This page was originally written by Colin Grzeskowiak (2013)
Sloodle stands for Simulation Linked Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment and is an Open Source Project that is used to connect OpenSimulator/Second Life with the Moodle learning management system. Sloodle creates virtual 3D educational tools in OpenSimulator/Second Life that a student can use virtually while having the results relayed to Moodle. The core developers of the Sloodle project are Paul Preibisch and Edmund Edgar and they are also the founders of Avatar Classroom. Sloodle came about as a result of research and as a result is often studied in other publications and research. Sloodle is funded by Eduserv which is a not-for-profit professional IT services group. The Eduserve Foundation's goal is to realize the benefits of ICT for learners and researchers at every level by providing grants for various projects. In addition Sloodle also received a small research grant from the University of Scotland. Sloodle is hosted by the SJSU School of Library & Information Science.
There are two versions of Sloodle with Sloodle 1.2 being the stable version for use with Moodle 1.9 and Sloodle 2.1 the beta version for use with Moodle 1.9 to 2.4. Sloodle maintains a wiki on how to install both of these versions which requires a "Controller" module in Moodle and virtual objects in Open Simulator/Second Life. Instructions for Sloodle 1.2 are here and instructions for Sloodle 2.X are here.
Sloodle offers many different educational tools that can be incorporated into a virtual world. The following are a list of the tools that are offered in Sloodle 2.1 though some of the same tools are available in Sloodle 1.2.
Sloodle rezzer is a virtual object that allows the user to connect virtually to the Moodle controller. Once connected the user can create different scenes and then "rez" these virtual objects into the world. Once the user is finished with the object or have setup their scene they can "derez" the objects and they are instantly removed from the virtual world. The advantage is that the user can create multiple scenes in the same virtual area such as a classroom and "rez" and "derez" depending on the virtual activities required for that day. All of the following Sloodle tools can be accessed in the rezzer and are organized in the following order.
Communication, Assignments and Inventory
Choice The Choice activity in Moodle provides a means to run polls, elections or general information gathering from participants in a course. Students can then vote in OpenSim/Second Life and see a visual representation of the results of the poll. Sloodle includes two types of Choice objects: horizontal and vertical.
MetaGloss Using this tool an avatar is able to access the glossary and definitions from the Moodle course.
Presenter Presenter provides a quick way for a teacher to create a slideshow of images and/or web-pages in Moodle and have it display in OpenSim/Second Life without having to upload each image directly into OpenSim/Second Life.
PrimDrop The PrimDrop allows the student to submit a virtual object to the instructor. The instructor can then log in to the virtual world and "rez" the same object and mark it or make modifications to it depending on the permissions given. This allows the instructor to create an assignment that has students create a virtual object and submit it in for marking in Moodle.
Webintercom The Webintercom connects a Moodle chat room with an OpenSim/Second Life chat. This allows chat to be shared between OpenSim/Second Life and Moodle, which is useful if some people do not have access to OpenSim/Second Life. All discussions will then be archived securely in the Moodle database for future viewing.
Vending Machine The "Vending Machine" is probably the most popular object in Sloodle as it allows teachers to distribute objects to their students in OpenSim/Second Life. The Vending Machine is linked to the Sloodle Distributor Module and allows instructors to provide all the items needed for an assignment.
The toolbar function gives an object to the student that their avatar can then wear. Wearing the object will bring up a HUD inworld that allows the student to access their Moodle blog and create new entries for it as well as providing them with gestures that they can use like raising their hand, waving, yes and no. To configure this item the student needs to go to their "Inventory" and find the "Sloodle Toolbar" among their objects. Click on the right button of your mouse and choose "Attach to HUD" from the menu items displayed. The item will give a message prompting the student to type the address of the Moodle site. After that you should be able to start blogging in OpenSim.
Quizzes and Activities
Quiz Chair Sloodle quiz chair retrieves questions from the Moodle Quiz module and gives students the quiz in OpenSim/Second Life. If the student answers the question correctly the chair moves one step higher giving a visual representation of how the student is doing on the quiz. Once completed the grade will automatically be recorded in Moodle. A quiz activity must exist in the Moodle course and must contain only Multiple Choice questions as none of the other question types are supported.
