Thursday, 29 May 2008

Tag – you’re it!

Childs play, remember those days well and were still playing it! In a sense this describes how some new piece of technology can be the flavour of the month (actually we should say week, looking at the rate I get email updates on new tools!) or seen to be the ‘tool’ that we can make the best use of in the educational context – and why not? Open up your tool box (your PC!) and see what is available for you to use, a tool may be viewed as of great use to one and be used more in their ‘trade’ in comparison to another. To choose the appropriate tool you will need to have knowledge about how the tool works so you know as to how and where it can be applied (learning task).
My thoughts trailed this way as we are looking into SMS technologies and possible Facebook integration. Maybe this can be raised as part of discussion of informal/formal learning spaces, we can be seen as tagging on ‘spaces’ ‘devices’ as students happen to be using them – mobile phones– tag, social network space – tag, ipod – tag! I’d be interested to hear from students how and which ‘space/device they prefer to be tagged on the most by us! I guess it’s a matter of which learning activity or notifications works best in using these tools. I hope we can elicit this type of data when we make use of such technologies available. We really need to hear the student voice on this e.g. would they want to be texted about every assignment deadlines? I guess with our scale of audience and practitioners the onus has to be left to the tutor to decide. I would hate to think that we would impose (and I don’t think we will) a rule at any level. Issues – Evaluating the effectiveness of these technological tools that surface in our context, which tools are applicable and can be used for which learning tasks? And dare I say processes (contacting students) – through participation and collaborating together this has lead to a number of pathways and opportunities and great developments. For some staff the current technology that they are using for their teaching if not used for some time gets forgotten and thus need refreshing (its human nature, we all forget). We need to be wary and understanding that the array of what’s available does not become a blur. ‘Students happen to be using them’ – this says something about our cultural change in this technological age. We need to be clear on what our role is in this so that we are not ‘gate crashing’! So the process of having pilots, student focus groups are essential to see the viability and usability of applying any ‘e tool’ for learning and its great that we are listening to what students are saying about these tools (i.e. Malcolm Andrew’s Podcast student evaluations – they provide the key as to where the tool can be best applied i.e. revision, lecture synopsis for which we can make recommendations. Alas, let’s not forget the ‘academic’ they too will have to know about the applicability and suitability of the tool and have their say after all it’s their ‘trade’…

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

User-generated what?

According to the Guardian Networking blog [you spotting the theme to today's postings? Well, ok it was in the Observer] amateurs who move towards making a living from their on-line presence risk attacks from readers who make it their business to critique self-publishers [self-publicists?], who then are left burned out and blogged out. The article goes on "The backlash started in earnest last year when Andrew Keen, a former dotcom entrepreneur, published Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture, an attack on what he sees as a noisy crowd with little interesting to say."

I've little sympathy for Keen - publicly and professionally we have the ability to avoid, ignore, forget about the babble, in the same way that we can avoid Heat magazine and the dross of the Premiership if we want. However, the telling point for me is enabling our staff and students to understand how to present themselves in a context of risk that they recognise and accept, be that using or facebook, blogger or Twitter, or Scribble. Publish and be damned.

Content or communications? Let the supreme court decide!

Well it might not go that far, but the Guardian Technology blog has highlighted how the spat between Viacom and YouTube is resonant of the "increasing conflict between those seeking to protect copyright and advocates of the internet as an open communications medium. Mike Masnick, a copyright expert on TechDirt, said media companies still thought of the internet as a content platform, whereas internet companies saw it as a communications medium."

Aren't we all mashing our approaches as well as our applications these days? Apparently not. Will all this case law, or out of court settlements maintain a happy equilibrium? Maybe - I guess it depends on how much we collectively value ownership.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Digital storytelling at Gloucestershire

Yesterday, I ventured to the Centre for Active Learning, situated in a tranquil little garden area at the University of Gloucestershire for the ‘And they all learned happily ever after..., event on digital storytelling in Higher Education

