Multiverse Dragon Masters Evaluation of the Pilot Course

Multiverse Dragon Masters for Elementary Reading Literacy:

Evaluation of the Pilot Course

Salie Davis

Designing Online Learning Environments

(2017SP1-EDU-681103-01)

Professor Mark Lewis

Empire State College

April 28, 2017

Multiverse Dragon Masters, Evaluation:

Multiverse Dragon Masters is a 3d simulation and game based curriculum based in a virtually immersive learning environment. The pilot was designed for age groups with flexibility based on student level and ability, between 6-11 years olds (primary grades) for goal based learning. In addition the primary evaluation form was goal based evaluation (McNamara, 2008). This could be expanded to 12-15 (secondary grades) with evolving curriculum and for advance application with design tools for in world storybook and literary project creation. The pilot was tested by my two daughters, one age 9, and the other an adult home educator of preschool children, as well as two college associates.

My educational goals were to design projects and experiences that are personal and relevant to the learner. My 9 year old daughter whom is home instructed, is below her reading level for her age. The design of this pilot was with her special needs in mind, as well as to produce quality presentations through the use of technology that can be shared with the online community.

On both the website and in the virtual world graphics and text combine to increase the impact on learning. Using this principle the fact that the animation in virtual worlds is more engaging to children in an e-learning environment that a static text based or even interactive chat based website is supported(Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 71) This is also based on the arousal that emotional attachment promotes learning. The virtual world environment allows for both synchronous and asynchronous learning, where the student can interact with the lesson plan independently or with the instructor, parent and/or other participants. One college associate commented that the title of “Multiverse Dragon Masters” created psychological engagement even before beginning the pilot project.

The supporting website also give additional asynchronous learning opportunities and lesson plan preparation. It allows for the application of the embodiment principle because the avatar programming mimics human gestures in line with live voice interactions, increasing stimulation contributing to learning (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 192). Virtual worlds can be individually designed to better adhere to the concurrency principle by avoiding streaming audio, music and ambient noises and using sounds only when beneficial for motivational engagement with the learning content. The individual avatar controls also allow for the content user to adjust sounds, movements and other features to align with personal preferences. In this the user can choose to eliminate ambient noise, sound effects, streaming music, etc. In a virtual world the importance of immersion is highlighted. It is a very specific platform with many possibilities but may not be appropriate for all learners. Deciding on an appropriate audience and content rating will also be essential in its development.

The redundancy principle is supported with this reduction in unnecessary audio when using visual text as the audio may reduce the knowledge absorbed from the lesson (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 139). Choosing only beneficial graphics and limiting the over use of graphic, as well as keeping word choice simple and concise are all conducive to learning according to the coherence principle (Clark & Mayer, 2016, p. 165) I can apply the contiguity principle in the virtual world environment by creating corresponding printed words with graphics or slide show with images and words, similar to an online storyboard. Points, tokes, prizes and awards through exploration, games and quizzes will instructors and parent gauge the success of the leaning platform.

Through my research one concern was that the personalizeation features in virtual worlds my become more of a distraction to learners and ultimately outweigh the educational benefits. (p.12, Dickey 2010) Allowing the 9 year old participant to make choices based upon limited selection, rather than teaching the technology tools of actual avatar design, I found that the pilot student was not distracted in the same way described by teachers in prior studies. In addition Personalization Principle, points out the benefits of these features in motivating students (Clark and Mayer, 2016). My adult daughter did report spending time working on her avatar and struggling with the technology aspect, in other words, she wanted to completely personalize her avatar but did not have the time to learn the technology. I ended up spending a few hours with her just to help her get her avatars appearance “just right”. With the two other college associates, I provided a ready made avatar and offered the options to adjust. I found with an avatar that was not “their own” they did not use the personalization features and simply continues with the lesson plan as laid out in the virtual world.

In this lesson plan the goal was to create a virtual world that encouraged reading in a game based environment. While working one on one with the 9 year old student she was motivated to read the story boards and read the quizzes for the opportunity to earn items she could then create her own story book scenes with. She enjoyed the idea of taking pictures of her creations with her own avatar as the main character. The one on one interaction in an online virtual world enhanced her motivation and interests in participating in reading chat and other required readings within the virtual platform in order to participate as she explored different areas and progressed through the game, learning to correctly identify words, and read simple to more advanced sentences throughout the virtual experience. The student was very interested in earning her own space to design in the virtual world, and kept asking me when I would be putting in more rewards, challenges and traps.

For this pilot program I planned a 30 minute walk through with 30 minutes of individual exploration. I had intended this to simulate the one on one goal of instruction. The college associate participants and myself were unable to coordinate schedules to meet online for this walk through. This impacted and lessened the affect of the pilot. Though I offered resources to aid in understanding the technology platform, time was a barrier and these resources were not utilized due to the learners time constraints. Instead I relied on the website resource and written support as an overall presentation of the game features and curriculum.

My adult daughter was able to meet with me one on one and this made her transition to a new technology format easier, thus enabling individual exploration. I will be creating an individualized pdf with visual screen shots as an improvement to the course as well as more training resources for new avatars within the virtual world. This will include a virtual orientation center that will teach movement controls and other aspects of the technology needed for success.

A parent teacher guide is also useful and I was able to implement many of these concepts into the starting point in the virtual world. Having these resources in world is essential and I will be developing PDFs of the same resources when applicable that specifically address subject matter concerning virtual worlds and the educational use of them for children on the companion website. Other parent guides resources include the user agreement both in world and on the website explaining the open access of virtual worlds and the responsibility of the parent and educator to supervise the sue of the virtual world. Help documentation such as how to create a child avatar and other useful tips and directions will also be available.

The subject content used in this virtual pilot began with reading and comprehension. In addition to reading literacy, digital literacy is also expanded though not a direct part of the lesson plan. Through observation I have seen improvement in the 9 year old student with technology use and in vocabulary recognition. The lack of technology skills with this new platform did surface as a barrier more so with the adult learners that the child learner in this pilot course. This supports the research that compared to the often problematic adaptation to new technologies experience by adults, children “…easily adapt to graphic and conceptual abstraction…often have extensive experience in navigating 3D spaces and discovering and exercising interface affordances” (p. 1 Roussou).

I was able to design the world then export it to a private server which is ideal for individual families who need added security and have privacy and safety concerns with online access. I then started from scratch, rebuilding the aspects I found most useful and continue with my experimentation in the online version. I have been exploring Sim on a Stick or “Simonastic” and other ready made servers such as Dreamworld and virtual world venues that do not require internet connections. Eventually I may want to move to a stand-alone platform such as can be found at www.Simonastick.com . In the future I can design and distribute an Oar file for download as an open source educational resource.

As an educator, creating a help sheet to assist learners in finding and setting controls for security and privacy would also be appropriate. This can be done real-time through virtual sessions using video, audio, or text. It can be done through the creation of PDFs that also have accessibility features built in, or it can be done by instructional video. Though the videos I have on my companion website were not specific to the pilot in terms of orientation, the college associate participants commented that the found the videos which addressed the ethics of using online virtual worlds with youth, aided them in their comfort level in taking the pilot course.

