Tag Archives: collaboration

Learn a Language in a Medieval Roleplay

Pionia, Elaine and Anna

This weekend Artstonia hosted an introduction to Roleplay for the teachers of VILLAGE: Language Learning and Community Building in Second Life, an online workshop of TESOL EVO 2001
Pionia Destiny, who ran this kind of events many times in the past years, asked Elaine Khandr and me to give her an hand.

This time we decided to change a bit the formula, and to organise a short quest for the participants, thinking that in this way they would have the occasion to have a clearer idea of what roleplay means.

But the organisation of the event was also an occasion for the three of us to know each other a bit better, and I hope that we will have more occasions to collaborate since I really enjoyed the experience.

To say the truth, most of the work was done by Elaine, who is a skilled builder and scripter, beside being a wonderful person.

I would like to thank also Sir Sol and Sil Edge and all the other Arstonian who joined us in the quest and who gave the participants a good example of what good roleplay is.

And of course, a huge thank to Gwen and Nahiram, without whose organisation and support this little workshop would not have been possible.

introduction to rpg by Elaine



Filed under education, role play

3, 2, 1… you are on air

On saturday I was invited by Pionia to take part in an interview, together with Cyber and her, about language learning in virtual words.

Well… who can say “no” to  such a proposal?

This was an occasion as well to spend some times with two good friends and to learn about new intersting initiatives in SL, like the Teknoartia forum, whose aim is to be a meeting point for people interested in making things in SL. A real public square where you can find people with similar interests and share ideas and projects with them.

Actually, the radio that invited us, Colombiamor was born in SL, and it’s the result of the work of people leaving in different continents. A demonstration of how SL is, with no doubt, the best social network existing at the time.

Pionia, Cyber and me met a bit before just to chat, confess each other we were rather nervous, and meet some of the staff of the radio. It was nice to see some of the backstage while we were not “on air”.. you know how curious I am.. of everything and everybody :). Of course at the beginning we were tenses, but then thanks to the warmth and the competence of our hosts, we relaxed and even joked a bit.

In the end, we were asked to tell a recipe of our country… a really embarrassing task for me, because, despite being Italian, I’m a disaster and a danger in the kitchen and all my friends know that I’m rather prone to burning to ashes everything, even the saucepan.

I leave here the  link to the interview (in Spanish)

After us, was the turn of presenting a nice initiative: the Peace and Diversity  Marathon Art  2011, that will be held on 15-16 January. 24 hours non-stop of concerts, literary readings, exhibitions of visual arts and many interesting events to send a message of Peace and Unity in Diversity throughout the world. Another brilliant example of what SL and VW in general allow us to do.

For more information: http://maratonarte.blogspot.com/

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Filed under education, interview, radio, Second Life, teknoartia

add a dimension to your learning.. with a good friend

In October 2010 Karelia Kondor and I prepared a presenation for the 3rd Virtual Roundtable Conference.

For me it was a real pleasure to be able to collaborate with Karelia: we met in Edunation thanks to Carol and became real friends by now. And I love to work with people: I like the energy that is produced and the learning and teaching that is taking place. In this case, I was the one who learned more, and I have to thanks Karelia to offer me this opportunity.

Since the conference was not on SL and then probably our “pubblic” was mostly new to Virtual Words, we decided to give an overview of what can teachers do in Second Life and to explain it from the point of view of  our personal experience.

It was nice and reassuring as well to have Gizmo, Pionia and many other friends among the attendats, and to be able to rely on the wonderful organisation of Gwen.

Here are the slides, since we had a little problem with them and were not able to show them all.

For more information:

the recording: http://www.virtual-round-table.com/profiles/blogs/add-a-dimension-to-your

Karelia page: http://www.all-london.org.uk/second_life.htm


introduction (video)

Italian Art: Gallery of the italian creativity: dynamics painting  and sculpture by Gleman Jun.
Sculpture: Both myself by Gleman Jun
Avalon Learning

For information on the project:

Slanguages 2010

sharing resources (slide)

International School
One of the many places where you can find free resources for teaching in SL.
English at Cypris Chat (slide)

Virtlantis (slide)

Goethe Institut (slide)

Teleportnovela (slide)

Italianiamo (slide)

Games (videos)
Role play (video)

