational practices for inspiration of all and to bring the discussion of the topic further. In the same way, we had our material from Youtube and Flickr on screens and we initially also planned to view our slideshow directly from Google drive. This showed closer to the presentation day sometimes to give transmission delays, so that we changed the slide viewer to be static on SL-premises by the use of forwarded images on the scripted viewer board.

As a good completion of the presentation, and after our collegue Eliza’s presentation was done too, we also got time for a relaxing dance to world music and music of Pink Floyd. Thanks to Elfay for moderating the evening and our lecturers for their constructive comments, as well to our guests, who all, in pirate outfit or not, gave us their attention and contributed to a splendid atmosphere.

Standing ovations to Eliza's presentation at the  presentation platform at BABEL Language School prior to the informal and relaxing dancing time :)

Standing ovations to Eliza’s presentation at the presentation platform at BABEL Language School prior to the informal and relaxing dancing time 🙂


Produser Guidance – A Challenge for the Education of the Future

Our presence in social media and virtual worlds is not just a playground for new expressions of ourselves – our post and comment is all around from the moment we press the publish button. And what we once wrote so convinced of, that our heart and soul is in it, will remain in the online world as a valid contribution we made in our joined online communities. In a landscape, where it gets more and more common to be both users and producers of content of a worldwide scale, we constantly submit to or read from an unlimited audience out there, even though we not always may realize the long walks our messages will do.

To think in the one world we feel closest to, our mates from the friends list, might not be enough, unless we ensure, that status updates and statements in our profiles etc. are restricted to the few we know of and who we are confident with, that they understand us and what we are saying today. Furthermore many providers of social media or virtual worlds have declared for us in their Terms of Services (TOS), that they retain huge rights on our publishing or production. The crucial point in this our presence in cyberspace becomes to know and to keep in charge of, what we as a produser willingly share with who and what we unwillingly lose our rights on by the demands of the service provider.

Lately and as reviewed and discussed in the 9th class of the “Is One Life Enough?” module by Dublin Institute of Technology, the Paris Brown Case showed, how former frankly used tweets could bring a prospective 17 years old Youth Police Commissioner to fall. In her online activities from the age of 14-16, she had involved in discussions, where she left doubt about her position to racist or homophobic topics, which then were rolled up and forced her to resign from her newly achieved £15,000-a-year job.

In my own school, with the enthusiast engagement of the school library team, we now carry out workshops for classes and students down to the age of 11 about web etiquette and virtual property as well as on the dimension and pace of the replacing of web content from the source posting. We already have teachers to ask us for an adjusted workshop for students of the age of 8 on their use of chat options and the online language in use. Studies show, that normal perception of communication is based on the following:

Social Media in Education 02Words and expressions: 7%

Voice and tone of voice: 35 %

Body language: 58%

Online communication can therefore not carry many parameters of what we normally need for a solid understanding of the other’s voicing, whereas we see a kind of additional language in chats by smileys and abbreviations to support the mood we are talking in.

Another huge challenge for the education of the future regarding the use of online communities and virtual worlds will be the guarding and gardening of our students’ learning processes. As such future learning often will take place facing unknown sources, the searches have to bring us forward to the reliable part of the information spread on the entire web. Teachers and education have to use strategies like those described by Dr. James A. Banks, the founder of “Multicultural Education”:

Let’s say the teacher is teaching about Columbus and the Tainos, the people who were in the Caribbean when Columbus arrived. The teacher raises the question, “So the textbooks, boys and girls, say that Columbus discovered America.” Not many textbooks say that today, but let’s assume that one did. So then the teacher begins to learn with the students. “Let’s learn together, class. Weren’t there people here when Columbus came?” The teacher may not know much about the Tainos. So the teacher reads a book to the class about the Tainos and then asks, “What might the Taino Indians have thought about Columbus’ arrival in their land?” The teacher and the students share. They learn together and share their perspectives.