Through the first phase of this lesson plan students were able to explore the island, collect items for points, and take quizzes that rewarded for correct answers. The collection of “butterflies” awarded tokens and were accompanied by a notecard that provided instructions. The college associate participants expressed confusion at how to collect these tokens even with the written instructions. My adult daughter and 9 year old daughter benefited from a one on one demonstration. This reinforces the benefit of video tutorials in future designs. Story boards introduced the students to an underlying story plot. Students were also be able to create their own story line using screen shots, adding text and future participants could creating their own story boards that could be placed in world. Though these instructions were in world the college associate participants responded better to the pdf outline on the accompanying website than the in world resources. This identified that though students may find the virtual world a sufficient platform for information, the website and more traditional forms of content delivery may be essential for parent and teacher support. Students and parents can access the lesson plan online, again with parent supervision, will find resources and information will be presented on my current website Wopoli.com and eventually the option of my Facebook page. Future exploration of programs will also allow for quizzes to be saved or even emailed to the instructor. According to quality standards creating additional resources such as a netiquette guide (Quality Matters, 2014).

Resources

Briggs, D. C., Diaz-Bilello, E., Peck, F., Alzen, J., Chattergoon, R., Johnson, R., & …

University of Colorado at Boulder, C. (. (2015). Using a Learning Progression Framework to Assess and Evaluate Student Growth. National Center For The Improvement Of Educational Assessment

Carver, L. B. (2016). Teacher Perception of Barriers and Benefits in K-12 Technology Usage. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology – TOJET, 15(1), 110-116. Retrieved on April 15, 2017, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1086185

Clark, R., and Mayer, R. (2016) e-Learning and the Science of Instruction. John Wiley, and Sons Inc., Hoboken, N.J.

Davis, S. (2017). Multiverse dragon masters. Retrieved on April 16, 2017, from https://OSgrid/region/Multiverse%20Dragon%20Masters/164/137/23

Definitions in lesson plan (2015) Retrieved from https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/

ESRB, Entertainment Software Rating Board, retrieved from, https://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.aspx

Dickey, M. (2011). The pragmatics of virtual worlds for K-12 educators: investigating the affordances and constraints of Active Worlds and Second Life with K-12 in-service teachers. Educational Technology Research & Development, 59(1), 1-20. doi:10.1007/s11423-010-9163-4. Retrieved on April 5, 2017, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=36&sid=817138c4-5817-4070-bc0c-c98ffbb32835%40sessionmgr104&hid=108

Hickey, D. d., Ingram-Goble, A. A., & Jameson, E. M. (2009). Designing Assessments and Assessing Designs in Virtual Educational Environments. Journal Of Science Education & Technology, 18(2), 187-208. doi:10.1007/s10956-008-9143-1

Kitely.com. (2013, August 27). Privacy policy. Retrieved on April 7, 2017, at

https://www.kitely.com/privacy (secure server).

Kitely.com. (2015, June 1). Terms of service. Retrieved on April 7, 2017, at https://www.kitely.com/terms (secure server)

McNamara, C. (n.d.) Basic Guide to Program Evaluation (Including Outcomes Evaluation). Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Retrieved from: http://managementhelp.org/evaluation/program-evaluation-guide.htm

O’Connor, Eileen. (2012). Next Generation Online: Advancing Learning Through Dynamic Design, Virtual and Web 2.0 Technologies, and Instructor Attitude. Journal Of Educational Technology Systems Vol. 41(1) 3-24, 2012-2013 Retreived on 11/24/2016 from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=8d09219c-4a71-44ac-87cb-072527f5880b%40sessionmgr102&vid=1&hid=104

Poskurich, George M. (2015). Rapid Intructional Design. Wiley publications

Quality Matters (2014) Non-annotated Standards from the QM Higher Education Rubric, Fifth

Edition. Retrieved from: https://www.qualitymatters.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/StandardsfromtheQMHigherEducationRubric.pdf

Roussou, M. (2002). Immersive interactive virtual reality and informal education. Foundation of the Hellenic World. Retrieved on April 3, 2017, from http://ui4all.ics.forth.gr/i3SD2000/Roussou.PDF

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (Expanded ). Alexandria, US: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.library.esc.edu

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Multiverse Dragon Masters Analysis and Design Document

Multiverse Dragon Masters for Elementary Reading Literacy

Salie Davis

Designing Online Learning Environments

(2017SP1-EDU-681103-01)

Professor Mark Lewis

Empire State College

April 28, 2017

Multiverse Dragon Masters for Elementary Reading Literacy

Introduction:

Multiverse Dragon Masters is based on backward design, simulation and game based curriculum with the goal of a virtually immersive learning environment. The target age groups with flexibility based on student level and ability, is 6-11 years olds (primary grades) for goal based learning. This can be expanded to 12-15 (secondary grades) with evolving curriculum and for advance application with design tools for in world storybook and literary project creation. My educational goals are to design projects and experiences that are personal and relevant to the learner (specifically my daughter whom is home instructed as well as my grandchildren when they reach the age where this content will be beneficial,) Another goal will be to produce quality presentations through the use of technology that can be shared with the online community.

Definitions and Mode of Delivery:

The definition of an online virtual world in its application for use with youth is a 3D multi-user environment with user-generated content. It is defined as an online, computer based and browser based virtual reality platform hosted on a “grid” or “hypergrid” which is a grid on a company owned or private server. I have chosen to use kitely.com as the development grid for this pilot project. Kitely.com requires anyone under the age of 13 to be supervised by a legal guardian while using their site and limited to areas rated “general”. Avatars who are 13 years of age to 18 years of age are limited to “moderate” rated worlds. These guides are based on self regulation and communal governance and peer reporting to enforce. (Kitely.com, 2017) The positive aspects are that educational exploration is part of the public platform and Kitely.com is open and accessible to family and youth participation.

Cost and Time Analysis:

A cost analysis was necessary when deciding upon the mode of curriculum delivery. Time considerations, were also part of this. Building environments, creating lessons, and implementation of lessons are a small part of the time investment concern. Getting absorbed into the entertainment aspect and the non-educational applications are cause for greater concern among educators. Education vs entertainment was identified in studies as one of these concerns in time application. Teachers commented that they themselves were distracted by the immersive environment and individualization options within the virtual world environment. The example given, spending hours adjusting their personal avatars appearance after school hours. The personalizeation features in virtual worlds my become more of a distraction to learners and ultimately outweigh the educational benefits. (p.12, Dickey 2010) In addition many educators feel the cost is insurmountable. “The cost of both procurement and maintenance of various sophisticated devices to create an immersive environment made mass use of this technology prohibitive.” (p. 30 , Merchant et al) With current access to the internet widespread and hyper-grids becoming greater in numbers this cost has been reduced. Both Merchant and Dickey cited cost and accessibility as major factors that limited access yet with the increase in widespread internet connectivity acknowledged that online virtual worlds are realistic options for educators. Though there is no financial outlay in the actual designing of the virtual world, the value of time equivalent is still beneficial in determining the feasibility of the project. Through readings concerning experts who have studied learning theories and practice in emerging technologies, I have explored situated cognition, simply stated that knowing is not able to be separated from doing. One theory I connected with is the concept and application of backwards design in education. In this lesson plan the goal will be to create a virtual world that will encourage reading in a game based environment. The result will be interpreted according to the interests of the student as they explore different areas and progress through the game, learn to correctly identify words, and read simple to more advanced sentences throughout the virtual experience.

