The first place I visited brought back some memories. I visited RL Student Orientation Area, Campus when I was a newbie and I was surprised that it still existed.
I remember that I talked with a guy, an educator, biologist or someting similar, that was using SL with his students. It was one of the first time I had a conversation with someone, and was really exciting. Well, I also remember that I went to see the indian village, but did not understand much, nor did I find it beautiful nor useful.
I will not spend a single word on Orientation Stations, Dore (32, 99). For those who entered just recently SL, that’s the ugly version of the orientation island that welcome all my generation of avatars. Ugly, boring, not really useful. Ahh, and this one was laggy too, with only two avatars.
Virtual Ability, was a nice surprise for me. Let’s see why.
- You land on the right spot. You do not have to find it, hidden in the bushes.
- Boards are written in a way that avatars can read them standing in front of them. Theres is no need to use camera controlls or zoom to read.
- They tell you what you are going to learn.
- They tell you the time you need to finish the tutorial.
- There is a map with all the different sections of the tutorial on it. The same map will be placed at the beginning of each section.
- The first thing you learn is to walk.
- The second, to see (camera controls, zoom, etc.).
- Now you have the skills you need to follow the tutorial.
- They keep it simple, teaching only those skills one has to know to be able to start enjoying SL and to learn more.
- When possible, there are practical exercises and examples (and they are fun and well integrated in the environment)
- They take into consideration that Mac exists.
- Of course, they do not forget that someone can have sight problems.
- And last but not least, the place is welcoming and nice to look at.
And I would like to add a personal note. I was helping in a little workshop for teachers in SL and there was a girl that was wonderful in giving instructions. And she wasn’t very “old” in SL terms. So I asked what she was teaching in RL, and they told me that she was specialised in people with special needs. Well, I think we have a learn to lot from those teachers, because they are wonderful at making complex things simple and easy.
I left the NMC Orientation place for the end, because I do not think that this is a tutorial for newbies, but it’s a very good one for those who want to learn something more or discover some little trick.
I remember that I went there for the firt time when I already had some experience, and I found it useful.
But now let’s see why I would not bring there a real newborn newbie there.
- You are not teleported at the begining of the tutorial.
- if you do not know about camera controls/zoom, you will have some problems to read the text.
This is how my avatar sees the boards… she cannot read anything.
if my avatar gets nearer to the boards, she canot read all the text.
A difficult decision: shall I go right or left? When someone is new and confused, that increases one’s axiety.
- They offer only text, boards with text. It’s not very practical.
- On the other hand, the the place is nice, and it is perfect for an intermediate level, and you can take a notecard with the explication with you.