Yes, I was in my home office, but yesterday NMC had a meeting together in Second Life:

Nmc-Meeting

We all our wearing our “official” shirts, but it may take some guesswork to identify the players. Most communication in SL is via a text chat, where anyone in proximity can see what you have to “say”. Chat comes with its own mode of communication, abbreviations, typos, but most noticeable, the overhead of focusing on the keyboard. On the “NMC Island” we are also using TeamSpeak, a server based audio application that allows us to create “channels” where we can communicate via audio in an external application, and the channels are associate with different “places”. We have also used some Skype conferencing and it makes a huge difference to be able to have audio communication “why do I keep flying into the ceiling?”, “Which way is the meeting room?”, “Why is your skin so blue?” that is better as you can focus your concentration in the navigation and interaction, not typing conversations.

We ride a transport (like a tram without rails) to the “Board Room”:
Nmc-Sl2

All of the images (movies can be done too) are done within SL, and I plan to get some more tomorrow so we have ones where people are there, rather than empty spaces.

I have some plans tomorrow to try and do some audio recording/interviews that we can use as future podcasts. This involves some end arounds, as the OS X ai just love for recording audio input/output (WireTapPro) is not currently supported in my Intel MacBook. So I have TeamSpeak and WireTap running on my older iBook for the recording, and doing SL on the new laptop. Two handed/platform computing (I’ll get a photo tomorrow).

Okay, so you need to be an NMC member to have access to the island, and it is something unveiling/evolving itself as it goes, and there is more educational folks poking their avatar heads around SL space. yesterday, I was at a TCC 2006 session where we got a tour of a space from folks at the University of Kansas Medical Center; yesterday was more of an orientation to their area, and today is more of a session (held in SL) about what they are doing (rats, I need to be a doctors appointment):

This ability to develop and interact with a faculty- or student-created world offers many new and exciting educational possibilities for applying course content and problem solving. A few of these possibilities include taking virtual field trips, role-playing, solving a mystery, reenacting a historical event, exploring gender or racial differences, practicing foreign language skills, running a business, designing a park, creating sculpture, simulating a physical process, as well as computer programming and scripting. Currently, college students are using Second Life to study architectural design, business, online communities, and gaming culture.

Yesterday, “Pietra” shared that he knew of perhaps 20 other higher education organizations with an SL presence. We played on the beach, sporting funny hats.

Nmc-Sl4

So just looking at the images might beg the question of tis is a lot of silly play, but peel it back deeper, and one finds that SL really focuses on the social interactivity, and connecting with people not readily connectable, in real time, and offers a lot of potential for simulation, creativity, design, collaboration, and more I hope to explore.

There is an interesting dynamic between the spearation people make in not revealing their “RL” “Real Life” or First Life identities.

As soon as I can pick up some cool clothes for my avatar ;-)

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. Alan, this is a really cool post and a neat experiment that NMC is embarking on. The audio thing sounds like a real downfall though – have a look at something like a networked version of Call of Duty 2 http://www.callofduty.com/cod2/ (or really any of the newer games that have a networked team component) for a feel of how integrated the virtual environments and communication can be intertwined.

    But I don’t want to take away from praising what a cool experiment this is – and it is great that an organization like NMC is involved, because for this to really succeed we need to recognize the importance of the first M in MMOG.

    Cheers, Scott

  2. Gobsmacked with coolness here. A great post and a great project. Also great to read this on the day that Croquet 1.0 SDK was released. Is anyone at NMC active in Croquet development at all?

    Gotta get into Second Life….

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