Because this is an independent learning module, it is without the support and sometimes hindrances found in educational institutions. The online platform costs twenty dollars per month to host on the Kitely servers. Programming tools such as the game kit was an additional one time outlay of ten dollars. Other costs associated with the game is mesh designs that are not open source or cannot be found easily to cover all possibilities I budget in five dollars a month for these expenditures. With careful game design one can be sure to purchase exportable options or use only open source and plan to export the world onto their own private server, eliminating additional monthly costs. Non-monetary cost such as time investment I have determined to be Ten dollars and hour, the equivalent of my hourly wage when employed. The initial phase of development requires an average of two hours a day for one month to design the actual virtual world, learn and implement the technologies needed and create the curriculum with rewards, challenges and traps to encourage learning. The benefits of being able to design a personalized virtual world is well worth the initial and ongoing investment. I have begun this by purchasing this virtual real-estate on February 14, 2017. I initially purchased fifty dollars’ worth of KC credits to take advantage of a 33 percent savings. One dollar is equivalent to 300 KC. I have included as an attachment, screen captures of the design in progress and current account statements.

Overview of Pilot Preparation and Delivery:

For this pilot program the content will be delivered in a 30 minute walk through with 30 minutes of individual exploration. The walk through will consist of a presentation of the game features and curriculum and guidance through live in-world chat and voice. I have realized that some pre-course preparation is needed. An online resource to get started is, http://inspiration-island.com/educational-projects/virtual-world-survival-guide/getting-started-in-virtual-worlds/ and once set up, http://inspiration-island.com/educational-projects/virtual-world-survival-guide/ . It is a course designed by another virtual world group, however using the resources already available saves time and resources I can then apply to actual leaning content. This pilot project assumes the student already have access to and knowledge of virtual worlds, so anyone that participates will need to be coordinated with prior to help them quickly set this up. This preparation shouldn’t take more than 30 to 60 min depending upon the individual. An additional support platform will be in blogposts and videos on WoPoLi.com. An in-world link to this site will also be located in the Multiverse Dragon Masters great hall, the entry point to the virtual world. This will include video and pdf versions of some of the educational content that is found in the virtual world.

A parent teacher guide is also useful that will specifically address subject matter concerning virtual worlds and the educational use of them for children This includes rating guidelines for entertainment gaming. “EVERYONE 10+ Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes” Other parent guides resources will include the user agreement both in world and on the website explaining the open access of virtual worlds and the responsibility of the parent and educator to supervise the sue of the virtual world. Help documentation such as how to create a child avatar and other useful tips and directions will also be available.

Supporting Research for Mode of Delivery:

As different learners operate at different levels sometimes outside of traditional guidelines, I have found benefits of designing flexible lesson plans that can be adjusted based on an understanding of the individual students’ needs rather than purely relying on age or grade based standards. The content of this learning module can be the instructors’ choice as singular or multiple lesson plans focused on any literacy and the appropriate creative based learning activities. “The assumption underlying the rapid rise in the use of desktop-based virtual reality technology in instruction is the unique affordances that it offers in enhancing learners’ cognitive skills” (Merchant et al (2014). With online virtual worlds customization the benefit exists to tailor the world for specific student needs. Research has shown that “…games sh0w higher learning gains than simulations…” (Merchant et al (2014).

In the paper, Purposes for literacy in children’s use of online virtual world Club Penguin, by Jackie Marsh, the author studied 26 children aged between 5 and 11 to determine the affects of online virtual worlds on literacy. The virtual world chosen was found to have a motivational and fun factor that encouraged reading and writing. Through this study the author was able to conclude that the use of virtual worlds is part of the digital generation. In spite of risks that may be involved it is likely that these platforms will continue to grow in popularity. Virtual worlds when guided by responsible adults can offer the opportunity for children to improve upon literacies. The author also concluded that interactions within virtual worlds were as beneficial as offline activities.

Subject content that can be used in this virtual platform will begin with reading and comprehension, but can expand to art, history, mathematics, music, science and technology, can be added to or subtracted from based upon the interests and level of the student. In addition to reading literacy, digital literacy is explored in technology concepts of game design as well as learning and using online tools to access the material. The whole concept of exploring digital media is intertwined in the overall teaching platform I will be creating. The digital content itself is available as open source and a primary resource can be found here, http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2017/03/virtual-world-educational-content-shop-launches-at-osgrid/ .

As my daughter gets older, an online journal through Google Docs will be incorporated to record learning and personal reflection. This will also promote the next phase of literacy; writing. For younger students parent participation is essential in the virtual world environment to introduce them to the technology they will be using and supervise them in a public forum environment.

Overcoming Challenges in Content Delivery:

Privacy and security controls, avatar ratings and restrictions, virtual world ratings, controls, and restrictions and private spaces are all options currently offered in the virtual environment. You can restrict your communications from being seen or heard outside your world or limit it to a certain distance inside your world. With so many intricacies in privacy settings and allowances it is very easy for new participants in the technology to be caught off guard and not realize the lack of privacy in this public space. Even when you are on an island alone or with a friend, if you do not own the island or if you are not aware of all the ways to limit and block who sees your information, it is always best to assume you are always being watched either by the island owner or grid administrators. It is essential for educators to learn the technology associated with any platform they use and read the privacy policies. Using Kitely.com as an example, one sentence alone describes the largest security threat to privacy without clearing explaining options you could or should use to protect yourself “Some of your personal identification information may be shared with other users when you interact with them or their proxies using our service.” (Kitely Privacy, 2013, par. 6)

The terms of service gives a little more information concerning how the world manager can control privacy in the world they manage.

“Representations and Warranties of World Managers

A World Manager is a User who has created a Virtual World.

Each World Manager is responsible for managing his or her Virtual Worlds, and will be put in charge of controlling the activity of the Users who visit her or his Virtual Worlds (“Your Visitors“).

A World Manager may designate access restrictions, in order to prevent certain Users from entering or being a part of his or her Virtual Worlds in any way (“Access Restrictions“). You hereby undertake that you shall proactively institute such Access Restrictions to comply with all applicable laws and prevent violations of these Terms by Your Visitors.” (Kitely terms of service, 2015, para 5).

