Several days ago, I decided to participate in a PhD research conducted by Evelyn McElhinney, Lecturer in Advanced Practice Nursing, Module Leader Non Medical Prescribing at School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University. (Her Second Life name is Kali Pizzaro). Her research was "Health literacy skills of people who access health information in 3D virtual worlds and the impact on real life health behaviour".

Today I had to meet her at 2 am SLT for an interview session. She teleported me to a cozy lounge. When she was about to start the interview, suddenly my 13 years old girl said "I am hungry. I have to eat or I will die. (@_@) May I have pancake please?"  It was going to be a long interview so I couldn't let her wait.

Kali briefed me with her research code of conduct as I moved my laptop from my desk to my kitchen. I prepared all ingredients in a bowl while reading her text. Every once in a while I stopped working on my pancake and answered her questions.
Trust me, I answered all questions that Kali asked wholeheartedly and I still managed to make pancake in three different flavors.

I used to think that I needed two lives to be able to function properly in the roles I have at home and at work. I saw a little chance to be able to enrich my professional and personal life off work hours . I didn't think it was possible to be able to cook dinner and not miss a book club meeting, to garden and not miss a conference, to be a mom and not miss an intelectual discussion, or to make pancake in a late afternoon and not miss a participation in a PhD research. 

Thanks to virtual world technology I got a new perspective on how I could do both activities simulataneously. I can attend a professional development program while chopping onions. I can mop the floor while listening to a lecture, and so on.  I don't have to live twice after all to enjoy the pleasure of home and the pleasure of having intelectual development.

(The above candid photos taken by a very hungry girl inspired me to write this post)

This is my "real" world.

I drive 11 km every morning to teach.
It takes me 1.5 hour to reach school.
Yes, the traffic drives me crazy.
It is comparable only to Bangkok and the heart of Calcuta.

I waste my productive time in the car.
I overconsume scarce fossil fuel.
I leave immense amount of carbon footprint on earth.
I spend more money for gas than for my professional development.

This is the physical world that we think is the only real world we live in. This is a physical reality that we think is always better than virtual reality. Do we still think that it is worthed to waste our life in a traffic as long as it is coherent to our limited definition of reality?

Of course, tomorrow I have to wake up in the morning and spend hours on the road again to teach, something that I mostly can do in virtual world with just 5 seconds teleport. Do you still question why I love teaching in Virtual World?

Okay, I must tell the truth. I am a bit tired of people who think that reality is limited to things made of atoms, that pixel-based virtual world is simply unreal, that virtual world teaching does not have a real impact in life and that everything based on atoms are always better for learning than the ones based on pixels . 

As a teacher who use both atomic-based and pixel-based worlds for teaching I know that both worlds are REAL, that virtual world learning impacts the students up to their atomic level, and that in certain case pixel based learning is better for students than the atomic based one.  

How do I make such conclusion? Here's an example. Several weeks ago, students were learning about atom. They had to reach these standards:
1. Describe the structure of atoms, including the location of protons, neutrons, and electrons.       2. Determine the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the mass of an element using the periodic table.
After giving them an overview, I assigned my students to make a model of an atom of a particular element. I split the students into two groups (each group consisted of students with various cognitive abilities). I assigned the first group to draw the model of an atom on a paper, replicating the atom structure picture in their book. I asked the second group to do the same in virtual world Second Life with the help of their book and Google.

My discoveries were surprising.
The students who learned in atomic-based world using paper and color pencil:
- reached the standards in 45 minutes (with additional time to redo their work at home)
- drew a 2D picture of the atom structure
- found difficulties in drawing the electron configuration (They thought that the electrons scatered randomly)
- couldn't imagine how the electrons move along the circular orbit
- didn't make the picture accurately in the first attemp (all students) and after correction they had to redo the drawing.                                                                                                       - felt that they had to do it and often said "it's hard to draw this" during the activity

The students who learned in pixel-based world using virtual world Second Life:
- reached the standards in 45 minutes
- made a 3D model of the atom structure
- could configure the electrons in their orbits visible in 360 degree vision
- could imagine how the electrons move along the circular orbit because they scripted the electrons
- some students who didn't make the model accurately could easily edit their works without redoing it all over.  
- were excited and asked critical questions during the activity

Apparently, in this case the students who learned in pixel-based world using virtual world Second Life could reach the standards faster and easier. They were also excited and curious. Now how can someone say that pixel-based world is not real? If the kids' 3D atom models in virtual world are not real then their 2D atom drawings on paper are not real either because if they want to see the REAL structure of an atom, they need a scanning tunneling microscope or a angstrom microscope. But in REALity, we don't have those microscopes at our school and neither do most schools in the world.

So, what does "REAL" mean to you? What is your REALity?  

Hari Pendidikan Nasional                                                Selamat kau berikan kepada siapa?

