Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New year Webheads Sunday Cooking lesson

Yesterday, I went to the weekly, traditional Webheads meetup in Tapped In. I haven't been there for months, mostly because I need to limit my commitments and also because family matters are taking over on Sundays. I'm glad I came. First of all, it is wonderful to chat with the regulars, some of those people that I've known for ages, or at least since 2001 - Vance in Abu Dhabi, Michael in Adelaide, Claire in California and Sue in Ottawa - and Daf (who now lives in Spain again) who is currently my course mate at the excellent MUVEnation course for educators in Second Life. Nina (with her Jewish roots) was sharing a very detailed and instructive recipe on how to prepare latkes, a ritual potato pancake. And,last but not least we were welcoming a fabulous newcomer, Michael Hart, Illinois and founder of the pioneer e-book Gutenberg project which I will seek to promote in the Danish language field. Among many conversation topics, one that was quite interesting turned around the taboos like nakedness versus fire arms. And, what does adult education mean, when the term adult material seem to hit the puritan paradoxical fear of skin?

Just after this amazing session, I stumbled over this lovely video from the unforgettable Muppet show, with the Swedish chef preparing his special version of donuts. Completely nuts - or just a very elegant way of inventing the hole in the middle of a roll? See for yourself!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scared of dentist? Play SL and forget about pain

I stumbled upon this amazing news from the field of odontology, or dental science. Immersion in virtual worlds, in this case Second Life, can reduce pain to help patients with needle phobia, or for other reasons to avoid or limit traditional pain killer injections.

Virtual worlds hold promise to reduce real world pain at the dentist
Case Western Reserve University dental graduate student experiments with Second Life

According to a thesis project at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. Student Elena Furman, specializing in periodontics at the dental school, looked at alternative distraction therapies to reduce pain in her patients during the intensive cleaning process of scaling and root planing to rid gums and teeth of bacteria and plaque.".

I always had this irrational fear of neddles, as well as of dentists. I'm less hysterical about this, as I used to be. Probably because I had a gifted dentist who helped me overcome my phobia, by mild hypnosis and soft music by choice in the ear phones. I'm almost sure, however that I would also have relaxed more when being introduced to a nice walk in a safe and beautiful SL garden environment.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Changed blog - I'm back here

I have a confession to make: I changed blogs! Again.

I started the MUVEnation course with the best intentions to take up using my blog at eduspaces. I wanted to refresh my particpation in this education oriented community this way. But as we are documenting our SL work using many Flickr photos, and from my Flickr page there is a smart direct link to my blogspot blog; I decided this would improve my active blogging, as I've exerienced too many distracting steps to create just one blog post in Another reason is that I keep forgetting the name of this that will take readers straight to the blog, while the blogspot name is so easy to remember.

I have some other abandonded blogs. My first one was which was my primary choice in 2002, because back then I was an incarnated mac user and no other blog tools by then had the same easy editor functionality than had Xanga.I paid for this for several years a small fee, but decided to go back to the free and limited version some years back, as it was no longer very actual, however I kept the site open for sentimental reasons, and for getting back to track my own digital footprints.

Monday, December 08, 2008

All about my avatar: SusNy Foss

My avatar SusNy has many similarities with the real life me, such as our names that are similar, and our faces that may have some common traits (although SusNy is much younger and smarter). I would not say, that I modeled her to be a true copy. Instead I would rather think that I have trained SusNy to know as much as possible about how to get around, understand how to use and examine tools and objects, eventually also to create my own material and environments. I would say that my avatar is most often seeking to initiate and encourage social connections, and finding new and interesting or fun environments to explore together, or on my own. In some cases, when she is working hard on creative tasks, there may be less time for socializing. SusNy knows how and when to ask for help and also how to share what she think she knows. In SusNy’s early days, she was very curious and spent many hours in world, which brought her inspiration as well as sometimes exhausting hours of staying for too long just because there were so many events that she did not want to miss.

In a period, I spent some time changing my appearance and shopping for clothes and gadgets. I documented these changes by taking frequent images and was able to pick a number of different looks, not that they have changed radically over time, just like having more outfits in my wardrobe. Just like in RL, I prefer the simple, casual style, brilliant colours, hats and soap bubbles to make a bit of fun in the picture, and as I adore flying around, I think that wings make the flying experience deeper and more realistic. I feel clumsy in huge robes, and I feel uneasy with the half naked look, just like in RL where I am quite shy with my body. As someone who like to appear as a playful professional with creative imagination and authority to teach and mentor, I feel that I would avoid to appear too provoking in my outfit, as this may be of importance to those who meet me, but first of all I think I want to feel at ease and fit in.

In SusNY' profile, she wish to make the connection between RL and SL identity. I have nothing to hide but need to present mseylf with some short sentences. I often check the profiles of people that I meet and greet, so I am well aware that everyone may do likewise. They can see which groups that I am a member of, and I show my best SL portrait. I have some selected landmarks that might need a reconsideration.

From early on, SusNy came in world as part of Webheads in Action, who were in many ways seeking to develop projects and courses in world, as a natural thing, she worked towards this teacher profile, too. She was given a grant at EducationUK where she is experimenting with her own creative skills in community context. Then she became involved with a project consortium applying for a grant in Denmark, where the target group would be teens in their free time, which meant that she had to learn all about the many restrictions involved with this age group, such as a clearing of MY background which I am happy to tell that I passed without further discussion. No criminal record to spoil my opportunities as a teen grid educator. I made a second avatar and packed his backpack for the travel behind the protected grid where no avatar can ever return.

However, we did not win this project grant, and the idea was abandoned for the time being. As I had spent too many hours on this already, I decided to stop for a while and put my avatars on standby, and focus on other work related tasks. Muvenation made me come back in world and embrace my sweet avatar SusNy, now understanding how much she had become not only a good friend and trainee, but also a vital part of myself and my identity as an online educator. Our stepson that was meant to travel behind the protected teen grid but never did so, my young male avatar, is still inactive - maybe waiting for an occasion to get a second chance.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Almost Famous: Little red ridinghood and the wolf

I have chosen this scenario as an example for the MUVEnation course, activity 6: Almost Famous. The idea is to dress your avatar as someone known. I went through my SL albums and found SusNy disguised as Little red ridinghood, one of my favourite fariy tales. The wolf was a scuplture that I met in a forest far away on an island thatI have no longer any memories about, just travelling on my own. I then changed my dress like this: for shirt, I uploaded a pin striped cloth sample found in an online store. For skirt I had another texture with tiny strawberries, from an online collection of doll house wall paper - and for the red hood, as I had no suitable bonnet, I just made my hair in a red, rose petal texture I had also found online.

After posing as the innocent followed by the sly wolf seducing her to disobey her mother's advice, I had a sudden flashback to my age ten summer, where I forgot all about NOT paying attention to men's approach, and had the misfortune to witness a pervert exposing himself. There was a sort of healing the inner child going on, by taking the role as a famous character from the archetypes