According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), educators, “will have to take some steps to safeguard the identities of any students they bring into a virtual world. Also, while there are likely to be more than one way to be FERPA-compliant, the easiest way is to host your own private grid (or rent private grid space from a hosting service provider) and further, set-up the permissions on the grid to only allow faculty-level avatars to hypergrid jump in or out of the grid (and to prohibit non student avatars from hypergrid jumping into the grid).” (Educator Commons, 2017)

In addition the lack of technology skills has been identified as a primary barrier. The research has shown “… a significant gap between teachers’ perceptions of the importance of integrating technology and their classroom use of these skills.” (p. 111, Carver, 2016) Though teachers feel technology is important they do not teach or use technology in the classroom. Compared to the often problematic adaptation to new technologies experience by adults, children “…easily adapt to graphic and conceptual abstraction…often have extensive experience in navigating 3D spaces and discovering and exercising interface affordances” (p. 1 Rousou). Pre-lesson preparation and one on one instruction will overcome most of these challenges.

Once the world is designed it is possible to export it to a private server which is ideal for individual families who need added security and have privacy and safety concerns with online access. In addition, when encouraging the access on an open platform, accessibility may be an issue for some. Accessibility options for disabilities are not built into the virtual world platform that I will be using, so in this regards there may be barriers to accessibility. This curriculum will only be used by parents who are acquainted with and comfortable in the virtual world platform when using it in conjunction with their own children. Because of this accessibility is not a concern though still worth exploring. Though accessibility tools are not built into this technology platform, a number of tools that can be used for accessibility are.

Addressing Accessibility Concerns:

Virtual worlds require a level of technological comfort and ability. Although I hope to design a general curriculum that others can use, the technology is restricted by what it is designed to do. The format I have chosen uses chat pods for social interaction and the programs use “notecards” and other text based communications. However it also has voice enabled functions for real time communications. “Communication in virtual world can take both verbal and nonverbal forms.” (p. 36, Hew and Cheung, 2010) Voice, avatar animations and chat are the primary forms of communication live in world, while signs, note cards, video, music, websites and links, animations and visual display of objects are communications used on an individual basis not related to live communication. In this example accessibility for the visually impaired will be in screen enlargers and in the pre-designed sizing options within the virtual world environment. Hearing impaired, again would be technological tools to increase volume and turn off back ground noises such as ambient sound effects within the tools developed on the platform. As an educator, creating a help sheet to assist learners in finding and setting these controls would be appropriate. This can be done real-time through virtual sessions using video, audio, or text. It can be done through the creation of PDFs that also have accessibility features built in, or it can be done by instructional video, again sites like YouTube had accessibility built in with captioning and other options available. Eventually I may want to move to a stand-alone platform such as can be found at www.Simonastick.com.

Lesson Content Delivery:

Through the first phase of this lesson plan students will be able to explore the island, collect items for points, and take quizzes that will be rewarded for correct answers. Points will be subtracted to discourage guessing. Though guessing is an appropriate learning technique for children, I have identified my student as relying on it too often when using educationally designed games that reward for the correct answers but have no negative impact when wrong answers are chosen, This makes it very easy to randomly click through answers until the right ones are arrived at by chance in order to progress through the game. By allowing for smaller penalties in points and a larger reward, the student can still progress by guessing, however the progression will be much slower if doing so without completing the required reading. Story boards will allow the student to be introduced to an underlying story plot. Students will also be able to create their own story line using screen shots, adding text and creating their own story boards that can be placed in world.

If a student is progressing too slowly due to the level or vocabulary it can be easily adjusted and new quiz boards and story boards put in place. This is important as my daughter struggles in reading below her grade level. This will allow for curriculum and word choice designed at a lower comprehension level with age appropriate content instead of relying on curriculum and story books designed with younger children in mind. I can design engaging content with beginner words. This can also be used to put in signboards that will allow for scavenger hunts to find and collect items that the student can later use in the game.

As students advance another phase can be developed to engage them in the actual designing of their own virtual space. This will be a long range personal goal for the student that is easily achievable at any level and incorporated into an additional motivational reward. Saving game images that they can be published in a PDF format is also a great way to record progress and build their own story line as they advance through the virtual world. Especially since the world is always evolving, this additional project will encourage both creativity and literacy. Depending on the student’s level and time, they can work with digital tools and digital art to edit and add text, truly creating a “personalized story” based upon their virtual world experience. Students and parents accessing the lesson plan online, again with parent supervision, will find resources and information will be presented on my current website Wopoli.com or Facebook page.

Student Motivation:

Backwards planning is goal driven learning essentially project based learning where you have a final goal in mind. In backwards planning you start with the end result, the goal, and then explain to the student the steps they need to take to achieve this goal. This is beneficial because it is not a monotonous timeline of spelling words, vocabulary, or random writing prompts, presented in a disconnected format which can seem overwhelming and irrelevant to some students. Instead it can be used as a motivational tool that will bring them a personal sense of achievement and deeper understanding of the value of knowledge in accomplishing a goal. In the virtual world environment small goals and prompts can lead to achieving the larger goals in a step by step progression through the virtual world. Knowing they will be able to create their own story, students will be excited to explore and find images in world that inspire their own story line to create. With so many potential angles in a 3D environment with multiple and ever evolving themes, no two stories will ever be the same.

Cognitive learning that is interdisciplinary and project based can also enhance the engagement of students. In addition in teaching specific concepts I am able to specifically reinforce the cultural, social, and spiritual goals I have for my student. Beyond simply teaching a subject, through immersion experiences applicable concepts are learned that deepen understanding. In the platform I have chosen I can use multiple subjects in an interdisciplinary approach so that the student is immersed in a specific concepts and goals within the lesson plan. Students experience situated learning when they learn through actual application of skills to achieve the set goals. Game design requires pre-planning. It is more than just word recognition; it also requires knowing the techniques needed to navigate inside the world. research overwhelmingly supports the benefits of learning in immersive virtual worlds for students of all ages. “The contemporary notion of learning environments recognizes that meaningful, active learning takes place in complex, multi-model environments in which the learner plays an active role in constructing knowledge” (p. 2, Dickey, 2010). Research shows that 3d virtual worlds “…supported children’s exploration of identity, community and personal representation.” (p. 3 Dickey, 2010) In addition, though not fully imersive compared to virtual reality rooms and glasses, “… desktop-based 3D virtual environments … (are) shown to enhance learners’ engagement” (Merchant 2014). “Research has indicated that technology can increase student motivation, attitude, engagement and self-confidence, while improving organization and study skills.” (p. 110, Carver, 2016)

Evaluating learning outcomes:

The writing of the story line incorporates English skills, sentence structure, and vocabulary. Again this can be a participatory event with open ended prompts and through offline activities, such as adding text and narrating screen shots of the virtual world, and incorporates the child’s own imagination. As the story progresses, through student teacher interaction, the student can help create the resulting story boards that continue the game. The completion of this goal measures the success of the pilot for more advanced students. The end result can be shared either in print or electronic means. The reason project based learning is effective in the cognitive modeling process is that the learner is able to see the end goal and then through the process of and steps presented in order to create the project, the student comes to a cognitive understanding of how the knowledge learned is applied in a real world scenario. The reason this works is because each project can be tailored to the learning level of the audience in order to teach the learning standards required for their level. For example in the state of Maine no specific standards exist except that subjects must include English, language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies (for one year between 6th and 12th grade) and computer proficiency (for one year between 7th and 12th grade). With no standards of achievement the homeschooling parent must ensure that the goals they have for their child are met through the homeschooling program. Interdisciplinary and project based learning is a proficient way to teach multiple disciplines at once and build a portfolio to assess progression over time.

