Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A day in my Second Life

I have had an interesting couple of days exploring my second life.  I noticed a large group of people gathered so I went and joined them. There was an interesting mix of people from America and Canada all having a general discussion about education.  Most people present were bloggers and all were in a classroom of some sort ranging from elementary through to adult education.  The good thing about hanging out on Eduisland 2 is that you are guaranteed to meet other educators eager to talk to you about teaching and learning in their context.

After a slice of pizza we discussed the edubloggercon that was held before NECC this year.  In discussion it came up that having a Blogger's Cafe in Second Life would be a great idea.  Ryan Bretag has kindly offered his space in SL and is starting to furnish it.

On the wall inside the Blogger's Cafe, images of different blogger's avatars have been mounted. You can click on these images to visit their blogs.  It is all very exciting.  It is another way that the people who are having the conversations can connect with each other.  It is amazing how a virtual world can feel so real.  When I am chatting with someone face to face in SL it makes me feel as though I am really in their presence.  Which is impossible as most of the people I talk to are a world away.

Closer to home though, I spent some time showing a fellow Kiwi around Second LIfe today.  I very elegantly fell out of the sky and a person came rushing up to me and called me 'Jane' which surprised me as my avatar name is Jojash McmIllan.  I answered yes and who should be in front of me but Rachel Boyd.  We went for a walk around and I showed her all the sites in eduisland 2.  It is the first time I have gotten to talk with Rachel 'in person' since she is in Nelson and I'm in Dunedin.

But the real surprise of the day for me and the pivotal moment in my thinking about SL came when I bumped into a group of people on Eduisland 4.  They invited me over for a chat and it turns out that they were a group of people involved in handicapped education and were building a space to meet.  I was talking to one person and she told me how she lives her life in a wheelchair but when she comes into second life she can run, walk and even fly.  I know the buzz I got when I first tried out flying in SL, and she said that she got that same buzz from walking.  Now this really got me thinking.  Second Life could be great for people who are restricted in some way or another.  People who cannot leave the house, or have disabilities can meet people in SL and have company.  I know I enjoy the conversations I have in SL and I'm not restricted at all.  Imagine someone who has limited chances to leave their home...

Blogged with Flock


Ryan Bretag said...

It was great meeting you Jane and I look forward to continued conversations!

If you have ideas for the Bloggers Cafe, please pass them along :-)

Rachel Boyd said...

Thanks again Jane for "showing" me around the place; I indeed am certainly not elegant in SL either; I can't seem to run nor fly without some form of disaster happening along the way!

Anyway, I will be back and will further explore all those places you took me to and more.

I sometimes have to pinch and remind myself that it's actually real people in there... it feels very much like a game of "Doom" to me... but meeting and having big chats with people like yourself reminds me that I indeed am in the company of real people and real conversations!

KJ Hax said...

Jane! Thanks for coming by last night and I'm so glad you enjoyed the social. We were expecting about 20 new "Resident SLolars" to show up for our July opening ceremonies but only one did! In case we did not explain, Laelia Laval and I are offering free living space in the facility for one month for any K-20 educator who would like it. Basically we provide a place to call home, a supportive environment, meetings, info on the best free resources in SL, etc. Basically the idea is to help people explore SL and its use in education. We charge nothing for this service, but ask that participants share about their experience via a blog or other means (as you are doing here!). If you want more information about our program, visit this Google Group and sign up:

We are full up for July but the August group is forming right now. In the meantime you are welcome to attend the functions we do have!

Hope to see you again soon,

KJ Hax (Kevin Jarrett)
Walden University

Colleen said...

Hi Jane,

Could you tell me more about this group of disabled people on EduIsland 4? I know someone who would have a keen interest in that.

Colleen (aka Kristy Flanagan)