When it comes to change, I’m a person who is not comfortable with taking time about it all. So since starting at Joeys I have been brimming with optimism for the opportunity to ‘get digital’. Lots of new things began to happen as the year progressed, and we made some wonderful advances in our thinking and in the things we are doing.
So you can imagine how excited I was when Peggy Sheehy invited me to Suffern Middle School for the day, on my recent trip to New York City. My ever-patient husband, Martin, was heard to say “You want to do what? take a day out of your 5 days in NYC and work??”
Needless to say, work it was not!
Peggy Sheehy has been leading the way for many years, demonstrating the power of virtual worlds for learning! Based at Suffern Middle School, Peggy leads the Ramapo Islands initiative, and if you haven’t been reading her blog I suggest you start watching it now. Virtual worlds are the future as learning becomes wrapped in interactive and immersive 3D environments.
It was totally amazing to visit Peggy, meet the Principal and staff, and participate in some introductory classes – new kids launching themselves into Ramapo Islands. Peggy very kindly brought forward some lessons so I could see and participate. How natural it all seemed! How easily the kids understood what it was all about! In one period these kids were dressing their avatar, walking and flying around, talking with friends, and playing – the favourite experiment was sliding down the large water slide. If this all sounds like a lot of fun and games – it was! But don’t for a minute assume it was wasted time.
Read Peggy’s blog to see what happens after these first lesson as students become more involved with virtual learning opportunities that teachers create at Suffern Middle School. Peggy writes that they will soon be tearing down the virtual walls and opening Ramapo Island to collaboration with other Teen Life education projects.
I rode the train back to New York City, and wondered how long it would be before I could do such exciting things.
It is not the job of Network Czars to determine what is in, or out. They have the best firewall in place – it’s called a teacher. You can’t win the proxy war, give up – find a better way. There is no risk in using Skoolaborate, the solution on a Windows network is quite simple: create an instance using a single user log-in – lock down everything but SL, when the user logs in – auto boot the application, then they can only go to Skoolaborate and no where else.
You need a Dave.