Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My First Foray Into Second Life

I'm not a gamer, and I think the best technology allows us to forget about the technology and focus on community building. And, like many of the colleagues I've been talking to about Second Life, I don't know where it fits in, and I find some aspects of it a little troublesome (scroll down for a funny YouTube video). But after some encouragement from a colleague with much more SL experience, I decided to check it out.

Actually, I should back up a few steps. Part of my job is to meet with teachers, discuss, plan, and collaborate in the development of technology-enhanced curriculum. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with two teachers of American Studies (junior level block of English and Social Studies). They have an amazing, comprehensive project that culminates in student-created museums, showcasing their specific area of study and involvement. They're going to use a wikispace as a virtual staging area, and incorporate blogs as a commonplace of ideas, open for ongoing discussion. And they were wondering if blogs might also work as places for their museum projects to live. That's when SecondLife popped into my head, and that's when I started to consider joining and exploring.

So I joined a few days (it's taken me several days to put together my thoughts enough for a semi-coherent post about it), and after about an hour of learning all the basics of navigation and communication, I entered the virtual world. Dodging distractions is tough, but I made my way to my first stop: Vassar (this link has a nice description of Vassar's SecondLife involvement). I ran up against my self-imposed time limit and haven't had much of a chance to explore. More to's my list of places to see, feel free to comment and add: EduIslands, Harvard, San Francisco MOMA, Global Kids, Suffern Middle School's Ramapo Island.

Now, I'm starting to ask and explore more questions about Second Life's use? I'd love to learn more from anybody out there with experience. On my own, I started by reading the Vassar information (linked above), then I moved on to what Will Richardson had to say. He seemed to echo my own thoughts: it's fascinating. What's going to be done with it? Within on of his posts, I found The Story of My "Second Life," which I haven't had a chance to dig into but holds the promise of edification. I still have a lot of first and second life research to do, more to follow...

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