I’m on a couple of learning curves at the moment. The gentler one of them is Google Wave
(more of that in a later post). The other, steeper curve, is Second Life
Both of them have reminded me of what it’s like to be a new learner,
unsure of the next step, wary of making silly mistakes.
So how am I
learning? I’m learning with others, and in Second Life I’ve been
lucky to connect with a community that really welcomes new
learners. The only stupid n0ob questions here are the ones that
remain unasked. So, thanks for the warm welcome Second Lifers and Jokaydians
, it’s been an eye opening couple of months.
I’m relatively new to Second Life, only really getting involved during the Jokaydia Unconference
at the end of September. Since then I’ve taken a few
opportunities to join the Jokaydian community to further my Second Life
experience and step a few rungs up the newbie ladder.
A couple of weeks ago I followed a tweet from @jokay
and joined a Jokaydian foray, via Second Life, into Story Quest
. We met on the beach, geared up with backpacks and wal(k)ing sticks and, after watching the introductory video
, we were transported by Marty Snowpaw
to our destination.
On arrival it was immediately
obvious that this was a carefully crafted world. The lighting,
objects and ambient sounds all combined to create an immersive
experience (even on my lowly laptop) that drew me in straight away.
narrative was intriguing. The story appeared to revolve around a
recently deceased man and presented itself, to me, as an interactive
biographical puzzle. Who was this man Uncle D? What had
happened to him? Plot elements and Easter Eggs were tantalizingly
revealed as I explored (under the able mentorship of Jennette Forager
). I discovered references to “The Scarlet Letter
and I couldn’t help but read underneath it, seeing HIV/AIDS as the 21st
Century badge of community shame. Was this Uncle D’s story?
There were hints of sickness, of debilitating illness, of
euthanasia. Where was the story headed?
I know I could have
discovered more if I wasn’t still learning the tools and I have a
feeling the whole experience had much, much more to offer; a
biographical narrative unfolding in tiny slices, equal measures of
entertainment, education, mystery, wonder and enlightenment. It
was a powerful virtual experience, with a genuine emotive connection,
made all the more real by the participants, writers and designers.
It just may be that virtual worlds are evolving into the next
iteration of the narrative genre. I wanted to dig deeper, but
unkind timezones precluded further exploration and I was subsequently
left with many questions unanswered. Were the characters real or
fictional? Was this the story of an individual or a shaken
cocktail of many?
As a novice in Second
Life I’m still a bit of a lurker, listening rather than speaking,
observing instead of participating, but if ever there was an experience
to engage people in virtual worlds or virtual learning environments,
this would surely draw them in. Thinking with my teacher head- how
much more powerful is a story that can be co-experienced with peers at a
personal pace, with discoverable details that promote thinking,
dialogue and multilogue between students?
All I know is that I’m
going back, to discover more, to find the next clue, to read the next
chapter, to know what happened, to complete the quest.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: learning, Second Life, story quest, teachernz, virtual worlds | 2 Comments »