Not a gamer and not a digital native, I was never drawn to virtual immersion games such as Second Life. I prefer real life activities rather than sitting at a screen for hours on end. In my spare time I cycle, go to the beach, cook, etc.
But I was keen for the experience so when our study group met at Jokaydia I found out how much fun it could be. I was surprised to find that people’s actual personalities seem to shine through their avatar. This doesn’t happen so much with Facebook and Twitter.
We explored the Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE), experimenting with the functionality of the controls while in reality we were situated across Australia and New Zealand.
Here we are gathered outside: Suzette (me with the red hair); Parfa (in the Raiders of the Lost Ark hat); LibraryMel; Lwarre10; and Cas Geordie (our instructor). Adamf77; Carmesa and MissDanz joined us later.
It is a perfect tool for learning and simulation; engaging learners through: demonstration, experience, diagnosis, role play, and construction. (Helmer & Learning Light, 2007, p, 7-21) Some of the disadvantages of Second Life as a learning environment are: technology barriers; interface design; orientation process; cognitive dissonance; security issues; and governance. (Helmer & Learning Light, 2007, p. 22-29)
I was impressed to hear that Stanford University has a digital library in Second Life. (Linden Research, n.d.) This made me think about what the difference might be between a digital library in Second Life and a digital library on a website. Perhaps the main difference is the feeling of actually going into a library. Other advantages might be sharing the experience with others via their avatars, and perhaps getting assistance or instruction from an avatar on standby in the library, as opposed to solo surfing the Stanford Library Digital website.(Stanford University, n.d.)
It seems to be a good tool for meetings and this tool could enhance professional meetings of people who need to discuss things but are spread across the world. I think about the professional organisation that I am part of but need to travel five hours there and then five hours return just to attend these quarterly meetings. Presentations, links to websites, photos, video, and probably much more can be embedded into the “rooms” and shared in a similar way as meetings in the real world.
As a ‘noob’ (Urban Dictionary, 2007) to this environment I have just touched the surface and while I have no real desire to spend hours immersed online in a MUVE, I see the value in using this tool for teaching and learning environments.
Helmer, J. & Learning Light (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds. Retrieved from http://www.norfolkelearningforum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/virtual-worlds_ll_oct_2007.pdf
Linden Research (n.d.). Stanford University – Second Life. Retrieved from http://secondlife.com/destination/600
Stanford University (n.d.) Digital Collections Stanford University Library. Retrieved from http://library.stanford.edu/subjects/digital-collections
Urban Dictionary (2007). Urban Dictionary – noob. Retrieved from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=noob
Wikipedia (2013). MUVE – Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MUVE