They become joint learners in this multicultural classroom. The teacher has a culture, and the teacher and students learn together, share their cultures and construct new knowledge in the classroom.

That’s how I see teachers reconceptualizing their role.

Social Media in Education 01Teachers can’t have knowledge about everything, but they need to adjust the approach of learning in class and to develop their competencies to become the student’s critique friend in his/her own learning process. Especially in times, in which endless manifestations of world culture are directly accessible for any student in class, it becomes a core competency of the teacher role, to be able to navigate in multiple searches and uses of social media and still to ask the essential questions to encourage a way of learning, in which consistent results can be achieved.

Paris Brown apologizes:


Dr. James A. Banks: Multiculturalism’s Five Dimensions:


Interview with Dr. James A. Banks:


Invitation for “Future of Education” is out today!

Today the invitation for the final project presentation & workshop was sent out on the following channels:

There will be updates and follow up in the “BABEL One World Forum” group, which is free to join: http://world.secondlife.com/group/6d05f200-6f89-5339-69a0-13a974440158

The presentation platform is ready for the first contributions, messages and builds.

- Presentation Platform for "Future of Education" on May 2, 2013, 12:00 PM sl-time

– Presentation Platform for “Future of Education” on May 2, 2013, 12:00 PM sl-time

We hope for a splendid participation and look forward to see many of you.

Bill & Mike

1multicult - less than 2048x2048 pixels

DIT - Logo

Workshop “Future of Education”

 on May 2, 2013, 12:00 PM SL-Time

Which contemporary media do we expect to make the way in the future?

Which steps can be done to incorporate the use of social media and virtual worlds in education?

How can multicultural online communities contribute to learning and knowledge achievement?

How will education act in this field of in social media and virtual worlds engaged students?

The workshop is carried out by Jonathan Cooney and Michael Großpietsch as the final project presentation of their study in Dublin Institute of Technology’s online module “Is One Life Enough?” on May 2, 2013 at the second life location: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Pak/92/205/94 .

Participation is free for all, both students, educators and others interested in the topic!

► Furthermore participants are more than welcome to come to the presentation platform prior to the workshop on May 2 to compose and leave a message on what kind of social media use and which needed new educational approaches they see ahead on the interactive screens at the platform. ◄

At the presentation on May 2 we will go through a brief introduction and by hands-on activities make builds of the present bricks of social media and discuss their importance for a future education. The results and individual messages will  finally be published in the connected blogs.

As there will be used “shared media” for the presentation it is recommended to log into Second Life with Viewer 2 or Firestorm. There will be played world music and “Pink Floyd: The Wall” along with music by Edvard Grieg. Discussions will take place both in voice & local chat. Participants will get a t-shirt in black with the question “Is One Life Enough?” on the front and a surprise answer on the back as a thank you 🙂

For more information, please consider to read the following blog posts:

http://wp.me/pFoaH-7v – Wish You Were Here – Cross-Cultural Art Interventions & Documentation

http://wp.me/pFoaH-76 – Future of Education with the accomplished Technology used for a multicultural Approach

http://wp.me/pFoaH-6U – Preparing the Workshop “Education for the Future in the Light of Multiculturalism & Web 2.0 Tools” on May 2, 12:00 PM SL-Time

Jonathan Cooney                                                      Michael Großpietsch

Student at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)        Head of BABEL Language School (SL)

ak: BowlingBallBill Resident                                      ak: Mike Meltzer

Skills and unknown skills

Throughout the study in the “Is One Life Enough?” module from Dublin Institute of Technology and under the preparation of the project team’s presentation a mixture of known and unknown skills came into use.

Building, texturing, scripting, use of shared media, streaming, group communication options and the use of the content permission system for virtual objects were all well known skills from my 6 years with BABEL Language School (BLS) in Second Life. Also the use of a lot of social media has been a skill for a long time in my real life work experience as a teacher, namely such as the use of minor and major social networks like Ning, Grou.ps, Spruz, Live, G+ and Facebook.

