I have a PhD in American Literature and taught in higher education for over twenty years, directed a Center for Instructional Technology for 3 years, then worked in a similar position at another school for 5+ years. My special interests are in visual rhetoric, blogging, wikis for collaboration, virtual worlds in education, digital storytelling, and digital humanities.
If it wasn’t obvious to any followers, if follow they still do, I have wandered away from Second Life. I’m just confirming that. I still have my account, a free one, having given up the paid account quite a while ago, and I’ve gone in a couple of times in recent months, only to be dismayed by the ongoing slow rezzing and the occasional crashing. I have a good computer, so I can only guess how frustrating this continues to be for people with lesser machines.
I’ve been retired from education for almost two years, so I don’t have that motivation anymore. I tried valiantly to persuade faculty and administration at two colleges that virtual worlds were worthwhile, at least in some fields, but the truth is these institutions purchase the cheapest technology they can for faculty, and can’t guarantee what technology their students have. I’m sure there are a few wealthy schools out there; I didn’t work at those institutions.
There have been attempts by a few virtual worlds to use mobile apps or web browsers, but I hadn’t seen that successfully done before I retired.
I visited many beautiful places in Second Life and I know from others’ blogs that many more still exist, but I’m hanging up my avatar and teleporting off to nowhere. For you, that means I will not be writing here anymore, but please wander around and enjoy anything I’ve written in the past.
Who knows what you might find wandering the streets of LoveFest …
Now under way, and running through until Sunday, August 23rd, is LoveFest, the annual H. P Lovecraft Festival. Timed to coincide with the 125th anniversary of Lovecraft’s birth (August 20th), the festival has been organised by the HP Lovecraft Roleplay (and more) Group of Second Life (HPL RPG), and once again features the Autism National Committee (AutCom) of the United States as its charity.
2015 marks the 4th year for the Festival – which I took time out to visit in 2014, including having a go at the interactive adventure which had been set-up for that event. 2015 sees the Festival host another adventure – but this time it’s in the form of a grid-wide hunt, and the official website explains:
Presiding Presence: HP Lovecraft watches over the LoveFest proceedings
Pi Day isn’t what it used to be in Second Life, but The Exploratorium still celebrates. The displays were generally visual, with one mildly interactive, and I do mean mildly—touching objects in the display gained you some notecards to fill up your inventory. Most of the other spots that came up in a Pi Day search were for dancing this evening. Dancing? I guess I never thought of Pi Day as a reason for dancing, but do you need a reason?
Pi display gives notecards
Before I went to the Pi Day exhibit, I stopped at Moucault’s Pendulum in Sploland (The Exploratorium is next door to Sploland). I found a lot of blog posts around the web from 2009 that referenced this sight, such as this science post from Jokadia. Nothing much to do at the pendulum, except slow down and wait to see if you will be knocked over. Many places in Second Life are as good as many real life spots for sitting and observing, but they might be a little harder to find. I usually stumble upon them. Why Moucault? I have no idea, unless copyright prohibits using Foucault.
I added a section to the site that shows the two spaces I built for two institutions of higher education, one island for a small college, and one campus on a leased corner of an NMC island. Neither spaces exist anymore, but the pictures give an idea of how they were or might have been used. It takes both vision and commitment to make virtual worlds work in higher ed.
You can see the menu item at the top of the page, or visit the pages here: