Reaction Grid were really helpful in running load tests with Nic and giving advice on how to minimise stress on the system by adjusting settings. Nic relayed these to the school IT team so we were confident that this session would go much better. We also redesigned the class around the principle that only half the class would be logged on at one time, just to reduce any risk of overload issue.

Session 3 was designed to enable students to compare a Pompeian and modern day house, explore the roles of different members of the Pompeian household and to empathise with varied experiences of members of different status (slaves, women, children, master etc.) Activities included exploring the House to learn about functions of different rooms and talking to different household members (bots) to learn about their roles but, due to the disruption of session 2, we decided to start by giving the class the opportunity to spend more time interviewing the Crystal Palace characters before travelling back to Pompeii. For us this was a bit tense because it meant we had to be ready to switch the robot avatars and some of the landscape and architectural features mid way through the lesson.

So Nic and I felt pretty confident as we logged in from Bristol but we were scuppered by a mix up on the school’s part. Nic and the IT team had configured a whole suite of lap tops with the new settings but by accident the ones brought to the classroom were ones that didn’t have Open Sim installed, let alone the new settings. Despite the best efforts of IT support staff, the laptops could not be configured in time to run the lesson properly.  Fortunately, we had sent Tommy powerpoint presentations so he had something to use independent of Open Sim but after last week’s genuine OpenSim difficulties this was exactly what we didn’t need to keep the students on board. They were getting understandably restless and frustrated. The next morning Tommy arranged for students to log into Open Sim. It worked well, they all logged in fine and our robots behaved, restoring students’ (and our!) faith in the technology. We’re really grateful for Tommy for doing that. Better luck next week hopefully!



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