Masih banyak pejabat yang tidak berfitrah, yang memperkaya diri dengan berbagai cara, yang membuat pendidikan menjadi tidak murah, yang merampas hak dasar rakyatnya.

Hari Pendidikan Nasional                                                Selamat kau berikan kepada siapa?

Masih banyak pendidik yang tidak berkualitas, yang tahunya hanya menuruti perintah dari atas, yang mengajar dengan malas, yang menilai pendidikan tidak lebih dari sebuah angka di atas kertas.

Hari Pendidikan Nasional                                                                                           Selamat kau berikan kepada siapa?

Masih banyak masyarakat yang terbelenggu kemiskinan dan kebodohan, yang menyamakan pendidikan dengan nilai ujian, yang tidak sadar mereka memiliki kemandirian, yang tidak mau berperan melakukan perubahan.

Hari Pendidikan Nasional
Selamat kau berikan kepada siapa?

Masih ada pejabat, pendidik dan masyarakat yang menyadari besarnya peran mereka bagi pendidikan dan kemajuan bangsa, yang menolak merusak dan mengeksploitasi saudara setanah airnya, yang menyadari pendidikan berkualias hanya bisa dicapai dengan tekad dan usaha ,yang bekerja demi cita-cita bersama. Ucapkan selamat kepada meraka.

(Tulisan ini saya dedikasikan kepada teman-teman yang berjuang menyediakan pendidikan berkualtias bagi anak-anak sendiri dan orang lain dalam keterbatasan dan tekanan sekalipun. Mbak Priscilla Ivonne, terima kasih atas kunjungan dan inspirasinya.)

Als ik eens Nederlander was oleh Ki Hajar Dewantara

"Sekiranya aku seorang Belanda, aku tidak akan menyelenggarakan pesta-pesta kemerdekaan di negeri yang telah kita rampas sendiri kemerdekaannya. Sejajar dengan jalan pikiran itu, bukan saja tidak adil, tetapi juga tidak pantas untuk menyuruh si inlander memberikan sumbangan untuk dana perayaan itu. Ide untuk menyelenggaraan perayaan itu saja sudah menghina mereka, dan sekarang kita keruk pula kantongnya. Ayo teruskan saja penghinaan lahir dan batin itu! Kalau aku seorang Belanda, hal yang terutama menyinggung perasaanku dan kawan-kawan sebangsaku ialah kenyataan bahwa inlander diharuskan ikut mengongkosi suatu kegiatan yang tidak ada kepentingan sedikit pun baginya".

Als ik een Leraar was oleh Ines Puspita

“Sekiranya aku seorang guru, aku tidak akan merayakan kemenangan kelulusan UN dari murid-murid yang telah kita rampas sendiri kemerdekaan belajarnya. Sejajar dengan jalan pikiran itu, bukan saja tidak adil, tetapi juga tidak pantas untuk meyuruh murid-murid ini untuk melakukan segala cara untuk lulus demi sebuah keberhasilan semu. Ide menilai hasil pendidikan hanya dari nilai UN saja sudah menghina mereka, dan sekarang kita keruk juga hak belajar hakiki mereka dengan mengkerdilkan hakikat pendidikan menjadi soal pilihan ganda. Ayo teruskan penghinaan lahir dan batin ini! Kalau aku seorang guru, hal yang terutama menyinggung perasaanku dan kawan-kawan seprofesiku ialah kenyataan bahwa murid-murid diharuskan ikut menyokong suatu kegiatan yang minim hubungannya dengan pendidikan yang sebenarnya dan tidak ada kepentingan sedikitpun bagi mereka.”

Ditulis sebagai bentuk keprihatinan pribadi atas dijadikannya UN sebagai satu-satunya tolok ukur keberhasilan pendidikan oleh sebagian besar kita.




I have been having these questions before. How come something so virtual affect people in their physical life? If ideas can be spread throughout the metaverse reaching every corner of the world, can love be transfered the same way?

The answer to both of my questions is YES. When Mt. Merapi in Central Java erupted, my group, SLED Indonesia (a group of Indoesian educators in Second Life), decided to do something in Second Life to help the victims. We did several fundraising activities, from photo exhibition, lecture and folk theater 'The Legend of Mt.Merapi'  to roundtable session and concert (thanks to Green and Angyl). We raised around LS$ 175.000 in all events from avatars around the world.  The concert organized by Green and Angyl and their fellow musicians alone generated up to L$ 128.000. We could never thank them enough for all of their magnificently selfless work.

Those lindens finally reached the victims of Mt.Merapi eruption in Samiran village, Boyolali, Central Java through our network. (Thanks to Wieda and the crew, a dear friend whom I never meet in physical life but bond in virtual world) We used the money mostly to buy supplies for the farmers  so that they could start farming again and make a living for their families. 

Isn't it amazing what pixels and electromagnetic wave can do to human life? Isn't it fascinating that people who never have any physical connections whatsoever can connect physically through virtual world? Isn't it incredible that love can be transfered from people around the world, breaking geographic, racial, religious boundaries and other barriers?

