The Second Life exercise that we did in Comm 631 was very interesting to say the least.  For never having ever worked with Second Life before, like anything, it was a struggle at first.  Take a look at the video we ended up with…

My first impression of Second Life was very negative.  Mostly because I never used it before.  It was interesting to see how much my world opened up as Second Life’s world opened up to me.Second Life is a whole world within itself, no pun intended.  I have a technology production background but none of that meant anything compared to what I had to do in Second Life.  When we created our game at the Pirate Hangout it was very difficult to create the tokens, at least for me.  It took me a long time to understand how to “write the script” to create the token.  Once I figured that out, the rest fell into place.  I learned that not everything has to be created from scratch and that Second Life has items that you can buy, for free or for a price, on their marketplace website.

As a gamer myself I thought something like this would come easy to me.  It made me appreciate how much time is put into a video game, but that is neither here nor there.  As the process went on for the making of our game things got progressively easier.  My group and I were able to assign jobs to create the different aspects of our game.  Once we all did our own part the game came together flawlessly.  Even more so we were able to “decorate” and/or design the visual aspects of our game individually.  In the end my experience in Second Life was very exciting.  I think gaming and simulation is the future of distance education and I am eager to learn more.

The one thing I didn’t like about Second Life was the fact that there is no limitation.  For something like this to be used as an educational tool, there has to be guidelines or rules to follow so children aren’t subject to something wrong in the public eye.  As an adult it is great.  I can create whatever I want to get whatever point I want across.  I learned that it is tough to create an effective learning module when there is so much going on.  As I said earlier, I had a tough time creating things in Second Life and without the help of Dr. Partridge I may never have been able to build the extras we had in our game.  The Pirate Hideout and the gaming token script would have been impossible for a beginner like to me do.  So when you take something like this that is so open to a younger learner I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be for them.

The other thing that was tough was creating the video.  Not so much as the individual group shots, but then video of everybody’s pirate area.  I volunteered to create the video using the other group’s clips.  It was hard for me to get across the idea and vision that everyone else had imagined.  I didn’t mind editing the final video, actually I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it was fair for one person to do it for the entire class.  I do believe each group should have created their own video of their own section of the island and left it at that.

Overall as a future educator I think this was a great exercise.  Getting to know a tool like Second Life really opens up my eyes to the future.  I believe that hands on simulation and gaming is going to be a great tool in education if used correctly, but like anything, that is going to take time.