The Ohio Learning Network (OLN) is exploring opening space in an OpenSim grid, comparable to what they have in Second Life®. As noted in the recent OLN Meetup notes, the “project is still in the discussion phase.” This is all part of the education world’s reaction to the new pricing in Second Life, but should have been an option all along for non-profits. It should open up a more vigorous attention to using virtual worlds for education. Like learning a new language always makes you more aware of the finer nuances of your native language, designing and creating and hosting our own virtual spaces will take us back to the core motives and values of education in a kind of pioneering sense.
Some advantages to hosting your own virtual space are a relaxing of building limitations, such as prim size, as well as creating your own privacy and age settings. for the best information on virtual worlds exploration, see jokaydia.com and the jokaydia virtual worlds wiki. She has lots of resources for OpenSim and ReactionGrid exploration.
Will Tri-C join the OpenSim adventure? We’ll see. What would you like to see us do? Would you like to see us explore something private or join an educational grid with some other institutions?
Last week’s meeting of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable (VWER) with Terrence Linden provided some interesting statistics on the impact of educators in Second Life®.
- Educational sims account for 5% of the total number of sims owned by organizations
- 10% of all Second Life avatars are affiliated with education (this is huge)
- There are about 800 educational institutions/organizations active in Second Life, although there may be more that are occupying parcels of sims and not identified with their institutions
- 650-700 of these institutions are colleges and universities
- 50% are from the United States
- In the last year, there has been 10-15% growth from education (evidence that our involvement is not waning, even with the popularity of the Open Sim Project)
The VWER meets every week on Thursday at 2:30 SL time (5:30 eastern) at Montclair State (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Montclair State CHSS/201/243/22) and is open to all. They have a website and online access to transcripts of meetings: http://www.vwer.org/
Been working on the travel agency on our land, where you can find a variety of landmark packages to copy to your inventory. Organized by categories such as Art and Museums, Educational Campuses, and simply interesting landmarks, for example, there are plenty to get you started in some Second Life® travels that might inspire you to create an educational assignment for your class, or just help you have fun in Second Life.
There are also some builder tools and landmarks to well-known Sandboxes where you can practice building something. If you are new to the Viewer2, there is a landmark to one of the new Viewer2 Tips islands where you can get your bearings in the new standard viewer. Of course, if you are new to Second Life, it’s all new to you!
Finally, the Second Life Destination Guide URL is running on a screen, and you can interact with it as you would any Web site on a browser. Still under construction, the travel agents (that would be me and Kevin) are taking requests for other landmarks and travel materials you might think of.
Update: I added the Second Life wiki on a third screen. These areas are under construction and will change regularly.
Popped in at ISTE island and looked around the Blogger’s Hut and Podcasters’ Place to see what was new. I think the last time I saw them–a long time ago–they were in production. They are a good example of the current information-dispensing model of educational spaces in SL. No, you can’t really sit down in Podcasters’ Place and have your avatar create a podcast. Too bad. Will that ever be possible? Well, I still keep my Jetsons dreams alive and hope so. But you can get a lot of information about podcasting, both on in-world notecards and via links to web pages, and podcasts are useful in your land if you have a streaming server. Here’s an example of a notecard:
In the Blogger’s Hut, there are links to many technology blogs, and you can submit a link to your own and vote on ones you like. I submitted the link to my other blog.
Educators shouldn’t underestimate the value of giving information to students or other SL residents. Information can be for promotional purposes, familiarizing more people with Tri-C or with your program. For students, notecards can provide background information on a topic and instructions for proceeding through a virtual tutorial or role-playing experience.
There are still limitations in Second Life in terms of what you and your students can do when compared with RL situations, but we still ought to try out what’s possible, and perhaps think differently about how to use the space, rather than trying to replicate what we can do here just fine, thank you.