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Teaching in SL

Over the years, I have been incorporating more and more technology into my chemistry classes. Here's a PP presentation I gave not that long ago. http://www.chem.tamu.edu/class/fyp/keeney/secondlife/Integrated%20Technology-its.ppt This fall (2010) will be my 3rd semester at trying to incorporate optional weekly review sessions into SL. Optional for a few reasons. (1) My classes are large; I teach two classes of about 250 students each, so obviously I cannot have everyone in SL at the same time. (2) I do have a few students under 18 - which is problematic. (3) Some students are very uncomfortable in SL. Here I'll be blogging about the trials/tribulations of encouraging students to get involved in SL. Here's the link to a video clip of a tour of my area: http://www.chem.tamu.edu/class/fyp/keeney/secondlife/drwendy-in-SL.mp4




Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Stuff for Faculty

Hi, all - I've just built the prototype for how I'm going to give away my teaching/learning materials.  Take a look! The backdrop is the MetalGrate texture you can find in the SL texture library in your inventory (under building).  I like it because it provides structure, but you can see through it, so the views aren't blocked and one doesn't feel claustrophobic.  This is why I've used it throughout my space.  The colored squares contain the content I'm giving away.  When you left-click, you automatically get the buy option to get a copy of the square and its contents.  Buying a copy of the square is better than buying the content since inventory control is always an issue - especially for me.  Also, the panel textures have duplicate names (false01, true01, etc.) which would be a nightmare if I had folks just buy the content.  The pink squares contain the panel textures for Chem 101 quiz obelisks (you still need to buy the obelisk (Big Quiz Rezzer-Structured) from Eloise Pasteur).  The blue squares contain the panel textures for the Chem 102 quiz obelisks.  The yellow squares are for the Tower of VSEPR project, including the new script for giving objects to students in a controlled manner.  Now, folks who want to use some or all of my quiz panels can get them without uploading anything and paying L$10 per panel.   

Monday, June 28, 2010

Object Giver Script

Hi, all - just finished "speaking" with my new friend BetterThan Ordinary, also known as "Sphere" for short.
Sphere is a scriptor who I met through the Second Life Forum on Scripting when I posted my problem (see 6/22).  Sphere worked on the issue and just presented the script to me today!  It looks great.  Sphere gave me permission to give it out to anyone who wants it, you can find it on the Free Gifts for Faculty panel near the Tower of VSEPR.  Here is the first rendition of the instructions notecard: 

This script allows you to give items to students, as in a homework assignment. You set how many (1, 2, or 3) objects are given to each person who clicks. It keeps a list of which items were given to each student ... and it gives you reports upon request.


1) Rez your "item giver" prim and load the items to be given.
2) Add the script.
3) Open the script in the prim's contents, check the "Mono" box, and "Save."
4) When you click the box, you get a menu. The following options are available to you.
A) Power On/Off = turn the unit on/off. When it is off, it will not give items away.
B) Give 1, Give 2, Give 3 = set the number of items to give when a person clicks. Once a person has gotten objects, clicking again will remind them of the objects they were given.
C) Student Rpt = get a list of students who have received objects, along with the objects they received.
D) Item Rpt = Get a list of the items in the contents, along with the individuals to whom each was given.
E) Reset Student = Allows you to reset an individual student, and they will be allowed to click and receive objects again.
F) Backup = Gives you a list, to be placed in a notecard (see below), which resets the device with those values. This is an alternate way to reset individual students, because you can simply remove them from the list.
G) Reset = Resets the device, clearing all values.
H) Cancel = Turn off the menu without making a choice.

**********

The "Backup" option will give you some information to be placed in a notecard. This allows the object to be reset, but without deleting all of the values contained in memory. If you desire to remove individuals, you may do so.
To do this:
1) Click the "Backup" button and get the listing.
2) Create a new notecard in your inventory. Set the name to "Reset Values."
3) Copy, beginning with (and including) the "***START***" line, and ending with (and including) the "***END***" line, all of the information to the notecard.
4) Remove the lines for any students you would like to delete.
5) Save the notecard.
6) Add the notecard to the object's contents. The script will be reset with those values, and will automatically delete that notecard from the contents when finished.
**********
That's all there is to it! Enjoy your object giver.

