A new chapter

My interest in virtual worlds, and education, in them has been seriously re-energised by the happenings in the metaverse over the last few weeks.  As some of you will remember I spent a great deal of time and energy 2007-2009 as an evangelist for the use of virtual worlds to design and create engaging, exciting and useful educational opportunities for tertiary students.  (Bets used to be taken as to whether I could survive a meeting without mentioning Second Life! )

My focus was primarily New Zealand but I was ever conscious of and grateful to the global education community pioneers that I met through Second Life. Channelling some of that energy (and a lot of other people’s energy too!) into fund-raising allowed us to successful complete the SLENZ project and show others that this was not only virtual it was also real.

Since the end of that project which has brought so much well-deserved recognition to some outstanding people in particular Aaron Griffiths the talented chief developer for  SLENZ, I have been immersed in the realities of returning to full time teaching and Second Life has just ticked along in the wings of my life.

The totally unexpected (to me at least!) news of the loss of the educational discount and the need to review where we would go with our two islands, Koru and Kowhai encouraged me to re-engage with the wider virtual worlds community.  This re-energised me in a way that I would never have imagined.

On Oct 6th I posted to the SLED list – here is a clip

I won’t be leaving SL yet although I think we are likely to scale back on our SL investment when our islands are due for renewal in August 2011 but I will be continuing to explore (probably with a little more urgency now!) the opportunities that initiatives such as Scott’s can bring. My fear is that if an educational diaspora from SL becomes a reality then we will all lose more than we individually gain.  In that scenario it seems to me that it will be the ability to hypergrid between all our scattered islands on whatever platform we individually choose to build them that will transform our community into a true world for education.
I see little point in wasting energy in either whining or protesting even though my own teaching practice in SL was set to expand next year.  LL is what it is and I will be forever grateful to Phillip and all his colleagues for providing me with a vision for the future of education and the opportunity to take some small often faltering steps on the yellow brick road.  I intend to continue to teach in SL but with changes such as the viewer, display names and finally pricing,  I have finally been forced to accept that it will be only one of the MUVEs that I will use and that sooner rather than later it may no longer even be the preferred one.

My experiences over the days since then have confirmed by initial feelings and so as the new chapter begins, a new story unfolds……I will be blogging again much more regularly now 🙂

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2 responses to “A new chapter

  1. Hi Clare,
    Great to see this renewed activity and promise. I accessed the NZVWG and applied for a username. An area that continues to interest me is actual modeling and training to track epidemics and epidemiology related studies. As yet, I have not identified this sort of teaching activities. I am planning to build and deploy at least one teaching activity for my research methods class next semester (2011), and I quite like the promise of NZVWG. I think I am going to use the RealXtend viewer for my work (here is the URL:
    http://www.realxtend.org/)

    Arin Basu
    Christchurch

  2. arwennastardust

    Thanks Arin – good to be in touch again. I am currently using the Imprudence viewer as it allows for easy up and downloads and we are busy downloading some of our stuff from Second Life and importing to both NZVWG and JokaydiaGrid. I will be posting more on all of this shortly.

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