What will you transfer?

Special thanks to August Chrome from Pontificia Universidad Catolica Del Peru, Zeppo Romano from Illonois State Univeristy-US and Aedann Slade from North Carolina Web-Based Immersive Environment for Education-US

Special thanks to Angly and Green, the most amazing, kind hearted and incredibly patient artist and musicians. (Now you can chop my head if you want, Greeen. lol Angyl won't do it I know. She is an angel)

Special thanks to all Indonesian educators (home and school) in SL who have contributed their time, resources and thoughts to make this happen. You guys are AWESOME!

A few weeks a go, I went to a Mathematics workshop by Dr.Yeap Ban Har from Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.  He is a hillarious person and always gives a fresh insights in teaching Mathematics to children so I didn't want to miss the chance to hear his lecture again.

I knew I would be stuck in a traffic jam on my way to downtown Jakarta so I went early at 7 AM. The workshop venue was just about 25 km from my home in a suburb outside Jakarta but it took me 2 hours to reach there by car. 

The workshop lasted for two hours and I decided to go straight home after that. When I got out of the basement parking lot, the downpour showered my car right away. The road was flooded everywhere on my way. It took me almost 4 hours to drive home in a snail pace. 

When I was driving in a huge and deep puddle of Jakarta, I thought 'I wish I could just teleport' like what I always do in Second Life. I often hear people in Indonesian education community skeptically say that distance workshop and learning in virtual world (VW) like 3D VW platform Second Life does not make sense. Does it make sense to spend 6 hours of drive and US$ 30 gas to attend just 2 hours workshop? (Have I mentioned that my car needed an overhaul because of the flood?)  Does it make sense to waste so many resources and leave so many carbon footprints to get a new knowledge that we can get in other ways?

(Dr.Yeap, please create an avatar ^_^) 

I always think that people who spend real money to buy virtual goods are insane. But these days I found myself spending some linden dollars (virtual money that I buy with real money) to shop. Please don't give me the look, I am not a freak. I can be almost anything in SL for FREE but sometimes I just want to be myself and look like myself (or prettier than myself lol) and that's not free at all.

I once was an outsider in SL economics, and even a skeptic but now am an active participant in this virtual goods buying and selling. Here are my justification:
1. I mostly buy educational tools .....okay okay and apparels to make my avatar look good (LOL).
2. It is a great way to teach my students about virtual economics
3. I don't buy strange stuffs like virtual six packs or virtual baby.

My dear friend in  Massive Online Open Course PLENK 2010 shared me this video link several times ago. I have been a fan of Global Kids and I was happy to get this video link. I can´t wait to bring my students to collaborate there.

We are having fun learning in SL alright but please...stop thinking that we are just cartoons.

Bagaimana memaknai semboyan 'Bhineka Tunggal Ika'? Tanyakan saja kepada keluarga pelaku pendidikan rumah di Tangerang. Meskipun berbeda-beda, kita tetap satu. Satu tujuan untuk memberikan pendidikan terbaik buat anak-anak tercinta dan satu cita-cita untuk memajukan pendidikan di Indonesia dan memperluas akses pendidikan berkualitas bagi siapa saja. 

Sebuah bangsa akan menjadi kuat kalau keluarga kuat. Sebuah bangsa akan menjadi bangsa yang besar kalau keluarga perduli terhadap pendidikan anak-anaknya. Indonesia beruntung punya keluarga-keluarga mandiri yang mau mendidik anak-anak mereka sendiri, mendidik generasi penerus yang akan terus melanjutkan kelangsungan hidup Indonesia.
Apakah lacur kalau keluarga mandiri yang tidak pernah meminta-minta uang dari negara ini ternyata masih terkena 'palak' dari berbagai oknum RAKUS padahal mereka menghormati amanat negara dengan mengikutkan anak-anak mereka menempuh ujian yang diselenggarakan pemerintah? Pak menteri, sebentar lagi kita akan bertemu dan saya dengan senang hati akan menunjukkan kepada Bapak siapa-siapa saja tukang palak tersebut.

Indonesia akan terus menjadi bangsa kelas TIGA kalau di dunia pendidikannya serigala berbulu domba masih merajalela. Ayo terus berbhineka tunggal ika! Berbeda-beda tetapi satu tujuan.

(Mbak Gita, terima kasih atas undangannya) 

    Me as an Advocate

    - As an education advocate in my country, Indonesia, I am not as cute as my avatar.

    - My writings are both loved and hated by many.

    - My volunteer works in underdeveloped schools and community learning centers are cherished and despised.

    - I can be good friends with vampires and furries but I cannot be friends with real life griefers who steal the rights of the children to get the education they deserve.

    - I often get troubles in RL because of my works and writings. Sometimes I wish I could just teleport those RL griefers to an eternal laggy sim.


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