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#7962341 Jun 10, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Guild Officer
343 Posts
Could you have your students make an avatar as a project? What subject area would you use it in?
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#7969208 Jun 11, 2013 at 04:33 PM
53 Posts
I could imagine it could be used for history classes very easily. Clothing and appearance is something that is always important in a culture. Having a student create an avatar who's appearance is based on a certain era would be very fun I think ^^
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#7974706 Jun 12, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Guild Officer
73 Posts
#7962341 kae wrote:

Could you have your students make an avatar as a project? What subject area would you use it in?



One could easily use it as a supplement to exploration of the Avatar concept for a humanities, world religion, or philosophy class.
Games Based Learning Mooc (gamesMOOC)
FRCC Humanities Instructor
The best combination of technophile and luddite

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#7974713 Jun 12, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Initiate
108 Posts
I do this at the beginning of the year as a getting to know you activity. Students also choose code names for their avatars. Throughout the year, as they level up, students get costume pieces to personalize and add to their avatars, and I use their code names for privacy when posting leader boards.
Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom... do work that changes the world. -Will Richardson

http://www.gamifymyclass.blogspot.ca
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#7976413 Jun 12, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Guild Officer
10 Posts
Hm, any time students need to create presentations or build a narrative, of course. For my composition classes, I can see using them for anything from the personal essay to the rhetorical analysis (where they work with advertising). I sometimes use Google Sites as a portfolio for my students, and an avatar might be a nice way to add a personal touch without them having to post pictures or video of themselves.
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#7976419 Jun 12, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Guild Officer
10 Posts
#7969208 Trevyn.Slusser wrote:

I could imagine it could be used for history classes very easily. Clothing and appearance is something that is always important in a culture. Having a student create an avatar who's appearance is based on a certain era would be very fun I think ^^



Trevyn, I'd say the same applies to lit. Also a solid application!
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#7976868 Jun 13, 2013 at 12:18 AM
Initiate
108 Posts
Lit would be really cool. Students could make avatars in the shape of the character they would create to insert themselves into a story. Then you could do a writing assignment explaining who the character is and why they think it could slip into the story without anyone noticing it didn't belong.
Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom... do work that changes the world. -Will Richardson

http://www.gamifymyclass.blogspot.ca
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#7986527 Jun 14, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Initiate
10 Posts
Another aspect of avatars is perception by others or first impression. What does your avatar say about you? Does it look like you? Does it represent anything about you? There are a few users in SL that have genderless avatars with neutral names which removes traditional gender bias. This could be a large topic to explore.
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#7992740 Jun 16, 2013 at 06:48 AM
Initiate
13 Posts
I have no personal experience of this, as I don't teach actual students, I have sometimes given courses to teachers themselves, but we often have focused on other kind of things than really customizing the avatar for certain purpose (because often the time on these courses or training has been bit limited, and many other important areas of interest to venture into).

Anyhow, I think that some of the ideas presented in this thread, such as creating avatar for certain historical period of time, or maybe to reflect certain philosophy or ideology... perhaps you can have your avatar take part in .. say, just throwing ideas from top of my head, but live in a virtual village or community - could be for example in medieval time period, or why not in contemporary as well, if they would have certain kind of story and challenges (or quests?) to complete in this setting.

But it could create very important part of choosing the kind of avatar and role that they would have in the village.. would it be a merchant, a guardsman.. a village elder or ruler, or want-to-be ruler? .. fisherman, farmer, resource gatherer of some kind? ... the possibilities are endless really.. but it could open up a whole another discussion like "why did you choose this particular role and avatar"... "how does the avatar appearance fit in this role?" ... "what kind of skills would your avatar need for this role?" ... "do they need to be able to work as a group, or are they more a lone person?" ... etc. etc.


But I do think this kind of task would need to be well defined, designed and given to the students before actually starting to just randomly create avatars or characters.

I have sometimes witnessed teachers bring high school or college age students into Second Life, and while some seem to take the avatar creation kind of "seriously" and wish to make the avatar unique, but at the same time proper... there are always group of students that wish to tweak the avatar appearance sliders to create the most ridiculous possible creature than they can achieve.

While this can provide some amusement and laughs in the classroom probably too, and it can actually at first lighten up the mood that things do not need to always be so serious, but you can play around a little.. I have found very little touching point to these kind of students who wish to remain then the whole time with their ridiculous looking avatar. Perhaps part of it is that my experience in Second Life has been that most often when I run into an avatar that is exaggerated in it's ridiculousness, they have very high chance to be a griefer sort of person.

But, to get to some kind of conclusion in this point... I think if you allow the students to create an avatar just as they please, and even end up some people have the ridiculous ones ... and there is no specific task given to the students beforehand that you have to create your avatar or "toon" to fit this task .. be it the medieval village or something else...

And if you would then bring up a discussion like "why did you specifically end up with this avatar, and why did you decide to make it just like this?" ... I think this could be potentially bit awkward topic to start to "force" the students to discuss a lot, because actually I think it could end up to be a discussion of introspection..

The avatar is in many cases a reflection of it's creation, even if we want it or don't want. The creator made certain decisions to make the avatar look certain way, and I do believe many of these decisions can be conscious, but some also sub-conscious. The student who wanted to create the silly or ridiculous avatar might just reply "i did it for the laughs", but that's most often just the easiest answer to give and shrug the topic off.. But I think the deeper introspection of why someone really picked a certain kind of avatar, it could at worst end up to be bit "heavy" topic for learning and discussion.

This note though more related to Second Life, the game type MMORPG's often don't offer such extreme character customization that it might be an issue.

But to summarize:
- I think if given a specific task like creating avatar for certain environment, like the "medieval village", this could be great idea
- I think if no specific task given, but allowing the students to just create free-form avatars that they do on their own, the discussion could in some cases end up to be awkward
Game-based learning enthusiast, virtual learning environments creator, and an avid MMORPG player
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#7999181 Jun 17, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Guild Officer
73 Posts
Great suggestions! Another would be to critique the historical accuracy of targeted components etc within the created world of a specific game. For instance, one could critique the available clothing styles when creating an avatar in game.
Games Based Learning Mooc (gamesMOOC)
FRCC Humanities Instructor
The best combination of technophile and luddite

Twitter @ThereseEllis
Google+ therese.catherine.ellis@gmail.com
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