It also showed that topic oriented blogging in WordPress, which I already used for BLS, easily could be extended to a higher frequency during the study and still with a proper quality of content often by citing relevant sources, theories, papers and both own and other’s experiences.

Selected social media from the study in the DIT "Is One Life Enough?" module

Selected social media from the study in the DIT “Is One Life Enough?” module

Some of the central new skills, which were explored, trained and then put to task in the study work, were to refine the virtual identities and own presentations in diverse kinds of social media and to adjust profiles according to the desired and expected audiences in Linkedin,Twitter as well as in Second Life, in the blogging and in the second Facebook account. These communities all have their own forces and styles of communication, so that one’s own voice has to fit with certain criteria to be successful.

Also there was the interesting perspective to build up new social media accounts and hereby to follow the evolvement of the new virtual communities of likers, followers and friends. A specific feedback and evaluation of what is posted is clearly visible in such a process, and it convinced me of, that it is possible with the right content, tagging and categorizing to brand a new idea and virtual dialogue.

The project team's collaborative tool Google Drive

The project team’s collaborative tool Google Drive

Closer to the planning of the presentation of our project team’s work I could observe, that the process of mind mapping, finding and focussing on the chosen topic went very well for Bill and me and that we could move forward effectively and that we with proper delegation of tasks between us were able to achieve results on a high level. There was clearly a good skill of team working present in our together study and work, which was adjusted in a fine way to the affordances of a cooperation carried out on distance and in the virtual world with the assistance of the collaborative social media we used.

For me as a participant in this study coming from a practical background of the use of virtual worlds and social media it was highly attractive and wanted to go in depth with the theory behind to get the eyes opened for aspects of virtual existence and identity, which would bring more consistency and context into my work, and “Is One Life Enough?” has provided a splendid step on this path.

Future of Education with the accomplished Technology used for a multicultural Approach

Our kids won’t hesitate. They will reach out for whatever technology holds for a new way of learning and socializing. Facebook – love it or leave it, they will think, and get immersed in these communities they find there – most of them. facebookIt’s in fact an overwhelming perspective. Young people striving for ways to identify with something outside their home bound circles can today easily come forward to whatever culture they’d like to know more of or to join. The option of wide spread exploring and orientation is already present for the new generation and will be used extensively. Not only that information is just nearby for searches, also the authentical communication with representatives of other lifestyles is just around and easily established. The competent use of Web 2.0 facilities is what a new generation is dealing with and learning from already.

Schools and teachers experience, that the old ways they know of, to improve their students’ competencies and knowledge acquirement no longer are sufficient. The educational system is forced to move towards the circumstances, the society and technological development offers for a wider practice of knowledge achievement and exchange. National curriculums are undergoing changes according to the overall noticeable presence of multicultural aspects in a globalised world. Job applications may no longer have to be brought forward in the national language, but in the concern language. Working teams are mixed up of colleagues with several cultural and national origins. The future competency, to be capable of team playing in multicultural environments, is substituting former qualifications of a more national shape.

Authentical meetings with others from abroad and their cultures have become more common, both in virtual environments or face to face by the increasing mobility of students or employees in huge parts of the world. Today a cv is better, when an applicant has had periods of study or working in other countries or cultures. For the future an even more valuable employee is conceivable: The multicultural networking individual, who saves time and expenditures by being in touch with her/his communities through the use of social media and virtual environments. The technologies for resource saving approaches of networking across borders are given in 2013: It’s no longer a question of, who controls the mouse – everyone can today explore and learn to use contemporary tools of collaborating in cyberspace. google drawingThe user interfaces of most web 2.0 applications are easily controlled and spending a little time to experience and carry out a common drawing with a friend in Google’s or other’s online spaces will convince most people of the advantages to share thoughts and ideas from one’s own desktop rather than to have to encounter far away meetings for the together idea development.

