Second Life Astronomy Lesson

In my Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds course we have been challenged to teach a lesson in a virtual world to the rest of the class. Something I have always wanted to do was build learning experiences in Second Life but the first time I tried, I couldn’t even make a cube. I didn’t realize that you can only build in some areas so I just went away frustrated and never went back.

In my class, we learned how to create shapes, called prims, and resize and texture them.  A couple of the quests we had in the class (yes, this is a quest-based class) were to build things so I thought it would be cool to build a telescope. As I got into building it I decided it would be nice to have a little observatory. Then I thought of the lesson I had to give and decided I needed a full fledged observatory with a large telescope and little lessons around the wall of the observatory.

I also learned how to add scripts to objects. My telescope, and the roof of the observatory, will turn when you touch it. I made it so when you look into the eyepiece, you can see Saturn. I want to learn how to show a different image depending on which way the telescope is pointing, then it would act more like a real telescope.

My lesson is mostly about learning some of the latest discoveries in astronomy. I don’t have anything big and profound but I think what I have created is pretty cool. You can click on the images around the observatory and be brought to a webpage explaining more about the topic. I plan on taking my class into the observatory, let them walk around and learn, then we will have a short discussion about it in Second Life.

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