Quiz Pile-On This is similar to the quiz chair except it is a multi-user quiz which is intended for groups of students to work together. The questions are displayed as hover text about the pile and students sit on the sphere above the answer that they think is correct. Any user sitting on the wrong answer will fall to the ground.
Scoreboard The scoreboard is used to display the score/points of the various students enrolled in the course.
Tracker The tracker is used to integrate task-based goals in OpenSim and Moodle. Through simple scripts certain actions in Sloodle such as pushing a button will be relayed to the instructor in Moodle.
Registration and Enrollment
Access Checker and Access Checker Door The access checker and access checker door are tools used to prevent students who are not enrolled in the Moodle course access to certain areas of the virtual OpenSim/Second Life world.
LoginZone This object allows a user to teleport into their classroom right from the Moodle site and have OpenSim/Second Life authenticate them.
Password Reset A simple tool that allows the avatar to reset their password right in the OpenSim/Second Life environment. A new temporary password is sent via instant message in OpenSim/Second Life allowing the student to log into the course.
Registration Booth The registration booth tool allows for users to enroll in a specified Moodle course while in the OpenSim/Second Life environment. A student needs to have their avatar touch the tool inworld and the tool will automatically register the student in the Moodle database. If the student is already enrolled the tool and linked to the Moodle account then nothing will happen. If the student has not registered then the URL of your Moodle will be displayed using a dialog box. From here the student can register and enroll in the course.
Moodle Screen This tool allows students to view the Moodle Screen within the OpenSim/Second Life environment.
Sloodle in Education
Sloodle came about as a result of a short paper by Jeremy Kemp and Daniel Livingstone in 2006 which compared the ways that Learning Management Systems and 3D user-generated virtual worlds could support learning and education  Learning Management Systems (LMS) are often the main starting point for e-learning however often these systems make themselves the center point for learning making the learning come solely from the online course. "Learning itself is not a process to be managed. Students should manage their own learning. The more students take part in the process of learning and take the responsibility of their learning, the more learning will be permanent and meaningful. Empowering students with tools they can use for different purposes and use independently supports self-governed and problem based activities" . Sloodle was seen as a way of integrating 3D virtual worlds and Moodle together and provide students and instructors with the benefits of both. The benefits of 3D learning environments is that they are the optimal environment for experiential learning/informal learning while LMS are seen as providing the structure a course requires.
One of the key features Sloodle set out to achieve is identity management, where Avatars are linked with their individual Moodle account allowing the instructor to follow the progress of the student and receive grades and other feedback. A second feature that Sloodle set out to achieve is maintaining of chats from a virtual world which was achieved with the WebIntercom tool that saves the chats in Moodle chat for future purposes. A third feature that Sloodle set out to achieve is to promote collaboration among students. This is done by using the Quiz pile on, Webintercom, integrating with Moodle groups and the tracker tool that can follow groups as they work together in the 3D world.
Sloodle introduced an award system that allows students to earn points/currency by completing various activities in the virtual world. The purpose of this is to enhance engagement, achievement and create competition among students. Students are able to view their points and those of their fellow classmates on the Sloodle scoreboard. The scoreboards can be reconfigured to work with an individual activity or upon a team based competition using existing Moodle groups. An example of how the award system can be utilized is through a live game show complete with a countdown timer, a buzzer and several chairs. If students answered the question correctly in the time period they were awarded with points.
A good idea for anyone wishing to use Sloodle or a 3D virtual world is to create an introduction course in Moodle demonstrating the different features of Sloodle and how to complete basic tasks like building in OpenSim/Second Life. From there group work is a good way of promoting collaboration and can be achieved by first creating groups in Moodle and then having these students meet together in the Virtual 3D learning environment. Webintercom can be used to track their discussions in their groups and keep their conversations for future use. "Students reported that this was particularly useful for reviewing agreed goals, objectives and progress." . Ultimately the tools in Sloodle can be used in many ways but their ultimate goal should be to support the following goals: "a) the mind of the student should be opened, b) the student should not become accustomed to a program that gives all the answers,c) the learning process should develop the curiosity of the student, d) only if the code is open can the student explore all software features, and e) the students should understand that knowledge should be free and available to everyone." .
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