The day began with an overview of the pathfinder project, although the team had prior experience of using digital storytelling. Academics showed and discussed examples from a range of areas including Landscape, Accounting, Sports studies and Tourism. These included a variety of individual and group projects developed over different time-frames, from induction week to a full term. By all accounts, feedback from students has been positive. Examples focused mainly on personal stories, but they also involved critical storytelling within the discipline. The digital elements refer to the use of image, audio and video in merging written and oral approaches, although the focus is more on the story telling than learning high-tech skills. The potential pedagogical benefits are numerous and include: enabling analysis of self in relation to subject/material; encouraging cooperative activity; making sense of experience and giving voice and building confidence etc

One interesting discussion point revolved around criteria for assessing such work and the equivalencies in different presentations. Some participants suggested devising a process/product combination (in other words requiring a reflective piece to make the design and learning process more explicit), although others thought this unnecessary, believing this might detract from the story as a valuable resource for sharing and reflection beyond the actual assessment needs (and assessment audience). I suppose it depends on the subject and rationale for creating the stories. Jenny Moon suggested including students in deciding the criteria for assessment.

This led well into the interactive workshop led by Jenny Moon (Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University) in which we examined the elements of reflective writing through ‘graduated scenarios’. Building on her extensive research into reflective writing and critical thinking, Jenny also considered the growing use of the term story in higher education suggesting that stories will become even more prominent. I picked up lots of interesting ideas, in particular, using literature to illustrate stories relevant to the subject area, as well as using digital storytelling to help link theory to practice.

I particularly got a sense of the way in which digital storytelling can provide motivating and creative activities for learning and reflection and, crucially, can enable the incorporation and development of a range of digital literacies.

In short then, I really enjoyed the day and I’m just sorry I couldn’t stay for today’s practical session.

Facebook - Facelift

Reflections on our symposium

We had a great day on Friday. I'd like to thank all those who presented for their time and energy; there was a real buzz about the day. We had over 130 people register an interest and 110 attendees. It was telling that one of our external speakers asked whether there was a three-line-whip on attendance - the view was that without a stick why were so many people at the event. My view is that it reflects the commitment of our staff to enhancing the learning and teaching experiences that they provide, and that we have such strong and reinforcing networks of practice.

We have lots to celebrate in terms of innovation in the curriculum and the extension of our learning and teaching environments. When added to the broader work that our staff are engaging in, we have some sector-leading developments with technology-enhanced learning, and I am proud of our successes both within our Pathfinder project and beyond.

The presentations will be uploaded here and you can view Lawrie Phipp's exploration of informal learning already. However, if you attended a session please consider commenting on the outcomes of the sessions you attended, at: The blog postings are indexed/tagged with keywords, in the format Keynote1, Workshop1, Workshop2 etc., so you can find them in our list of tags/entries.

Monday, 19 May 2008

UPDATE: Highpoint Symposium Workshop 8: How would a weblog blog on a weblog blog if a weblog could blog blogs?

Thank you to those of you who attended our session. For the benefit of the delegates (those who attended and those who could not) we have made available the slides online for your perusal. The summary of the workshop can be found on a previous post by clicking here.

My slide show along with an audio narration can be found by clicking the image below or following this link.

Phil Adams has uploaded his presentation on to slideshare and can be viewed below:

If you have any questions regarding the session that we delivered then do not hesitate to contact any of us via our university email.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Presentation: Highpoint Symposium Workshop 2: Social Bookmarking and Social Networking

Many thanks to all those that attended this workshop on Social Bookmarking and Social Networking. Here is a link to the workshop presentation for your convenience. All other attendees, please feel free to download and view. (click on full screen for best viewing, escape button to exit full screen mode)

For those of you who would like to gain an initial feel for working informally in a social 'learning' network then visit Web2learning : and ask for an invite. Additionally both myself and Heather will be happy to help with any general queries in the domain of Social Bookmarking, Social Networking and Web 2.0 technology.

Workshop 2 Recap

The application of Web 2.0 technologies for educational purposes is gaining ground in many academic quarters. In this workshop we will highlight the features of two popular web 2.0 technologies Social Bookmarking and Social Networking and explore ideas of how they can be used for teaching, learning and professional development.

In this workshop we will

  • explore the meaning of social bookmarking/ Social Networking as part of the Web 2.0 environment
  • demonstrate the use of social bookmarking and networking (including, Ning)
    ask participants to share their thoughts and ideas for using these tools
  • share how we have tried to use these tools as part of the pathfinder
  • explore ways in which they can be useful for both students and staff

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Highpoint Symposium - Workshop - Multimedia in the curriculum

Here is Jon and Richard's offering! They handed their piece in, better late than never:

Aim of this session is: to introduce the use of video as a learning resource and present / discuss some of the strengths and weakness of its use.

