Monday, January 29, 2007
Their Emerging Technologies Initiative “focuses on expanding the boundaries of teaching, learning and creative expression by creatively applying new tools in new contexts.” Their annual Horizon report highlights six technologies likely to gain importance in higher education in one to five years. Each section discusses its relevance to education, and includes numerous examples and links. This year’s report predicts wide adoption of SL within 2 to 3 years.
NMC has a large campus on Second Life. Their blog NMC Campus Observer has lots of information about their activities. If you want a look at the campus view their movie “NMC Campus: Seriously Engaging”.
The 2007 Horizon Report this year:
Time to Adoption; 1 year or less
User created content (Flickr, YouTube)
Social Networking (Facebook, MySpace)
Time to Adoption; 2 to 3 years
Virtual Worlds (Second Life)
Time to Adoption; 4 to 5 years
New Forms of Scholarship, non-traditional scholarly models
Massively Multiplayer Education Gaming (WorldForge, Multiverse)
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Lori Bell will speak about Second Life. She is Director of Innovation at the Alliance Library System started the Second Life Library, which has grown from a rented space in April 2006, to 8 islands now, with 4000 visitors a day, and 300 volunteers.
The event will be held at Lansing Community Colleges West Campus. The program is "on the use of social networking software and gaming in libraries". The speakers and their topics are:
Lori Bell, Alliance Library System - Second Life
Angela Semifero, Marshall District Library - MySpace
Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library - Gaming
Edward Vielmetti, School of Information, University of Michigan - Everything Else
Monica Harris - Panel Discussion on Facebook
Friday, January 26, 2007
At our last meeting (Jan. 18) we met at the
Uskala from UNC was in the middle of his IRB (Institutional Review Board) process to get approval for the research he wants to conduct here. This is a first at his institution, and it appears he may have to go through a special review process to get approval. This is partly because getting consent from participants involves signing forms. How do you get avatars so sign a consent form, and how do you verify that they are not a minor?
He had recently attended a workshop on conducting research. The proposal must meet three criteria to be approved:
- Respect for persons (voluntariness and free will)
- Beneficence (harm vs. benefit)
- Justice. Are people’s needs being served
The IRB wants to see research that is helpful to society.
A document we referred to in our discussion was “Ethical decision-making and Internet research: Recommendations from the aoir ethics working committee” published by the Association of Internet Researchers in 2002. It has a case study addressing the problem of consent in an online environment. The first case study was about research conducted in a chat environment, problems of consent, and willingness of participants. This environment presents many of the same problems presented by SL.
While researchers are and have been working in online environments for a while, its relative newness and special problems might present an obstacle to getting approval from an IRB board.
Barbara Galik, President, Board of Directors, Alliance Library System
Kitty Pope, Executive Director, Alliance Library System
Lori Bell, Director of Innovation, Alliance Library System
In the hustle and bustle of Midwinter, Mark Bard sat down with Barbara Galik, Kitty Pope, and Lori Bell to discuss the online phenomenon Second Life.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The Wired Campus
Education-technology news from around the web
Articles this week:
Wikipedia Blocks a Pay-for-Play Scheme
CIA Uses Facebook as a Recruiting Tool
One Small Step for Citizendium
Wanted: Librarian. Book Lovers Need Not Apply
Monday, January 22, 2007
Tue Jan 23 - Training: Life Confidence and Potential Maximization
Wed Jan 24 - Genealogy Center on InfoIsland II - Presentation: Researching Revolutionary War Records
Thurs Jan 25 - Training: Establishing an Educational Presence in Second Life / Teen Second Life
Fri Jan 26 - 28 InfoIsland II - Exhibit and Reenactment: Marie Antoinette - The Teen Queen
Training: Life Confidence and Potential Maximization
Mon Jan 29 - Caledon branch- Book discussion: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Heath Info Island: New information stations to help search all the resources there
The details here: InfoIsland this week:
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The Alliance Library System serves a consortium of 258 libraries in Illinois. Starting in April 2006, their Director of Innovation, Lori Bell (aka Lorelei Junot) began the project of starting a virtual library in Second Life in a rented space. By May an entire island had been donated and a library built, the original InfoIsland. Early partners were TechSoup, and OPAL. InfoIsland has expanded to include InfoIsland II and HealthInfo Island. Another partnership with Talis built Cybrary City, an island where libraries can rent space. Islands keep appearing; CommonWealth Island to provide space to non-profit organizations and EduIsland to provide space to colleges and universities. It just keeps getting more interesting. What next?Sirsi Dynix Sponsors Alliance Library Second Life Library and Teen second Life library
January 20th, 2007
SirsiDynix will fund the two main islands in the Info Island project on Second LifeSEATTLE, Jan. 19, 2007 – SirsiDynix, the global leader in strategic technology solutions for libraries bringing knowledge to people and communities, announced today its 2007 sponsorship of the two main islands in the Alliance Library System/Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County partnership project on Second Life and Teen Second Life. (the rest)
Library embraces online virtual community as tool for reaching local teens
By Taylor Atkins
Published Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library no longer has just one branch.
