Wandering through Second Life the other day I went to visit KJ Hax at SLolar. He was expecting a new intake of residents and had a party set out for them. They were late in coming so he invited me in to share some virtual food. After a while, more SLers started turning up and joined us around the table. One very talented person decided we needed a dance floor and set about making one complete with music. The next thing I know we are all on the dance floor dancing to 'Another one bites the dust'. It was a strange feeling. I was chatting with people and dancing in SL all the time in fits of laughter in my 1st life. I must say I am not one for the night club scene and rarely take the trouble to get dressed up for a night on the town, so it was great to be able to dance all from the comfort of my house in my 'jammies'. Now this occasion made me see the need to have a change of wardrobe. So today I went out and purchased a dress for $25 Linden dollars, the currency of SL.
This was another strange experience. Shopping for something for my avatar. There were some really way out things and the opportunity to take risks and experiment with your appearance. But it is strange how I didn't want to do that. I chose a dress that I would like in RL, I have made an avatar who resembles (very loosely) myself in RL. My SL life has really become an extension of my RL.
Now this is the educational part of my rambling... Wes Fryer often mentions in his podcasts the concept of a 'walled garden'. He talks about students experimenting with blogging and podcasting in a controlled environment such as a school server. In this way students can learn how to be ethical users and creators of internet content before being let out into the big bad world. A bit like blogging with training wheels. Now I have never been a fan of this concept. I always thought that we should teach students out where the world is. I am changing my mind.
Second Life has a lot going on that you would not like to be exposed to. Whatever is bad in RL is happening in SL. You need to be even more careful because this is a new world and you don't know how things work. It is a bit like being in a foreign country where even the signs are in a foreign language. I am exploring SL in a walled garden. I am spending all my time in Eduisland II where I feel safe and I am sure that I will encounter nothing I couldn't handle. As I am getting my feet and understanding the world more, I feel a bit more brave to venture outside Eduisland II. I am starting to see the merit in a walled garden for those educators and students who would like to get their feet wet before plunging into the internet ocean. What do you think?
Blogged with Flock