welcome to second life

Valencia has been busily acquiring property to help accommodate our burgeoning student population. You probably know that we’re planning for new campuses in southeast and southwest Orlando. But the real estate I’m referring to is virtual and resides on Second Life, where the college has a building and is in the process of buying another.

I visited Second Life, and to be perfectly honest I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around it yet. Of course I’m not the target demographic. But it’s intriguing to watch learning change with each new wave of technology. I’ve read about SL over the past few years, as virtual real estate moguls amassed real dollars. I’m not sure if the recession has hit the online real estate market. (For details on the SL campus, see the very end of this post.)

As I learn more, I’ll be sure to share aspects you might find interesting.

And in the meantime, I’m going to continue trying to figure out my first life.

Above is a short tour through the college’s first campus.

If you have no clue what I’m talking about but would like to learn more, I’m including links to a few articles that offer insight. (If you’re not a NYT subscriber, you may need to register for free online access.) After you’ve had a chance to check them out, let us know what you think about Second Life learning.

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/13/philip-rosedale-answers-your-second-life-questions/?scp=3&sq=%22second%20life%22&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/arts/music/18seco.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=%22second%20life%22&st=cse

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/second-life-and-real-life/?scp=5&sq=%22second%20life%22&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/business/15views.html?scp=6&sq=%22second%20life%22&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/22/us/22virtual.html?scp=28&sq=%22second%20life%22&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/education/edlife/07innovation.html?scp=10&sq=%22second%20life%22&st=cse

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/02/22/an-experiment-in-virtual-living/?scp=21&sq=%22second%20life%22&st=cse

More details: The Valencia Community College campus in Second Life sits on a 2048-square meter plot of land in the Education Island Archipelago. The sim, or server, that the campus is on is called Edu Island 4. Our campus is near the northeast corner of the plot of land.

The campus consists of a main building and an upper classroom.

The main building has a Welcome center on the main floor. In the Welcome Center, avatars can click on the magazine on the table to load the educationisin.com website, and they can click the laptop to load up the main Valencia webpage. Near the entrance is a gift bag, which at a touch, gives the avatar some free items and a landmark to the VCC campus.

The display table was a customized programming creation for the Valencia campus. It currently displays a set of models depicting some of the majors and academic departments at Valencia. However, the technology is ours and this device can display any educational content, in a fully 3D and interactive mode that is much richer than 2-dimensional Powerpoint slides or images.

Classroom 1, located just above the welcome center in the main building, contains seating for 15 avatars, and a display screen that can be used to show slides, images or videos. The room can be reconfigured to be a circle with all chairs facing inward, or multiple individual groups, or more attendees. The upper classroom is situated above cloud level, for privacy and improved simulation performance. It has seating for 10 and a small courtyard where avatars can meet and talk.

Note from Geraldine: I wonder if I can procure an office above cloud level?

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