The organization has opened up a new location at the coordinates 24, 157, 24 in Cybrary City, a growing community for libraries in Second Life, an online virtual world. (the rest)
This library is not just sticking a toe in to test the water; they have opened a virtual branch, a building in Cybrary City and they have purchased an island on the teen grid. Why do both? The main Second Life grid, where the Cybrary City and the InfoIslands are hosted are rated "Mature". Their teen patrons cannot (truthfully) have accounts there. So Second Life has a separate teen grid rated PG. Nudity, for instance, is not allowed there, and adults over 18 cannot (truthfully) have an account or access the grid without a background check (so educators and librarians can be there to provide programs and services).
The island, named Oz, is almost ready to open. The library has prepared two very interesting pilot projects, described in a post at InfoIsland.org. The first will teach a group of upperclassmen from Hope Academy to use SL, and then set them loose to create a world on the island. The second project will open the island to local teens to create content based on their favorite books.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Besides other newbies, you are likely to meet first SL exotic dancers, escorts (hookers) or casino shills who haunt new user areas looking for customers or workers. Once outside of the new user areas, your first visits are likely to be to the Second Life casinos that attract customers by promising ‘free money’. Or, you may find yourself in a sandbox where new users are learning SL skills, or more likely, testing their new weapons on you.
So you will naturally conclude that SL is for sex, gambling, and assaulting other residents. If that’s what you want you may continue to return, but many never do. “How do you play this game? I don’t understand…” Is a question I’ve heard many times. It looks like a game, I have an avatar, a gun and great abs, so where are the damned rules?
It’s not a game, it’s a platform
That is, it’s there for you to use. Unlike most other online virtual worlds, like World of Warcraft, the content is created by the residents. It’s the creation of thousands of minds, and is therefore more varied, interesting and unpredictable then anything a single organization could create. And if it exists in real life (RL) someone has or is creating it in SL. Or if it’s something someone can dream of, but never do in RL, they’ll do it here.
“The ability to simulate our world on computers means that we can make it different in ways that empower us, allowing us to do things that in the physical world we can imagine but are incapable of.” (Phillip Linden. The Mission of Linden Lab) http://blog.secondlife.com/2006/11/06/the-mission-of-linden-lab/#more-488
This doesn’t mean you can’t find things to do if you are not interested in building a virtual geodesic dome or creating and selling virtual sex toys. So following is a list of what one could do.
One has conversations
As you take your first baby steps, you meet others. After you drive off the 3 newbies who want to have virtual sex (never mind that they haven’t even gotten a free virtual winky yet) you’ll meet someone who can converse. This is done with keyboard chat. Mostly through happenstance, I have made many friends; artists from Chicago and Australia, librarians and graduate students from Michigan, California, N. Carolina, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Spain, IT professionals from England, scientists from Scotland. I would never have met most of these people any other way. We all share a common interest in this tool called Second Life, but our differing skills and knowledge result in stimulating and sometimes surprising conversations and connections.
One fusses endlessly with ones appearance
Where else can a 51 year old broad acquire a knockout figure with no effort? Where else can you don different hair, gender, race or species everyday? The conformity of avatars is a bit depressing; there are a lot of Barbie dolls and GI Joe types. But there are many fantastical and creative avatars. I currently look human, wear purple hair and a very loud tie-dye tee-shirt with my jeans, but hope to become stranger as my skills in creating here improve.
One acquires objects, notes and landmarks
A newbie avatar is offered a variety of “freebies”, clothing, skin, hair, and other items. For instance, most avatars quickly acquire wings, a cigar and a beverage. Figuring out how to wear the objects is usually task number 3, after learning to walk and talk.
Notes are freely distributed to bother you with explanations and help. Most newbies are too disoriented to actually read them however. But eventually you’ll find your inventory full of 200 old notes. Landmarks help you teleport (TP) from one site to another. (One telltale sign of a newbie is that they fly or walk everywhere). You can make them, or receive them, or give them to someone else.
