New Perspectives from the Tech Museum of Innovation

It was June 16, and the new OT Center exhibit on adapting environments for daily life was scheduled to open in less than 2 days. Having trashed my powerpoint ideas, I found myself surrounded with cool 3D objects, a holodeck, and…CHAOS. i felt completely at a loss as to how the exhibit would come together. So, I returned to a rumination I’ve been having lately, about how SL exhibits are a bit like interactive museums. In semi-desperation, I did a search on museums within Second Life and came across the Tech Museum of Innovation.
Tech Museum of Innovation

Well…good move, Zsu. They have a thought-provoking and very practical tutorial about how to design exhibits in Second Life. #1 on the list was What’s the Big Idea? the big ideaThis alone was worth the trip. Among the comments about #1 was:

Every museum exhibit has a big idea behind it. If you can’t articulate what the exhibit is about in one sentence—one big idea—then it probably needs to be pared down.

I pondered for a bit, and it suddenly came to me: Well of course, the big idea is, Living Life to Its Fullest. This is the new tagline for occupational therapy from the American Occupational Therapy Association. It became clear that LLTTF could be the overall theme of the Center, and that each exhibit could tie into this theme. So, for example in the picture below, there is the sign, LLTTF, with the link to adapting environments below it. It says, [LLTTF] “May be hard to do because of physical,
mental, or emotional issues and/or barriers in the environment.
Adapting Environments
The other points included in the tutorial also were very good. It think it will probably take some time for these messages to sink in. But…at least it gives a leg up to begin doing that 3-dimensional kind of thinking Gia and I spoke about. It’s a process…

Zero to Holodeck in 30 Minutes (well sort of)

On my day off today, I continued to work on and finally was successful at creating a holodeck for the new Adapting Enviroments exhibit. When I say, “continued to work on,” let me explain what I mean…

Last night I pulled my holodeck materials together after taking a class several months ago. DeadheadDMT Infinity, who taught the class, really made it easy, and we went from knowing very little and knowing how to do even less to a completed holodeck in about 1 hour. However…last night was starting from scratch, which of course is an entirely different story. It included:

  1. Figuring out what objects to include
  2. experimenting with where to place the objects
  3. looking for the essential “object a script” that for some reason was missing
  4. going through all the steps to create the holodeck
  5. redoing the holodeck after realizing the script I thought I found was not the actual object a script 😦
  6. coming to the realization that maybe just rezzing 3-D objects that illustrate assistive technology and self-help aids isn’t enough
  7. figuring out what else I wanted those 3D objects in the holodeck to do
  8. experimenting with scripts for the objects

    Okay, are you exhausted just hearing these steps?? I sure was after working on the project for 2-3 hours (I never keep accurate tabs on how long I spend to do stuff in SL, it would probably discourage me from doing it!).

Anyway, I took up the challenge again this morning and creating my first holodeck for the exhibit. I was able to put it together, using the entire holodeck process (no pre-created scenes) in about 30 minutes. Mind you, this replaces only 2 of the 17 powerpoint slides originally planned…but no one said this would be easy or quick!

Taking on the Challenge: Beyond Powerpoint in the 3D world

Had a very interesting and inspiring time with Gianninna Rossini, (best known for her work on Sloodle). I stopped over on Saturday to wish her a happy rez day, and she showed me a 3-D presentation she had given. Wow! It consisted of a series of blocks that appeared and when clicked, provided you with info, urls, or a quiz and fostered more active engagement. She also showed me the impressive statistics on Sloodle via a 3-D graph housed within a beautiful earth globe. Gia expressed the thought that people on Second Life need to begin thinking more 3 dimensionally, and we discussed reasons why people use Powerpoint (aka, Powerpointless) for presentations instead of 3D methods (here’s an excerpt from Powerpointless originator Tutfe’s book). Among the reasons for the absence or limited use of 3-D thinking that we discussed were lack of knowledge and skill about other ways of doing things and lack of time. After thinking about it, I’d add a third: laziness (personal experience with that one). It’s quite an undertaking to do a 3-D presentation when you’re not so comfortable or facile with scripting or other methods like Puppeteer or Holodecks. So, it’s a lot more involved and time-consuming which is where (for me) the laziness factor has come in. But, no more! I’m taking on the challenge to use as much in the way of 3-D presentation materials as possible in our Adapting Environments for Daily Life exhibit.

The dilemma of “structure” in Second Life(R) program development

One of the challenges of working with a group of 7 to create a Second Life project is: how much structure should the team leader provide? One of our aims is to provide a venue for graduate students to actively create content related to healthcare education. Graduate students are expected to think critically, problem solve, and innovate. However, the context of Second Life program development is complex because of the steep learning curve (even for digital natives) and the limited availability of information about the process. And yet…
An idea I’ve been thinking about quite a bit is that innovation requires us to pull from our experience and knowledge, our reference materials, and so forth to do something new, put a different spin on an existing idea or program or approach it in an entirely different way. Even though we start from such tools, in a sense it is like “creating something out of nothing” because we cannot rely on tried and true approaches because there aren’t any (yet). In my view, this is a requirement for graduate education given the way the world is, with the dizzying pace of technology, the complexity of diverse societies, and the expectations of health and human service providers. I don’t have to tell the educators among us that there are many other areas that are equally ill-defined where grad students need to have and further refine these abilities.
But then again….I want this exhibit to open on time and be worth residents’ time to visit. The focus on adapting environments is much broader than stroke awareness and will require even more thought and more work. So, I decided to create a chart of tasks, dates, and personnel and distribute to the grad students, to make our process more efficient. I’ll provide updates about how this more directive approach works. I’m also very interested in any comments about the issue.