Learning and Research in Second Life: What’s so different about SL?
As part of the Learning and Research in Second Life workshop we ran during this year’s Association of Internet Researchers’ conference in Vancouver, we asked the participants to discuss how Second Life was different to and the same as other (perhaps offline) learning environments. Every group also kindly provided examples of how the space could be best used for learning purposes. Check out the photos from the workshop here and here!
What does SL allow us to do?
- engage in forms of openness, even though not completely anonymous
- replacement for other forms of gui – to get rid of the interface (IE, google)
- provides a very technologically advanced medium to do what it you do in the first life
How is SL different?
- assume different identity; a lot of the more interesting behaviours are those in which person behind avatar is creating the online personal in their own image
- status is different – not replicated online; don’t have same reaction a flattening of traditional hierarchies (because have other space) – easy to buy your way to the top: impressive visually. If you have stuff, you have attention and power
- extreme transparency
- drop-ins who aren’t part of the classroom
- language becomes a major marker of difference
- to have a Second Life means using additional tools – not just on/off, using this platform requires more involvement
- physical constraints are removed; can only have prims to a certain size and avatars to a certain size
- Things disappear; the ephemerality of it is different – items disappear or are mutated, which allows people to share the creativity over a long period of time
- Opportunity to fail with fewer repercussions
What must we think about?
- aspects of the interface normalise and regulate the individual: narratives about ritual; how people engage, whether we’re creating structure in which movements from trad ritual are produced – visceral identification enhanced by and produced by the interface
- perceptions of Second Life can frame how learners look at the experience (everyday life or game – looking for the game: frame as a platform for almost everything and inform of all the activities possible in Second Life)
- Sl is a social construction of reality. Representations of needs and motivations of the people who come, and how they’ve changed the space, and how the space ahs changed their practices
- have to find a demand, is there customer, what’s required to do it?
- Use of freebies as an introduction to Second Life – ensure the permissions are set to copy/modify. Try to give something appropriate, and be careful what you enable
- Voice etiquette: quality of conversation
- How do you learn when it’s chaos? Not the right tool for everyone, or all contexts. Learning is motivated: think about your reasons for taking a learning experience into SL
- When create a learning space, must take into account what people are comfortable with, expectations and styles of learning would be different. This necessitates the self-reflection of the educational community
- Are we trying to impose things that we’re already doing perfectly well offline?
- Can test sl to see if it works as a conventional model of learning (by bringing existing paradigms directly), or what does the environment do for learning in general? E.g., playful learning styles, how can that change instruction itself? Is it unexpected and unplanned? Isn’t this a valuable form of learning?
What are some examples of good use?
- Model of making virtual world as business – can ju Using sl as a place to set up a biz and run it (Second Life year is 6 weeks)
- Parcel aspects out to different people who are focussing on it: design, business practice etc
- Student self-governance: how much do we need to put walls/expect a student to handle: how distracted can students get and how to incorporate it into the experience
- Copybot – copyright owners: making people a copyright owner is a great benefit: gives opportunity to try things out.
- Demos for your products: don’t want to take the 250l risk; new paradigms for advertising: part of the Second Life culture – get a demo version to start with and try before you buy.
- Norm setting is very important in learning environments – tool oriented: understanding what’s out there; field trip to a sandbox (see the process; a chaotic place).
- Learning the network, learning to network – who has these things we want?
Finding the right people to meet is to learn (networking)
- Informal learning: meeting other avatars from different cultures and backgrounds, learning how to interact within the cultural norms: intellectual processes
- What can you really know about someone online? Create an object about what you think and have people respond.