Other means of evaluation will be in the collection of points, earned for correct quiz answers, prizes and progression through different levels of the game once designed. Future exploration of programs will allow for quizzes to be saved or even emailed to the instructor.

Technology and tools used:

  1. Virtual World platform
  2. PDF Slideshow in-world presenter boards
  3. Story boards in-world
  4. Quiz boards in-world
  5. Sign posts in-world
  6. Interactive objects that will display written text required to be read for game progression

Established Goals:

  1. Students will learn about word recognition.
  1. Number recognition in word form
  2. Color recognition in word form
  3. Shape recognition in word form
  1. Students will learn technology tools to interact in the virtual world environment.
  1. Avatar controls
  2. Screen capture controls for story board projects
  1. Students will learn to recognize sentence structure.
  1. Read simple sentences for quiz completion
  2. Write simple sentences for story book creation
  1. Students will learn to use these in their own writing activities.
  2. Students will learn to document their progress through storybook creation or written journals.

Proven understanding for assessment: (Knowledge Level and Application Level)

  1. Students will read online prompts, learning vocabulary and sentence structure.
  2. Students will write vocabulary, correctly spelled, and match them to their meanings.
  3. Students will practice story creation through screen shots in world and the opportunity to use the vocabulary learned to narrate their own story.
  4. Students will document their learning experience in a journal.
  5. Students will be able to discuss content ideas and design their own virtual space in world.
  6. Students will create a picture book about their virtual adventure.

Methods of evaluation:

  1. Self-evaluation: Ask the student to self-evaluate: Was the project to big, to hard? Was it to small, to easy? What did you enjoy? What steps were you challenged by? What would you do again? What would you do differently?
  2. Observational evaluation: Mentor, parent or teacher led observation based on the outcome criteria such as progressing through the game with higher points and access to levels of the virtual world.
  3. Badging could be awarded by the instructor for project completion to be displayed in-world or printed in PDF form. Highest scores could also be displayed in-world.
  4. Graded evaluation: spelling and vocabulary tests, journal participation, and participation in discussions. Final project evaluations of story book creation or virtual space designs
  5. Peer Evaluation: Based on the goals outcome and/or set feedback guidelines. Peer badges can be awarded for specific goals if done with a larger group of peers through the voting process, an example of this in the best final project.

Resources

Beckhusen, F. (2017). Dreamworld. Outworldz. Retrieved on April 3, 2017, from http://www.outworldz.com/outworldz_installer/

Briggs, D. C., Diaz-Bilello, E., Peck, F., Alzen, J., Chattergoon, R., Johnson, R., & …

University of Colorado at Boulder, C. (. (2015). Using a Learning Progression Framework to Assess and Evaluate Student Growth. National Center For The Improvement Of Educational Assessment

Carver, L. B. (2016). Teacher Perception of Barriers and Benefits in K-12 Technology Usage. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology – TOJET, 15(1), 110-116. Retrieved on April 15, 2017, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1086185

Davis, S. (2017). Multiverse dragon masters. Retrieved on April 16, 2017, from https://OSgrid/region/Multiverse%20Dragon%20Masters/164/137/23

Definitions in lesson plan (2015) Retrieved from https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/

ESRB, Entertainment Software Rating Board, retrieved from, https://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.aspx

Dickey, M. (2011). The pragmatics of virtual worlds for K-12 educators: investigating the affordances and constraints of Active Worlds and Second Life with K-12 in-service teachers. Educational Technology Research & Development, 59(1), 1-20. doi:10.1007/s11423-010-9163-4. Retrieved on April 5, 2017, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=36&sid=817138c4-5817-4070-bc0c-c98ffbb32835%40sessionmgr104&hid=108

Educators Commons. (2017). Help guide for educational virtual open source. OSgrid Wright Plaza. Retrieved on April 10, 2017 from and accessible through Virtual World Viewer at https://OSgrid/region/Wright%20Plaza/207/30/21

Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2010). Use of three-dimensional (3-D) immersive virtual worlds in K-12 and higher education settings: A review of the research. British Journal Of Educational Technology, (1), 33. Retrieved on April 2, 2017, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=32&sid=817138c4-5817-4070-bc0c-c98ffbb32835%40sessionmgr104&hid=108

Hickey, D. d., Ingram-Goble, A. A., & Jameson, E. M. (2009). Designing Assessments and Assessing Designs in Virtual Educational Environments. Journal Of Science Education & Technology, 18(2), 187-208. doi:10.1007/s10956-008-9143-1

Kariuki, David, Educators open free resource shop on open grid, (2017) HypergridBusiness.com, retrieved from.

http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2017/03/virtual-world-educational-content-shop-launches-at-osgrid/

Kitely.com. (2013, August 27). Privacy policy. Retrieved on April 7, 2017, at

https://www.kitely.com/privacy (secure server).

 

Kitely.com. (2015, June 1). Terms of service. Retrieved on April 7, 2017, at https://www.kitely.com/terms (secure server).

Linden Research, Inc. (2017). Terms of service. Retrieved April 4, 2017, from https://www.lindenlab.com/tos

Marie, Evie, Virtual World Survival Guide, (2016) retrieved from, http://inspiration-island.com/educational-projects/virtual-world-survival-guide/

Marsh, J. (2014). Purposes for literacy in children’s use of the online virtual world Club Penguin. Journal Of Research In Reading, (2), 179. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9817.2012.01530.x. Retrieved on April 8, 2017, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=817138c4-5817-4070-bc0c-c98ffbb32835%40sessionmgr104&vid=30&hid=108

Merchant, Z., Goetz, E. T., Cifuentes, L., Keeney-Kennicutt, W., & Davis, T. J. (2014). Effectiveness of virtual reality-based instruction on students’ learning outcomes in K-12 and higher education: A meta-analysis. Computers & Education, 7029-40. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2013.07.033. Retrieved on April 8, 2017, from http://resolver.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/openurl?sid=EBSCO%3aedselp&genre=article&issn=03601315&ISBN=&volume=70&issue=&date=20140101&spage=29&pages=29-40&title=Computers+&atitle=Effectiveness+of+virtual+reality-based+instruction+on+students%27+learning+outcomes+in+K-12+and+higher+education%3a+A+meta-analysis&aulast=Merchant%2c+Zahira&id=DOI%3a10.1016%2fj.compedu.2013.07.033&site=ftf-live

O’Connor, Eileen. (2012). Next Generation Online: Advancing Learning Through Dynamic Design, Virtual and Web 2.0 Technologies, and Instructor Attitude. Journal Of Educational Technology Systems Vol. 41(1) 3-24, 2012-2013 Retreived on 11/24/2016 from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=8d09219c-4a71-44ac-87cb-072527f5880b%40sessionmgr102&vid=1&hid=104

O’Connor, E. (2011). Migrating Towards K12 in Virtual Spaces: Second Life Lessons Learned as Higher Education Meets Middle School Students. In M. Koehler & P. Mishra (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011 (pp. 2192-2198). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 21, 2017 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/36630.

