General discussion

Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Deleted user -
Number of replies: 30

The Kiwi Educators Second Life group had its first themed Sunday session yesterday introducing the group to some of the aspects of music in Second Life. After a quick meetup at the NMIT Garden of Learning and a round of the group to check audio capabilities were enabled we all teleported to the first location Robbie Dingo's.

Robbie has created a number of instruments for use in SL, most common being the elven drums which are seen all over the fantasy role playing sims, but also steel drum sets, guitars, pianos, drums etc. The group instruments each contain a number of looped sound-bytes which can be controlled by the individual user or by a central conductor and each byte transitions seamlessly to the next. Robbie also works in music experimentation and had on display his whisperbox which uses Chat to generate random sounds which are then fed back to the users through a six speaker system.

After 30 minutes or so there we TP'd to Arwenna's garden where she had set up a set of steel drums. The group let rip with those immediately having had their appetite whetted by playing around with the samples at Robbie's. With too many participants for the six drums the non-players decided to dance to the beat anyway using Arwenna's dance sequences (now there's a themed day in itself). One of the interesting possibilities in terms of these type of instruments (which use sound effects not streaming sound) is that the sound volume is based on the drum position and so the volumes from the different drums can be user influenced depending on the position of your camera. An interesting possibility for training in the areas of music mixing is my thought.

After a good session on the drums we headed off to the next venue, a live music event, put on specifically for the Relay for Life. These events involve the streaming of live performances into Second Life (a rock and blues group for our session) and many of the Educator's group enjoyed this uniquely Second Life experience for the first time. We all ended up dancing there well beyond the time set for the group session to end so the little extras Arwenna and I had planned will have to wait for another day. It was however a successful afternoon I believe and a good indicator that themed Sunday meets will occur more often in the future.

Regards

Aaron/SL: Isa Goodman

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Clare Atkins -
I really enjoyed this last sunday session - but then dancing is never too far from my heart in SL! And listening to live music is always great - I think we all learned something new from the experience!
The musical instruments created by Robbie Dingo are truly amazing (he was the one who created Suzanne Vega's guitar if you have watched that little clip) and his latest work is incredible too. You can find his blog about his video here - or watch it on - but it really is worth watching it in the highest resolution you can manage - inspiring stuff in my opinion.

Clare
In reply to Deleted user

Re: Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Sandra Dyke -

It was so cool with all of the music. I don't play a musical instrument in real life so it was a great experience. Also fun to dance away and dance when flying. Very different and very cool.

Sandra

In reply to Sandra Dyke

Re: Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Deleted user -

Glad you enjoyed it Sandra. This coming week's session intends to be as cool if not cooler *grins*.

This Sunday we'll will be looking at the magic of particle systems. From the smoke drifting up from a campfire to the sparkle at the end of a fairy wand, particle systems play an important role in enriching the atmospherics of Second Life. The group will journey to some of the more beautiful sims on SL to experience particles at their best. And if there's time at the end I'll be running a short session on creating particles for those wishing to learn some of the basics.

Starting as usual at 2pm on Sunday, July 22nd, at the NMIT Garden of Learning. See you all there.

Regards

Aaron/Isa Goodman

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Deleted user -

I'm not able to attend the Sunday meetings however popped into the venue and tried the various instruments. Not quite the same as an in-world jam session. I must have Elven blood cos I particularly liked their stuff!

Now I wonder if they have anything similar for ballet ?thoughtful

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Deleted user -

I must say I'm rather partial to the elven drums too John. They certainly seem to be the most popular of Robbie Dingo's creations inworld. And its not only music that Robbie gets up too. He has just lately created an extraordinary Second Life machinima (in game video) called Watch the World(s) that is an absolute must see in terms of this genre. A truely creative and inspiring piece. It is available at varying resolutions but do download the higher quality version if you can.

>>Now I wonder if they have anything similar for ballet?

Expand a little on this if you could... in what way similar?

Regards

Aaron/Isa Goodman

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Deleted user -
I wondering that if you can teach some aspects of music in world then what about ballet, art, scupture and so on. I've seen a few art galleries in world that could go further, but wondered what others might have found out there?
In reply to Deleted user

Re: Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Deleted user -

John

Well I don't know about actually teaching ballet inworld but dance is definitely being used creatively in Second Life. Check out ZeroG Skydancers for one: http://sl.nmc.org/2006/11/28/zerog/ This article has numerous other links to articles on ZeroG. You may also be interested in some of the work that Mike Baker from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology is doing there: Dance exploration in mixed realities.

