Virtually vague – secondlife, opensim, and other stuff

It’s certainly easier to pretend to make art or to speak the truth than to actually do either.

–NPR, Are we not gamers?

Although my computer more than meets the requirements for secondlife, it’s very jerky. Graphics card, maybe?

I’ve tried secondlife a few times now, the first time was when it was kind of the shiny new thing on the web. This latest time, I wandered around orientation island for a while, got really lost (I think I was standing in the middle of the ocean?) , got bored and gave up. Maybe it is that I didn’t understand exactly how to interact with the software (needed an instruction session, I suppose) or perhaps, it is just that this format doesn’t appeal to me.

In spite of all of the web stuff I do and have participated in, I don’t consider myself a gamer. It really doesn’t appeal to me (although I have played some games online or via a standalone machine -xbox, etc.). NPR has an interesting article about the diminishing distinction between gamer and non-gamer.

SecondLife feels very ‘gamerly’ to me. I also dislike the ‘real’ money involved. I don’t fault SL for trying to make money – hey, it’s their product! I am interested in the educational applications of secondlife. How are educational institutions using secondlife and other sim environments? Are these successful projects?

Are their implications to teaching, conducting research, or otherwise engaging students in SecondLife? Yes, says Michael Bugeja of the Chronicle.

When it comes to Second Life, we’re not only talking about money. We’re talking about whether you as a professor or administrator will be held accountable for introducing your students and/or employees to a virtual world that accepts little responsibility for anything that happens among avatars, including online harassment and assault.

Enter into the mix the opensource virtualworld product, OpenSim, aka OpenSL. Will educational institutions and organizations embrace opensource virtual worlds?

Will one day in the future, instead of typing into a search engine, I will virtually walk up to an information desk and ask for help? Will I be able to do that, or will I be stuck in search engine city?

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