Blackboard (the former “Elluminate”) offers advancedBlackboard possibilities for conferencing across borders and a lot of educational institutions have begun to use it for online courses and workshops. Virtual worlds such as Second Life are widely used by universities, language schools and educational providers in several fields for simulation of relevant real life scenarios for learning and study. moodleMoodle and second lifeFronter provide complex learning management systems (LMS) and Facebook groups, Google Drive and WordPress offer advanced collaborative applications in the cloud, which gather huge interest for all those, who want to use an updated space for discussions, sharing and education.

Google Drive


In some of the most advanced educational institutions students today are guided and advised to use web tools for their presentations and portfolios. wordpressPrezi and Glogster are promising tools to increase the student’s motivation to create interesting and individual showcases for their learning process and the working results, which also can engage audiences by the possible feedback.


Youtube and Flickr offer huge spaces for personal and creative messaging and voicing and form communities of like minded content creators as well, which can stimulate new creativity and identification for the evolving teenager or young student. Smaller social networking platforms such as Ning, Groups or Spruz can come in use for exchanges of selected groups or classes of students for international exchanges on teacher chosen common topics. Skype or Second Life’s voice function can increase the language learning impact by synchronous communication across borders. In other words, the online universe is consolidating and taking over functions, which have been closely connected to the physical location, libraries or classrooms have had in the past.

Remarkable in the beginning of 2013 is, that the attempts to reduce the “mass” of hardware units are pretty well developed and there is no doubt, that our students will grab the newly presented technology as soon as possible. The Sixth Sense Technology prepares a small necklace alike camera and projector with finger sensors connected to a smartphone in the pocket, which can bring up a holographic representation of a screen anywhere – even sixthsense14on one’s hand if no other surface is around, for e.g. to phone a friend or to search for some internet content. The iWatch technology also is rumored to cast a holographic screen apple-iwatch-first-look-3from the arm as an user interface instead of a heavy computer screen for internet access and controlling of content in the device. The Google Glass technology aims to deliver a small unit on sergey-brin-google-glass-0020_610x407changeable glass shapes and styles to view the use of the integrated computer in the glass frame and to control it by voice. 

It must be assumed, that the use of small wearable body near units to access internet content will make their entrance among the young generation as soon as they are available for a fair and affordable price – as smartphones did. The technology will then have the feature of being accessible in nearly any situation and the option to share the view of content by a bigger picture for mates and peers will certainly meet the desires we already now can notice in between the young generation, when we see them stand around and share what is shown on a traditional computer or smartphone display. In education this technological progress once again will open for new challenges for the teacher, who then will need to know how to navigate in class with multiple and independent learning processes going on to an ever higher extend as we see it today. A future teacher role in this landscape has to be grounded on deep knowledge of the in class used technologies and of the diversity and credibility of sources from multiple cultures as well as on the capability to support and guide individually in the student’s learning process and behaviour in online communities.

http://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potential_of_sixthsense_technology.html – The Sixth Sense Technology

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5OV_BJreTA&feature=share&list=PL4DBB7B034EEF650B – Apple’s iWatch

http://youtu.be/V6Tsrg_EQMw – Google Glass

Preparing the Workshop “Education for the Future in the Light of Multiculturalism & Web 2.0 Tools” on May 2, 12:00 AM SL-Time

Dudley and Inish were the ones to put us on task in this 7th class of the “Is One Life Enough?” module – accompanied by Locks, who had been around our blogging.

- Dudley Dreamscape's lecture about the expected elements in a typical IOLE project presentation, such as the need to keep the message in focus and to use media, so it aids understanding of the topic

– Dudley Dreamscape’s lecture about the expected elements in a typical IOLE project presentation, such as the need to keep the message in focus and to use media, so it aids understanding of the topic

Now the final project show is to be prepared for May 2, 12:00 AM sl-time and luckily Bill and me had carried out a lot of thinking and content construction already. Dudley focussed on the huge range of possibilities to take advantage of in the web 2.0 universe and made it clear, that we have to ensure, that our message is in center and that the essence of the use of social media and the presenting web tools is to support the message and to help understanding for the attending audience.

