This week, we had a guest speaker who is “intellagirl.” I was so fascinated by what she is doing now. The real name of “intellagirl” is Sarah Robbins who is a Ph. D. candidate in Ball state University. She and her husband (Mark Bell) wrote a book called “Second Life for Dummies.” Intellagirl and her husband gave us some brief introduction about the second life, but there are two parts which really caught my attentions. The first part is the identity issue in the second life, and the second part is using second life teaching composition.
I take a “Young Adolescent Development” course this semester, and during the class, we discuss a lot of issues about developing identity during the development, but I never think about by interacting with others and different communities in the second life could be one possibility. Everyone can create their own account and edit the appearance of their avatars; this, according to the intellagirl, is the process of building identity. Maybe most of us will think that online users are more likely to disguise what they should be and create a new one identification; however this is a misconception. According to the research, most of the users see their on-line identity as an extension of their real identities. As a real life, there are hair style stores, cloth stores, and different kinds of fashion stores in the second life, everyone can use these small decorations to create their unique identity. The other interesting part related to identity was that, as the real world, we can distinguish or make assumptions about a person by observing one’s dressing, in the virtual world, such as “World of Warcraft,” we can also distinguish different characteristics by the decoration they have. For example, if you see other players have a crown, you are supposed to know they are experienced players, because those decorations can only gain by participating in and win during the wars. However, if someone who gain that decoration by buying from other players, this kind of behavior is also seen as cheating, and breaking the community rule. Intellagirl use the second life teaching composition which is really a new application for me. This idea even inspired me to have my final project- using second life as an assistant tool or complementary tool to teach EFL multilingual writers.