[ECAR 2007 Summer Symposium] Second Life panel

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The second morning of ECAR starts off with a panel discussing the educational use of Second Life. The panel is titled:

This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Classroom For Sure: Serious(ly Fun) Living and Learning in the Virtual World of Second Life. Participants include:

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09-28-08.MP3 13775-KmailNotify-0.1.theme.bz2 20080923-earthDEV.sql 27503-iKmailNotify16.tar.gz 28165-cm81.skz 32434-justmail.tar.gz 47469-glassartamarok2.tar.gz 78061-plasma-applet-quicklauncher-0.4.tar.gz 78494-prettytasks-0.0.0.3.tar.gz 80.248.217.41.sql.zip 84618-qalculate_applet-0.3.tar.gz Abel Herrero.zip addcommentmacro(2).zip addcommentmacro.zip adobeair_linux_b1_091508.bin adsense-manager.zip ajaxContact.zip ajax_jquery_form.zip ajax-validation.php alps_problem.png arrow1.6.jpg ati-driver-installer-8-8-x86.x86_64.run autoboss_v2_pc_m7shsh_com.rar automattic_latex_fix.diff avatar.jpeg bbctransmission(2).diff bbctransmission.diff boundaries.png Brief for Copy of Specialoffers – Paperdeals.co.uk.ppt btn_donateCC_LG.gif carp_le_4.zip casey-anthony.png cenew(2).sql cenew(3).sql cenew.sql cenew.sql.zip Change to SpecialOffers.org.uk – 18th Sept 2008.ppt chrisfer_peakstocksdev.sql chrisfer_wrdp1.sql col_cats.tgz Contractor Agreement.zip dbKalendar.skz delic_news_source.zip domains thorsten.ods earth.1.png earth_new.png Earth.org Tech Architecture.pdf earth.png earth_user.png edu-best-moments-03-07.iso emailnotify_v0.3.1.tar embed_code.diff error_log export_recent_to_flickr.phps Fax_5804327e9_071618086384_20081021_1053.pdf Fax_5804327e9_071618086384_20081021105525.pdf FirePHPLibrary-FirePHPCore-0.1.2.tar.gz footer_blank.png fseidels-btsco-05a.tar.bz2 game.html game_manager_db.png get-custom.zip Harvest.wdgt.zip index(2).php index.php JanBorsodi.zip jquery-1.2.6.min.js KARTA.jpg kathynida.com.wordpress.2008-10-03.xml kde3to4-0.0.4.tar.gz keys live-search-popup.1.4.7.zip logo.png logo-small.png lwp-15.0.skz MailWidget209.zip multipage.zip munin.conf onenews.zip oren_converted.txt oren_sreebnys_weblog_keywords_konverted1.txt oren_sreebnys_weblog_keywords_konverted.txt oren_sreebnys_weblog.txt pages.rar Paper-Deals-colour-header.jpg paper-deals-content.jpg Paper-Deals.jpg PaperDeals-Logo.jpg Paper-Deals-white-header.jpg pd_banner.jpg pd_content_banner.jpg peerreviewplugin.zip php_mailing.pdf php.zip pmh2421a_080824 pmh2421a_080824.txt Products.CacheSetup-1.2.tar.gz prologue_internal.tar.gz promotionalcodes.rar promotio_promotionalcodes(2).sql promotio_promotionalcodes.sql publickey r3r_lydd(2).zip r3r_lydd.zip r3r.rar R3R.rar r3rwordpress.sql Rogon — Videoportal — Table Template — 080915 1725 — SR.rar sampleetdom.zip sample PDF for Thorsten.pdf Sample PDF( Page 58).pdf sandbox_comments.diff Sandbox.zip sandpress.zip screenie.jpeg screen.png screenshot35.png search_with_embedded_video.png site-lisp.zip snapshot1.png specialoffers(2).sql special_offers_button_anim2.rar specialoffers.org.uk_2008.10.07_04.42 special_offers.rar specialoffers.sql SQL – Joe Celko’s Trees And Hierarchies in SQL for Smarties.pdf tmp.txt To Do 2.1.zip transmission_cache.diff twit3.gif twit5.gif types.rar validation.warnings.fixes.8841.patch widgetbox.diff WIP.jpg wordpress.2008-09-19.xml wordpress.2008-09-25.xml wordpress.2008-09-28.xml wordpress.2008-09-29.xml wordpress.2008-09-30(2).xml wordpress.2008-09-30(3).xml wordpress.2008-09-30.xml wordpress.2008-10-01(2).xml wordpress.2008-10-01(3).xml wordpress.2008-10-01.xml wordpress.2008-10-02.xml wordpress.2008-10-06.xml wordpress.2008-10-11.xml wordpress.2008-10-16.xml wordpress.2008-10-16.zip wordpress.2008-10-19.xml wordpress.2008-10-21.xml wordpress.2008-10-23.xml wordpress-2.6.2(2).tar.gz wordpress-2.6.2.tar.gz wordpress-mu-2.6.1.tar.gz wordpress-stats.sql wordpress-test(2).sql wordpress-test.sql wordpress_wxr.xml wp-1.xml wp-2.xml wp-3.xml wp-4.xml wp-5.xml wp-6.xml wp-7.xml wp-8.xml wp-content wp-includes_update.patch wp-maclean.tgz wp-tag-a-e.xml wp-tag-f-i.xml wp-tag-j-m.xml wp-tag-m-q.xml wp-tag-r-t.xml wp-tag-u-z.xml wp-wbx-widget.php xmlrpc-2.2.1.tar.gz Session moderator: Laurence F. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, The New Media Consortium (NMC)

