Over at the NMC Campus Observer there is a good blog entry, and related links (bottom of page), to an event held last week on digital storytelling. 65 people turned out for this Teachers Buzz Session.
Here’s a link to the blog article and related links: Digital Storytelling.
Be sure to follow the link to the transcript and read through what a chat with 65 participants looks like. It’s funny to see all the little side conversations, and chat dialog being generated by SL objects (one avatar was sipping tea and eating chocolates during the talk). The discussion focused on digital storytelling and Second Life. It’s pretty interesting, and shows where some people are trying to take Second Life. Some people wanted to create the digital storytelling and bring it into Second Life to show and discuss, while others wanted to use Second Life as a vehicle for digital storytelling.
From reading the transcript you will quickly get a feel for just how difficult (or impossible) it is to control a large group in Second Life in an open discussion. There really needs to be some type of commonly accepted etiquette developed for these discussions if they are ever going to emerge from the chaos into a cohesive discussion. There’s a short discussion on how to better have these discussions in the middle of the transcript.
It would be really nice to have a scripted device that would allow the speaker to moderate the discussion. At times they could mute the chat on the sim, and at other times open it up, but have an interface that allowed for them to release chat dialog coming into open chat. For the time being, lectures and talks using Shoutcast, or similar services, are the way to go for these large groups. At least then the person trying to drive the conversation can convey a cohesive narrative that rises above the chatter of the group. I’ve never seen a large discussion where the participants sit quietly, allowing the speaker to talk, and then responding in an orderly fashion. All too often many people compete at once to get their comments in, often tangling the discussion into a disjointed collection of fragmented conversations.
I followed the links and watched a few clips of digital storytelling. This concepts discussed blend the environment of Second Life with the now accepted pratice of video podcasting. Video podcasts of digital storytelling can easly be stored on a server and then played back on demand inside of Second Life using the already available media tools and devices. In the K12 environment, media classes that are exploring video podcasting could show off their work inside of Second Life, on demand, to other students. Another creative use of the Second Life platform for educational pursuits.
Well worth a read.