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Second Life session 4

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Friday, 15 Apr 2011, 15:57

This session involved students in designing in response to design briefs set by other students.

There was a lot of exploratory talk (Mercer 2000) with students giving reasons for something (eg "Papier mache would be good because you can shape it) or for not choosing a particular course of action (If we used glue, it would make it unrecyclable").

There were three other phenomena that struck me.  Firstly, although there was a lot of talk, there were also silent episodes as students concentrated on the task.  Secondly, the boundaries between study and social life seemed to blur (Snyder 2000) as students chatted about their experiences after they had finished the task.  Thirdly, some of the students began to react against the use of pseudonyms.


Mercer N (2000) Words and Minds London: Routledge

Snyder I (2003) "A new communication order: researching literacy practices in the network society" in Goodman S., Lillis T, Maybin J and Mercer N (eds) (2003) Language, Literacy and Education: a Reader Stoke on Trent: Trentham 


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Second Life - session 3

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 19 May 2011, 15:50

Another interesting but rather different session.  We started in Second Life and then split into groups in Flash meetings for group discussions making use of a whiteboard before returning to Second Life for a plenary.  The group task involved clarifying the concept of fragility before setting a design brief for the other groups.

The move to Flash meetings was interesting psychologically as people moved from being avatars to being their real selves.  Many of the techniques for building meaning that Mercer refers to were apparent during this stage.  For example, there were reformulations “We can use the whiteboard” followed by “You can use the whiteboard” with the interesting change of pronoun perhaps helping the students to feel more responsibility.  There were also repetitions like “Breakable, yes”.   There were elicitations “If you think about a design brief, what would you have”.  There were also exhortations like “Great teamwork!”

The return to Second Life allowed for reflection on the task and to pass on information about the design briefs to be worked on.

The switches between Second Life and Flash Meetings seemed to work reasonably smoothly although there were some lags going between them.



Mercer N (2000) Words and Minds London : Routledge

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