Friday, 8 May 2015

The End and Beginning

The Virtual Environments Module came to an end yesterday as student's stood for the last time in front of the class to tell them how their making a charity go global went. Everyone did an out standing job and all though we all had different outcomes and different ways of doing things it was all a great success. It has been a every interesting time that I have spend exploring new forms of technology, virtual worlds and social networking platforms. Although at time it has been a challenge over all it has been a really great learning curve and experience. Its been a pleasure to be lectured by such knowledgeable and passionate people that have also been extremely welcoming, warm and easy to approach. Even though Second Life has not been quite for me and I am still deciding weather or not to stay on it, but you never know the day that I might understand its appeal more. The module has ultimately given me a greater knowledge of social networking, virtual worlds, collaborating and on-line branding and identity. I feel that this is something that will really benefit me not just now but in years to come. Its only the beginning of gaining more knowledge and understanding of technology and worlds with in worlds. 

From Me, My Avatar, and I, It's Over and Out. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Group Project Update

Today my group for virtual environments module met up in Second Life to finalise our presentation for making a cause or charity go global. We discussed setting up out presentation but found it difficult as we had no presentation board to start putting our slides on. Because we are new to this software it had been a challenge in trying to put things together. Elly (ellymariec)  said that she would contact Dudley (dudleydreamscape) in hope that he would be able to send us a presentation board. In the mean time we have all started to put slides together for our presentation. Once we have the presentation slides, the group will meet again to put them together and practice our parts together. Elly is going to introduce the presentation and give background information on our cause and charity, Kerri (kbm27) is then going to speak about the social networking platforms we used, I am going to discuss the challenges we faced and finally Sophia (simonesh19) is going to talk about our success and failure. Here is a sneak peek of some of the slides that I put together today: 

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Only World We Will Ever Know

No matter how many world's we create, develop, aspire to have, no matter how much technology forms virtual worlds. There is only one world we will ever know. Without the world we live in nothing else can exist. Without our world their is no second life. 

"That's here, that's home, that's us."
Carl Sagan

Sunday, 3 May 2015


Like everything in life technology has its negative and positive attributes. While taking the module virtual environments its started to make me think more about how the development of technology has contribution to our lives today. A lot of the time I feel that my generation and the generations below me take technology for granted. We have been brought up immersed in it and its hard to remember a world that everything wasn't at our fingers tips. However, technology has contributed far beyond are day to day life and has supplied enormous help in disastrous situations. Earlier in the the semester the group of students from virtual environments visited 'Virtual Disability Island' in Second Life ( Virtual Disability Island is a support system for cross disabilities and those who are effect by individual's with disabilities. It has nearly 1000 members from a cross the world and their members may have physical disabilities, mental, emotional, and developmental. The community helps people with disabilities or effected by disabilities thrive in a virtual world. For instance a platform like this allows for someone that cannot walk in real life run free and explore in Second Life. Such technology has developed a tangible effect upon the real world. Through this community members can take place in a variety of educational and entertainment activities throughout the day. But one of the biggest things is encouraging members to explore in a world that is endless and provides a place where disabilities can be obsolete. This technology is enriching the lives of people that might not have the same opportunities in real life. 

But technology goes even further than this. When hurricane sandy hit the United States in 2012 many technology platforms helped in relief efforts for the devastation that the hurricane left "Mobile technology, web apps, and mapping software have become enormously helpful in sharing news and spreading information about relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy."(1) Technology that we would not even considered to be helpful in such circumstances like Twitter and Instagram provided a great amount of information and communication during the devastating time. Such platforms also helped raise awareness and money for the cause. The Red Cross used mobile technologies to set up an app that could be used to find where the nearest shelters where, "Mobile technologies can help people find shelter information in time of need. The Red Cross hurricane app uses GPS to find the nearest shelters."(2). An article from Irin News discuses technology that can be used in disaster situations similar to that of hurricane sandy and how they can be beneficial for such circumstances. 