At the end of this seminar: you will have raised awareness of the approaches to the use of video as an educational tool and understand some of the pitfalls to be avoided.

The staff presenting the workshop have experience of both the practical and technical issues that are required to successfully use video as a learning resource.
They will use a variety of video clips obtained with their owners permission to demonstrate various approaches in the use of multimedia in the student arena.

The session will consider three categories of video use replacers, augmenters and suplementors. The interactive discussion will address what makes for a good video and what steps can be taken to avoid the pitfalls.

You will be entertained by the dynamic nature of the materials presented.

Jon Tyler & Richard Chipps

Highpoint Symposium - Workshop 7: 7. Student engagement and motivation with Web 2.0 tools

"Harish Ravat, Mervyn Dobbin and Miles Weaver (BAL) will lead a discussion about the need for a change in our e-learning practice in HE, in light of student expectations and the rise of web-based tools like Facebook, and YouTube."

So this will be a student-chaired session on the interface between social and academic tools. Should make for interesting discussion around the fusion of formal and informal learning spaces and networks.

Highpoint Symposium - Workshop 6: Multi-media in the curriculum

"Jon Tyler and Richard Chipps (AAD) will demonstrate the development and embedding of streaming video and make recommendations for other practitioners."

You can tell that they have been very naughty and not done their homework - i.e. post their synopsis herewith. Anyway, they will cover:
  • examples of video in action directly through our streaming server and Blackboard;
  • examples of video in action directly through Articulate Presenter; and
  • guidelines for practitioners.

Highpoint Symposium - Workshop 3 - Using wikis to enhance group tasks

The widening participation agenda in higher education has seen a growing problem with the issue of retention, the recognition of the importance of encouraging students into deep learning and also the need to improve their motivation by providing a rich learning environment. The role of group working has long been recognised as an important element in addressing these issues. This session is based on work undertaken by Jon Philpott and the use of wikis by teams in a non-teaching environment; and also on work undertaken as part of a Research Informed Teaching Award project by Mike Leigh and Lucy Mathers which looked at the use of wikis & blogs to facilitate group working and the development of on-line learning communities.

In this workshop Jon will discuss the motivators behind the decision to adopt the use of wikis by the Data Management section of the Registry. He will then explore some of the problems encountered and solutions implemented when integrating a wiki within their team to enable them build shared knowledge bases. Mike and Lucy will then highlight the impact of using Web2.0 technologies within Blackboard for a range of student group work.

There will also be some audience participation in the seeking of staff attitudes towards the use of such technologies within a teaching environment.

Mile Leigh

Google: mobile browsers are dead

No, no. Read the title again, Google is not saying Mobile internet is dead but rather mobile-specific browsers are dead. Mobile phone manufacturers will be using lite versions of the mainstream browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari (Apple iphone).

What does that mean to every Joe Bloggs in HE? Well not much visually, but every web designer and developer will sigh with relief that this means that web pages will not longer have to built from scratch again specifically for the array of mobiles phones/PDA's only. But now the main browsers will need to be targeted: currently there only 3-4 main contenders, Internet Explorer being the behemoth.

I had written a piece on the blog in February regarding how the iPhone had changed the face of mobile browsing forever. The article below further confirms on...



Google claims that every phone manufacturer will offer full web browsers within a year, hailing the end of mobile-specific browsers.


Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Highpoint Symposium Keynote 2: Games, Technology and Learning

Computer games offer a great potential for actively engaging students with learning, but the benefits of learning with games and the student experience of gaming technologies is often misunderstood. In this talk, student perceptions of learning with computer games will be discussed, drawing on issues such as motivation, accessibility and ways in which the student view of computer gaming environments can influence their design.

An inclusive definition of 'game-based learning' will be presented, and the pedagogic rationale for its use in Higher Education discussed. Examples of ways in which computer games can be used to enhance learning and teaching will be presented, looking particularly at the use of alternate reality games to support student induction. Finally, the challenges of computer game-based learning will be highlighted.

