As we progress through the IOLE12 module, we are to start or to continue to network with others in our virtual environment, particularly Second Life (SL). Let me tell you about two people I met.
One was a brief meeting as I was looking for items that I thought may be helpful (or fun). The person who makes some interactive activities is Fire Centaur (an educator who has done a lot in SL – see some of his work in Second Life marketplace). I like what he has done and would love to learn more about scripting so I could create some similar things. I did purchase a scripted puzzle game that allows you to use any texture (image or picture you upload to SL). It also lets you see who put each piece in – and that can be used as part of a “team building” exercise or example of cooperation – as well as being fun. Our conversation was very brief, but I do have him on my ‘friends’ list and will be getting in touch with him later, also. Since he builds and scripts games interactive items like the puzzle, I know I will want to keep him as a contact and learn more from him.
A second person I met works in tech ed (technical education – using technology in educational environments), and she helps teachers get set up in SL. Their university is in the southwestern USA, and she has been in SL for over five years. My conversation with Jessica Sanchez was a very good start to my thinking for our final project (and very useful for any other project for that matter – quite practical). Among her suggestions: (1) consider your target audience and find a group in SL that is similar (such as the “real life educators” group or the “Virtual World Education Roundtable” – VWER; there is a Google Calendar of educational events in SL, too); (2) if we are going to use video, we should provide the link to YouTube or the URL where the video resides – not all can see video through SL; and (3) the viewer your audience is using may make a difference in what they see or how they see it, so we should try out the most popular SL viewers to see if there are any differences or difficulties we need to prepare for. (If we really want people to see and understand what we are communicating, they need to be able to see and hear what we are presenting – that only makes sense!) Along with the SL viewer, there are “third party viewers” by other programmers; these include Phoenix Firestorm and Imprudence. (There is even Pocket Metaverse, an app for iPad and iPhone if you want to buy it.)
So, networking is helpful. I simply need to kick myself out of the “fun places” and make the effort to find the helpful people – and most people in SL are helpful, actually. All you have to do is ask!