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Science Fiction and Second Life

November 22, 2010

For all my life (the real one) I’ve been a voracious reader except in one genre – Science Fiction. Movies, novels, short stories in this field scared me beyond anything pleasurable. In LIBR 203, exploring Second Life was optional, and I skipped it from a wariness built over the years. However LIBR 202 with Prof. Twining was my favorite class in that first hectic semester and that should have been a revelation to me.

So, from that perspective, Second Life was a lot more fun than I expected. I can imagine how the technology behind it could be a boon for disabled people, and how playing in Second Life could encourage and develop certain types of creativity. I’m also curious how it could be used to further academic goals. The learning management systems that I’ve experienced have weaknesses and limitations and yet distance learning seems to be growing. Maybe something from Second Life will be able to overcome the weaknesses. One of my co-workers is going to do a presentation in Second Life on archival work and it will be interesting to hear about her experience with this presentation.

There appear to be two drawbacks to the use of Second Life for academic purposes. One is the learning curve to manage the skills of movement and communication in Second Life (steep for some of us). The other is the creepy sexuality of the promotional trailers and of some characters when you land in an unexpected place.

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