Answering some concerns

Originally published in The Metaverse Messenger, in the Dec. 12, 2006, edition in the “Learning Curves” column on page 20.

By DAGMAR KOJISHI
Staff Writer

As some of us explore Second Life as a tool for education, we’ll see many different perspectives. Surely it has always been the case. I can imagine some ancient Greeks sitting around drinking ouzo and talking about the new-fangled teaching innovation.

“I don’t know,” says one, “I just don’t see how having 20 people sitting in a classroom listening to a guy talk can possibly be as good as walking around the hills engaging in dialogue.”

“It’ll never catch on,” says the other. “I mean, can you see Socrates standing at the front of a room like that? He’d choke on an olive pit first.”

Second Life will not be for everyone (either student or teacher) any more than the Web is for everyone. Lecture isn’t for everyone, either. Group learning isn’t for everyone. Yet, some people reject SL in education because it won’t serve everyone. Continue reading “Answering some concerns”

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Islands delivered!

Our new islands have been delivered! We still can’t access them, since permissions need to be set. But within a couple of days you’ll be able to visit these raw pieces of land within SL. This semester will see quite a bit of development here.

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Analysis: Should you pay for a premium SL membership?

I get this question a lot, and I can’t answer it definitively, because the answer is “it depends on what you want in SL.” Related to this are questions about buying land. Here are some factors that go into answering those questions for yourself. Caution: this involves a lot of math, and I am not a math guy, so you might want to check my assumptions and figuring. Continue reading “Analysis: Should you pay for a premium SL membership?”

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Thoughtful, well-reasoned post about SL strengths and weaknesses

It can be hard to find an unbiased article about Second Life, between the extremes of promoters and naysayers. Here is a post that, though not unbiased, presents a solidly reasoned look at SL strengths and weaknesses. The writer, James Wagner Au, is very clear about his associations with SL, and though a proponent of SL, he does not view it through a rose-colored monitor. Take a look at “Second Life: Hype vs. Anti-Hype vs. Anti-Anti-Hype”.

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SL user’s guide published

Colleague David Brown has acquired a copy of the newly-published Second Life: The Official Guide, and finds it to be useful, even though he’s a fairly advanced resident at this point. One of the authors of the book, James Wagner Au, is a reporter who has been living in SL and covering it daily almost since its inception. (The other three authors are certainly also SL experts; I just happen to know Au’s work.) This would be worth getting. (Linked through Amazon for your convenience.)

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SL featured in the air

American Way, the in-flight magazine for American Airways, featured Second Life in its December issue. The article quotes Ed Castronova, an Indiana University professor who has authored a book highly recommended by our colleague David Brown. The book is called Synthetic Worlds. The article does a good job of examining the challenges as well as the opportunities within SL. It’s written from a business perspective, but gives a good flavor of SL for our purposes as well.

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Two islands coming for SL in PSTCC

I’ll share more details later, but it’s pretty official at this point: PSTCC will have two islands in Second Life. We don’t know the delivery date yet, but if I understand it correctly the Islands will be named “Winding River Campus” or “Winding River College” or something like that. “Winding River” is reportedly the literal translation of “Pellissippi.”

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Thoughts on bicameral brain, sliced differently

43 Folders is a really good blog however you look at it. Today, though, I’m impressed by the post on “Life hacks: Smarty Pants v. Dumbass.” It’s one of those insights that will make you say, “Of course!” and it explains so much of what we all deal with.

P.S. It’s worth looking at just for the graphic that illustrates the dichotomy.

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