Friday, 21 September 2007

I realise I am a metaverse evangalist

Meetings on SL attended in RL: 1 (good); Healthy food consumed = 1 apple and 1 handful of undidentified green matter decorating sandwiches (good); Unhealthy food consumed = sandwiches, biscuits, cake, coffee (bad); Handbags not bought = 1 (good, I suppose).

Yesterday attended meeting in London organised by landlords (i.e. Eduserv ;-) and the CETIS project at Strathclyde Uni. Once had hauled RL self out of bed and onto early train, traced venue at end of lane off Theobalds Road, and picked up biscuits (type = ordinary) to sustain self through rest of morning, was hey ho for sitting listening to people.

The RL version of Art Fossett gave totally awesome short roundup of what SL is about. His ppt slides each had pic of Art, in a different t-shirt in each pic to illustrate points. He said he had thought of doing this by showing Art changing t-shirt each time in SL. V. nice idea but pondered that might be dodgier for self as is something intrinsically tacky about watching female avatar changing into a series of t-shirts, even if had demour cami on in vest layer.
Presentations will be loaded by CETIS shortly, in meantime there are posters at and also displayed on Eduserv Island inworld. Two which appealed most immediately were Theatron 3 and a project at the Institute for Education which is looking more at the social side of SL through qualitative research. Theatron 3 is crafting detailed (and prim heavy) recreations of theatres in SL (after a successful 3-D web project). Is interesting for numerous groups - historians, theatre studies etc etc plus tourism-type appeal plus use as performance space (and would imagine for, as in RL, corporate entertaining in RL, can imagine Bill Gates' avatar swanning in for product launch). Also raises information management issues.

At lunchtime (sandwiches = reasonable; fruit = good) was able to pop into SL to show someone my office. Had already got v. excited at glimpse of it in background as Art was showing people round Eduserv Island.

After the 2 afternoon presentations had coffee (= standard institutional) and cake (= good) and then a one hour discussion. Was debate about whether what SL offered to educators was new or not. Some felt was not much advance over chat, but most (I think) disagreed and felt it gave more. General feeling that do need to identify what is uniquely effective/ useful about educating in SL. At moment little research on impact of SL: hope this strand of things doesn't get lured down a meaningless quantitative quest.

Was also disagreement about whether should ever REQUIRE students to go into SL. Personally feel that if it is educationally meaningful, aligned with LT&A etc. etc. then is much like any other activity (seminar, lecture, lab, whatever) - everyone should have to do it. Art quoted someone's opinion that 1 in 10 people "get" SL. However, I pointed out that often students don't "get" lectures either, and that doesn't stop us forcing them to do them (or at least timetabling them, which is by no means the same thing as getting students to attend...)

Anyway was at this point that realised that in 3 short months have moved from academic who curled lip in sneering fashion when speaker (at May Eduserv symposium) said he was a metaverse evangalist, to being a metaverse evangelist myself. Unfortunately job title is still Senior Lecturer, so fear will either have to curb metaverse tendencies before take over whole life, or change jobs.

One speaker said how a fave thing was dressing up in SL and taking posters of self (ie avatar) which was reassuring. On way back to St Pancras was also reminded of shopping in that passed shop selling exquisite leather handbags with tasteful flower appliques. However, cost £350 rather than 350 Linden, so sighed and walked by.
Did not take any pics of RL event, therefore have included photos of 1st home, i.e. Japanese tea garden. NB last pic is me splashing water dreamily (i.e. with pose ball DAYDREAMING placed artfully on stone), and in entirely innocent fashion. 2nd last was taken (intentionally) at night, so is meant to be dim. As usual, click on thumbnails to see full size.

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