Nic Whitton, MMU

Highpoint Symposium Workshop 5: Mobile Technologies in the Classroom (and in the field)

Over the past year we have been involved with an HEA Pathfinder project entitled ‘Rapid Reaction and Response’ or R3. The key focus of the project has been to examine the effective use of in-class mobile technologies to support formative assessment and feedback. From the student perspective we examined the role of immediate feedback in the classroom to help students focus their learning on areas of weakness and reduce misunderstandings. From the staff perspective we felt that the immediate feedback would help staff understand student misconceptions and adapt their teaching practices.

We have used a range of technologies including Tablet PCs, Wireless Data projectors, Electronic Voting Systems, audio tools and in-bound text messaging.

During the workshop we will give a brief overview of the project and look at some of the staff and student feedback. We will also provide opportunities to try out some of the technologies and will include a short exercise to develop an Electronic Voting System activity. In addition to providing comments / feedback in advance of the workshop via the DMU pathfinder blog feel free to text us on 07624803109 using dmu as the first word of the text.

Tim Linsey and Andreas Panayiotidis

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

HighPoint Symposium Workshop 4: Building and engaging with personal learning environments

Having been involved in elearning in general and the implementation of a commercial Virtual Learning Environment together with the staff development activities associated with it, I can say with some confidence that this approach has problems as well as advantages. The most important things that I have learned in my years working with elearning and its tools are that:
  1. Good educational design is important
  2. The best ideas come from the practitioner not an elearning advisor
  3. Once an initial idea for a design is established it can be very simple to implement
  4. It doesn’t have to be difficult or overly technical

Because of the plethora of tools and technologies available to us and the power of the 'semantic' web to present and represent them to their publics we can now construct much more personalised resources quickly and easily. In this session I will illustrate how it is possible to simply construct a resource using these tools and technologies and in doing so will argue that these more flexible approaches will be more appropriate for the modern learner in the future. To do this we will look at the following:

  1. Mapping a Learning/working environment –
    1. Activity – mapping exercise
  2. Choosing how to ‘e’ – identifying and selecting tools
    1. Activity – which tools to use?
  3. Constructing a presence that works – putting it together

At the conclusion of the session participants should have:-

A clearer picture of what they do and how to make learning more personalised.

Highpoint Symposium Workshop 2: Social Bookmarking and Social Networking

The application of Web 2.0 technologies for educational purposes is gaining ground in many academic quarters. In this workshop we will highlight the features of two popular web 2.0 technologies Social Bookmarking and Social Networking and explore ideas of how they can be used for teaching, learning and professional development.

In this workshop we will

  • explore the meaning of social bookmarking/ Social Networking as part of the Web 2.0 environment
  • demonstrate the use of social bookmarking and networking (including, Ning)
    ask participants to share their thoughts and ideas for using these tools
  • share how we have tried to use these tools as part of the pathfinder
  • explore ways in which they can be useful for both students and staff

Highpoint Symposium Workshop 8: How would a weblog blog on a weblog blog if a weblog could blog blogs?

What do you mean that the title doesn’t make sense! Mohamed Yaseen Kassam (Training & Development), and Alan Brine and Phil Adams (Library Services) will give tips on common-sense blogging for readers and writers in order to enhance the student experience. The session will be split in to 2 mini sessions; the first half concentrating on a writers’ aspects, and the second half dedicated to the readers’ aspects.

Although the session is aimed at novices, any budding talents and experts are welcome to join the session to contribute to discussions as the facilitators are still continuously learning new things everyday about this and other similar technologies.

Writing blogs:

In this part we will discuss:
  • What weblogs are and how they are affecting us in HE and the world?
  • How we can use blogs to further our professional/personal interests?
  • What a blogger needs to know to keep the blog going and keeping the audience craving for more?
  • Discuss different terms, words, or lingo that crop-up in the blogging arena.
  • General tips of do’s and don’ts as writers.
  • Guidance on further exploration around the subject.
Reading blogs:

In this part we will discuss:
  • How do readers find blogs?
  • Is reading a blog’ as simple as it sounds?
  • Can tags help to manage interesting blog posts?
  • Can feed readers help you to keep up to date?
  • Can browsers be adapted to make reading blogs easier?
We look forward to be seeing you there - Phil, Alan, & Mohamed

Monday, 12 May 2008

Symposium Keynote 1: Learner-expectations, technology and formal/informal learning

Expectations are not always what they seem, and the answers we elicit from learners when we ask them about their expectations, at both undergraduate and post graduate level, need to be more critically examined. Technology plays a big part in all our daily lives, learners may expect one thing, need another and when asked the question may tell you what they think the right answer is! Furthermore, we need to understand how and when learning is occurring, and the part that technology is playing in the process.

