Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why not Second Life?

I was just reading Kapp's blog where he says that we should be thinking virtual worlds, not just Second Life. I am all for that. I think that most of what constitutes learning in Second Life is not specific to the platform itself but in the possibilities of the virtual 3-d world. But the reason why Second Life is such a rich experience is because of all of the layers of junk (gaming, gambling, commercial brick-a-brack, etc.). It is a good education environment precisely because Second Life is not a purely educational environment. It is not even secondarily or tertially an educational environment. All of the teaching tools, scripting, and communication methods have roots in the undercurrent of gaming that propels the innovation in Second Life. This does not come from the platform but the people using the platform. I shudder to think what a 3-d world would look like that was created by and for educators. There would be a lot of forms to fill out. You would not be able to own land until you were tenured. It would only operate 35 hours a week and would be down all summer. You could teleport to other islands as instantly as you have received prior authorization from the vice-president for inter-island travel.

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