Virtual living — what can’t you do in second life?

October 24, 2008

When I have a bit of free time (as if – ha!), I’ve been wandering around second life. Honestly, I still don’t get it. I’ve been to a couple of academic/IT related presentations, I’ve gone shopping (for free clothes), and I’ve been to a few museums/art galleries. I’m still trying to see how I could use this for learning or teaching. I see some of the potential (emergency services training, language classes/conversation, virtual meetings, museums, interactive multimedia art projects, etc.) , but I’m thinking the technology is still too new to be of greater use by the general population.

Why? Mostly the usability sucks.

  • Navigation is not very easy — the navigation has gotten easier, but it still doesn’t work very well with a traditional keyboard and mouse. I can’t imagine trying to use it on a mobile device. I expect to be able to move my mouse and my avatar will follow — in as much as I can see, that doesn’t happen. The mouse is more an extension of your hand, in that anything that you click on, interacts with you in whatever way that it can. Your avatar will not walk over to the object first.
  • Directions / help are terrible, if available at all.
  • Design is hard — Although I can find my “closet” aka in second life terminology, inventory, I haven’t found an easy way to see what the clothes look like before I put them on. I’ve also found a couple of places where I can create/design artifacts via secondlife. End user / community generated content should be easier.
  • Slow to load / high demand on computer resources — Even on a decent enough computer setup for multimedia/video (albeit, not a gaming computer), some “lands” (think: villages or cities) are very slow to load. I think my avatar is getting bored waiting for the graphics. 😉
  • Other users — well, there’s another issue altogether. Given that I’m still learning my way around, I’m not spending a significant amount of time talking to others.
  • The cost factor — It’s a little bit hard to find the free stuff in SL. Searching for free stuff is the best way (or join a “freebies” group), but for the most part, there are quite a few people attempting to make REAL money in SL.

However, I did go skiing in SL a few days ago. Was it as satisfying as the real thing? Absolutely not, but then again — it wasn’t cold, I didn’t get knocked down by another skier, and probably more importantly, I didn’t fall down, either!

(btw, this is NOT me)

Free program certificate — Teaching and Learning in MultiUser Virtual Enviroments

October 22, 2008

The European funded MUVEnation project has just launched ‘Teaching and learning with MUVEs’. This is a one year postgraduate programme, delivered online, for future and in-service teachers who want to use innovative methods and tools to address learners motivation and participation issues in compulsory education. What impact can 3D virtual worlds, such as Second Life, really have on our learning and teaching settings?

The course is free, but there are only 80 places. Participants will receive a formal letter or certificate of completion from their assigned institution For a full overview of the programme description and objectives please visit. We have four levels of participation – from the full course to those who are more experienced and would like simply to observe and participate in discussions

The programme will be taking place in Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Belgium and France. If you are interested in participating then please see the registration details here on the site, the closing days for applications is the last week in October.
We look forward to hearing from you,
The MUVEnation team

Video excerpt on digital video repositories

October 18, 2008

Video excerpt of last week’s webinar in second life. This segment deals with digital video repositories.

Today! Academic Webinar in SecondLIfe

October 7, 2008

I just found out about this and I’m going to try to attend (if I can find my avatar….)

Please join us for Carolina Conversations. Carolina conversations is a series of live interviews with members of the UNC-Chapel Hill community conducted in the virtual world, Second Life. Our guests discuss their work and interests and will also respond to questions from the Second Life audience attending in-world.
Guest: Gary Marchionini, Professor in the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina.

Live at 3:30 p.m. EDT, on Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Gary Marchionini Bio:

Gary Marchionini is Cary C. Boshamer Professor in the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina, where he teaches courses in human-information interaction, interface design and testing, and digital libraries, and heads the Interaction Design Laboratory. He received an IBM Faculty Research Award for 2006-07 to work on digital video surrogate creation and metadata evaluation. He leads the development of a digital video repository, The Open Video Project, and was principal investigator for a National Science Foundation-funded project to develop and test interfaces for video retrieval and browsing. He is also the principal investigator for a Library of Congress grant to develop strategies for preserving digital video content. He is active in the leadership of several professional associations, has published more than 150 articles, chapters, and reports, is author of Information Seeking in Electronic Environments (Cambridge University Press), and serves on the editorial boards of numerous information science and technology publications. His Ph.D. is from Wayne State University in mathematics education, with an emphasis on educational computing.

Conversation (voice) lessons in second life

October 1, 2008

Just passing along! Interesting -- gives virtual office a whole new meaning!

Subject: Looking for Colaborators? Need content development?

Hi everyone,
It's Fire Centaur here from English Village.

I am sending this message in a search for Collaborators!
Are you looking for a venue to bring your students? Interested in teaching English or another Language publicly? Or need an educator/programmer for educational content development?

Well, then please contact me - Fire Centaur at English Village or email me

Every Thursday 3AM SLT (7PM Korea time) I'll be offering casual conversation lessons - (Please enable Voice)
And one hour earlier at 2AM SLT, I'll have office hours for educators interested in collaborating, or searching for a content developer.
The English Village ICall feed is here:

I have also recently upgraded EV, with some great new facilities - including:

* A gorgeous 3 story French Villa, with plenty of cozy study spaces
* A nice private Yaught
* A Family Robinson Treehouse
* A tree lined beach complete with a holodeck
* An Onion Shaped Welcome Area, with Pully Ride to the beach
* An accompanying Website:

You can TP to EV here:

Google goes 3D?

July 10, 2008

Okay, not quite… at least, not yet. 😉

Google has entered yet another space with the launch of Lively, a tool for creating 3D social spaces on Web sites, which is now available in a public beta test.

The platform lets users create and personalize their own character, so-called avatars, and their own rooms, which is nothing new: Second Life does as much. But a key feature of the Lively platform is integration with the regular Internet. Users are able to create a room, and embed it with their web site or blog, writes Niniane Wang, Engineering Manager at Google, on the company blog.

Well, that sounds interesting, although unlike smallworlds, there is still software to be downloaded and installed. I wonder which virtual world will topple SecondLife, though?

So You Want Your Library or Organization in Second Life: A Practical Guide (SL workshop)

June 27, 2008

Please join Sonja Morgwain and Teofila Matova Tuesday, July 1st at 8:00 a.m. SLT at the Open Auditorium on Cybrary City 1 in Second Life for the third “So You Want Your Library or Organization in Second Life: A Practical Guide.” This workshop includes a short presentation, tour of a library, and lots of time for questions and answers. Also offered is a tour of available parcels on Talis Island. Presentation is in a combination of voice and text. For more information, or if you would like to help answer questions or be involved, please IM either Teo or Sonja or use email address below. Location:

Best, Sonja Plummer-Morgan, MLIS (Sonja Morgwain in world) & Allison Brueckner (Teofila Matova in world)” or