As for art and sculpture there is a wealth of it happening throughout Second Life in many forms. The Kiwi Educators Group visit on the 22nd experienced some amazingly artistic work by Jopsy Pendragon at her particle system based Fireworks display (use the Particle Laboratory link in Sunday July 22nd notecard and take the ballon up to the display). We all sat mesmerised for over half an hour as the display played out above and around us. Also a few weeks ago I came across this Garden of Audio-Visual Sculptures which combines sound, 3D graphics and motion to excellent effect. There are many more examples to be found using the Search features in SL or a well executed web search.

Cheers
Aaron/Isa Goodman

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Art, dance and sculpture

by Deleted user -
I knew you'd have several examples! I'll give them a look. Mike Baker's space sounds very interesting though (having just looked at it) I may need a dictionary to understand the abstract surprise.......
In reply to Deleted user

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Deleted user -

This looks like it is the beginning of a very interesting art form. It seems more like writing dance than performing dance since it is a computer "playing" the steps much as one of those automatic pianos do. This may be due to the primitve interface (the keyboard and mouse) rather than the artist's body inputing the steps. Every performance would be the same and therefore more like a recording than a live performance.

I envy the artist that can move objects so elegantly, effectively with his/her mind and then become that object. Fascinating!

In reply to Deleted user

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Clare Atkins -
Hi John - I am not so sure about the "more like writing dance than performing dance since it is a computer "playing" the steps much as one of those automatic pianos do" comment. My understanding is that the movements are in real time, as they are flying rather than posed animations, and that the practice that the dancers put in is real! I believe the moves are choreographed but not pre-scripted- it is the real person moving their avatar in real time that creates the dance not a piece of software that is controlling the movements. Of course I may be wrong and if so the magic is largely gone (although its still some clever scripting!) but I don't think so! Anyone else got any thoughts on it?

I agree about the automatic piano but things are getting more sophisticated here too - check out Robbie Dingo's Hyperflute for an instrument that you can play!

We'll get you laughing yet!!! hehe!



In reply to Clare Atkins

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Deleted user -

Hi Claire,

If these are live performances then I am totally in awe of their dexterity and coordination. And I want whatever input device they use for myself! I'd certainly pay to watch 'em too.

In reply to Deleted user

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Deleted user -

John

These are live performances using the fly capabilty of Second Life and obviously a hell of a lot more *smiles*.

btw... thought you might be interested in this... Second Life Ballet

Cheers

Aaron/Isa Goodman

In reply to Deleted user

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Deleted user -

WHOA! How do they do it??????? They must use a joystick or something to control their movements surely?

smile I knew the ballet wouldn't be far behind. Will check it out though I'm wondering how the somewhat clunky movements in SL can be made graceful and include sufficient variety to not appear as a series of repetitive movements. I assume that the animations are held in a file and that there are constaints on just how large this file can be. But I'm sure you're going to tell me otherwise wink I've not come across anything regarding how these animations are created or whether they can be created offworld and imported successfully. Controlling complex movements of my own body in a dance is difficult enough, controlling the many aspects of an avatar must be horrendous.

In reply to Deleted user

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Deleted user -

You've only got to watch my youngest boy fly the pegasus in the Harry Potter game to know that skill can be applied to game movement just using the cursor keys. He out plays all the family by a mile. There are many levels to flying in SL and these dancers have obviously trained in their's to a high degree.

I must say that I really enjoy flying myself and often do land-flying just for fun. I utilise land formations (especially good on the fantasy sims) which if flown close to can give your avatar lift (in the same way as an updraft). This allows me to abandon the Up and Down cursor keys and fly only using the Left and Right keys, manouvering along the terrain for uplift and letting gravity do the down. You should try it some time. Have at times thought of creating a land formation specifically to be flown (or danced upon) but you really need a whole sim to do this with.