Inish made us see clearly, that there would be work to do to gather visitors for the presentation event e.g. by using and linking to the sl location from our facebook and twitter accounts and through the use of messaging in groups, which we are members of in sl.

From last week Bill and me had been creating bricks for hands on activities for our audience on the green grass of BABEL Language School in sl and we agreed on to shape a scene, so the activities would be centered on it naturally and so we had a clearly landmarked space for the promotion of the event. Thinking of the shape, I decided to use a huge hollowed sphere with an opening to get onto the presentation floor, as this would illustrate the circular connections the used social media would be expected to have. Inside the sphere and all around the platform I placed four rounded video and web viewing screens with the ability to be used interactively, all pointing to the center of the platform, where the hands on activities would take place. Later I found it more suitable and focussing even better on our desired message, to let the outside surface of the sphere carry a world map, which would give the impression, that we move into the globe for our activities, interviews and talks.

The first step to promote the event will be by moving around in the virtual world of sl wearing a sign, which will give out a landmark and probably later also a description of the event and we completed the sign just after class, Bill and me.

Also the group, “BABEL One World Forum”, which already has about 10 members, will be used for spreading the news. This group has the following description:

“As BABEL is proud to act in the center of cultural diversity with our language activities and others to come, we would like to offer our friends, students and personnel this forum for intercultural exchanges. When we say “One World”, we mean it, and we appreciate all these valuable inputs from our students, our staff and other contacts, we always get. The ‘BABEL One World Forum’ is dedicated to all those many, who want to explore the treasure of multicultural contacts and who wish to explore humanity and understanding.”


Insignia of the Group to promote the Event on "Education for the Future in the Light of Multiculturalism & Web 2.0 Tools" as of May 3, 12:00 SL- time

Insignia of the Group to promote the Event on “Education for the Future in the Light of Multiculturalism & Web 2.0 Tools” as of May 2, 12:00 SL- time

We would like to encourage our friends to join this group already now for further information for the workshop to come. Membership is free and the group is easily found by search in sl or by following the attached link. Looking forward to meet many of you and to share your valuable input with you.


Language Learning on top of the list

Language Learning on top of the user list in virtual worlds

From a study in May 2012 we can make the conclusion, that foreign language learning with 25% is the most frequented field of the educational use in virtual worlds (Kim, Lee, Thomas, 12). Of all educational ventures, the most are carried out in the Second Life metaverse with 35% (Kim, Lee, Thomas, 9).   

Figure 7: Analysis of reasearch fields using virtual worlds by majors

Kim, Lee, Thomas, p. 12

Reliable data go back to 2006, which means that just at the time, when BABEL Language School was established by Mike Meltzer early in 2007, many others have made their entrance and have consolidated in the field of foreign language learning since.

Homo virtualis

We still are very concrete in our thinking: Eventually nations have a strong identification with their languages, landscapes, heritage and boundaries etc. In virtual worlds our identification could reside e.g. in the present multiculturality, the creation of virtual spaces, the online history and the absence of uncrossable borders, which we act in between and from. The research focus on virtual worlds in these years “is now focussing on understanding the immersive characteristics of virtual worlds, such as making learners feel as if there exists an online learning space” (Kim, Lee, Thomas, 15).

When will we feel, that also our mental orientation in an online existence will claim a substitute for or an extension of a former “national” feeling from us individuals behind the avatar, who act and develop so much in virtual worlds?

Bon voyage, Mike – from this study you have something to meet and contribute with, when you now travel to Bulgaria with it’s strong traditional national feelings.

Sahoon H. Kim, Jiyeon Lee Lee, Michael K. Thomas: “Between Purpose and Method: A Review of Educational Research on 3D Virtual Worlds.” Journal of Virtual Worlds Research 5 (2012) 1: 2-15. Retrieved February 17, 2013 from: