Second Life and its sister technologies have a significant role to play in increasing international understanding and the long term aim of reducing our individual carbon footprints.
CNN stated recently that, despite the recent frenzy of publicity, Second Life is not over-hyped. I’d like to thank Quidit O’Flynn for directing me to this article and for his excellent introduction to Second Life which I recommend anyone interested in social networking and the future of the web to read.
Quidit (I don’t know his real name) is the Director of Technology for a large school district in California and he has started a project in the Teen Grid to help children in California and Japan to better understand and communicate with each other. He describes a project “for our students to communicate and collaborate with each other in building a place where they can share their interests, cultures and languages. They will be building a small square of real estate in the virtual world to bridge the gap between our countries.”
This is similar to my thinking about using SL for meetings between researchers in Europe interested in measuring appearance and other complex properties (in a project aptly called ‘Measuring the Impossible‘). But in this case the scientists are from different disciplines (physics, psychology and neurophysiology) and we need to learn about each others jargon and techniques. By using SL we should save on travel and cause less greenhouse gas emissions.
On Thursday a psychologist in Japan gave a fascinating talk, illustrated with slides, on her research into brain structure and function (the long ago subject of my master’s degree, so it was nice to hear an up to date exposition). Troy pointed out that the meeting spanned the globe – including Japan, Australia, Canada, UK and the US (well okay not the whole globe) but it had the feel of a cosy symposium and I was able to attend from my desk at NPL as it happened at a Euro-friendly time. Later I popped over to OneClimate Island to discover how the Nairobi Climate Summit was proceeding – a small world indeed.
Quidit gives a great description of the Teen Grid, its rules and the differences from the adult grid which is vital information for many educators new to Second Life. He also has a great history of avatars in his blog. As you can tell I’ve had a good read of this blog after Quidit announced its existence to the SL Teens Educator’s List – this is a definite new entry for my blogroll (who named these things?).