Monday, December 19, 2011

Second Life

It was with great trepidation that I ventured into Second Life and I have to admit we had a rocky start. My good friend who works in mental health cursed the day Second LIfe began as a means to creating further complications to the minds of her mentally ill patients. Her experience involved patients misunderstanding the blur between reality and virtual reality, they commonly already find the distinction difficult and online games have only amplified the problem. It was with these thoughts and my own lack of interest in online gaming that I took on Second Life and first impressions were not good.

I spent a whole day struggling with entering Second Life, not it's fault but me and my new computer. I realised that part of the Second Life screen was hidden by items on my desktop and so I had been trying fruitlessly all that time when I needed to login and get into Second LIfe. Then my sound stopped working right as I got into the tutorial, so frustrating to know that people are talking to you and you can't hear or respond to gain the understanding you need in those critical first moments.

As you can see from this snapshot my MAC screen is blocking some of the Second LIfe icons:

What I liked about Second Life:
I did find the conversing great. This was new (not available in the other forms of social media I use) and I loved being able to connect with others via speech, I also liked that your voice was clear and not automated.
I also learnt to sit and stand, fly, run and check my view from a number of angles. With practise these things would be second nature. I should have printed off the instructions and had them right beside me for easy viewing while I was still a "newbie".
The graphics are incredible and I like the music. Quick to load, clear to look at, it is a far cry from any video gaming I have used in the past.

Here I am sitting around having a chat:

I was disappointed when I got to other world like Eduscape that I couldn't find anything and felt it was kind of empty. I felt a great sense of comfort when I first visited Australia. However I then became a bit critical and felt some things weren't accurate representations and if they are being sold as something and people around the world are viewing this, does it need to be more real to life?
Here I am hovering above the Opera House:

In terms of using this it has a lot of potential for providing information and engaging students. However I'm just hearing the warning bells. There is such a level of anonymity that you can enter into this with. There are areas that are risky, it feels very addictive, all the avatars appeared "sexed" up and unrealistic.

Downloading and installing Second Life was reasonably easy, however it used up all my Internet download and that was a real annoyance.

Here I am, with my chosen avatar, at the CSU site:

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