Larry kicks it off with a movie that the NMC folks put together about their campus in Second Life, and notes (in passing) that the NMC is making real money contracting with institutions to build spaces in the environment.

The panelists were asked to address these questions:

What brought you to SL?
What are the key insights you have gained to date? Issues you have had to solve?
What questions about SL in particular or virtual worlds in general remain unanswered for you?

Phil Long (the MIT one) starts off by talking about their path to second life – they were looking for ways to express the cultural differences among residence halls at MIT. That led the m to start developing some 3d gaming environment, but in reality they were looking for a social environment, not a game.

Phil notes that the terms of service of SL are a big issue for many institutions, which took them six or seven months to agree on, particularly in regards to indemnification and the resolution of legal issues. Service levels are also an issue – the grid is down every Wednesday for several hours, and once it’s upgraded you have to install a new version of the client. It’s an extremely engaging place – it’s hard to multitask while doing sl. They’re interested in exploring other virtual worlds, and the issue of portability across them. They’re still trying to figure out the syntax for interacting and what are the affordances for different disciplines. MIT is interested in partially virtual worlds – the notion that you’re pervasively existing in both virtual and real space at the same time.

Sarah is PhD candidate at Ball State and director of Emerging Technologies at Mediasoft. She teaches freshman composition in SL. She wanted to put the course under a microscope – within 72 hours of sending an email invite out she had 300 students wanting to sign up – for an 18 person class. She’s been teaching for a year now and measuring levels of engagement and community formation. On the whole it far exceeds the levels of engagement in f2f classes. She has lots more questions than answers – it’s a student-centered space – students can construct their own learning environments. When students are in charge of their own learning, can we trust them to know what’s best? We have to offer some guidance, and we’re still learning how to do that in SL. A second question is how to use the environment to encourage the development of lifelong learning environments.

There’s a list of universities in second life on the secondlife.com web site.

Angela Thomas was featured in Australian Vogue. She’s written a book called Youth Online. She’s been researching virtual worlds since ’95. She teaches a new media course in SL. She’s discovered that the students are extremely committed and excited about second life, more than blogging or forums. The online role playing communities are a unique part of virtual worlds – she encouraged her students to get involved. She also has them do linguistic and semiotic analysis of avatars to understand what lays behind the body construct. The 3D space is compelling because her students are very busy English teachers – they don’t have a background in new media or computing, and the 3D space is familiar for them. The aspect of play in SL is also important. Has the potential to flatten hierarchy and let students be more self-directed. Questions – how to find the balance between the delivery of content and student self-direction. She needs, for example, to teach a framework for linguistic analysis. It’s not a neutral space – it has some ideologies and discourse the underlies the practices in the environment, and she has questions for how to get students to look at that in a critical way.

Eric is the chief architect for NOAA’s virtual island in SL. It’s turned into something like Disneyland meets science education. You can fly a virtual P3 Orion through a hurricane, ride a weather balloon, visit a tsunami, etc. IT Security at the US Capitol wouldn’t let them demo their second life site there – wrote it off as a video game. 36% of their visitors hadn’t heard of NOAA before. Questions – what’s about 508 compliance (disabled access). What about content management in the environment? What about borders between organizations? Security is a big thing – right now all chat in SL is in clear text. Gauging return on investment – you have to define what value is – it’s not necessarily traffic. SL gives you tools for monitoring the engagement – you can see where people spend time, see who’s been idle, who’s interacted with what objects, when conversation is happening. There are privacy concerns…

Phil – what is the value proposition for MIT? The opportunity that’s enticing is the way of modeling social action in virtual environments, playing out social structures and models through those simulations, e.g. what makes for an effective emergency room in a hospital? Imagine doing that simulation with real live participants. Analogous to cad/cam modeling for social interaction.

Larry – lots of interesting possibilities for expressing data in the environment.

Sarah notes that she saw evidence in her SL courses of real community formation that didn’t happen in her other classes – developed their own linguistic conventions, objects in space, etc, and some of those extended outside the space.

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1 thought on “[ECAR 2007 Summer Symposium] Second Life panel”

  1. This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing this, Oren. The NOAA virtual island makes me wonder what UW could do on SL – maybe an ecosystem?

    Like

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