Today’s Adventure in Second Life

As an assignment for EdTech 532 (Educational Games and Simulations), I was to explore a role-playing community in Second Life. I can’t say I like role-playing games, but I decided to visit a pirate village.

 

After browsing around a bit, I found a magical painting. Touching it took me to a port out in the middle of the sea where I was told the story of John King. For a non-role-player like myself, it was nice to get a bit of background to play off of.

 

 

I strolled through the town and found several beautiful spots. This was my favorite–an amazing forest with butterflies, colorful mushrooms, and a twisted tree. I can imagine it is a spot characters may come for hand fastings.

Searching for a character to talk to about this pirate island, I only found a rat that started following me around. I had to fly to get away from it.

I decided to take a more proactive role in finding characters by using the world map. No one but myself was on the island.

I returned to visit on two other occasions, but never found anyone there. I would like to return sometime with a group to check out this game. It looks like a fun adventure involving searching for an underground monster. I’ve never played a game with a group of people in a virtual world. This could be very interesting.

 

 

 

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Cruising in Second Life

Today’s quest took me to the SS Galaxy, a cruise ship in Second Life. There are many activities on board including fishing contests, whale watching, sky diving, and a rock wall. I’m sure there’s a pool, somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. You’ll see some of my mini-vacation “photos” on the right. The purpose of this destination in Second Life is to enjoy a virtual cruise. One can buy or rent a state room and “live” here for as long as they have Linden dollars to pay for their space. I can imagine it could be an interesting way to relieve stress. After a long, stressful day, embark on a cruise ship, check into your stateroom, and enjoy the view!

The place is HUGE! I wish I could have experienced the caloric burn that would have taken place had I been running around a real cruise ship.

What I discovered here is similar to what I’ve discovered throughout Second Life. The place is a huge expanse with stunning views. I could easily pour hours into exploring the place. I’m stunned by the beauty and creativity that went into building all of the locations. I mean…where else can one go t0 whale watch and wind surf in a matter of minutes and not even get wet!?

But I find Second Life to be a very lonely place. If I visited Second Life with friends, I might have a different experience. Most places I have been I have rarely run into other people, except for the newbie areas. Today was no different. The only “people” I saw were animated objects to click on to receive more information.

This destination sponsor’s events. There wasn’t one going on at the time of my visit. I’ll landmark this place and visit again sometime when more people are likely to be here.

If I new people in this virtual world, Second Life would be a fun place to meet and chat. It’s like a chat room with an excellent view. My last snapshot below shows one area on the SS Galaxy where people can meet. I think it would be a fun place to meet. So comfy and beautiful. But, if the conversations were good and real, the scenery would quickly fade and it wouldn’t be much different from being in a chat room. At least, that’s what I would guess.

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EdTech in Second Life

Today’s adventure involved exploring EdTech

communities in Second Life. These

communities included:

Since it is so very easy to wander off the beaten path, I ended up in other communities, too, as you can see from my teleporting history. Some were my choice. Some…well…not so much.

If you are interested in going on a similar adventure, I highly recommend that you start at the place I visited last, the AECT Destination. This location includes a teleport map that allows you to choose specific places to visit.

AECT Teleport Map

I discovered that the AECT hosted part of their 2011 convention in Second Life in November. I wish I had been aware of this event. Some of the sessions involved presentations of research in virtual worlds.

In my wanderings, I came across presentation boards that must have been from the convention, though I didn’t know it at the time. These presentation boards were sometimes helpful, but most often not. The presentation boards showed something similar to powerpoint presentations. It took me a while to realize I had to click on the refresh button to reset the presentation to the first slide. If the creator of the presentation had created a title slide, that helped me understand what I was looking at. But, even so, many of the slides were notes that only made sense if someone was there to give the presentation. A few of the presentations provided notes that were available by clicking on an object next to the presentation board. I appreciated this greatly!

Here’s an example of a presentation board.

Example Presentation Screen

This is what it looked like when I arrived. Only after clicking on the refresh button below the presentation did I discover that this was a presentation titled “Online Learning: A Global Perspective.”
Notice how blurry it is. That’s not just because it is a screen shot. This is often how presentation boards look. You have to zoom in on it to get the text to be any clearer. Then you are looking at a small portion of the slide, rather than the entire slide.
I suppose my age is showing, but I find trying to view text and presentations in Second Life frustrating. Maybe there are other options I’m unaware of as a newbie to Second Life that would make large text displays easier to read. I certainly hope so. The option I would like is to be able to click on the presentation and have it take up my entire screen. I could flip through it and read it without having to squint. Then, by hitting the Escape key, I would return back to the view from my avatar’s perspective. If you happen to know that this, or a similar feature exists, please let me know.
When I discovered the ICT Library, I was impressed,

ICT Library

by this bookcase. It looked like it held some helpful information. You can’t see it in the screen shot, and I could barely see it in person, but there’s text hovering over some books. If you click on highlighted books, you receive information and a link to a site with more information. Sadly, this resource has not been kept up to date. Some of the links were extremely helpful. I bookmarked them for later review. But others no longer worked or took me to what seemed to be unintended places. This is one aspect of technology that is often overlooked. It’s easy to think that once something is created it will always continue to function the same way online. But with updates to websites constantly occurring, links often change, content is updated, and what you thought was a link to an educational site could become almost anything.
On the second floor of the library was my greatest

Free Scripts in the ICT Library

find. (At least, I expect it might be helpful later this semester.) I discovered a resource of free scripts. These scripts will be helpful if I want to build my own setting and/or presentation in Second Life.
I haven’t spent much time in Second Life yet. So far, I’ve discovered a lot of ads, beautiful scenery, and places where I could wander for days. I have not reached a level of engagement yet because I’m spending way too much time navigating and not enough time doing something I consider useful. As my time and experiences in Second Life increase, I expect my engagement in increase.
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