Lawrie Phipps' keynote at our symposium on Friday will draw upon conversations with Dave Cormier and his ideas on rhizomatic learning, George Siemens’ theory, connectivism and recent work through the JISC Users and Innovation programme. The presentation will ask the delegates to consider the emergent technologies characterised by web 2.0 through two different perspectives.
  • The technologies are disrupting to the students’ learning and staff time, they pick up information that we haven’t given them off the internet, and the technology is everywhere like an omnipresent technodeity
  • The technologies are providing new ways of engaging in discourse between peers, offering new opportunities to find knowledge and exercise creativity and the sheer breadth of the technology creates something that most people can engage with at some level

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Is Facebook the new Ministry of Information?

The Technology blog in the Guardian is running a story on Facebook announces Connect, to use your data on external sites. This comes just a few days after HEIs who are using Blackboard found out that they would be forced to block, rather than buy-into, a Facebook application that connects Blackboard to Facebook. I commented a while back about CourseFeed and its implications for data, security, privacy and pedagogy. At least that was a service that HEIs could buy-into. With this new app you have to be seen to buy out of it. If a student from HEI X tries to plug the app in s/he might get a DNS message, which might not look good. We have decided to opt out of the app whilst we test the building block for impact upon our data, security and network.

Now this isn't to state that the app or mash-ups of data from various sources is bad, per se. However, I now note that through Connect, Facebook is offering new ways for it to enhance the use of your data. As Jack Schofield notes in the Grud:

"Apart from anything else, it seems to imply that Facebook could become the central repository for identity on the web. And it's even worse than Microsoft's Passport, because Passport didn't care what name you used, and didn't drag your friends along too."

This reminds me of The Ministry of Information in Terry Gilliam's Kafka-esque Brazil, which presents a "dystopian world in which there is an over-reliance on poorly maintained (and rather whimsical) machines". I'm not saying that Facebook is lurching towards the control and manipulation of personal data, which is notionally owned by individuals but used by others, but I do wonder whether our staff and students need clarity of information in how their information can and is being used when they add that app or tick that "I agree" box.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Fuss FM

I spent some time with Rob Watson from Media Production, over in the School of Engineering this morning, checking out Fuss FM. there are some great work in and taken by level 3, Media Production students on their Advanced Radio Production module, in project managing and delivering a radio station for two weeks, including scheduling, preparation, co-managing the technical infrastructure etc..

I got sent there was a real partnership in operation between Rob and students, and between the students who were managing particular airtime slots. Some of the great learning development work includes:

  • The students blogging on blackboard as part of small teams, including the project management team, the licence compliance team, the audience research team and the editorial team;
  • The students taking responsability for a number of key areas of research and development for FUSSFM, with a draft performance management review that enables them to identify and review the work theyhave undertaken, and give them an opportunity to reflect; and
  • A final, evidence-based, performance management review, designed to assess the level of achievement that students have made in this module. This review will be based on evidence of activity and reflection provided by each student in the form of a detailed, multi-part questionnaire. This questionnaire asks the learner to rate the tasks and responsibilities that s/he undertook as part of the project, with an assessment of how improvements secured a greater level of effectiveness and competence as the project progressed.

Rob intends to produce a showreel, to highlight the success of this story. It demonstrates the great mix of creative technologies and creative pedagogy, designed to inspire students as co-owners of a project. I look forward to reading more about this, and interviewing Rob as part of a podcast about the success of FussFM.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Mobile technologies and diagnostic assessment

It has been a pleasure and privilege to sit on the steering group for the Kingston University, Pathfinder project, R3. [That's R-cubed, I can't find the cubed symbol!!] Some really important outcomes have emerged, in terms of:
  1. the use of mobiles in fieldwork (using ubiquitous wireless broadband technologies), with 3G cards, wireless routers and cheap PCs;
  2. engagement by students with electronic voting systems in group work;
  3. the focus by academic staff on using electronic voting systems, which may reflect a need to control the learning experience;
  4. productive engagement with content via MP3 players;
  5. the role of staff mentors in coaching inexperienced academics; and
  6. beginning to engage academic staff with the process of student produced content and reflection via texting to a central service.
This helps develop the view of the impact of institutional and personal mobile technologies on the learning experience of both staff and students. Interestingly, the reflective journals that Kingston have collated show a clear dichotomy of staff use between using these tools for information management, and the ability of these technologies to create a buzz in the classroom.

