A new look for the Hydrologist

•July 6, 2009 • Comments Off on A new look for the Hydrologist

All but one of the virtual characters for the marsh is completed.  A picture of the hydrologist is below.  It is funny how we see ourselves in a character, even if that character isn’t ourselves.  If someone should ask me how this character came to look like she does, I will claim the 5th.  The character was initially supposed to have a more scientific, natural look … glasses, sunhat, petite.  However, she needed to be changed  :-(.  Oh well … its funny how we see ourselves.

An Makeover - The Hydrologist

More Ideas – Visit to Pulp and Papermill Plant

•July 1, 2009 • Comments Off on More Ideas – Visit to Pulp and Papermill Plant

Today I went on a tour of a build that NMC Virtual Worlds did for Yale University of a Paper Mill Plant on Elihu Island in Second Life.  This build was done for a graduate Industrial Ecology class.  Various field trips are a big part of the course however scheduling of such for graduate students is difficult and Pulp and Paper Mills are not often excited in having students visit for obvious safety reasons.  

What I really liked on this build was the use of ambient sound and movement to create immersion.  Yale also used a blog to provide additional background information. 


During the tour, CJ Carnot of NMC Virtual Worlds talked about what he felt SecondLife as a medium does well from an educational perpective and I was glad to see that he supported my own humble thoughts and opinions.  Virtual worlds are great at role-playing and simulations however, they are not the best at actually teaching a skill.  For example, in health-education they are great at presenting a case study and having students interact with content and virtual “patients” however they are not great at teaching a physical skill such as inserting an IV.  SecondLife is also good at teaching math skills.

What I also found interesting is that CJ talked about the challenges in creating specialized builds on different topics where the builder is lacking in background content knowledge .  Working with content experts requires good communication skills and patience to determine what is really important for  the build.  I found this also to be the case on the virtual marsh.  His comments definitely made me feel better!!!

Great Quote for the Marsh

•June 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Martha Schoene, one of the faculty members on this project, found a terrific quote while doing her son’s 4th grade project … I just have to find someplace to use it on the marsh or in the project.  I’m thinking it would be perfect as a footer in the documention  …  I love the quote.

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth. “

Rachel Carson

The Reporter

•May 16, 2009 • Comments Off on The Reporter

The reporter in our scenario directs students to The Sandy Times newspaper articles in the Visitor Center.  I embedded the assessment in the reporter’s backback.  The newspaper articles  have been completed and grouped together using the Acrobat 9 portolio tool.

The Reporter


Ahhhhh Finally

•April 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have been searching all over for the ideal picture for Salt Marsh Dynamics and here it is!  I found this heron in Spellbound Woods, Creative Fantasi in Second Life.  The animation is so incredible as the bird fishes for his next meal. 

Heron at Spellbound Woods

Heron at Spellbound Woods

The International Journal of Learning and Media

•March 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment
I ran across this online journal by the MacArthur Foundation that would be a good fit for submission for my research paper on the virtual marsh. 

This online journal provides a forum for scholars, researchers, and practitioners to examine the changing relationships between learning and media across a wide range of forms and settings.  It looks like it would be a perfect fit!

It includes a piece on virtual worlds by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, “Why Virtual Worlds Matter”  that I have seen, read and used before.


•March 20, 2009 • Comments Off on isuu

When I looked at the Rez Ed community portal today I was reminded of a cool online publishing tool called isuu that would be perfect for the printed materials for the virtual marsh.  I love the interface although I’m not crazy about the advertising on the side for a non-paid account.  Never the less, I want to make a record of it here for consideration.


•March 6, 2009 • Comments Off on Copyright

Since this project is on Second Life, open potentially to the “public”, I want to be very careful about copyright for all the information and images that are contained within.  I thought carefully about a copyright statement and this is what I came up with.  This project is so very tricky in this area for a number of reasons so here goes on a possible DRAFT.  I hope to eventually come up with something that will make all parties happy.  I have included this text in the notecard visitors to the marsh can pick up if they click on the main message board.

Copyright:   <this is just a draft!>

This project belongs to Seton Hall University.  If you are interested in finding out about the project and others on the Seton Hall Island, you should direct your inquires to Danielle Mirliss, the Associate Director of the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center.

The specialized scripts used in this case-based scenario were developed by and belong to the New Media Consortium.  If you are interested in obtaining them for another build, please contact Larry Johnson at NMC.

The individual authors and creators of the virtual marsh have made every effort to use original materials or those under creative commons license.  Images and material licensed under creative commons have been cited along with the work.  You will also find an additional master listing here: <  coming soon>.    As far as the individual creators and authors of the materials contained within, we are willing to share our experiences of the process and concept with anyone on an informal basis! 

Our many thanks go to the New Jersey Marine Consortium who gave us written permission to edit/use their educational materials freely and to the NMC folks for writing the scripts that serve the basis for the educational activities contained within.  See our master citation list for details!




•February 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Home with the flu today and feeling really awful  ….  😦

In between trying to sleep, I created my first character for marsh, Grandpa, out of an old account we had made a couple of years back. To use Crazy Talk for the narratives, I need an avatar.  Plus, I was thinking that it would be soooooooooo fun when students were in the virtual marsh to have faculty or designers show up as these characters.   So, Jamie Meltzer became our oldest character almost instantaneously, well, not quite. I tried my hardest to make Jamie look up in the years with the base Appearance menu but just couldn’t seem to make him look believable.   So …. I just ended up buying an “elderly man skin” for $0.95.   Worked out beautifully and poof!

I have to remember to mask out Grandpa’s classes and pipe with Crazy Talk or these items will move when the character talks.  You would think that these objects should move however I found it really distracting when I made my trial movie of my own avatar which usually wears eye glasses.  I also found that I liked my production better when the background was still.

Well Grandpa, welcome to Salt Marsh Dynamics!

Grandpa the Historian

Grandpa the Historian

Buying Objects

•February 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Grandpas Fishing Hat and Newspaper

Grandpa's Fishing Hat and Newspaper

This past weekend I set off to start to build out the virtual marsh environment for each character we have identified.  I got very confused as I tried to work within two characters … that of myself (Heidi TeeCee) where all my inventory saw and the ePirate avatar … some stuff was here, some there.  I decided the best option was  to only purchase or obtain items that were copiable/modifiable so that I could insert different scripts into the objects (i.e. note cards, urls, assessments) but more importantly, once each character was finished, I could transfer a copy of the finished object to the university avatar (ePirate).  As I’m doing so, I can organize the objects into a folder in that account and only transfer the edited copies of the objects.  Best that the ePirate account is organized.

Meanwhile, keeping the Heidi TeeCee account organized proved challenging.  As mentioned before, most of the objects I modified so I had copies of the original and the edited version … and the names didn’t match since I wanted the edited version to have a name that made sense to the case.  Confusing, right?  

However, retaining “copies” of the objects I found was really important should the object “disappear” by accident.  One wouldn’t think this would be the case however, I found some of my initial marsh animals “underground” due to some of  the terraforming done on the other parts of the island.  Accidents easily happen.  I also decided that after each “character” was finished to take photos of the area and objects, again for a record just in case.  These photos would make a great photo album. 

Any large purchases (i.e. expensive buildings) I will make with the ePirate avatar however I did find some buildings that I liked (i.e. for the tourist center) that were copiable/modifiable. 

I am doing surprising well with finding what I need and modifying the objects to suit the case so I’m pleased.  I also want to go back and review with the faculty how we can add more interactivity to plants and trees that are already there to provide for a more rounded educational environment.  🙂