Thursday, March 2, 2017

Escape Safari

          The second destination for this week's Safari tour was Escape! on Digiworldz.
          This is a region dedicated to the teaching of Spanish in an immersive 3D environment. Our guide was Eugenia Calderon, a language teacher living in Mexico, and the region's creator, James 'El Profesor' Abraham was also there. Here's the website.  And here's their Escape Facebook page and here's the page for 'Spanish with Eugenia'.
Colleagues Eugenia Calderon IRL Martha Eugenia Lino, and James 'El Profesor' Abraham
El Profesor: Hola!  I'm in a RL class, but I have my students working on an activity so I'm kinda here and kinda not....did you hear them?

Eugenia Calderon: Yes jajaja
Thirza Ember: yessss I heard, how fun!
Eugenia Calderon: OMG jajaja a lot of people
Thirza Ember: we have with us, dutch, swedish, portuguese, italian, english, american, and maybe also french...and german
Eugenia Calderon: Great to meet you all! We appreciate your visit
Sunbeam Magic: Truly international Safarians
Ni Lemon: thanks for the invitation Eugenia
George Equus: Estupendo estar aquí
Ni Lemon: wow didn't knew you speak such a good spanish Geo
George Equus sending thanks to Google translate  :)... found out... No hablan español en realidad, por desgracia
Eugenia Calderon: jajajajaj ah,  I thought you are Mexican george
George Equus: Soy de Suecia :)

Sunbeam Magic: I live near Tijuana , does that count Eugenia ?
Eugenia Calderon: It´s good to meet people from everywhere  Welcome to Escape everybody, I´m Eugenia Calderon, I’m Spanish teacher for foreigners. I collaborate with Professor James Abraham to develop this place. I´m also the owner of “Spanish with Eugenia”, an Spanish classes project in DigiWorldz and Second Life. Escape is a destination for learning Spanish in the virtual world. Here students find a immersive 3D environment ready to explore. With over 60 targeted vocabulary and grammar topics, Escape lead students on the path to their Spanish educational goals.
Ni Lemon: what a great job Eugenia
Thirza Ember: are the students beginners?

Eugenia Calderon: We have some levels I have basic and advanced students. Escape is a town in the Spanish-speaking world, that includes a plaza, cathedral, cultural pavilion, school, café, bakery, clinic, transportation hub, bank, travel agency, pharmacy, dry cleaners, traditional house, amusement park, stores and a mysterious pyramid.
Sunbeam Magic: What a fun way to learn a language!!!

Art Blue: I know languagelab from SL in 2007. i am curious, do you train in open mic?
Eugenia Calderon: Yes, we use voice
Thirza Ember: how did you meet El Profesor?
Eugenia Calderon: Great story jajajajaja We meet more o less 10 years ago in Second Life Profesor had a educational sim there, and I visited it with my students. He´s a wonderful person and let me use his land.: And I invited him and his students to visit my own land
Thirza Ember: and what made you move t opensim?
Eugenia Calderon: Well, the price.. We can create more things and enviroments here, is cheaper. And, Profesor build this place in his own computer
Sunbeam Magic: how do you say "indeed" in Spanish ?
Eugenia Calderon: En efecto
Sunbeam Magic: "en efecto" awesome build !
Eugenia Calderon: Well, I have to thank Profesor, he has created this place. While exploring Escape, students will wear a HUD (heads-up-display) that provides them with the tools they´ll need to gain a better understanding of what they´re learning. HUD will display web pages with content related to the activities so that they can learn as they participate and play audio for the targeted learning objects filling the environment.
Get your HUD in this building

Ni Lemon: wow what a great help
Eugenia Calderon: Finally, it will serve as their personal assistant, moving them around Escape and suggesting the next activity.
Thirza Ember: can I ask side question? Did you try to make your avatar most like yourselves? does that help students to feel at him in the region?
Eugenia Calderon: Well, yeah. But, as we do, students can choose their avatar Theirs personally. There are also instructions to do the activities. You can see this green ball in each location. Activites are designed to self learning
Sunbeam Magic: so they can go at their own pace then wonderful !
Eugenia Calderon: exactly
Thirza Ember: can they access the region any time?
Eugenia Calderon: yes
El Profesor: But all these spaces can also be used for role-playing for more advanced students.

