Monday, February 18, 2013

Second Life: Another Perspective on Virtual Reality

        Second Life is a virtual world of imagination. Locations, avatars, and ideas are integrated into a realistic 3D setting. This computer-based, simulated multi-media environment enables users to assume unlimited roles in the shape of an avatar and graphically interact with other individuals in user-created worlds. More than 1 million users sign-on per month and it generates over $75 million per year in sales. These sales include rentals in Second Life as well as the sale of virtual goods for avatars (i.e., clothes, houses, decorations.)
         Creating an account is the first step in exploring Second Life. It is simple to create your account and define yourself with an avatar. You can begin by exploring the many lands that populate Second Life for free. Later you may want to create your own space by buying a plot of land for a minimal cost. You can create your own land of imagination and elaborate your dreams in ways that can only be explained through experience. 
            Second Life is actively used in education. It is estimated that as many as 300 higher education organizations teach courses or conduct research in Second Life. Here is a directory of academic organizations who have a presence.  Eighth grade through twelfth grade schools had a presence in Second Life until 2011 when Linden closed the Teen Second Life Grid.
            Innovative technology has been integrated to the training sessions in many of the companies and organizations. Companies use Second Life for product demos, virtual  fairs, or 3D presentation of data. Virtual training can be presented in a gaming format. Virtual learning environments can be enriched with embedded Youtube videos, slide shows, and even links to websites outside of Second Life.
Want to get started? Here is a blog posting giving step-by-step instructions on creating an account in Second Life:  http://goo.gl/nBL1Z

Web Resources on Second Life in Education:
Image: Some rights reserved by John "Pathfinder" Lester
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