Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Second Life

I'm going to be talking a little bit about Second Life (SL) at the next researcher session, on 8th September. Ridvan Ata, who is researching teaching in SL, should also be joining us (I now co-supervise Ridvan with Julia Davies, in the School of Education). On the right you see me in SL (where my name is Sheila Yoshikawa) doing some washing-up.

I've given quite a few talks about SL, so I won't go into too much detail, since if you are interested, you can follow it up afterwards (or even beforehand).

SL is a 3D virtual world, in which you are represented by an avatar. You can sign up for free, but you need a special browser on your computer (also free, but CICS won't support it, so it is only installed in the smaller Departmental lab). If you want to customise your own SL space, though, you need to "rent" land. We have our own island, Infolit iSchool, which is paid up to September 2012.

This is a presentation in which I gave some basics and then talked about educational applications. You need to go to slide 13 to get the introduction to SL (I start by talking about my approach to teaching more generally):

People do all sorts of things in SL: it isn't a game, since it doesn't have a predefined goal or plot (although you can use it e.g. for role playing games). Most of the stuff in SL has been made and sold or given away by other people using SL.
I use SL mainly for:
- Teaching
- Sharing research results
- Organising events
- Attending events
- Collecting research data
- Making contacts
- Shopping
- Doing fashion shoots
- Interior design
- Wandering about and sight seeing.
So this is a mixture of work and play. I have 3000 pictures on my flickr stream which are mostly of SL. For example, this set http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/sets/72157624252095321/ documents an ESRC research seminar held last June, and this set http://www.flickr.com/photos/23396182@N00/sets/72157624080186940/with/6056007865/ has pictures of my SL homes
In July I gave a talk at the New Literacies research conference ("New Methods for New Literacies") held in the School of Education about Researching by/with/from Second Life. I thought I would draw on some of that material for the session on 8th September. I produced a short video about ways in which research results can be presented in SL, which I hope to show on 8th September, but I also embed it below.

I have become interested in issues to do with collecting and analysing visual data in SL, and I intend to say a little about this aspect.

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