OSgrid. (2017). Policy: Two ways to help in OSgrid. LBSA Plaza. Retrieved on April 10, 2017 from and accessible through Virtual World Viewer at https://OSgrid/region/Lbsa%20Plaza/137/135/39

PBS.org, Parents Guide to Game Ratings, Retrieved from, http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/esrb.html

Poskurich, George M. (2015). Rapid Intructional Design. Wiley publications

Reeves, J. (2012). OpenSim Worlds: Undersea observatory. Insights into Educational Technology. Retrieved on March 23, 2017, from http://blog.wsd.net/jreeve/opensim-worlds/

Reeves, J. (2012). OpenSim Worlds: Thoughts on Student Safety and Using OpenSim for Education, Insights into Educational Technology. Retrieved on March 23, 2017, from

http://blog.wsd.net/jreeve/thoughts-on-using-opensim-for-education/

Richardson, J. W., Bathon, J., Flora, K. L., & Lewis, W. D. (2012). NETS*A Scholarship: A Review of Published Literature. Journal Of Research On Technology In Education, 45(2), 131-151. Retrieved on April 10, 2017, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=1f6e4537-e941-4d81-9248-6f9947378036%40sessionmgr103&vid=1&hid=108

Roberts, C. (2012). Identifying and defining values in media codes of ethics. Journal Of Mass Media Ethics, (2), 115 Retrieved on April 7, 2017, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=817138c4-5817-4070-bc0c-c98ffbb32835%40sessionmgr104&vid=13&hid=108

Roussou, M. (2002). Immersive interactive virtual reality and informal education. Foundation of the Hellenic World. Retrieved on April 3, 2017, from http://ui4all.ics.forth.gr/i3SD2000/Roussou.PDF

Veletsianos, G. Emerging technologies in distance education, 2010, AU Press. Retrieved on April 18, 2017, from http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120177

Wagner J. A. (2007, February 1). The school of second life: Education online creating new avenues of pedagogy in a virtual world. Edutopia. George Lucas Educational Foundation. Retrieved on April 10, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/school-second-life

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (Expanded ). Alexandria, US: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.library.esc.edu

Zikas, P., Bachlitzanakis, V., Papaefthymiou, M., Kateros, S., Georgiou, S., Lydatakis, N., & Papagiannakis, G. (2016). Mixed Reality Serious Games and Gamification for smart education. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Games Based Learning, 1805-812. Retrieved on April 12, 2017, from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.esc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=817138c4-5817-4070-bc0c-c98ffbb32835%40sessionmgr104&vid=47&hid=108

Introducing Multiverse Dragon Masters

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

grid.kitely.com:8002:Multiverse Dragon Masters

An evolving adventure based world to for elementary education. This world is under construction but please feel free to visit to see its progress and offer any friendly advice to a noobee. I am currently in a masters program for learning and teaching in emerging technologies. Creating worlds appropriate and beneficial for younger audiences in the virtual environment will be the eventual outcome and expansion into other subject areas. Currently the focus will be on teaching reading and writing skills and engaging the imagination to encourage the love of storytelling in a game based adventure setting.

How do you get a Donkey to go?

Hello, I am Salie. I do not drive a car, I ride a donkey. I need not go far. His name is Don. How do I get him to go? Well, I turn him on. How you ask? You really do not know? Duh, on key!

…. My daughter says this poem is a little cheesy but you try to write a constraint around the pronunciation of a word….

Let us try another.

Why are people from Arkansas more fierce sea farriers than people from Kansas? One is a pirate who can saw and the other can only sass…. Arrr can saw and can sass…..

 

“The Tigress and the Kite” the inspiration and meaning behind the story. A dream research essay

I dream I am a Tigress, alone in the wilderness I stride with confidence and the strength of youth in my bones. I am fully content in the comfort of my wilds. As the morning rises, ripples of light intermix with lines of shadow to mark my ginger hide. To my right is a forest of greenery in every shade, and hue. It is a wonderful place for play. So I play as the sun rises. The umbrella canopy of dark foliage, glossy like jade, is suitable shelter from the rays of the high sun. To my left is the light drenched solace of the grasslands that bow in the winds. Sprawled out, I sleep in the fields of long grass, hidden from view, but I sense danger.

I remove myself from the intense heat as the sun sits high in the sky, and skirt the edges of the dappled forest. As the afternoon wanes, I casually wander towards the cool of the deciduous forest. I pause, and smell the air, for the first time unsure of my senses… the smoke of a bush fire? I see a Black Kite hovering mid sky with little effort, and striking skill. It peers intently down, then glides this way, then that way, to hover minutes more elsewhere…but I find no reassurance in this familiar sight. Something is not right.

With a sudden wailing cry, the Black Kite circles in the wind, startling me as it frightfully flutters past in shallow flight. With a bizarre shifting of its character it transforms into a black “V”, free flying, blown by the wind, string tail flailing, until it becomes entangled in the arms of a tree.  I look upon this sight with disturbed concern, and continue my journey around the curve of the forest.

There the wood abruptly ends. The scent of fresh cut grasses, and overturned earth prick at my nose, as a flood of other unfamiliar scents confuse my mind; the hot smell of wet tar. I slow my pace, hairs bristle, muscles twitch, and suddenly there is an eruption from the ground before me. The dirt is flung up, turned over, revealing black, running thick, and slow like a molten river; black that burns, and sticks to my pads, smelling of death. A wall of concrete breaks the ground and pushes upward. Another erupts from out of the earth to join the first, then a third, and a fourth like a volcanic explosion of solidified magma; grey, hard, unnatural rock. All is dark around me darker than the forest at night. The noise assaults my ears, deafening my senses. Thunder shakes the terrain as I run to seek solace in the grasslands, but find none.

I am pursued by monstrous beasts, machines that rip away the field as jaws devour, and long necks swing wildly about, under bright construction lights. These lights blind me, all the while casting darker shadows, as the machines continue their motions. They consume and discard all things loved by me. With quickening bites they leave behind only the rancid stench of black tar. Out of this black erupts, still more square walls of brick and concrete. Higher and higher they climb, blocking out the sky. I dart in and around the commotion. Running through the scene, my paws becoming burnt by the fire; the blistering hot black. I would bolt in the opposite direction yet in all four directions, similar scenes. I narrowly escape the jaws of the metallic beasts who roar at me from unseen faces.