Artstonia (role play sim)
Chatlog: example of role play interaction
[2010/09/29 23:50]  gadget Cyberstar: greetings, anna
[2010/09/29 23:50]  anna Begonia: greetings
[2010/09/29 23:51]  Relm Foxdale: Greetings
[2010/09/29 23:52]  anna Begonia: greetings
[2010/09/29 23:52]  Whrek Nirvana: Eya Girly
[2010/09/29 23:52]  gadget Cyberstar: ooh goodie, the rat is here
[2010/09/29 23:52]  Whrek Nirvana: shut up
[2010/09/29 23:52]  gadget Cyberstar: and why would i do that?
[2010/09/29 23:53]  Whrek Nirvana: you’ve got shit spewwin out yur gums
[2010/09/29 23:53]  Whrek Nirvana: I’m sure relm doesn’t appreciate getting covered in it
[2010/09/29 23:59]  anna Begonia: *approaches Whreck, looks at his skin*
[2010/09/29 23:59]  anna Begonia: Sir, do you paint it every day? It would take long. How many hours?
[2010/09/30 00:00]  anna Begonia: do someone help you?
[2010/09/30 00:00]  Whrek Nirvana cocks his foot to the side and sweeps his tail around it, standing up tall in front of her, “Wha, You aint meanin ta tell me you aint never seen a tatoo before girly, THis down come off, its burned on my flesh”
[2010/09/30 00:00]  Relm Foxdale suddenly chuckles. “You have longer hair than me.”
[2010/09/30 00:01]  gadget Cyberstar: aye, frieking wood elfs, they dun know how ta cut hair
[2010/09/30 00:01]  anna Begonia: Oh, my god! burned! it has to be very painful! Why did they do it to you? *with a shrill in ther voice*
[2010/09/30 00:01]  Relm Foxdale grabs his ponytail playfully
[2010/09/30 00:01]  gadget Cyberstar: hey! no pulling!
[2010/09/30 00:01]  Relm Foxdale laughs
[2010/09/30 00:01]  gadget Cyberstar: pull my hair, i steal an ear
[2010/09/30 00:02]  Relm Foxdale: You wouldn’t dare
[2010/09/30 00:02]  gadget Cyberstar: try me
[2010/09/30 00:02]  Relm Foxdale frowns
[2010/09/30 00:02]  Relm Foxdale: Nah
[2010/09/30 00:02]  Whrek Nirvana holds his hand up and traces down his arms, “Traders and brands, each of these was given to me when I was slave to one or another, the Ravinica guild added the roses every time, or was it gruuls
[2010/09/30 00:02]  gadget Cyberstar: tatoos dun hurt, actually
[2010/09/30 00:03]  gadget Cyberstar: well, much
[2010/09/30 00:03]  Whrek Nirvana: they do when theyre seared
[2010/09/30 00:03]  gadget Cyberstar: yeah
[2010/09/30 00:03]  Relm Foxdale: Not very much, no
[2010/09/30 00:03]  gadget Cyberstar: i said much
[2010/09/30 00:03]  Relm Foxdale: Depends where they are
[2010/09/30 00:03]  Whrek Nirvana: take a hot Iron, dip it in ink, then brand the flesh
[2010/09/30 00:03]  gadget Cyberstar: well, ye stop feeling much after a whyle
[2010/09/30 00:03]  Relm Foxdale smirks. “You’ve never seen mine, Gadget.”
[2010/09/30 00:03]  anna Begonia: you were a slave? *goes nearer to Whreck* how can be that you were takein slave? You are so strong *smiles half shyly half mockingly* why did you not defend yourself?
[2010/09/30 00:03]  gadget Cyberstar: did nay know ye had one
[2010/09/30 00:03]  Relm Foxdale: But then I keep it hidden, for good reason
[2010/09/30 00:04]  Relm Foxdale: When i was with those…people
[2010/09/30 00:04]  gadget Cyberstar: ah
[2010/09/30 00:04]  Whrek Nirvana: I was a boy when I was taken at as a slave, and even now not much I can do to a camp of slavers ta stop em, though I’ve slipt outta theyre grips a few times as of late
[2010/09/30 00:05]  gadget Cyberstar: ye just gotta learn how ta fight right
[2010/09/30 00:05]  anna Begonia: I was told that there are raids sometimes in the village, they catch people, children or girls. Are they slavers?
[2010/09/30 00:05]  gadget Cyberstar: mostly just monsters
[2010/09/30 00:06]  Whrek Nirvana: Wouldnt doubt it, Sparten raiders are pretty notorious fer taken breedin stock, women and girls, athenians well take workers of men
[2010/09/30 00:06]  Relm Foxdale: Well, Gadget, I need to go to bed…it’s been a long day, traveling to Flotsam and back
[2010/09/30 00:06]  gadget Cyberstar: *frowns* alright
[2010/09/30 00:06]  anna Begonia: ah…. other mostners, not the one you have in the village, i guess
[2010/09/30 00:06]  Relm Foxdale: But thanks for dancing with me *smiles*
[2010/09/30 00:06]  gadget Cyberstar: goodnight, relm
[2010/09/30 00:06]  Relm Foxdale: Night
[2010/09/30 00:06]  anna Begonia: good Night lady
The real Virtual World
art gallery (slide)

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Filed under education, presentation, Second Life

having fun… and collaborating with friends

I’ve been appointed stage technick by Gwen Gwasi 😀

That means, that I have a good excuse for doing what I like most in SL: prepare settings.