One listens to music and goes dancing
Beyond conversing, you can attend SL concerts, dance parties, or just sightsee. There are a growing number of musicians streaming live performances into SL, some of them even good. These performances are often held in some of the best SL places. In December I attended an electronic music performance at the Alpha Space Station. This celestial auditorium is suspended above a virtual Earth. Combining music, video, and special effects it was a concert you could only attend in the Metaverse.
Yes avatars can dance, with the help of dance animations. Whether at a club or a private island, avatars can groove independently, in couples (yes, you can tango), or all together. It is oddly fun. And the music is often quite good. If it is not live, then an SL DJ or radio station is providing the music, so you can become a DJ too.
One builds and appreciates other’s builds
A “build” refers to the environments and objects created by others. I’ve done a few of my own, including a cottage and a cloister. Some of my favorites created by others are a sky geodesic dome, a French cathedral, and an island devoted to sound sculptures. Last night I spent an hour with several friends playing with a huge virtual instrument (Cantata Park I). And we got to meet and chat with the artist.
One is educated and informed
There are many SL organizations conducting classes in how to build and script in the SL platform. There are many educational institutions that have their own private areas where classes meet, such as CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion, a class being offered at
I’m hardly alone in blogging about SL. Many blogs and publications now grind out daily articles about almost every angle you can imagine; business, art, fashion, features about places and people. This includes several tabloid publications that focus obsessively on a small number of famous SL avatars, and endlessly critique and speculate about Linden Lab, its practices, plans, and future. So one can read about Second Life, and one can write about it too, and you may even find a readership (I have at least three, four if you are reading this).
One commits sex, gambling and violence
Oh, and you can buy virtual genitals and engage in cartoon porn. Every practice you don’t want to imagine happens here. But its great popularity makes me think it could actually benefit the planet; birth rates and STD’s might plummet if a large portion of the population finds their partner of choice in another avatar. So of course, there is also a lot of emotional drama, romance, and betrayal.
Casinos are a big draw in SL; not only do they let you waste your patrimony; they usually feature pole dancers and escorts. And you can get weapons and use them. There are a number of SL places for gamers to go where use of weapons is allowed and expected; residents have built gaming environments. However, many SL residents find it more entertaining to commit mayhem in the peaceful population, and are known as “griefers”. The most common assault is to try to cage another avatar and send them flying into the stratosphere, or push them into another sim. But they can also blow apart an area with a nuke, sick annoying objects onto another (the horrid “banana phone”), or try to make a few bucks by armed robbery.
One satirizes Second Life
People who prefer to see things from the cynical side abound in Second Life, as it is such fertile ground for satire. Because, face it, except for you and a select group of friends, most other people are pretty lame and SL lets them demonstrate it to the world. There is a whole subculture outing SL’s ridiculous or seamy side in blogs and YouTube, such as Machinima video “Second Life: The Virtual Utopia of the Future”, or Shiplog of the U.S.S. Prokofy Neva (Prokofy is an annoying SL personality famous for “blogorrhea”).
One builds skills and knowledge
3D virtual worlds are no longer just an entertainment tool. We will be using them. In just a few years, they will probably be as ubiquitous as wikis and blogs. Corporations will use them for distance meetings. Instructors will use them to conduct classes. Businesses will use them to help customers shop. Families and friends will use them to get together over long distances. So I am getting ready.
January 19, 2007
"AOL is getting ready to set up an area in Second Life, another in a string of big-name companies establishing a presence in this popular 3D virtual world.
The company's Second Life section will be called AOL Pointe." (the rest)
Librarian Avenger's author, Erica Olsen works at Cornell University, describes herself as a "geekbrarian".
Thursday, January 18, 2007
"First Monday is one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals on the Internet, solely devoted to the Internet. Since its start in May 1996, First Monday has published 775 papers in 129 issues; these papers were written by 917 different authors. In addition, seven special issues have appeared. "
I found it looking for Second Life articles, of which there are several. The contents of the current issue are:
by Benno Luthiger and Carola Jungwirth
Monday, January 15, 2007
From the Jessie Wars to The Electric Sheep and Anshe Chung: The Dawn of the Metaverse and the Rise of the Web 3.D Development Companies"
"From the Jessie Wars to The Electric Sheep and Anshe Chung: The Dawn of the Metaverse and the Rise of the Web 3.D Development Companies"
4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Thursday, January 18, 2007
1202 SI North
(University of Michigan campus, Ann Arbor)
Peter Ludlow, professor of philosophy and linguistics at U-M, will speak on his involvement with the virtual tabloid newspaper "The Second Life Herald." He'll also discuss the recent entry of large corporations, including IBM, Sony, Starwood, Nissan, Toyota, and GM, into the Second Life gaming environment and describe some of the companies that have emerged to do Web 3.D development work. "
I wish I could be there...