Re the dance movements and movement in general in SL. Animations are used for all movement and poses in SL, poses just being animations that loop over one frame. SL comes with a number of set animations but custom ones can be created offworld. The smoothness of movement is basically down to the skill of the animator. The two main programs used are Poser (needs to be version 6 or up) and Qavimator (an open source animator). Both programs use keyframe animation with the final ani being exported as a .bvh (Biovision Motion file). This can then be imported into SL (File/Upload Animation). See this link for my test run in Qavimator - you can also download the .bvh from my SL project site and trial uploading yourself. Smaller animations can be scripted together to run as one larger one and this is often the case with dance balls (a set of animations held in a sphere prim and clicked on by each avatar who wants to dance). Complex dance routines though would more than likely be controlled through a HUD (heads up device) on the screen of the dancer where a large number of movements could be selected from as the next step in the dance.

Cheers

Aaron/Isa Goodman

Isa's SL Blog

In reply to Deleted user

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Deleted user -

smile land flying, what next! Clearly I will have to investigate. Who knows perhaps Second Life surfing, hang gliding and base jumping will soon be available.

*Thinks - I'll bet Isa comes back with 3 beaches and at least one SL mountain where said activities already take place..........*

In reply to Deleted user

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Deleted user -
Well yes I could... but that would take all the fun out of you searching for them yourself.... lol
In reply to Deleted user

Re: ZeroG Skydancers

by Deleted user -

Voice controlled windsufing waves at their best. Lovely ambience too!

Bora Bora Isles.

Now to look for hang gliding...

Attachment surfing_in_SL.GIF
In reply to Deleted user

Base jumping in Jota

by Deleted user -
I was joking when I made this suggestions but there you go they do do it in Second Life!
Attachment base_jumping_in_SL.GIF
In reply to Deleted user

Re: Hang gliding on Commonwealth Island

by Deleted user -

heh... there ya go John... seek and you shall find. You did so well I thought I'd cover the last base for you... hang gliding on Commonwealth Island.

Hang gliding

Cheers

Aaron/Isa Goodman

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Hang gliding on Commonwealth Island

by Deleted user -

Awesome!

There must be something they've not covered......potholing would appear to be a difficult one for an avatar to cope with. And what about orienteering (with no ability to fly to see over the trees that also don't allow you walk straight through them! That would be using the minimap though the magnification is so poor.

You could spend a vacation in SL! Now how to apply all of this adventure to a course that people would pay money for that had some academic merit.....

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Hang gliding on Commonwealth Island

by Clare Atkins -
OK John - You set the challenge!

Here I am potholing! Mind you I am a mermaid for the task!

potholing

and they do suggest that you watching our for falling stalactites!

watch out for stalactites

In reply to Clare Atkins

Educational applications

by Deleted user -

It's clear that every leisure activity is available in Second Life. I'm even willing to bet there are SL Travel Agents, as I have seen resorts in here. In the future no doubt someone will scan in the entire Martian topology or the ocean floor and enable you to walk your avatar around. I wonder if someone will link SL to those parts of Google Earth that offer a 3D flythrough but a with a more detailed rendering?

From an educational point of view I feel that bringing RL into SL doesn't happen nearly enough. Those cubes found in SL are OK but feelmore like prisons to me. The time and cost saving of a virtual field trip with suitably placed realistic objects to find and categorise hasn't been exploited enough. A great understanding of the skills required for a biological study could be gained by studying the virtual life found in some parts of SL. It just needs a suitable virtual 1 metre frame (some sort of HUD?) to throw over those critters to determine their density. And then I see no reason why the real landscape couldn't be virtualised and more realistic creatures incorporated hidden into virtual thickets to make a very real field trip. I can see a geology tour of the Grand Canyon being profitable if someone can build it in SL - and it has real educational value. As does exploring those totally inaccessible areas of the real ocean floor and models of the fauna there in a virtual model. And of course I'm still waiitng for an SL recreation of a trip in a miniaturised submarine around the human body!

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Educational applications

by Clare Atkins -
I agree with you John - the possiblities for the kinds of activities you mention are endless and I think some of them are already underway or at least under consideration - the Literature Alive projects which create scenarios from literature to explore for example. Dante's Inferno was a fascinating experience!

You might be interested in a couple of other non-SL things I have come across. One is the virtual ancient Rome project - which they are looking to bring into Second Life and the other is our own New Zealand Sci-City brought care of Otago museum. The latter isn't open yet although you can read about it. It is a shame that it isn't available through Second Life - but I guess as a stand alone it is more accessible to those under 18 (which is rather a limitation with Second Life).