BetterThan Ordinary
Betr Scripz

Obelisk Quizzes

I'm taking a little break from VSEPR theory to work on my obelisk quizzes for Chem 102.  I'm using a similar system to the one that Horace Moody uses for organic chemistry.  The obelisk quizzing system is by Eloise Pasteur and can easily be bought at XStreetSL.com:  Big Quiz Rezzer-structured, which I use, and Big Quiz Rezzer-random, costing L$350.  They are copyable, so you only have to buy it once.  I changed the texture so that each obelisk covers the material for a chapter.  I wanted mine structured so that the same 4 squares appear together, 3 false statements and 1 true.  Each set generally represents a topic in the class.  When you click on a square, if you picked the correct one, you are given another set of 4 choices.  If you picked the wrong one, you have to start at the beginning again.

This is a great way to direct a review session in SL for students.  You do have to watch out for students who want to click a square, before you finish discussing all the options.  If they pick wrong, it's back to the beginning again. 

The downside is the creating and uploading of each choice.  I make mine in Corel Draw, but I know you can use power point.  You then have to upload each drawing/PP slide into SL at L$10 a shot.  If you have 15 sets of statements, that is 60 file uploads and L$600 (about $2.25 as of yesterday).  If you would like any of my quzzes (not the quiz obelisk, but the actual quiz textures), I'm happy to give them to you - just email me at k-keeney@tamu.edu or IM me in world.  That way you wouldn't have to pay to upload them.

I actually combine the quiz obelisk with an in-world clicker system called Pollster from Azwaldo Villota that I bought for L$299.  It works perfectly.  There are 4 colored squares arranged just like the squares in the quiz obelisk system.  This allows students to make their choices before you start the discussion on each topic.  The students are involved in the process and even newbies can handle this.  The only issue is that students will click on the quiz obelisk square rather than the pollster square, and the class will either be sent back to the begiinning, or you'll move onto the next topic too soon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Great Resource for SL

Hi, all - wanted to talk about a great resource for newbie's in SL: 
Second Life Blogs > Second Life Forums > Scripting > Discussions.
To see the benefits, here is the link to my question so you can see all the nice people helping me out:  How do I script a random gift giver for a chemistry assignment?  The issues are still being worked out.  The purpose behind this script would be to give a student a random 3-D molecule or ion to build and then give info about.  I plan on having several of these molecule kiosts, one each for different classification of molecules:  octet obeyers, octet disobeyers, ions, molecules with lone pairs, molecules that exhibit resonance, etc.  The student will pick one molecule/ion from each kiosk to work on.  At least, that's the plan for now.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tower of VSEPR examples

Hi, all - I just put out a small blue/green hemisphere near my Tower of VSEPR so that anyone can have their own!  Right click on the hemisphere and you can "buy" for free the tower, the examples and the Hiro Sheridan Molecular Rezzers that create each example.  There is also a protractor which can help measure the angles.  Be careful when you use Hiro's rezzers - if you just click on them, the molecule will appear before eyes!  Actually that's a lot of fun! You then have to link the atoms together.  I'll put a notecard in the hemisphere soon to explain everything.  Happy playing!

Wendy  :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

VSEPR Learning Module

My present project is creating a learning module on VSEPR (Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion) Theory, which allows students to figure out the geometries of molecules and ions. I've got the basics done now, using Hiro Sheridan's Molecular Rezzer. You can go now to my SL site http://snurl.com/qgh3c , take copies of the VSEPR tower, the molecular rezzer boxes that will create the basic VSEPR shapes and the actual created molecules.  You'll find a pre-quiz you can take and an elevator to take you from one floor to another.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Setting up my blog

Here I am outside Oslo in Norway, deciding how to set up my blog.  Hubbie is attending the Oslo Science Conference for the International Polar Year (he is President of SCAR - Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) and I get to travel with him during the summer. 

I have spent months working on my SL corner of 12th Man Island - getting it up so that I can easily work with newbie students in SL.  I've learned quite a bit as well.  Over the summer and beyond, I will be sharing what I've done and if I've created it, you can go to my SL area and copy it.