In the panic and fray a shrill sound fills the air. I jump backwards, twisting and turning as if convulsing. It is the sound of laughing children. I feel anger as if these are intrusive prey to my world. A thunderous roar spills out from deep within me. The sound shocks even me, and seems to resonate, permeating the city-scape. The children are momentarily paralyzed. Their laughter turns to high pitched screams. They jump from their places, and flee into the buildings. I pounce on the only thing moving on the landscape, instantly tearing to shreds a small red ball, which was the attention of play moments before. I turn my attention again to this bizarre unknown.

The city seems to continually rise before me. I enter through an open door. I see woman standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes. She screams, and the dishes shatter as they strike against the floor. I bolt out through the open door, back into the darkness of night.

In desperation, I set my eyes on the forest, now a few trees where once uncountable stood, with hopes to soothe the searing hurt. I only find remnants, all greenery quickly withering from view, leaving only the maze of walls. The buzz and chatter of voices surround me like a thick host of insects on a muggy day. They pick at, and pester me, my senses weakened, and my courage lost; I am the hunted. Quivering from shock, darting in, and out between the walls; the grey and black, the walls themselves seem to be in pursuit of me, trying with all cruelty to trap, to crush, closing in.

Faster and faster I flee, sounds making me deaf, smells sickening me, senses dizzying my mind, sights making me blind. I run the opposite way, and the opposite way again, confronted by more; I am trapped. Then everything goes black.

In my dream I awaken inside a room, empty except for a steel mirror… I hear a woman’s voice. I stand on uneasy feet. My paws have become hands. The woman is watching me. I turn, and see a reflection in the mirror. It is of a girl. I look around at the grey; no greenery, no earth, no natural light, no wind, no wilds. An eerie awareness fills me. My sense of smell is fouled by the astringent stench of the sterile, the lifeless. My image in the reflection wavers as if a pebble was tossed into the water; full awareness overcomes. My body trembles as I remember metallic monsters devouring forests and fields. The smell of hot black, wet grey, cold unnatural stone causes fear to swell. I am trapped. My mind spins, staring at the sickly form that is me, yet is not me. I cry out, throwing my body against the mirrored image, again and again as my screams become a roar. I lunge from wall to wall, seeking any weakness, my claws scratching, but I find no escape from this confinement. I collapse in exhaustion, my fur wet with perspiration, as the echoes in my mind slowly fade. A man’s voice disturbs the momentary silence of my thoughts.

“You don’t belong here!”

I see the barrel of the gun raise. I hear the thunder. I smell the pungent smoke and hot metal; I feel the flash of fiery pain in my skull. Then all is darkness…

Awakened from my nightmare I sit upright and I write my dream down. I keep it for years and years. Eventually it becomes a fictional story but originally it was not fiction. It was a dream, a real dream. I still feel its emotion; I see the images like it was yesterday. It was a dream I had over 25 years ago, I wrote it down at the time because it was real, because I wanted to know, what did it mean?

Throughout history many philosophies, based on religious beliefs, popular beliefs and scientific beliefs exists concerning the purpose of, or meaning of dreams. “In Greek poetry of the classical period from Homer onward, as in popular belief, dreams are real if immaterial things” (Redfield p. 6). Throughout history people have believed that dreams where messages from the spiritual realm, or communications from a higher power. In ACTS 2:17 king James version “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” Studies support that even in Western cultures dreams as a form of divine guidance is a strongly held belief. (Nell p. 128).

Many westernized beliefs also hold that dreams are a result of external rather than internal factors. The character of Ebenezer Scrooge believed himself to be dreaming as a result of undigested food for example. This belief seems one designed more to negate the importance of the dream and limit the understanding of self and society that can be discovered in the interpretations of dreams. The analysis of dreams even found its way into the therapeutic fields, though according to a research paper by Miguel Montenegro that popularity has declined in current day. Scientists of current day studies believe dreams are merely the processing of the days or weeks events and memories to assist the brain in classification and learned responses. I can see the logic in this on many levels however in understanding our lives and how we cope with daily events, it would seem that dream interpretation would hold its value in this.

Yet popularity of interpreting dreams continues to wax and wane throughout history. The nineteen sixties through the eighties for example saw a number of dream interpretation publications. The Dreamer’s Dictionary by Stearn Robinson and Tom Corbett was first published in 1974. It was republished through 1986 and we have the oldest copy that we keep as a novelty behind the books on our bookshelf. This reflects my personal beliefs in using popular symbolism for the interpretation of dreams. It belonged to my husband’s father who read it devoutly for guidance and for deciding future prospects. Its cover is torn half way up the spine, the pages are aged to a dark yellow. It smells the musty smell you would expect in a box or 25 cent yard sale books that were just discovered on the top back shelf of someone’s basement or garage. Even turning its pages leave my fingers feeling dry and icky. However for the sake of exploration I will use this resource to interpret the above dream.

I am immediately faced with a challenge. Looking up “tiger” refers me to “animals” which describes dreaming about animals, not dreaming you are an animal… Strike one. O.K. so how about a kite, first let’s look at the bird. Well it says that flying birds are good omens, but this was not a “brightly colored bird” and though it was not injured per-say it did transform into an actual kite, so this rather negates what the book says since it doesn’t really apply. Now for the kite, the book states this is symbolic of an obstacle dream if it is damaged or it’s string breaks, it will turn out not to be in my favor. Well the bird becomes the kite and it is does become entangled in a tree so maybe that counts as an obstacle dream that will lead to “disappointment due to the careless management of your affairs” (Robinson p. 227). In my dream the forest was also significant. It was very green so that symbolizes a “release from worry”. However the forest is destroyed by the violent transformation of a city scape which I would also consider to be a negating factor. Strike two.

The eruption of the city out of the ground is also hard to interpret using this reference. The book covers eruptions of natural phenomena but doesn’t talk about eruptions of buildings and concrete and tar… Strike three. However for the sake of completion, let’s continue and just call that one a foul. The children in the dream are supposed to symbolize coming happiness in domestic affairs…the ball is also supposed to be a good omen of happy news… but the children are seen by me as foreign, they don’t belong and the ball I attack and destroy in anger. I would count that as another foul. The washing of the dishes, the book says if the washing is done by hand “you should refrain from getting involved in the personal affairs of others” (Robinson p. 372). However I wasn’t the one washing the dishes, but we will let that one slide. The chase aspect is another interpretive option. According to the book, if I participated in the chase it means I will be comfortable in my old age; then again I was the one being chased. Being trapped is a ‘warning to steer clear of gossip and/or intrigue” (Robinson p. 360). Well that sounds simple enough. A gun in the dream forecasts injustice. O.K… Finally, since most of the other symbols in the dream were not found in the book, death. Being dead in a dream is supposed to indicate being worry free or recovering from illness. Wow. Now I am more confused than ever. I am definitely declaring this an out.