Thirza Ember: isn't it true this sim won an award in SL?
El Profesor: Yes, our SL build won the NMC SL Pro Builder's challenge...SL Builders was way back in 2010.
Thirza.Ember: for someone who does not really like school, this is a fun way to learn!
Ziggy Cagney: yep very well thought out
El Profesor: The HUD makes the sound files individual so multiple students can work in the same area and not cross-talk.
          Next stop was the schoolroom.
El Profesor: For those days when you think students need to be in a space they are familiar with
Eugenia Calderon: We have rl things, but, this is a game, people can play
Art Blue disrupting the class
Pathfinder Lester takes gum out of his mouth and sticks it under the desk
El Profesor watches Path out of the corner of his eye, and readies the gum unsticker.
Mal Burns carves name on desk with penknife
El Profesor prepares an invoice for Mal.
Azi Az: pulls Ziggy's hair
Eugenia Calderon: Hmm we need a donkey ears
Mal Burns: I planned to cause a bit of a stink but can't find the chemistry set
Thirza Ember: i'm learning colors
snowbody Cortes: I love ROJOOOOO
Azi Az: can i go to the toilet please ?
El Profesor hands Azi the bathroom pass.
Azi Az: Gracias Professor
Sunbeam Magic: Mal stole my lunch money Teacher!!!
Pathfinder Lester writes the lyrics to "Hell's Bells" in permanent sharpie on the desk
Wizardoz Chrome: This is a class undisciplined ..
Azi Az pulls Drang Po Hair
Azi Az: i am loving this class
El Profesor smells big money from this rowdy crowd. Daddy's getting a new school!
Eugenia Calderon: All locations have a green ball, or have activities on the walls
Classroom Vocabulary: Study the vocabulary list to complete these activities.  Click on an item to see its text and hear its audio.
snowbody Cortes: Eugenia, nobody will know: tell me, how was it when you were at school ?
Eugenia Calderon: jajajaja I was a good student jajaja I did my homework
Thirza Ember: seriously though, do your students find it easy to adapt to being avatars?
El Profesor: Yes, they pick it up quickly. They immediately like to dress and change appearance.
             Just like our own Wizardoz Chrome, then, who went from this this...

within a few minutes of arriving on the sim.
         At the cafe we discovered they have an NPC camarera, who passes the time of day with you and takes your order. The super clever bit is that you get a notecard with the menu - complete with prices - and depending on what you order, you're charged the correct amount, making the game very practical and useful.
outside the cafe La Fuente Chica

La Camarera: ¡Hola!  Bienvenido/a al café La Fuente Chica.
Azi Az: ok guys menu have prices so..........we eat and then we run fast ok ?
Sunbeam Magic: Order whatever you want Azi, Mal is paying !!!
Mal Burns: oh dear - seem to have mislaid my wallet!
Pathfinder Lester: so much potential for interactive NPCs.  great to see you using them!
El Profesor: It tracks what you order and then spits out a bill.
Ni Lemon: professor knows languages and also mathematics
Eugenia Calderon: In the Casa de la Cultura (House of culture) regularly we have cultural and historical exhibitions (from México, specially). Here students or any visitor can learn more about Mexican tradition and practice the reading Spanish. Throughout the year we have several exhibition and some parties, as you can see on the images.
        We also visited the Aztec temple, another example of the culture of Spanish-speaking lands. It's really amazing how many different things El Profesor has been able to fit onto a single sim. Another great learning zone il El Parque.

El Profesor: We're working on organizing a full learning program. Right now, it is a group of activities based on a college 101 course.  But they could be for any age.  Colors, numbers, objects...those aren't age related. And, I'd like to build in team game activities.
Have groups of students pair up and go against each other. Trying to complete a task in a competition.
Thirza Ember: also, it's easier to get confidence in a virtual environment. Better than the classroom. you don't have to feel shy if you make a mistake
El Profesor: And you're in your happy place, Thirza....relaxed and comfy.
George Equus: This is a perfect way to use Opensim
Eugenia Calderon: Something important to teach is immersion. We get that in  virtual worlds. We can play any character we want
Pathfinder Lester: I think avatars are a mask that insulates you while also letting you show your truest self at the same time - kind of a paradox - which makes them great for learning and education in my opinion
El Profesor: My study abroad in Spain changed my life.  Most of my students won't be able to study abroad. This gets them a little closer. We'll be adding new things all the time so please drop by every so often and see what's changed.

HG Address