Stan, Chris and Brad on stage at ISTE Island
This past Tuesday we were invited to present on PacRimX at ISTE Island on the Main Grid. After doing so many real life presentations I thought to myself “How hard can this be?” Little did I know. . . . .
I was invited to include the whole PacRimX team in this presentation. We were going to give a good overview of the project, and all the challenges and successes of the past year of our project. We used the private PacRimX Wiki that Chris Flesuras maintains in Kyoto to organize our slides and discuss what exactly we would present. We also met online in Second Life to discuss who would present what. Everything looked great up to this point.
Kathy Soares, Modesto High School, and I were going to meet up in our Technology Center at work (she wanted better bandwidth than she has at home), and I could not make my commute home in time to be online by 6:00pm. I was using my laptop that runs Second Life flawlessly, and I borrowed another for Kathy. I took an hour that afternoon to update everything on the two laptops, including the latest build of the SL client. We got to our Technology Center a full hour early to meet up with Chris and Brad Cornwell, a teacher from Johansen High School.
We first had problems even getting logged into Second Life, we kept getting errors that our local time was wrong on our computers. Then once I got on (Kathy never did with the other laptop), our voice was disabled. I got my network guys on the line and they started troubleshooting around 5:15pm. They were looking at our firewall to see if something had changed with the client. At 5:45pm Kathy opted to go home and risk it from there (she lives close to our Technology Center). When she got home she needed to update her client, more delays.
I finally gave up at 5:00pm and went and dug up a Clearwire wireless modem. This was slower than our WAN, but at least it allowed me to get online at 5:15pm. I was too late for my introduction of the presentation and teachers, thankfully Chris had already started his part of the presentation. Brad followed on after him, and when it was Kathy’s turn she was still not online. We backed up and I did my summary of the project, how it started, and how we found (and continue to get) funding. Kathy was on for a few minutes, but continued to have issues with voice. She was also getting the time error at home. She was very upset that she was not able to participate.
Towards the end of the presentation Peggy Sheehy dropped in (literally out of the sky in front of the stage). We took a bunch of questions from the audience, one referring to the post I made on SLED about the future Metaverse. After the official end of the presentation a group stuck around for another hour for an open discussion in front of the stage.
Milosun Czervik (raptor) from Virginia Tech watches on hungrily
What we discussed was the possible ways that we could all tie our Teen Grid projects together. We are missing a major component of education by not being able to interact with and visit other projects with our students. We all agreed to start working on a plan to try to pull this together. The idea is to find a foundation that could fund the initial purchase (and maybe the ongoing maintenance, hey, we can dream right?) of enough islands so that we could all move our projects together onto one land mass. Since the meeting Chris has put up some collaborative tools for us to start expanding on this idea and developing a proposal. We’ve all taken our projects pretty far separately, we think that we could really take this to the next level if we were able to germinate a mini-education grid off in a corner of the Teen Grid.
So if any foundations (or any dot com millionaires with an interest in advancing education) are reading this and think this might be a good idea, drop me a line and let me know how to make a proposal for this project (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) . We have a core group of passionate people who already have experience running Second Life education projects over the past year.
For more on the challenges of the evening, and the presentation on ISTE Island, check out the blog entry at The Story of My “Second Life”. They have some nice photos loaded up to Flickr too.