Sunday, November 19, 2006

A weekend in Second Life

I spent way too much time in Second Life this weekend. The longer I spend there the more I‘m amazed at the breadth of activity. I‘ve acquired some parcels for an educational venture, and can‘t wait to get started building it out. I will be sure to invite you all as we start getting some structures in place. I have no doubt that learners can thrive in this space. My remaining concern is whether the faculty will embrace it with the same fervor.

I‘ve been sitting on this article about IBM's involvement in Second Life for the last week:

IBM has embraced Second Life to an extent unmatched by any other major company, it has more than 230 employees spending time in-world, and it owns some half-dozen islands. Some are open to the public, but most are private, with restricted access for the public.

My one concern about Second Life is addressed at the end of the article:

Jim Purbrick, aka Babbage Linden, a Linden Lab software engineer and the company‘s sole UK-based employee, also spoke at the conference about the company‘s plan to transform the Second Life software client and, eventually, its back-end server into open-source software.

Such a move would allow anyone to mix their own Second Life-styled virtual world, or make it accessible through a Web browser.

“We‘re planning to open source Second Life as soon as possible,“ Purbrick said. “In one or two years time, you‘ll be able to download the Second Life source code and build a plugin for (Web browser) Firefox.”

Works for me! The sooner the better.

I‘d like to believe that I‘m pretty decent at spotting technology trends. I‘m thinking Second Life is for real, and that this is not a space we educators can afford to ignore. With all the activity on InfoIsland and EduIsland it seems that I am not alone. It‘s going to be an interesting ride.

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