Friday, December 5, 2008

Week 13. Game-based learning experiences – Second Life (SL)

Everyone likes to play games, but not everyone likes to study. In the past, there was a clear cut between playing and learning; however, because of the emerging technology, now we can learn by exploring the virtual world.

Second life is the first virtual learning environment I visit, and it was founded by Philip Rosedale in 2003. SL was designed for users to immersed in a 360 degree virtual world experiences, but later, more and more “residents” (individual as well as institutions)contribute to the virtual world and even create more possibilities and potential. Nowadays, we can experience many learning and teaching applications in the second life, such as Shakespeare Theater, Princeton library, Stanford University, and etc.

From my viewpoint, SL best represents the “Web 2.0” feature among other technologies. The first important feature is the “give & take” culture which I believe is the best and most important feature. All buildings, objects, and resources are created by residents. Later, other residents share these resources, and create more other resources. Second, second life provide a plateform where people can freely login and interact (socialize) with other residents. Third, second life is easy to access. Once you have computers or even mobile devices (ex. iphone), you can download the software and play it anytime. Fourth, there’s not limitation. You are free to explore any island, and participated in any events. As users, you are responsible for your own behavior. You decide what you want to explore and when you want to leave when you don’t like the islands or the events.

The future of the second life is hard to predict, because the community culture in the second life is hold by all residents, and maybe those who haven’t been there; however, maybe one of the residents one day. In other words, it’s the users to create their own culture which is very powerful, and unpredictable. I will be looking forward to see what the second life looks life 5 years after!

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