Sunday, February 03, 2008

What is Second Life for?

A spot of casual adultery? Is that all?

Howard Rheingold's implementation of virual reality makes sense to me (video):

Who wouldn't rather sit in his garden and watch the flowers bloom, the leaves fall, the seasons come and go?

The issue I have is how to translate the clunky Second Life interface into a mass medium which has some utility for RL students.

And I haven't seen any examples of that yet.


  1. Is it SL you (think you) want to use, or a social 3D online environment?

    What features do you need the environment to have, and to do what, exactly? ;-)

  2. > Is it SL you (think you) want to use, or a social 3D online environment?

    Two good questions. I'm not taken with as as an implementation of virtual reality for several reasons. One is the commercial nature of the system, but more importantly, the Complexity and difficulty of the interface is just too great for any educational benefits that I can see. Which is not to say that there are no possible educational uses of SL, rather that I can't see any uses for it as a mass classroom tool.

    > What features do you need the environment to have, and to do what, exactly?

    I don't honestly know, and I won't until I have a reason to spend some time playing with it. And right now, I can see no reason to do that. It's the opposite to Jing ;-) Although it took a while for the uses of Jing to dawn on me, as you can see I now appreciate what a useful tool it is, and I'm using it for rapid student feedback as well as on this blog.

  3. I too have an issue with SL, both in terms of usability and "but why???", so I don't really keep up with what's going on...

    I did have an interesting chat with Peter Tidalblog Miller at a CETIS event last year, and came round to seeing how you might be able to use SL, and other environments of its ilk, as a stage - maybe for an expert to build virtual interactive exhibits (that students can visit later) and demo it as machinima, but I'm not convinced that SL is necessarily the best place to do that...

    ...there is an increasing number of alternative 3D online sandbox environments (vastpark and multiverse are next up on my virtual world itinerary) as well as the game engines and modding tools available on commercial games...

    ...then there's Google Earth/sketchup, of course (it'd be interesting if make3d had a sketchup or opengl export?;-)

    Ho hum... no time to play with any of this though, unfortunately...

    ...which is why I rely on the imo best-of-breed Tidalblog to keep what's possible and interesting in SL on my horizon...

  4. Yes, I think Peter has a valid case for using SL, but he's put in a HUGE amount of work on it for a very specific purpose, and I can't see that I (or most other people) would ever be able to translate that to a mass education environment (unless the interface and the threshold effort radically changes.

  5. I have mixed views about SL.

    I truly love Jing though. Thanks so much for posting items using this.

    Apps like Jing have pretty much limitless usages. I've alerted Bora Zirkovic at PLoS and the next time I leave a comment about a PLoS Paper, I'll do so using Jing.

    BTW AJC, check out the latest "you suck at photoshop" skit.

  6. Thanks for the heads up. Donnie Hoy is my internet video idol since ze frank quit :-)