(1), (2),. 2015. 'Technology's Impact On Disaster Relief'.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Presentations Kicked Off

Presentation kicked of this week with a bang. Four groups from virtual environments module showcased their aim to make a charity and cause go global. However, this was without a few glitches. A lot of the class are novices at using Second Life this resulting in some technical difficulties at getting the pretensions up and running. The class was a little slow to start as using technology is not always as straight forward as one would like. Many unforeseen problems can arise when working with such software, audio often can be a problem as people's connection might not be as good as others and because most of us are new to Second Life presentations where hard to set up. None the less their is also many benefits for using presentation's in a class room environment "Excellent resource that can introduce, enrich or encapsulate the material you present"(1). After some tweaking and fiddling around the students finally got a hang of it and started of setting the standard for the rest of us. 

The students executed their presentations really well. Each of them where clear and insightful. It was nice to see how each different group had collaborated and found the experience overall, but also to observe how they tackled the challenge differently. Yet I noticed something that each of the individual groups had mentioned within their presentation's, they had all made the point that the group project would have been easier if it had been in a real life class room. Although I understand why they thought this I also disagreed with the point. Although communication has been hard I don't necessarily blame this on the fact that the class is based in a virtual world and everything that is done for it is centred around technology. I would put the challenge of communication down to time. Time is the best thing you can give someone, the ultimate gift. We spend most of our lives on the go, working, eating, sleeping, walking, breathing, using all bits of energy we have. In this day and age we rarely stop. We have become so used to having everything at our finger tips when it comes to communication, its nearly always quick, fast, abrupt, no time to slow down, a quick message and fast phone call and we are done. This causes a lack of time for things, a lack of time to stop and give all your energy to one thing for even just an hour. Even when we try we have fifty taps open on our laptop, a phone by our side and one arm in a pot trying to throw dinner together. It is time we forget to dedicate to things. Our downfall with communication can not be blamed upon not having a real classroom. It was because we as people with a hundred different things to do in a day, just didn't take the time to all soulfully and mindfully give a 100% of our time, whether it was to reply, or arrive to a meeting on time. This is what caused communication difficulties and of course sometime it is just not possible to give all your time to something. But how I feel about the success or achievement of any of the projects is down to the time and dedication that each individual put into it.  Taking an on-line class has been a lot easier than going to a real life class at 8 o'clock on a Thursday evening,  Although each student has experiences their own downfalls and successes within the class I don' think this can be blamed on the fact is was because we didn't have a real life classroom. In fact I thing if we had of their would be another excuse.."someone didn't show up, they missed a meeting". It essentially all leads to the same thing, the time we have to give something. For each project to have run and achieved perfectly it would of taken an equal amount of time from each individual and sometimes that isn't possible. Although everyone has tried their hardest at making a charity go global, Going global takes TIME. 

Working online can have huge benefits for business and people now a days. With a bit of research I found some interesting Apps that provides an easy access for business meetings to take place on-line, These new technology is not just connecting more business around the world but also reducing travel cost and expenditures. This also results in less time travelling and more time to do with what you like. This is also something that the class has benefited from, students are able to connect anywhere and save on transport money and ultimately save time. Another perk is been able to take the class in the luxury of your own home (or really any where you want) unfortunately, if your household is anything like mine, swarming with people, the class can end up being a family affair....


(1) 'Presentation Software'. 2015.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Its All Coming To An End!

