Saturday, October 13, I had the opportunity to present a workshop on Digital Storytelling. Normally, this would not be an unusual thing – I’ve presented this type of workshop on campus, district, and regional levels before. The unusual part was that this workshop was in the virtual world of Second Life. Presenting on a virtual level gave me a serious case of anxiety. Questions ran through my mind such as “will they understand the points I’m trying to put across when they are unable to hear the tone of my voice?” “how will my topic translate through written (typed) communication vs. audio?” I had logistics questions like: “Will my PowerPoint work in the virtual whiteboard?” “How can I stream video” “Will the sim crash while I’m presenting?”
My collegues in the DEN Second Life leadership council were supportive and upbeat right up to the time the workshop was scheduled to begin. Their support gave me the courage to stand in front of 15-20 avatars and begin with an “Oh, well, at least I know it’ll be over two hours from now” attitude.
Once I got started, I quickly realized that presenting in Second Life is really not much different than presenting in real life. The biggest difference was the audience. Instead of presenting to a group of educators from a particular campus or regional area, I was presenting to individuals who were involved in education from K-12 through higher education, from Canada, Chile, England, and across the United States.
The presentation came off with few hitches. The sim did crash, but right at the end of a collaborative ending to the first session and was back up in time to start the second session only a few minutes late. I ran out of time and didn’t end up showing video, but in the preparation for that, I did learn how to do it!
The participants in the sessions indicated an interest in having a longer session where we will attempt to make a digital story within Second Life – be sure to mark your calendars for November 10 for the “Great Second Life Digital Storytelling Experiment”, and watch for further details. As always, I encourage anyone who hasn’t tried the collaboration available in Second Life to do so – there are a lot of people within the DEN who would be happy to help, and if you are already in Second Life – try your hand at presenting in-world! It’s quite an experience!
If you would like to read a transcript of the first session, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.