Friday, October 13, 2006

Second Life Library opens

Second Life Library grand opening 1I managed to log-in this morning and caught about 10mins of the SL Library opening event. Lorelei was speaking (i.e typed out and those in SL were reading as she typed it). This was what I caught before I had to log-off and leave home for work:
"Why are we involved? Previous speakers have addressed this. It is the way of the future. We need to be there. Most of our librarians are not gamers. Students can sit do wn and do this with no problem whatsoever. A bit harder of us who have not done gaming. I did not want us to be a year down the road.

We have a bit more difficulty doing some things, struggling to figure out what we can do and how we can do it... there are so many possibilities. There is a profesor who teaches a Japanese religion course... He could teach in an authentic Shinto temple... What better way for librarians to be there and to help them.

These are the kind of synergies we can see happening. We also want to be able to help develop some of this.

Second Life Library opening 2
My first experience attending a talk in the Second Life environment. What's interesting was how we tend to carry over some habits and customs from Real Life (RL) into Second Life (SL). For instance, I was careful not to bump into the participants already there, or stand up and block the view of the avatar behind me (but my mastery over the avatar controls are still weak so I might have bumped or blocked some 'people').

I suspect from the presenter's point of view, when you are delivering a speech remotely, it helps when you can see -- by the number of avatars present -- how many people are logged in and listening to you.

Oh, I bumped into Kevin there as well. Chatted briefly by using the IM mode so that our conversation wouldn't be picked up by others in the proximity (i.e. disturb their "reading" of the talk).

I am beginning to see glimpses of the possibilities that Lorelei mentioned. A few days ago, there was a discussion held at Info Island, where Henry VIII (yeah, that English king) or rather, an Avatar representing Henry VIII talked, about his life and how biographers have villified him. I didn't attend that session but I'm sure it would have been a lot more interesting to see a simulation of Henry VIII and listen to the presentation, than to hear it from a lecturer talk about the king.

At this point, SL certainly will not be able to replace RL presentations. That being said, it is one heck of a tool to enhance learning experiences. I'm not surprised then, that the Singapore Ministry of Education mentioned this when they announced that they will co-develop high tech schools:
THE Ministry of Education (MOE) will be working with an international research team to develop 15 "Schools of the Future" by 2015.

This list will consist of existing schools that have used teaching approaches involving Interactive Digital Media to develop an innovative learning environment.

In the School of the Future, science experiments may be conducted through online simulations, while students may learn about the laws physics by racing virtual cars and interacting with their classmates and teachers through immersive virtual environments, such as those found in popular computer game Second Life.

Source: Thursday October 12, 2006. FUTURE SMART: MOE TO CO-DEVELOP HIGH-TECH SCHOOLS. International team to help produce visionary institutions by 2015. Channel NewsAsia (see also

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