Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Now introducing ...Professor Szwarz!

Well, I changed my mind. I decided to make my inworld avatar public. Well... sort of. I have created another avatar that I have decided to make public called Professor Szwarz. I am using this avatar to attend educational events in Second Life. The avatar's profile has information about my field/focus of study and who I am in real life. The reason I decided to do this was to easily network within Second Life with other educators when I attend educational events in Second Life.

For those of you who are worried about me spying on others with both avatars, do not worry. I only plan to use the "Professor Szwarz" avatar for educational events and research. My other one is used to have fun and play around with. Much like our real life identities, no? Ah, another study for another day, LOL.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Conundrum of Triangulation

I think I have 2 qualitative methods I can use for this dissertation. I plan to use content analysis and demographic survey. Now, it is called "triangulation," so I should use one more. Not sure what to choose though... interviewing? Focus group would be a bit difficult. And not sure if I can do field notes, unless I count how often people post and when. Not sure if that would contribute any to my data. It could though... Hmmm...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Second Life scary....

One of my main concerns about my dissertation topic is the fact that it may be a fad.  Many companies and educational institutions are jumping on the bandwagon of Second Life, but like many trends, it may go away as fast as it became popular.

What I hope won't go away is the use of 3D virtual environments in education.  For now, Second Life seems like the reigning king in this field, but I am hoping that even if Second Life fades in to the depths of past fads, such as the Macarena and fanny packs, that another company will pick up the slack.  For now, the only other company that is remotely able to do this is There.com.  However, even There has its limitations.  Another company may come along as well, but what I am hoping is that it does not completely die out all together. 

 I have started on gathering resources for my dissertation.  It will probably be another 2-3 years before I graduate, so hopefully this tool is here to stay.  If not, then I could always do a historical case study.... LOL.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Another idea I brainstormed with my co-worker Adam

Doing a content analysis of virtual worlds educational blogs. Compare/contrast?

(Ethnographic study of educators who participate in 3-D virtual environments?)

- Content?
- Higher ed, secondary, primary, general, etc... (compare to the journal content analysis example, use their justification)

- Uses?
- Audience (who, how much, etc...)?
- Authors of the blog (teachers, companies, educators)?
- Purpose (of whole blog or individual posts)? (Professional development, news/events/announcements, collaboration, research, advertising, recruiting, resources, lesson ideas, etc...)
- Interactivity?

Might be moving now in to a more qualitative approach, instead of quantitative, unless I actually want to start counting words (nouns, verbs, types of vocab, etc...), then it might go back to quantitative, or I could always do mixed method.  We'll see...

I'm a bit of an English nerd (although I haven't read for pleasure/fun in years!  I think college killed that love awhile back), but I love analyzing texts/electronic applications.  It's the one thing I am good at.  Oh and being creative.  I can be creative, sort of.  Well, people have said that they like my work in SL, so something must be working. :)  SO.... I want to parlay that English/SL love into something of a dissertation.  I think my other idea about doing a quantitative survey students and their attitudes about virtual environments might be a bit much for me, especially since I will be uber-busy over the next few years.  

Plus, in all honesty, I don't think I will hired at ETEC.  I would like to, but I don't really see any openings in the near future (again, this my opinion, I can't say for sure).  But another option for me is to work in the English department.  I love to teach hybrid tech and rhetoric courses.  My former professor Dr. Payne  inspired me awhile back about this topic, and it may be something I want to pursue if I teach in a higher academic setting.  So, if my dissertation is about blogs (journaling on the Internet) and tech, I may be able to consider working in the English dept. at UH.

Other options for prospective future jobs would be working at another university/college in Hawaii,  working at another University in Japan, going back to my high school alma mater, and work as an administrator/tech coordinator and turn it in to a tech campus.  I am sure something will turn up. :-p