Online education and the metaverse

EdTech, Feminist art in virtual worlds, Pedagogy, Second Life, Virtual Worlds

Students love photography

Gridjumper has a great post on the Photo Hunt Group in Second Life. On Monday mornings and Wednesday nights this group visits a preselected location together, and spends an hour taking photographs. They then gather to select their favorite image; no cropping, no photo manipulation, just the shot.   This is a way of improving the photography skills of photographers, teaching them how to get the best out of in-world lighting and camera controls. It also promotes speculation on the differing perspectives individuals bring to the same scene.

Watch the birdie

Watch the birdie

A photo hunt would be a wonderful idea for a collaborative class appraisal of an event or exhibit, but it does pose logistical problems.  Although the cost of uploading an image for display in SL is only about three cents, most students don’t have any Lindens, and considering the possible number of photos, many instructors won’t want to underwrite the cost.

I do use photoshoots in my class, but what I’ve done up to now is to provide the group with a set of provocative questions and require a given number of photographs. Answers and photos are e-mailed to me through the SL photo tool.  This means that I must choose representative photos for the class, and this can’t be done immediately, so I usually do it as a follow-up in the next class. But for instant review of class work, there must be a better way.

It’s possible to organize a Flickr pool and show class work on a media-on-a-prim viewer, but students will have to join Flickr, and this requires a Yahoo account. Most of my students use Gmail, and I think that’s pretty common.  My students resent requests to join things they feel are superfluous, no matter how politely I ask.  They’ve already tangled with the SL learning curve, and they get grumpy.

It would be easier for them to just use Snapzilla.  The signup is simpler and it’s not hard for me to set up a group account.  This would provide me with a lot more flexibility in how I use pictures in class, and all students would have to do is e-mail the pictures to the group address.

So that’s my plan for next term, and I’ll let you know how it works out. If you’ve got a better idea, I’d appreciate hearing about it.

ADDENDUM:  Kate Miranda reminds me that with Gmail accounts, students can sign up for Google Picassa and Google +, share photos on Google+ or embed Picassa slideshows in a website.  Sounds like a better solution.

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