Yesterday we had our training class for the first high school teachers coming to PacRimX. We had a group of teachers representing all of our high schools. Each teacher was given a substitute for the day, and they came to our Technology Center and spent the day learning about SL.
It was a lot of fun to see the enthusiasm most of them had for the project after only a short time on the island. They are more like students than they would probably like to admit in their curiosity and exploration of the island. There were several points in the day where random anarchy would break out as someone would find a paintball gun in their Library folder, or a go cart would suddenly go zipping through the center of class. It was expecially hard to keep track of them when we were working on the appearances of their avatars.
At one point one of them made their way to the top of the Event Center, and the skydiving platform. As he was rising up in the air he asked outloud “Where do I get the parachute for this thing?” Everyone had a good laugh as I replied “We don’t have any that can be shared yet.” And I think that sums up the general attitude of all who attended yesterday. Teachers are usually cautious, and would like to know all the details before diving into something. Take a group of teachers and introduce them to the Second Life platform and they dive head first into the virtual world as they explore this new virtual space. By lunch several of the teachers were making comments like “This would really work well for . . . . .”
All of these teachers have been asked to select a few students that have an interest in computers to come onto the island to learn how it works, and to become ambassadors for the expected influx of students next month. By the end of the day most left with their selections already made. The best part of pulling everyone together into one room to share in the experience in the real world and the virtual is the group participation and funny moments that occur spontaneously. Where else in a school district would you hear a teacher shout out “How do I take my pants off?” in an open room?
Overall the day went very well. I’ve posted a few pictures to the Photo Album page, and many more to our Flickr page. I have changed my workshop at the end of the month from a lab to a lecture based on how yesterday went. I just don’t think I can effectively communicate all that I want in two hours, and also have the participants actually using SL in a lab.