Category Archives: identity

one more on the fashion parade

…and then I’ll have a say about the new Patterns and Creatorverse from Linden Labs. Got this nice number from The Little Black Dress @ The Azure Dragon. Shoes from Awori Cassini.

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good hair day

We should all have such a good hair day. Got the Mathilda bob and the Shock Electric Flexi bob at TuTy’s on Ubanil, and the Rykiel (that’s the crimped style without bangs) at LeLutka.

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teleconference v. VW

Lego Peoplephoto © 2006 Peter Dutton | more info (via: Wylio)

The topic at this week’s Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable (VWER) is “Making the case for avatars: What are the advantages over teleconferencing?” I’ll let you know what comes up, but I have a few thoughts to begin.

If you’ve been in a virtual world long enough, you come to understand that there is a physicality to this virtual space. Part of it comes from the sense of presence you gain from walking around as an avatar–and especially from running into objects and other avatars. Part of it comes from building, which gives you that tactile, hands-on sense, even though there are no  haptic features that give a sense of touch (yet).

I’ve been in enough teleconferences to know that even though I might be seeing and talking to real people in real time, there is something missing. I don’t feel like we are in the same space, even if it is another kind of virtual space. Maybe if everyone at a teleconference had his or her own set of Legos, we could all express a kind of physicality (?). Just thinking out loud.

Update 4/22: The gist of the discussion focused on the sense of presence one feels when in world and the effort needed to function there, as opposed to the passive attendance at webinars and teleconferences, where you might be distracted by your desktop or your ability to surf the web while a meeting is going on. Working collaboratively in world, you might be more likely to hang around and chat, whereas after a webinar, or even shortly before it’s over, participants are exiting without so much as a goodbye.

Pathfinder Lester even brought up the concept of mirror neurons applied to our relationships to our avatars, and we were all scurrying to read about that on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron

A number of avis had links or references to studies of attitudes to the virtual environment. You will be able to see those in the day’s transcript, which will probably be out today or tomorrow, here: http://www.vwer.org/?cat=101

new SL® viewer offers “display names”

As noted in this recent blog post, the most recent Second Life viewer allows you to choose a name to display with your avatar. Previously, you could only display your avatar name, which could be confusing to colleagues and students, “Hey, it’s me, really.” Now, you can edit your profile, adding a name you prefer to display. As you can see in this snapshot, I changed my display name to Dr. Pittman. You can also still see my avatar name–Grinn Pidgeon–but that’s a choice. In my preferences, I opted to show both. You can show one or the other, both or neither.

Some educators will always want to be known by their real names; others prefer that you learn to know them as their avatars. I’ve been Grinn Pidgeon since 2006 and think it’s kind of odd to see my real name there, but I’ll try it for a while to see how it feels. What do you think you would do? Would you want to ask your students to show their real names or a “course” name that you pick for them?