the value of simulations

[updated links 9/28/10]

I’ve mentioned before that there is debate about whether we should be trying to recreate real life in Second Life in our educational spaces, but there is not much debate about the value of recreations of historical, artistic, and cultural spaces. Recently I visited two interesting spaces: the Great Wall of China and the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum. Both visually stunning and experientially engaging, these are two examples of places in Second Life where students can supplement their on-ground learning.

The Great Wall, on China Sichuan (, is a coastal representation of a section of the wall. The setting highlights the structure, and avatars may walk on the wall as they would the real one.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Museum is actually an island containing a museum and individual replicas of well-known Wright buildings. Pardon me for lingering so long at my favorite, the Robie House. The opportunity to gaze at and walk through this house was a treat for me. And isn’t that what we want to hear from our students.

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Update 12/2/2010: Sad news that the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is forcing the closing of this non-profit exhibit in Second Life. Here is the announcement:

I am saddened to announce the closure of FLWVM by request of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.  We had been negotiating for next year’s licensing agreement when they abruptly terminated discussions Monday, November 29, and immediately served FLWVM with a Cease & Desist Order.  We are no longer able to present any images or works of Mr. Wright.  As content providers to the SL community, that leaves us with nothing to provide.

We particularly regret this unhappy ending in that we considered ourselves an exemplary example of SL/RL interaction in working with the foundation devoted to preserving Mr. Wright’s reputation, as we were, and doing so in an honorable fashion.  We all know of the assumptions that can be made in SL when people build without regard for IP legalities in RL.  That’s not what the FLWVM board and staff are about.

We are an active, interested group of people, seriously devoted to bringing interesting material to the SL community.  We have non-profit status with the US Government, and don’t want to see that going to waste.  Once the removal is completed December 10, 2010, we will regroup and discuss future possibilities.

Speaking of legalities, if you know of anyone building, selling, representing anything Wrightian in SL, I would strongly advise them to proceed with great caution – they can expect to hear from the foundation’s attorney soon.  Please feel free to contact me for any further information.

For those who would like to join us, you are cordially invited to a Good-bye to All That dance at the FLWVM site Friday, December 3, 2010.  From 6:00-7:00 pm SLT we will have a live performer and from 7:00-9:00 pm SLT there will be a DJ spinning tunes and taking requests.  If you can stay until the end, you will find a hauntingly appropriate song being played.

Rosalie Oldrich
Co-Executive Director
Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum

4 thoughts on “the value of simulations”

  1. That is so true. I used to teach at a University and had a really tough time convincing the Quality Assurance people that this was a legitimate teaching tool. I have now left and started my own company making simulations because I believe this is the future of mass education.

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