I used to really hate Second Life. (Wikipedia entry on Second Life for those unaware of it.) However, over the past few months, that has changed. I still don’t really ever foresee myself creating an avatar and diving in – after all, I don’t have time to fully explore my first life. I also find that there are huge technological aspects to Second Life that make it impracticable for the computer novice and generally my goal in using technology is to expand access, not limit it. And then finally there’s the fact that I get motion sickness if I look at Second Life stuff for too long. Like “need to lay on the floor and hold my stomach” motion sickness. It’s a pretty bad scene.
That being said, I have come to respect Second Life and understand that it may have some really neat applications in an educational context. Fortunately, I have many colleagues here at UK who are fans of Second Life and have been exploring these applications so I don’t have to. On March 20, the Official University of Kentucky Island in Second Life will be opening. Here’s a video with some pretty cool scenes of it, including the awesome looking virtual William T. Young Library.
There’s also a blog with updates on the project here.
You may notice in the video a woman wearing Victorian garb dancing. I’m not sure about Second Life protocol and if it’s cool to reveal who that person is in real life, but I know her. (At least I think I know who that is.) She’s wearing those clothes because apparently in Second Life there’s a group somewhat similar to Society for Creative Anachronism – but not the SCA – where people create old fashioned clothes for their avatars and SCA sort of stuff in Second Life. So, just to be clear, not only have they created a virtual version of themselves, but they also then take an extra step of doing the SCA thing. Virtually.
That is so wacky it almost makes me want to join Second Life.