Monday, May 22, 2017

Opensim in the Classroom: How To Get Started

I've run sims with Opensimulator in my school for eight years now (!). I think it's immensely rewarding for students and well worth the effort. It's come a long way as a practical technology for schools. I'm not a techno-wizard but I'm so familiar with it now that it's pretty easy for me to run saved worlds or set up a sim from scratch, so I'm documenting the steps here for newcomers to the technology to use in their own forays into Opensim work.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Workflows for Virtual Worlds/Virtual Reality

These are some notes I'm taking to remember how I got some things to work for student projects.

Scenario 1: Importing 3D Models Into Opensim

Correcting Collada Model Errors

First time I spent money ($15!) on a 3D model to use there was an issue. The snow leopard was inside-out; the texture was on the inside and the outside was transparent. I learned after much searching that the "normals" had to be recalculated, which can only be done in a 3D program. The download included an FXB file so I used Blender, imported the FXB file, went to Edit Mode > Mesh > Normals > re-calculate outside normals which flipped the orientation of the faces to outside. Then I exported that as an OBJ file. Then I could import into Opensim with Singularity viewer. I chose File > Upload Mesh > High detail. It comes in gray so change the color to

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Make a Video from a Processing Sketch

I needed to do this and found the steps challenging enough I wanted to keep them here, and maybe they will be helpful to others. I needed to take the words in a static wordle-type presentation and animate them, so they move around a bit. Then I needed to add that animation to a video of a dance.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

OpenSimulator In the Classroom Through the Years

I haven't run any sim projects for a while and I miss it. I just found a cache of pictures of sim projects and am amazed at how far it's come. Here are some of the pictures to give an idea of the territory students and I covered together. What an adventure!
Our first sim, 2009! With a spare assortment of prims students acted out skits for
their drama class.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

ShapeTiler App with WaterColorBot

I updated my Shape Tiler program,
made with Processing.js,
to be a standalone version that exports a PDF of your shape tile, which you can then import to Inkscape and send to your WaterColorBot to draw. Why make a plotter draw your shape tile design rather than just printing out the png from the online version? I don't know! But it's fun to watch.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Getting Oriented With Minecraft Pi

Minecraft Pi is Python for Minecraft. You can run Python programs from a folder on your computer that make things happen in a Minecraft server in the same computer or even on a remote one. Actually Minecraft Pi is for the Raspberry Pi but I'm using the MCPI mod which can work on a regular (vanilla) Minecraft server or I have it working on a MinecraftEdu server (version 1.7.10).

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sharing the LogoTurtle at World Maker Faire


  • A 10 year-old boy who had never programmed in Logo saw the square example and immediately saw how he could modify it to make different shapes and nest that loop in another loop to make the multiple tiled shapes on the left. His dad was floored by what he did so quickly on his own. He left with his family for a while and came back a couple hours later and added to his octagon program to make the shape in the video. Amazing, he had been thinking about it while walking around and wanted to pursue his other ideas about it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

More VR Explorations, Now in HTML

I just learned about Mozilla's A-Frame framework for VR development. Wired touts it as an easier solution to the heavy lifting required by the Unity environment. The main thing this get rid of are the iOS or Android platform requirements of setting up a Unity environment.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Learning From the LogoTurtle

Teaching with the LogoTurtle was an experiment for me last spring. I knew there would be a lot for my high school robotics students to learn from it but I didn't exactly know what. At the end of our LogoTurtle unit I asked the students to write about what they felt like they learned. I didn't prompt them to write about any specific aspect of their learning, I just wanted to see what would come out. I've been thinking about what they wrote and realized a few things; 1) each student is on her own learning adventure, 2) the LogoTurtle is actually teaching them as much as, and maybe more than, I am, and 3) what are often called the soft skills of learning-resilience, collaboration, making mistakes, perseverance-were a significant part of the experience for them.