I haven't had the time to investigate the science education areas of Second Life yet - I look forward to postings from those that have!

In reply to Clare Atkins

Imagination or Application?

by Deleted user -

I'm a little torn when it comes to literature. On the one hand I can see how important it is to develop the reader's imagination by reading well written books such that each person's Harry Potter looks and behaves in quite a personalised way. On the other hand I can appreciate the delight of being immersed in one Director's blinding vision of Tolkien's classic (though my rear cannot!).

Which is best, imagination or electronic application? Are we killing imagination by giving everyone the same collective vision of a book? Discuss......

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Imagination or Application?

by Deleted user -

>>Are we killing imagination by giving everyone the same collective vision of a book?

Yes we would be if what was being presented was purely movie style scene recreation on a "here you are, this is how it should look" basis. The intent of Literature Alive however, and particularly the Holodeck Project, is more about engaging student groups in literary discussion through immersive experience using the tools of a virtual environment. This may be done in part through recreation but, given Second Life's capabilities, this does not exclude the student from contributing to the construction or in fact creating their own collective vision. In the Dante's Inferno project the ground work in terms of the circles of Hell were recreated but then part of the student experience was to place images of who they believed should inhabit each of the circles with explanations of why that particular person should be there, furthering discussion on the nature of "sin" etc.

In my rendition of Night by Elie Wiesel for the Holodeck project, an autobiographical account of Wiesel's survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps, the intent is not only to immerse the student in the topic through visual aspects, ie recreation from photographs etc., but to engage and challenge the student through interactivity. I am not clear as to exactly how I'll succeed in this aspect but will be experimenting with audio, atmospherics and other SL mechanisms to achieve a good end result. Any suggestions would be most welcome.... *smiles*

Cheers
Aaron/SL: Isa Goodman

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Imagination or Application?

by Deleted user -

I guess a halfway house would be to provide a variety of choices via sliders and radio buttons to allow individuals to produce something close to their internal vision for others to perceive/experience. A bit like lifting the lid on one's brain for everyone to have a looksee.

You'll remember how the crew member using the Startrek holodeck used to fiddle with the settings for their beautiful companion to match their heroine in the (usually) gangster novel they were living out. I think at one point a holodeck enhancement produced an avatar so real that someone fell in love with it!

In reply to Deleted user

Another Awesome Session

by Clare Atkins -
Many thanks to Aaron for organising the second in our themed Sunday Sessions. It was great for me to be a follower rather than a leader for once! This week the theme was Particles - a huge topic and we all got totally mesmerised and delayed by watching the amazing firework display at The Particle Lab, something I hadn't seen before either - although I had been to the Lab itself many times!

We explored the Lab's workshop and fell through holes in the floor (well some of us anyway!!), had a wander around the Particle Labs tutorials and of course ended up dancing - this time in the Cloud Chateau - surrounded by more awesome particles of course.

As we got less than half way through the planned visits we will continue on with this theme for the next session on July 29th! Come and join us - details of all the sessions are now in the little jar in the NMIT Gardens gazebo and they all include landmarks so you can check out the sites for yourselves too.

Once again, thanks Aaron! You are setting me a standard to live up to!!!
In reply to Clare Atkins

Re: Another Awesome Session

by Deleted user -

*smiles*... and just as a reminder for those who were there and a taster for those who weren't here's a few screen shots of the show.

Fireworks Show

Fireworks Show

Fireworks Show

Fireworks Show

Enjoy

Aaron/Isa Goodman

In reply to Deleted user

Re: Another Awesome Session

by Deleted user -
I particularly like the last one. Looks like Arwenna was in the thick of it - literally!
In reply to Deleted user

Re: Kiwi Educators Themed Sunday Meetups

by Clare Atkins -
Thanks for all the images Aaron - the firework display really is awesome!!!

So good in fact that I am sure Isa was asleep when I took this one!! LOL!! Well he has been working very hard!


Isa asleep at the fireworks

But here are a couple of other spectacular reminders!

Fireworks display1

Of that amazing display!

firework display2

If you didn't manage to make it last Sunday - do find the time to go along any SL night time!
Cheers
Clare/Arwenna