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Archive for the ‘Second Life’ Category

Lisa, one of my favourite Maritime bloggers, tagged me with the 8 things you didn’t know about me meme so here goes. Here are 8 things you probably didn’t know about me …

  1. I was once a driver for the Royal Canadian Air Farce. My mom worked at The Playhouse in Fredericton when I was growing up so she used to call me when something had to be done and there was nobody to do it. I did everything from usher to tend bar to build props for magicians and pick up people at the airport … which is how I got to be a driver for the Air Farce.
  2. I was left-handed until I was about 4 or 5 years old. During a family camping trip, I watched my dad start the campfire with lighter fluid and thought it looked pretty easy. So while my mom & dad were sleeping I literally poured fuel on an open flame. I don’t have any scars but I spent a month in bandages so I’m now right-handed.
  3. Like Lisa, I give birth to whoppers. All three of my children weighed in at over 9 pounds. (Lisa, I bow down to you.)
  4. I spent a year working as an au pair in Paris, France. I grew up in a small place so living in another country was like taking the red pill. It completely changed the way I see things, and I’ve felt a bit like a fish out of water ever since.
  5. red pill or blue pill
  6. I hate housework but I like to wash dishes. While you might not guess that (especially if you saw our kitchen), it would come as a complete shock to my mother. I just find it really meditative.
  7. I’m a research geek. I have a pile of research papers on my night table that’s half a foot tall. My favourite is a paper about teens and IM. I’ve read it four times.
  8. I’m a major fashion hound in Second Life. On any given day I may look like this or this or this.
  9. sl_carolyn_2sl_carolyn_3sl_carolyn_4
  10. I’m an introvert. It’s funny because I get a lot of quizzical looks when I say that. I’m the kind of introvert who needs a good friend close by to have the courage to be extroverted … and then watch out. 🙂

I’m tagging some terrific bloggers that I know in person: Ian, Chris (aka Bob), Paul, Waye, Roger, Rebecca, Snips, StarHopper, & Doris. (I know that’s nine & I’m only supposed to tag eight, but I’m interested in what they all might write.) Lisa also tagged my husband. Hmmm … I wonder what he’ll write.

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graham attwell

“The whole experience of developing and implementing elearning has been profoundly bad. What we’ve essentially tried to do is to replicate physical forms of learning so we try to take the classroom, the textbook and the teacher and replicate them all in software … If you ask me a different question, what’s the future of using technology for learning, then I think it’s absolutely fantastic. We’re beginning to see the possibilities through social networking and multi-user virtual environments, things like Facebook. That’s the real potential for exchanging ideas and building knowledge. It doesn’t look much like the elearning we’re used to.”

~ Graham Attwell on the future of elearning

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viva la revolucion

Virtual worlds like Second Life are fun but when I show it to faculty I often hear, “I like this but what can I do with it?”  Why go through the hassle of learning a new technology if you can’t do something with it that you can’t do already?  Good question.

Two summers ago, researchers at Pennsylvania State University offered a 5-week course to a group of high school students to explore issues of identity, culture, stereotypes and prejudice first-hand.  Their findings are in the current issue of Innovate that I mentioned yesterday.  Students were asked to change their appearance in There and Second Life (for example, a boy would become a girl) and then to discuss their experiences.  The reactions are interesting.  Boys noticed that people were more courteous to them when they were girls.  One student noticed that other avatars scattered when he approached them as an uglier version of himself.

In real life, we can’t become someone else at the flick of a switch.  In avatar-based environments like Second Life, you can.  And when you do, you have endless opportunities to see the world from another point of view.  That’s one reason why virtual worlds are worth exploring.

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This made me laugh … and laugh … and laugh.

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A friend sent along a couple of links. The first is a link to Mitch Kapor’s comment this week that virtual worlds (like Second Life) are becoming mainstream. I love the quote

What’s driving this and why it’s so darned disruptive is this shared sense of a few thousand crazy people thinking that it is really important and a really really big deal, even though they can’t fully articulate it and don’t know where it’s going.

I took my first steps in Second Life last year at about this time. I remember thinking at the time that this was the most amazing thing I’d seen since I first opened my first gray-background web page on Netscape Navigator, but I couldn’t quite figure out why. I get together with a small group of colleagues in Second Life each week. We often talk about how Second Life blurs the boundaries between the virtual and the real. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes. I don’t know of many other spaces that have that kind of impact.

The second link is to a video. This short film walks into a hypothetical future. (I love the part about Lawrence Lessig becoming Secretary of Justice. Now THAT’S a future I want to see.) Take a look. What do you think? Is this how you see our future? Is this the future you want?

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Third Life?

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Over the past year, a growing number of my colleagues and I have been exploring Second Life on our own to learn more about how we might use it to support learning.  The community that this group has formed is one of the most vibrant online learning communities that I’ve known.  We’ve learned plenty together.  Last week, we gave a presentation on Second Life to a fairly large group at our college.  Check it out.

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