Saturday, July 05, 2008

It's All About Immersion

Right, so.

You don't hear from me for a month, and now you can't get me to shut up.

As I was unsleeping (you know, not NOT sleeping and yet not sleeping?), I was thinking about immersion (it is prolly all Freudian and wombish).

Every so often, we have to update the Wiki for Literature Alive. We move projects, we start new projects, we holodeck old projects, sponsors change, we get new get the picture. When we do that, we check all the Slurls and whatnots, and we revisit the mission and purpose of Literature Alive! We also go through each of the builds to make sure that things are as they oughta be in the world.

As I was looking over the wiki tonight, I had this pang of panic. Are all of our builds immersive?

There is probably a real definition out there, but to us it means making visitors DO stuff in order to learn. Reading notecards, listening to lectures, and watching videos is not enough; we could do that in REAL life, and it is passive in EITHER this life or that one.

Often, we think of builds being immersive because WE were immersed when we built them. On an average building day, we three queens are immersed....Eloise is generally scripting my latest bright and crazy request, Daliah's off shopping for low prim farm animals, and I am looking for Flickr photos. But, just because WE are immersed in the making of an environment, we must be careful not to OVERDO it and ruin the fun for students.

Right now, we are working on the Blithedale Project. Students at DeSales are reading it, and the project includes a virtual Fruitlands and a virtual Brook Farm (read up on Hawthorne :-)

As students complete classwork (Mixbooks, Animotos, wikis), I am imbedding them in flowers and lilly pads and fire logs. I'm into it. Totally. Daliah is building her first academic build, Eloise is being driven to edge with my random requests for scripts that do the impossible (are you SURE we can't do [insert wild brained Desi thought here]) The hard part is leaving stuff for the STUDENTS to do! It isn't that I want to DO it all; it is just that I am like a little kid at Christmas! I am excited; I love the American Romantic IS my is what I have loved since is the one class that I would teach if I swore off teaching!

It is a bit like tutoring writing. It is SO easy to say "write this" "write that" - but, truly, students learn nothing if you do it for them. So, I have to sit on my hands, and that gives me more time to blog!

As we look over our work, it is clear that we try very hard to make each and every build immersive for students. Our hope is that we won't ever lose sight of our mission: to foster a lifelong love of learning through a lifelong passion for reading.

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