This semester is coming to a an end, which can only mean one thing the presentation day for virtual environment module is only a few days away. Preparation has started to create the best possible presentation we can to inform the class and lecture's how are journey in trying to make a charity and cause go global has gone. As mentioned previously that our project aim is to raise awareness for the charity and awareness for the disease cystic fibrosis. We had planned to use Second Life as a base as we wanted to encompass a part of out virtual environment module. In hopes that it would not just include a community that is often over look in society but also to broaden our knowledge on on-line interaction, using digital worlds and participating in a virtual reality to help us mange and create content within it. The idea of 'holding a rose for cystic fibrosis' and continue the challenge on to another person/avatar we felt was appropriate and thought that it would of gained more feedback and interest than it had. However, by doing it we have obtained information on how to brand, mange and create content on-line more efficiently. Things that could of benefited our project;

  • The group didn't get in contact with individuals from the charity (as we didn't realize we could), this could of helped to spread the word about the idea. 
  • Should of interlinked all sites and really designed them to look and appear the same to create a better on-line identity.
  • More time could of been dedicated to building on-line connection. Even making more friends in Second  Life could of help spread more awareness or given us further knowledge on where to spread the rose. 
  • Could have contacted second life radio's/broadcasters to try and air our idea. This could of created a bigger platform from to use. 
  • Could have contacted other charity's within second life to see if they could of interlinked with out idea or given our group suggestions. 
  • Possible could  have set up a charity bucket in certain locations in second life.
  • Tried to reach out to a wider group of societies/organisations within second life 
  • Interlinked all form of content on-line (such as adding links into any content that was on-line about the project) 

As none of the group is very familiar with Second Life's software it has been a challenge for the group to figure out how to put together our slides and imagery for the presentation day. For idea's on this to be shared we met up in Second Life to have a chat and see whether we could figure it out. We had a discussion and decided that we would probably have to ask one of the lecture's to help us create 

our slides. Kerri ( kindly offered to contact Dudley and see if  he could help us or give us advice. We also went through breaking up the project in to four different sections so that we could each take apart and expand on it. I wrote out the sections while doing this, Elly ( did some searching on presenting in second life and found this that discuses a way of presenting images in a, show and share work. It seem like it could be helpful to use for the project and even if not it is yet another on-line programme that I have learned about through this module. This will will be the last push to try and get the presentation together as we are presenting in-front of the class on the 7th of May. I just hope that even though it hasn't gone to plan the effort that was put in pays off. 

Unfortunately for our group our 'going global' hasn't gone as smoothly as we would of liked as we received very little feedback from any one when handing our rose's out. However, I have definitely learned a lot from the module. My computer skills have improved and even my anxieties about talking to stranger's on line has slowly broken away. This has ultimately allowed me to communicate with in a virtual environment, create my own on-line identity (my avatar and blog), mange a social networking site, gained a greater knowledge for personal brand identity, work collaboratively across the world, and gain more information about on-line content and creating ones own on-line content. Before this module I would have given little thought to such things but as our global society grows on- line it is important to understand how one is contributing to this. The module and project has definitely developed more of an on-line confidence within me. And as our world is becoming ever more immersed in  technology it could ultimately help me in years to come. Although at times it has been frustrating with communication difficulties and trying to wrap my head around new software it has expanded my appreciation for the time and effort that goes in to such things like Second Life and on-line content. Even updating twitter or tumblr to keep up with ones on-line identity takes up more time than I would have ever thought. I am grateful that I was able to take the module and develop a greater knowledge of the technical world. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Finally Found What I Was looking For!

As I have mentioned previously in this blog, I am not the most technical person. Only in the last year I got a smart phone and still don't have vast amounts of on-line social media accounts. However, I do enjoy a good computer game from time to time and ever since I went on to Second Life, I have been trying to find somewhere I could drive a car or motorcycle. But have found it nearly impossible. One thing which I have found to be a barrier for the group project (making a charity go global, Raising awareness for Cystic Fibrosis  ) was the not knowing where to go in Second Life. Because the virtual world is so vast (much like our own) its hard to know where to start, or who to talk to. There is little information on where to go when you are looking for something specific. I have found my self numerous time's roaming place to place and giving up, as I get bored with just roaming with no purpose, or right destination ahead. Well finally after a good while of searching I found a place which allows you to have a demo of a car for free. The controls are slow and don't really give you great accuracy but it was a bit of fun all the same. By far my favourite thing to do in Second Life (FUN DRIVE & THE STREETZ, Ethereal Cove - Moderate check it out).