Thursday, 4 September 2008

A year on

Well, it's been a year out with other priorities (new baby), and beyond doing some teaching in SL during March-April, and a presentation at BMLG in June 2008, it has been quiet on the SL front. The presentation at BMLG looked at opportunities for SL in public libraries, and considered the steps taken by various libraries in the US to develop collections on their campuses.

Our DIS campus island is now defunct, as the University is now funding a new island (which is going through the 'ordering process'!) which will be used by various departments for experimentation. This should be interesting, and the University now has a 'special interest group' considering its development.

Two new PhD students are arriving this September, both of whom looking in part at SL and virtual worlds.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Scilands Video treat

A video recording of the Scilands track is now up at .... I'm working on the basis that people always look fatter on TV (!).

Tish Shute's weblog of SLCC is interesting, plus I look better in the photograph.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Second Life Community Convention

Courtesy of Fleep Tuque:

James Dearnley falling over his words: l-r: JD with microphone, Dave Taylor (NPL), Jeffrey Corbin (University of Denver), Eric Hackathorn (NOAA), Kat Prawl (International Spaceflight Museum).

I spent a most enjoyable few days at the SLCC in Chicago over the weekend - plus a rather less enjoyable day hanging around in Detroit airport waiting for a connecting flight to Chicago (tornadoes shut the airport, tsk).

SLCC took place at the Chicago Hilton, an imposing venue that was plagued by wi-fi dropouts, a NFL Fantasy Football convention (with rednecks a-plenty), triathletes, and the 800 individuals who made up SLCC. What was immediately obvious from the start was the sense of opportunity that SL has fostered - while the 'Developers meeting' obviously pitted competitors up against each other, the overall sense was that of shortage - of developers, and of experts. Despite the eight million SL users, many of the driving forces were on show in Chicago (variously, NMC, Millions of Us, 'famous Lindens').

As conferences go, this was probably the most interesting I've been to - primarily because the essential fluidity of SL development meant that nearly everything was interesting in its own right - there were odd exceptions (notably, the peevish, self-serving 'media' stream at the end of the conference). Our Scilands panel went off well it seemed, despite my mind going blank during the introductions (being streamed into SL!), and the numerous problems we faced with Internet access. Some useful contacts were made as a result. I also, throughout the weekend, tended to mix up real names and SL names, with odd results in the Scilands panel - luckily, nobody seemed to mind at all....

This was broadly speaking the perfect conference in many ways - slightly chaotic in places, populated by people who were genuinely interested in SL, and on the whole, there were few boundaries and obvious cliques. SL is still in its infancy, and the conference tended to reflect that. Long may it last. Certainly, the ideal place for networking, presenting a paper and making an impact - I'm keen that one of my PhD students writes a paper for inclusion in SLCC 2008 - the venue of which is not known yet. Hopefully, the east coast of the USA.

One thing I certainly will not be doing next year is travelling via Amsterdam, or with KLM. The airline threw my schedule off by cancelling the direct Amsterdam-Chicago flight, and provided an uncomfortable flight back which was livened up with an air hostess telling off another passenger for using the business class toilet...

Finally, I now know Detroit better than I should......

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Let's Play Blog-Tag!

In his Blog, Tony Karrer points to an article on Brent Schlenker's Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development blog, which in turn references a You Tube video on using Second Life as a teaching / learning tool.
Tony Karrer's post is interesting about ways he sees Second Life being used for educational purposes on historical sites such as 'a recreation of Plymouth where actors playing the part of Native Americans and Colonists told stories and answered questions about life, religion, history, etc'.

ALT-C next week, anyone?

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Eduserv Report on UK FE/HE Developments in Second Life

This report summarises an investigation into the use and uptake of Second Life (SL) by UK Higher and Further Education. The research had four main goals:
1. to determine the “state of play” of SL developments within the Higher and Further Education sector
2. to discover how these developments are supported, in terms of time, funding and other resources
3. to explore the functionality of these developments, i.e. which types of media or interactive service they incorporate
4. to establish how “busy”, or well-used, the developments have been and discover any impacts resulting from their implementation and use.
Initially, the work set out to take a global perspective, as at the outset of the research there were only a small number of UK academic SL developments. However, as the work progressed a considerable number of UK Higher and Further Education SL activities were discovered (see appendix), and this report focuses exclusively on those.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Karl Kapp

Another thoughtful Blogger on uses of Second Life in Education

Monday, 30 July 2007

Serious Virtual Worlds Conference

First European Conference on the Professional Applications of Virtual Worlds, to be held on 13-14 September at the Serious Games Institute, Coventry.

If you sign up online, you can collect three gold tokens to offer to the Keeper of the Gate on the Island of Cruel Beings, to gain access to the Upper Chambers of Asgaroth and a shot at the title... seriously (not!).