Monday, January 14, 2008

Spring 2008 at Literature Alive!

The holiday break seemed to whiz by without a blink. But, despite the chaos of real life, Eloise and I have worked hard on Literature Alive! plots for use in classes this Spring.

The first plot is a revamped Progressive Era Classroom for use in English 106: Literature. Students will be reading Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and discussing tenement housing and the industrial revolution. Previously, the build was graciously hosted by Finger Lakes Community College at the SUNY campus (many thanks Marcius Dowding!). It has now found a permanent home on the VIT World campus (many thanks Butch Dae!).

The plot comes complete with working amusement rides (Eloise calls them "fun fair" rides - aren't the British cute?), bumper cars, and a train to provide a "theme park" atmosphere. All the rides are free, and it is a PG place where students from all schools (and residents, too) can come and enjoy a little Second Life. The students will be working on four projects while using the classroom. They will create an object repository for people to view as they ride the free fall; they will be creating a virtual tenement museum, and they will be creating a domino boardwalk timeline of the era. Most importantly, they will be exploring the rise and fall of Maggie. Visit the classroom any time, and anyone is welcome to participate in classes.

The second project is the Gloria Naylor Interactive Project. Students will be reading Mama Day, The Women if Brewster Place, and The Men of Brewster Place.

The plot includes Bailey's Cafe, Eve's House and Garden, the houses at Brewster Place, and even the brick wall at Brewster. Students have to utilize the environment by exploring the texts and creating the content for each of the buildings. They will analyze the characters and provide visitors with information about who they are and what their lives are like in the novel. Visit the project (feedback is always welcome!). Many thanks to FireSabre Consulting (Thank you Gus Plisskin!) for the land grant donation.

The third project has not yet been built. The students, working with the glorious Eloise Pasteur and the not-so-glorious-as-her me, will be building a full out ghost town to celebrate Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. Many thanks to Marcius Dowding and Crash Tibault, Finger Lakes Community College, and SUNY for their continued generosity and land grant!

Finally, students will be celebrating the poetry of Maya Angelou by creating a voice threaded prim build after reading "Still I Rise." We will be inviting visitors to see the showcase once the students have completed their build.

As always, we are eternally thankful to our sponsors; their willingness to provide space four our builds is what makes Literature Alive! possible! Also, I would be greatly out of line if I didn't personally thank Eloise Pasteur, once again, for her generation donation of time and talent. Eloise makes her living in SL as a builder and scripter, and the time she spends volunteering for Literature Alive! could be spent elsewhere. Likewise, I would be nowhere without my assistant, Daliah. She keeps me organized (and that is quite a task). Our intern has moved on to bigger and better things, so if you know anyone interested in interning with Literature Alive! - just go ahead and holler :-)

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