Here is the result:

The first scene of Gween play (two small pieces of “Baal”, by Bertold Brecht) will take place in a party.  So here I wanted light, opulence, and to give the idea that they are a sort of artist circle of friends.

To keep prims down, the pictures on the wall are… part of the texture. The middle of the room is empty to let some space for the actors to move.

The “prim” will be a little organ. Gwen will buy it for her rapresentation.

The second scene, is in a squallid bar, people are drunk and quarrel. Here the setting is dark, furniture are battered, lights are dim. Here actors will need more space to move, above all in the last scene.

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Filed under building, Second Life, task based learning

learning by machinima

When Italianiamo came to a stall due to the repetition of the formula and to its limits, I had many things in mind I would have liked to try out.

Among them, the most simple, less technical demanding for learners, was a machinima.

I had no experience in acting, nor in using theatre technique for learning nor in machinima, unless you want to call “experience” a small part I played when I was 6 and some short films I did in SL for documentation or just for fun.

In addition, I had no idea of how the Italianiamo’s participants would react to the idea.

Our activities until then were very little demanding: just drop by and see what is the topic of the day. But this time I was handing over to them the responsibility of almost everything: the thinking of the story and the dialogues, and most important of all: the commitment. A machinima is not something you do in 90 minutes, and the presence of the authors and actors is required in almost all the stages.

For me, I kept the technical part: the preparation of the settings, the summarising of the decision we took and the transcription of the improvised dialogues, the shooting and the editing of the resulting material.

Of course, I was as well a guide and an Italian teacher: helping out with grammar and pronunciation and trying to maintain a sort of balance between the characters, so that each had their moment of glory, as well as pushing them a little when they were stuck in the story.

It is very interesting to be writing this now, while we are starting to work on our second little film. I remember that the first time I had no idea of how to proceed.

We started thinking a story. The first sessions were actually ideas and ideas and ideas and ideas going around, each starting from some other ideas but walking on their own. This first stage is very messy and it is difficult even for me to keep track of all the different stories that sprung up. As well, some are naturally more creative and bolder while others are more shy and reflexive, and if I wanted that the story was really a collective creation, I had to push some while holding back gently others.

From the general outline of the story we got the different character, mostly proposed by those who wanted to embody them. And starting form the characters and the relations between them we went on building the story and the dialogues.

This is the most interesting part, in my opinion, from a language learning point of view: the same vocabulary, sentences and structures come out naturally over and over. Something that was not happening with the old structure of Italianiamo and that I felt it was one of its main limits. And the same vocabulary is used again in the second stage: the creation of the dialogues. Moreover, this time it is also written and repeated. And repeated and repeated.

At first, I thought that each person involved in a dialogue could write in chat what he was saying, but I soon discovered that it did not work. It was unnatural and difficult to them to think quickly their answer and to write it down while they were saying it. They were too focused on the improvisation to be distracted by something as trivial as to take notes.

When I realised it and decided to transcribe myself the dialogues as they were improvising them, we had already lost a wonderful quarrel between the hairdresser and her husband.

There is nothing to do about it: improvisation is improvisation. The first go is always the better, fresher and wittier of all. Then you can polish it, add something here and there, change this and that, but if you try to repeat it, to do it again from what you remember, it will not be the same.

Once we had the transcription of the dialogues, we started rehearsing them. In this phase it was very useful and interesting to have some native speakers among us. This allowed us to work on different dialogues at the same time, since the Italian “actors” could improve pronunciation and help writing down any correction/change.

The final part, the actual shooting, involved also repetition: we usually took at least two takes of the same scene.

But most important of all, we laughed a lot, we enjoyed our time, involved people on the go (like when we needed a barman… everybody was scanning their friend list to look for eligible candidates, sending messages -in Italian, since most of them were native speakers- to see if this person was willing to come and play the barman part), made suggestion on the settings and discussed and solved problems as we spotted them.

I also learnt to machinima, and I have to thanks all the Italianiamo participants for that. Without them this project, our film “il marito della parrucchiera” (the hairdresser’s husband)  and all the resulting learning would not have been possible.


Filed under education, Second Life, task based learning

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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Filed under education, Second Life

My earthly self

Anna Begonia lent my cellular self this space for a short post. It will be short because I’m very busy at the moment, and excited. With a group of colleagues from the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Barcellona we started a proget: Italismani. It’s still in its early beginning, and we have still a lot to do, but the idea is very good and it will be as well a way to work together and know each other better.

The idea is to create a repository of online exercises and activities that suit our students. We know that there is a huge amount of exercises online, ready to use, but they not always respond to our student needs. In addition, for many of us it will be an occasion to learn to use some useful tools and introduce new technologies in our classes.

The kick off of the project is a short video, the result of the collaboration of teachers and students. We had great fun shooting it, and hope you will enjoy watching it.


Filed under education, real life