TLVW10: the story of “discovering Italian Renaissance” at Città Ideale


For the second year, Misy Ferraris and I  worked together to prepare an example of didactical use of SL for the Tesol Evo course Teaching Languages in a Virtual World.

As in our last event (about the Italian Carnival ) we decided to focus more on the Italian Culture than on language: most of the people who are taking part to the EVO course are English teacher and we think that it’s much more interesting for them to “live” an activity as student than to sit down and listen to the explanation of how we would or could do this and that. Therefore, if our class was about language, we would be forced to prepare a beginner class… and in my opinion SL is not for beginners: to much work and too little result.

We had spotted a very beautiful land: Città Ideale, and I had been thinking for a while of using it for some activities. Then Italianiamo went on to its second version and my real life got even busier.

This was the perfect occasion to try to use this land for teaching.

First of all, we contacted the owners of the land: Ketty Dagostino and Jo Magic, who where enthusiastic about our idea and offered their help and collaboration from the very start.

Once we had the owner permission… there was no way back. It was time to start thinking about the activity/ies.

I’ve always found that to bring a group to a new Sim in SL is not an easy task. Either you play the “guide” role, leading them and explaining what you see around, or you ask your student to explore the land and report back what they have found. In this latter case, they often tend to look a bit lost, and sometimes stay stuck where they are, and… even worse, they almost don’t speak (the worst thing you can do to a language teacher: keep quiet)

Since I find it extremely boring and useless to go around with a group of avatar and explain them about this and that, I’m always looking for new way to let them explore and use the space they are in for learning.

The best solution, I think, are treasure hunts. So I started thinking about one where people had to go inside some of the beautiful buildings of Città Ideale to find the answer and where each answer would give access to the next clue/question.

I needed a script (as usual 🙂  ) but I’m not a scripter 😦  . So I started searching in my inventory, in the scripts wiki… and finally I remembered of http://www.3greeneggs.com/autoscript/!!!

I made the script with just a couple of clicks. It worked wonderfully…  but only with me. I needed a scripter. TZN86 Blinker, the scripter of Città Ideale, came to my rescue. Once I solved the technical part, I could start thinking about the content, and again, thanks to the collaboration of the owners of the land I could have access to a huge amount of information.

The next part was simply to read, write questions, check everything, coordinate with Misy Ferraris and the people of the land, post the notice of the event and… cross fingers.

The result? Of course it can be improved. May be now I would ask less questions and give some indications of where the different buildings are, but on the whole I consider it a success. At least I had great fun observing the participants and giving them some little hints when they were stuck.

I hope they had fun too.

A big thank to everybody that made this event possible: the people who attended it and the people who helped us. As usual, to do something in SL, you need to collaborate and you get to know very nice and generous people

To read about Misy Ferraris part of the game, click here.

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