I played around with Second Life yesterday. There has been much talk about how Second Life can be used to enhance the teaching and learning experience so I thought I would take a look. As a newbie to 3D worlds, it took me some time to set up my avatar and figure out how to make it walk, sit, fly, etc. I liked how I could alter my avatar anyway that I liked (i.e. body shape, hair colour, skin colour, etc). I also liked how I was immediately on Orientation Island. I liked how the island was structured as a learning environment with popup textual help documentation showing the basic steps. I appreciated the linear design (I had to follow the arrows on the island in order to go through all the initial steps), as it prohibited me from getting lost on the island.
After finishing the tasks on Orientation Island, I began to explore on my own by typing in various search queries on the map and teleporting myself to the locations that seemed interesting. The world is quite vast and a newbie can easily get lost if they start to roam aimlessly as I did. I didn't run into any 'educational' sites but that is probably because most of them have restricted access. I did walk through Las Vegas and thought the replicated buildings were quite impressive.
Finally, I ventured over to Buchanan Island (restricted site as well), built by UBC's Faculty of Arts ISIT unit for Arts faculty and students to showcase their work and use it for the students' learning experience. At first, I got lost on the island as I wasn't sure how to move from building to building but I finally figured out that flying was the best way to travel.
If only we had wings in our first lives to help us move across distance at rapid speeds.
Final note, a colleague of mine tried running Second Life on his new mac book pro but it kept crashing. He thought this might be due to the intel mac processor but we're not sure.
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This is a community blog for the Instructional Development unit at Faculty of Arts, the Univerity of British Columbia.