Clearly, the next leap for us as a sector is to think about student control of these tools, and how they can be used to reconceptualising face-to-face contact. After all these tools which students are used to using, and we only get to see our students for a short period of time each week - the key is maximising that time, and maybe models for using these technologies will help. As ever, so many of the games will lie in the planning and reflection of academic staff.

I hope that we can begin to discuss and explore these issues and symposium next week, where we are very lucky to have Tim Linsey and Andreas Panayiotidis presenting.

HighPoint Symposium Workshop 1: Introducing podcasts into the curriculum and their reception by students

I would like to thank everyone who came and contributed to this workshop.
You can view my workshop PowerPoint presentation here.
Visit the DMU e-learning staff support site on Blackboard to watch/hear some examples of podcasts and email me if you would like to become a member of DMU's podcasting special interest group (no prior experience necessary).
Happy podcasting,
Malcolm Andrew.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Learning Technologies part deux

The second part of the Learning Technologies was held this week. It is now rebranded as the Learning and Skills Group conference. There were very few academic institutions represented there, but there were a number of government, military and businesses that were heavily into e-learning. The overall feel of the conference was also better than the previous one with a much more relaxed, sharing environment being created. There was no keynote speaker and a mixture of sessions that included group meetings where like people/organisations could interact with each other and share good practice. I attended cafe sessions on creating and designing e-learning which gave us 7 principles of learning design, which were:
1.Design experiences not content (no one learns anything from content!).
2. Design top down and bottom up
3. Juggle constraints consciously (be realistic and honest with all involved).
4. Template comprehensively ensuring that it is based on sound theories of learning.
5.Evaluate(demonstrate value but not too much) and educate (sponsors and subject experts).
6. Build multi role, multi functional teams (This would be nice but often its the individual in our case! This also applies to pint 5 above as others have sepearte designers to do the work).
7. Make users drive your design
During the design process use users when practical where possible as it can shorten the development time. See for some evidence of this.
Where we are dealing with external providers we should ask "what theories they base learning on" as there have been changes in the last 15 years.
The cafe style workd in some ways as the session sparked conversation and sharing although possibly the numbers were too high in some sessions.
I also attended a number of practical sessions on Web 2.0 technologies and everyone should visit Centre for learning and performance tecnologies (if they havent already). I liked Polldaddy, slideshare and moodle! I am also pleased to see drupal in their list of 100 tools as we like it in the library and it was used by the conference to demo sessions! These were small group sessions ans were collaborative allowing real sharing and learning in a practical session. There were some hiccoughs with the practical sessions to do with availability of software and versions but overall it was OK.
Finally my faviurite session was the hands on PSP session where we were able to play with psps that had been pre-loaded with sample training materials. This could be a really interesting way of delivery if we were to try this and is less restrictive than an ipod and cheaper!!

Keyboards harbour harmful bacteria

[What's this got to do with Pathfinder, Learning Technologies, and e-Learning I hear you say. Well I say that there wont be any Pathfinder or much learning through technologies if you catch an eColi bug or after reading this, go ahead and clean your keyboard. I know I am...(Mohamed)]

Some keyboards carry more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat, Which? Computing reveals today.

Researchers tested keyboards from a typical London office and found bacteria that could put their user at high risk of becoming ill.


Identity 'at risk' on Facebook

The popular social networking site allows users to add a variety of applications to their profile.

But a malicious program, masquerading as a harmless application, could potentially harvest personal data.


holiday snaps from DMU Island

Some Game Design students have been building in SecondLife and I quite like some of the outputs. We'll try to capture a sense of what the collective building of a village meant to them, about participation and competition, and about recommendations for other users. Anyway, some piccies are appended below.