My last post “Should your institution hold virtual open houses in Second Life?” generated a few interesting comments and a couple of posts on higher ed blogs (Not the Cheese and Penn State Virtual Worlds – an interesting resource on SecondLife academic possibilities).
So, I guess, there might be some interest out there in learning more about this popular online world.
Here are a few good resources to help you conquer this new frontier:
- “Wikipedia: SecondLife” – always a good place to start for new technologies
- Business Week‘s May 1st cover story: “My Virtual Life”
- C.C. Chapman‘s 20-minute podcast: SecondLife Primer
- “Teenage Wasteland?” on New World Notes — THE blog about what’s going on in SL: a not so promising glimpse at the Teen Grid by some of its (teen) residents.
- “Top 20 Educational Locations in Second Life”: a wiki article from SimTeach, “a place for university instructional designers, faculty and administrators to find information and to share their own experiences designing, teaching and administering classes in immersive environments.” SLurls, SL direct links to locations are provided, so this is probably a good place to start your exploration.
Then, again, the best way to get you really started is to sign up for a free account.
SecondLife doesn’t require a credit card for it anymore. You will just need to pick your SL name (first name is whatever you want, last name can be selected from a drop-down menu), your date of birth (it will “validate” your adult status) and an email address on this registration page. Then, you will have to download the application and install it on your computer (it’s better on a PC, but will work with a Mac).
Once everything is installed, just open the application and… start walking (use the arrows on your keyboards), you’re on Welcome Island. There, you will be offered the opportunity to change the appearance of your avatar and a few tips on how to move around, interact with objects and people (via instant messaging in this last case), etc.
Don’t forget to try to fly – that’s really cool – and to take a few snapshots.
I guess you would need a couple of hours just to do this – so plan accordingly (time passes by very quickly in SL).
I would love to hear (well, read) the opinions of first-time SL users in higher ed. So, if you’re ready to try, please come back and share your experience in the comment area of this post.
If there’s any interest among higher ed web or marketing pros, I might try to schedule a meet-up in SL (nothing fancy – I’ve become a premium resident, so I can buy a small lot of very cheap property)