Yesterday I attended a blended real life, second life event, some at the TUC in London some at three separate virtual locations in Second Life. It was hosted by Eduserv to look at the use and opportunities for 3D virtual worlds in education. The picture, taken in Second Life, is of several avatars at one of the virtual events watching a live video feed from the real life event. At this point Stephen Downes was presenting.
A few notes from the presentations by an interesting set of speakers:
Andy Powell, Eduserv:
Second Life has become the ‘Hoover’ brand name of 3D virtual worlds.
Jim Purbrick, Linden Labs:
SL is not a game, its a virtual world – its a creation engine. More Europeans in SL than from rest of world put together.
Roo Reynolds, IBM (metaverse Evangelist):
Web 2.0 is an attitude not a technology – a quote from some guy from Talis called Ian Davis – Lots of online 3d worlds.
IBM Innovation Jam – one of results to win through was to provide funding for “The 3D Internet” IBM use SL for informal and public meetings and conversations. – 3,000 people in IBM have SL accounts. IBM started with a 12 island complex now up to about 30. – low barrier to entry, low cost.
Education & training – real world walk through’s, role playing, schizophrenia example.
IBM experimenting behind their firewall as described on eightbar.co.uk
Hamish MacLeod, Edinburgh University:
Holyrood Park: a virtual campus for Edinburgh. – looked at several worlds before SL – SL is cross platform – open & neutral – not a game but playful – like, but unlike RL – manifest involvement in education.
Started with Linden provided land, now have their own island Vue.
Educational potential – redefining of ‘learning spaces’ physical & virtual – student production & consumption – pretending to be eg. doctors. Legal issues – relationship between institution and service provider (risk assessments etc.) – system hungry (bandwidth, firewalls, h/w) – accessibility problems & potentials
Joanna Scott, Nature Publishing:
Why nature in SL – enhanced 3D visualization, rapid development potential – international communication – sense of presence.
First thing we built was M4 (Magical Molecular Model Maker) – creating content in SL is too complex for Nature, so like the Magazine they now host content on their Island. Will not replace the Magazine, or its Web presence, the web is much better at text. SL is good for communication, meetings, demo’s – walk through molecules etc. – could it replace the conference in the future – conferences are not eco-friendly Nature to trial a conference soon.
Gilly Salmon, University of Leicester:
What models can we transfer from our experience in introducing new technology to lecturers, who want to ‘lecture’, in to introducing SL in to their efforts.
Stephen Downes, National Research Council Canada:
SL is NOT Web 2.0 it taps in to latent conservatism its owned, it is restricted (if you don’t subscribe you can get kicked off if resources get scarce) it doesn’t scale its a ‘single space’
What about SL is different – real money flows in and out, it is persistent you can create unique content & retain ownership..
The future for virtually is exactly what SL isn’t:
- Distributed h/w distributed worlds
- OS technology
- Non-commercial (or at least for pub education)
A great day that consolidated my opinions about Second Life – this may not be the future, but it is an excellent pointer to what may be part of it when it arrives. In the meantime it has use and value in its own right. To quote Jim Purbrick in the panel session at the end “Second Life is here, now – use it” – well at least until something better comes along.
(Second Life image taken by cogdogblog displayed in Flickr)
Technorati Tags: Talis, Second Life, Eduserv, Linden Labs, Virtual Worlds, 3D, Education, efsym2007