Republished: Schome Park 2008

Posted on 6 February, 2008

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This post originally appeared on Dan’s Glass Houses blog on January 25th, 2008.

The Schome project has re-opened in 2008 by doubling its presence in Second Life.  A second island compliments the one original island that has seen the project through its first two phases (dating back to March 2007).  In this third phase of the project island management and design has undergone a radical shift.

Schome Park Beta external view

In previous phases, working on just a single island, the staff had terraformed the entire space before building just a limited number of functional areas.  The students then built on the rest of the island to fulfil the needs and desires of the community and its projects.  Phase three sees the new island developed by staff using a ‘total concept’, with room for the community to add more during the coming months.  The original island will be placed under complete student control, including the ability to terraform.

Schome Park Beta inside the crater entrance

So how has the new island been received?  Well one advantage of working with teenagers through online mediums is that they certainly aren’t shy about letting their views be known.  As expected views have spanned the full potential range of opinions, but the median viewpoint is certainly very positive.  Additionally some of more ‘hidden’ features including underground areas and trapdoors concealing entrances/exits have certainly sparked the imagination, and added a distinctly new feel to life on Schome Park.

Schome Park beta

The snapshots above show just a few aspects of the new island, which was conceived, designed and largely built by me.  Additionally Anna Peachey developed the orientation activities (a feature we place far more emphasis on in this phase, desiring to make it easier to welcome new members in to the community and introduce what they can do in it and Second Life), and Olly Butters developed a large portion of the scripts on the island (without which there wouldn’t be a variety of working doors and airlock systems).

With Schome’s second life presence only reopening on January 22nd it is too early to evaluate the impact of the new approach on the educational objectives of the project.  This is something that I will aim to revisit at a later date.

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Posted in: Education, MUVEs