The winner of the Edublog Awards 2007 virtual worlds category and the awards ceremony

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(Image by teachandlearn)

The winner of the Best educational use of a virtual world 2007 category in the Edublog Awards 2007 was Suffern Middle School in Second Life. Congratulations to Peggy Sheehy and her students. Peggy has been doing some awesome work in Second Life with K-12 and they are well-deserving winners.

I’m not in the least bit disappointed that Jo Kay and I didn’t win. We were up against some pretty tough competition – people who have been doing great work with education in Second Life for some time. Jo and I are relative newbies. I’m just honoured that we were nominated… and twice in the same category!

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(Image by teachandlearn)

I want to echo Peggy’s remarks in her acceptance speech that it was surprising not to see Global Kids amongst the nominees, as they have been the pioneers in using Second Life with young people. I guess it’s because the Edublog awards aren’t so well known in the Second Life educational community (and I would argue that the Second Life educational community is still not that well known within the edublogs community!) and maybe also because the virtual worlds category is so new to the awards.

It was also a little weird our wiki – Second Life in Education – ended up in the Best educational use of a virtual world 2007 category, which, when you think about it, isn’t quite right. It probably would have been more appropriate in the Best educational wiki category. Once again, I suspect this is due to the newness of the category. I’m sure James and Josie will iron out the kinks for next year.

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(Image by teachandlearn)

Congratulations to all the winners from the other categories. You can find out who they are – And the winners are… The Edublog Awards.

Thanks of course go to James Farmer and Josie Fraser for organising the awards. It looks like a big job, and it certainly had it’s challenges this year!

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(Image by teachandlearn)

Thanks to the EdTech Talk guys – Jeff Lebow and Dave Cormier for organising the Ustream.tv video stream and the audio streaming for the awards ceremony in Second Life. Audio was streamed via parcel media and Jeff Lebow’s avatar Meno Rich (that’s him in the photo above). I couldn’t get in-world voice happening so I listened to the Ustream.tv feed. Aside from the expected glitches it worked quite well. You can check out some of their Ustream.tv recordings from the event.

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(Image by teachandlearn)

And of course thanks to Jo Kay for hosting the event on jokaydia, and for all her hard work building the in-world display and the awards ceremony area, as well as helping organise the event.

Photos of the event can be seen in the flickr Edublog Awards pool.

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(Image by teachandlearn)

Incidentally, the display rotunda (pictured above and below) with all the nominees will stay up for a while, so pop in to jokaydia and check it out.

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(Image by Betchaboy)

Overall I think the awards ceremony was a great success. Of course there were technical hitches, but when using cutting-edge technology you have to expect imperfection. Mixed-reality events like this are quite complex affairs, and many people are still getting the hang of these new technologies, especially Second Life.

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(Image by jokay)

I think it’s important to remember what can be achieved in events like this – audio and video streaming, a virtual conference with online presentation area and display space – all for very little cost… cost that is in the reach of individuals, not just institutions. In time, as the technology improves and everyone gets up to speed things will run a lot more smoothly. Fortunately most people involved in educational technology are very patient with new technologies and a have a high tolerance for technical stuff-ups!

My involvement in the event was less than satisfactory due to computer difficulties. I wanted to help out but ended up being pretty useless.

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(Image by jokay)

I did, at least, get a chance to dance to some funky music at the after-party. That’s me in the pic above with the rave sticks and the Santa hat getting down with jokay!

I have three computers in my home and not one of them can run Second Life properly – very frustrating! Maybe Santa will come through with a new laptop with a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 graphics card for Christmas! 🙂

(p.s. a special thanks to Konrad Glogowski for all his great photo work!)

One response to “The winner of the Edublog Awards 2007 virtual worlds category and the awards ceremony

  1. Sean,

    I agree that “Mixed-reality events like this are quite complex affairs, and many people are still getting the hang of these new technologies, especially Second Life.” I enjoyed the Second Life EduBlogs Ceremony precisely because it was a very new medium and a very new experience. One of the things that I like about SL is that learning the ropes can be a humbling experience, which is something that every educator (especially those of us who think we know it all in the realm of technology-supported education) needs to experience. How can we help our students if we remain far removed from the the challenges of learning new skills? The complexity of a multiuser virtual environment such as SL forces all of its early adopters into the role of absolute beginners. Those of us in the edublogosphere who have come to think that teaching and learning are about pressing buttons that say “publish” or “edit this page” can learn a lot from the complexity and richness of SL. I know I’m learning … and I enjoy the challenge.

    P.S. Thank you for using my photos, Sean. Glad you liked them.