Second Life is a virtual world. You download the software to your lap top and then you can enter this world. When you do, your avatar represents you. An avatar is a digital representation of yourself. When you select this avatar you have to give it a name. I named my avatar Mazarine Rhode. I have just spent an hour or so changing Mazarine’s look from this:
Of course she looks nothing like me (I have blonde hair and wear red glasses!) but that’s part of the fun of it. You can change all sorts of details of your avatar – the size and shape of any body part, how far or narrow set the eyes are, skin colour, freckles, height, weight etc. I must prefer Mazarine’s new look! I hadn’t spent much time playing around with appearance until now. Now I’m ready to party!
A few weeks ago I went into Second Life with a few other teachers from the OZ/NZ Educators network. It was a session for newbies like me. We spent the time on the island of Jokaydia. I took a quick video so you can see a very little bit of what Second Life looks like – in an art gallery! I recorded this with SMART Recorder and the quality isn’t great, but it will give you a bit of an idea if you are interested!
I never thought I’d be really interested in this sort of thing. I’m not into computer games at all, and so I didn’t think I’d like it. But, it’s great fun, and there is heaps of potential for education and business! People are making real money in Second Life doing all sorts of things. Lots of conferences on all themes are held in Second Life. Just search ‘second life conferences’ in Google and there will be a whole bunch listed.
I am hoping to spend some more time in SL and start thinking about using virtual worlds for language learning. I’m a member of the Second Classroom Ning, a social network for educators interested in students using virtual worlds. I’ll keep you updated…