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Gaming in Second Life and in General January 22, 2008

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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sl2   Another interesting comment came about from our first Second Life class meeting.

My son (17) showed an interest in the “game” world, how do you keep students out of areas they should not be in? As it was we had non-students showing up [during the meeting] . . . how do you keep your students from meeting people not associated with the class? There’s a distraction you don’t see in a normal environment. Are there parental controls on SnL?

As for keeping young folks out of the game worlds, that’s an issue. There is a Teen Grid though. As educators, we can subject ourselves to a security check for $40 US and gain access to work on K-12 projects. Warning: all your avatar info (and inventory) moves to the Teen Grid and you cannot return to the main grid. So it is best, if you are going to work on the teen level, to create an additional account and avatar.

As for gaming – there are also other things like orgies and high stakes gambling at some of the mature islands. It isn’t all educational, that’s for sure. Teen grid is a response to that. Actually, I am passionately against gambling for money but not for any moral or religious reasons. I find it an enormous waste of time and mental energy. I also find that most people entering into the lure of easy money are about to have their wallets lightened a little.

As for students entering the area in error, some of these were valid intrusions by well meaning mentors or room owners. It is possible to teleport to sections of buildings accessible only by teleportation within the island itself. That might be a solution to intrusions.


First Time in Second Life January 21, 2008

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.

sl   We had our first class meeting in Second Life last night and one of my insightful students wrote, in general terms:

From what we saw last night in our first meeting in 2nL, when do we stop learning the tool and start using it? Do the students come to class already knowing how to navigate all the controls etc? Do you teach a full class on just using the interface?

It was an exhauting meeting since we had to learn how to chat with each other and most of us were still looking around and exploring. They were all such valid questions. There is no way a professor is going to begin a class unless and until all the students have some basic understanding of the environment. That is a major learning curve for some and a real challenge for some computers. One solution adopted by some of us was to use the microphones.

I think at least two sessions of just working out the bugs before any actual real classes might barely cover it.