I do not negate the predictive ability of some dreams, given as they have been throughout history, gifts from God through a means of communication. I have always felt the stronger impression a dream leaves the more likely the significance of that dream, however I do not believe that all are warnings or messages from God. Scientifically speaking, dreams are a natural process of the brains ability to process. The mind has to interpret what has happened in the waking day in order to determine learned responses and categorize said emotions. Some scientists call this predictive coding, meaning that the dream state helps the brain process waking events to better deal with and make real time, often unconscious predictions in problem solving everyday conflicts. I agree in part, however when scientific theory goes as far to say that, “The bizarre occurrences in dreams never characterize everyday life” (Llewellyn p. 1), I draw a line of caution.  According to Wei Zhang, it is merely a biological process of self-organization and memory consolidation. ( Wei ) I have to disagree. I believe the interpretation of dreams are symbolic, but on a highly personal level. I believe it is also on a highly emotional level as well. Prior to this dream I had suffered trauma in my life. I was taken from a rural environment in which I loved the nature of, the forests and the fields and rarely the sound of civilization. I was, at this youthful and impressionable age, taken through cities that I had never seen the likes of before, towering buildings that intimidated me. I was placed in a locked institution. As a new arrival, I was not even given a room to sleep in. I was given a plastic mat on the floor of the common living area so that I could be viewed at all times by the overnight staff at the facility and stripped of all personal objects, freedom and dignity. This was my experience preceding this dream. To this day I feel the emotional impact of the dream. It can easily be concluded that it reflected the actual events of my life at that time. It was so vivid and its impact on me so strong I felt I had to write it down, so I did.

Scientific studies have found that “brain connectivity during REM to be consistent with the extraction of patterns from past events. REM sleep selectively processes personally-significant material (Llewellyn p. 3). In saying this I am aware that the bio-physiological interpretations of dreams could result in an “inhibitive effect on the role of the dreamer, as it effectively undermines any attempts on the part of the dreamer to pay attention to or interpret their dreams” (Nell p. 8). This would be sad indeed. Dreams to me resemble our personal ability to create, to understand, to process, to feel, and to grow. This is similar to the beliefs of Synesius, a Greek philosopher and bishop, who believed that dreams were an …““enquiry into the whole imaginative soul” which has not yet been treated by any Greek philosopher… dreams were the product of the imagination, a faculty of the soul that was divinely implanted in the gulf or vacuum at the point where the body and the soul merged in the spirit” (Neil p. 23-24). In this, dream interpretation is not a waste of time. It is a culmination of body, spirit and soul. It is also not based simply on popular symbolism to interpret future events. I would be just as likely to rely on the fortunes printed and placed inside sugary confections than to rely on dictionaries of dream symbolism. Dreams are personal, based on personality, perception and potential and this was my dream.

 

Works Cited

Llewellyn, Sue. “Dream To Predict? REM Dreaming As Prospective Coding.” Frontiers In Psychology (2016): 1-16. Web. Mar. 2016.

Nell, Werner. “Contemporary Dream Beliefs And Practices: A Qualitative, Sociological Study.” South African Review Of Sociology 45.1 (2014): 122-139. Web. Mar. 2016.

Montenegro, Miguel. “A Comparison Of Freudian And Bossian Approaches To Dreams.” Existential Analysis 2 (2015): 313. Web.  Mar. 2016.

Wei, Zhang. “A Supplement To Self-Organization Theory Of Dreaming.” Frontiers In Psychology (2016): 1-4. Web. Mar. 2016.

Neil, Bronwen. “Synesius Of Cyrene On Dreams As A Pathway To The Divine.” Phronema 30.2 (2015): 19-36. Web. Mar. 2016.

Redfield, James. “Dreams From Homer To Plato.” Archiv Für Religionsgeschichte 15.1 (2014): 5-16. Web. Mar. 2016.

Seeing Failure as future opportunity

Life is about failures, frustrations, and yet, through self-reflection we can come to understand where we have been in our struggle to grasp our own personal goals, that goal just out of reach, where we are now and were we are going.

I would like to start by letting you know something very important about myself. I Fail. I have such a long record of failures that each one could be a drop in the sea and fill all seven seas… Now that is something to relate to isn’t it? Not necessarily the failure part, but the sea.  I live by the sea. I love the sea. I love sea stories. I love the romance of the sea.

I respect the sea. It is a fearsome and dangerous place after all. We as a culture, see equivalence of the sea to our emotions, a sea of emotions, like the emotions failure often brings, frustration, anxiety, anger… and we are a ship on that ocean, tossed by our emotions and yet we set a course for the winds of fortune… hmm sounds like a song I once heard… (Kansas)

However, though I love the ocean, I am not a sailor. I once tried to be a sailor. I failed. I almost killed my husband in the process too. When I and my husband first met we bought a sailboat. A twenty seven foot Catalina named Blue Moon. I barely knew how to swim, but sailing “builds character” and the best way to learn is just get on board and sail right? Isn’t that what we always tell ourselves when we are faced by a new challenge? We set ourselves a goal and think; the way to get this accomplished is to just do it. Eventually we will succeed.

Wrong.

Even the simple act of holding the rudder straight,  headlong into the wind while my  husband put on the jib sail was a task too much for me to handle. Actually it was a task to  much for my husband to handle the resulting head injuries. As the boom continually swayed back and forth it caused him to repeatedly duck its turns in the wind, not always  successfully. We went out on that boat almost every day for weeks that first summer. I never learned how to keep that boat headlong into the wind. To this day I cannot sail, but I did come up  with a few boat jokes.  What is a sailor’s favorite game?… Duck, Duck, Boom, and… what was  written on the sailor’s tomb?… He went out with a boom.  Alright , I am not a successful comedian either.

Luckily I didn’t kill my husband that  summer. He still loves me even though I failed at sailing. It is important that we understand that instead of seeing  failure as not acceptable we can reframe failure as “…a natural byproduct of a healthy process of experimentation  and learning” (Cannon et el p. 18) I guess having a ship on the ocean just wasn’t in the winds for us. After all failure “leads individuals to question their taken-for-granted beliefs and assumptions and reframe their appreciation of the situation (Argyris & Schön, 1978; Ellis & Davidi, 2005)” (Fang He et el 16).  From that experience I have an even greater treasure than that of being a sailor, I have a story, and

I still Love  the ocean.

Cannon, Mark D., and Amy C. Edmondson. “Failing To Learn And Learning To Fail (Intelligently). How Great Organizations Put Failure To Work To Innovate And Improve.” Long Range Planning 38.Organizational Failure (2005): 299-319. ScienceDirect.

Fang, He, et al. “Why Do Some Entrepreneurs Fail Forward (While Others Do Not?).” International Council For Small Business. World Conference Proceedings (2012): 1-49. Entrepreneurial Studies Source.

Kansas. “Carry on my wayward son.” Sony Music Entertainment. 1976.