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Saturday, January 13, 2007
I attended with 2 goals; to learn about MySpace, and to learn and observe what it takes to conduct a successful presentation in this platform.
Of course I have heard of MySpace, but have not tried it out. I have a Facebook account, and assumed that they are comparable. Was I wrong! MySpace has many more options then Facebook. Angela fully supported her contention that libraries can use MySpace as an effective way to connect with their teen patrons. I will not restate Angela's points here. (visit MLC's page for more detail).
It took place at the outdoor theater at Cybrary City, where there is a speakers platform with a large screen for displaying slides, and well-placed seating. Angela (known as Semife Roar in SL) used the chat feature for her lecture.
Her chat lecture was well organized and spelled, so I think she probably had her text ready, and cut and pasted it into the chat window. She did a very good job of pacing this. This is important, since chats continually scroll up the page, and also fade. If you go too fast, people will miss it. One thing that contributed greatly to the success was the fact that for the most part, the audience refrained from their own chatting. When many avatars chat at once, the message can get lost quickly.
The slides were a good thought, but were not particularly visible. This was partly due to resolution of visuals being slow, a consequence of the large attendance, and partly due to the sizing of her visuals. These were probably PowerPoint slides imported into SL with text and screen shots. It appears to me that text and graphics need to be larger for effective display here.
Semife was interesting, substantial, and fun. She opened with a joke "this is the first presentation I have given in pajama bottoms", and got me laughing several times.
Aside from the value of the content, the program demonstrated another thing that I love about SL. It was attended by librarians from all over the country; Boston, Michigan, Illinois, S. Carolina. Where else can you mingle with such a select group while wearing your pj's?
It looks like a good resource, perhaps a starting point for the "Library Graduate Students in SL" discussion this week?
August 20th, 2006
If your question is "What are educators doing in Second Life", you'll find plenty of meat here. Participants include Linden Lab (the company that has created SL), New Media Consortium, and educators from numerous universities. The articles certainly contain ideas that would be of interest to anyone wanting to use SL for business or education.
- Case Study:International Spaceflight Museum. Katherine Cochrane
- Second Life Learning Community: A peer-based approach to involving more faculty members in Second Life. Chang Liu Ohio University
- Case Study: Camp Global Kids: a case study of bringing a global youth development model into Teen Second Life. Lori Feldman Global Kids, Inc.
- Designing an Educational Island inside Second Life for the National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL). Eric J. Hackathorn NOAA
- Putting a Second Life “Metaverse” skin on Learning Management Systems. Daniel Livingston University of Paisley & Jeremy Kemp San Jose State Univ
- Building an Interactive Science Museum in Second Life. Paul Doherty & Rob Rothfarb The Exploratorium
- Second Life as an Educational Environment: A Student Perspective. Student panel Johnson & Wales University
- Multidisciplinary Experiential Education in Second Life: A Global Approach Cheryl Carter Pepperdine University
- Image Slippage: Navigating the Dichotomies of an Academic Identity in a Non-academic VirtualWorld Sarah Brooke Robbins Ball State University
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Jane Goodall and Jackie Joyner-Kersee Join The 18th Annual National Service- Learning Conference, March 28-31, 2007, Albuquerque, New Mexico
ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This March,
Albuquerque, New Mexico, plays host to The 18th Annual Service-Learning
Conference: Beyond Borders, Beyond Boundaries -- the largest gathering of
educators, youths and policy-makers involved in the service-learning
Second Life: This year's plenary sessions will be webcast in Second
Life. Residents of the 3-D virtual world will be able to attend the
sessions in real time at the Global Kids Island in Teen Second Life and at
an additional location in Second Life's world for adults....
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
January 7, 2007
This article lists a few of the educators and institutions who are currently teaching their students in SL, like Pepperdine, and N.Y.U. It also includes some nice slides.
The article perpetuates the incorrect statement that SL has 2,000,000 users. It doesn't, over 2,000,000 have created accounts since SL began in 2004. Nearly 900,000 users have logged on in the last 60 days (and many of these represent users who have more then one avatar), and has had a peak use of over 20,000 concurrent users.
(A list of universities and colleges who have a presence here is at this link: Sim Teach Wiki - Institutions and Organizations in SL
Saturday, January 6, 2007
|Future journalist J.D. Langston posts his report of the Virtual University of Science and Arts and the first semester of fully accredited courses on their campus inside of Second Life. This is the first in a five-part series. For show notes and additional information visit kzmcradio.com.|
The Virtual University of Science and Arts doesn't really exist (yet), but the feedback of the hypothetical faculty and students is right-on.