Sunday, October 07, 2007


I really didn't intend to blog much about Second Life, but have been sufficiently intrigued by my recent visits and what happened there to pursue the topic one more time. Wandering about the empty landscape of the Learn4Life island is ...well, frankly, boring. There's a limit to how much I can amuse myself without company in any life, real or virtual, and so far I've only encountered someone there twice. They were civil and helpful and behaved just as educators should.

But this is where I started thinking about the implications of using this environment educationally. I know there are rules about age restrictions in "mature" areas - but how do you ensure that everyone is honest about their age? Go to some of the more exotic locations and you're likely to meet people - and be invited to explore, to be someone's friend, to join them in a teleport to a location complete with furry rugs and log fire and objects which allow you to indulge in a variety of sexual fantasies with whoever happens to be around. I don't know how I'd feel if my teenage daughter, say, was sitting alone in her room having a virtual affair with a strange avatar. Would I dismiss it as part of the learning experience, as safe as reading Lady Chatterley's Lover? Or would I be concerned about the possibility of harassment, or of some crossover into the real world?

And I really don't know how I feel about this - it's not merely a rhetorical device to say so. But I do know that I find it insidious, personally; that the images have a disturbing tendency to recur in an obsessive manner; that I find myself noticing that someone (a real someone) is standing just the same way as some avatar I've seen. Maybe it's because of the visual element. Books don't have the same effect.

I'd welcome input, if anyone else cares to join in!


  1. I think that most islands on SL are boring unless you have a meeting there. We plan to put on some events in the ScotLearnFest/Connected Live area of Learn4Life which should be quite interesting. Any ideas for good events would be more than welcome.

  2. I agree with Ewan that events are needed for community building on a sim. There is a google calender for SL educator events and i have this displayed on a google calendar RSS board on my sim, Boracay. I'd also suggest some SL tours like the Teleoportation Trail. On my sim I also have an edu places exhibition - you need to part of Boracay group to use this and other tools there but let me know you avatar name and I can add you. My avatar is Corwin Carillon btw.

  3. Thanks, Nick, for this and for inworld help. I think the best thing I learned today was to talk! What a difference it makes if you don't need to type everything - I begin to see possibilities opening out. However, it also intensifies some of the reservations expressed in this post...