Second life 7Dec

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OU pub meeting 7 December 2006

People at the meeting

Pub.gif This is a list of the 36 people I saw or heard at the meeting. As I couldn't move, and I kept crashing offline, there are probably lots of people I missed. If you are missing, please add yourself. I know some of the people weren't connected with the OU, some were talking nonsense and some were having unconnected conversations, but I've listed them all, anyway.

If you see your name below, could you add your real-life name (or part of it) beside it, so we can keep track of who everyone is? Marie

  • Alecydoss Gontermann
  • AndyKR Woodward (Three Lions staff)
  • Aribeth Coronot (Three lions staff) and OU student
  • Ayla Zuhrah (Maiden of the Spear)
  • Daniel Anza
  • Drew Lagerkvist (Andrew Law BBC WIL)
  • Elsa Dickins (OU)
Oumeet1.jpg
  • Eno Ulysses
  • Euphloozie Vostok: Gill
  • Evangeline Arcadia
  • Forever Delaid (Three Lions staff)
  • Germinian Teasle
  • Helen Islander
  • Ian Foxley (Three Lions VIP)
Oumeet2.jpg
  • Ida Lupino (OU): Chris
  • Jacquie Sholokolov: Jacquie
  • Jayne Zauberflote (Tutor on DZX222)
  • John Corleone (OU) : John Woodthorpe
  • Josie Wei (OU): Josie Taylor
  • Kempek Kasei (Three Lions VIP)
  • Liz Ferlinghetti (Rockers)
  • Mani Indigo (Three Lions VIP)
  • Marie Arnold: Marie
  • Mark Cabaret: Mark
  • Martin Pattle (OU): Martin
  • Mouska Canto
Oumeet3.jpg
  • Ricky Nervous
  • Ringi Goalost (Original Skanker)
  • Roefe Regent (Sology VIP)
  • Sasa Roviana
  • Sasha Memotech
  • Schomer Simpson: PeterT
  • TK Hilite
  • Vortex Scholten (Severe Hosts)
  • Woop Superior: Dan
  • Zack Larg
Meeting in beergarden.jpg

This is a picture I took when Mark was trying out his new blue face with carpet tile texture. He's the guy to the right with the burgundy jacket. --Gill

Good to see so many people online from the OU, and good to see this group so well represented at the meeting. --Dan 09:24, 8 December 2006 (GMT)

Minutes of the meeting!

It is possible to save transcripts of conversations in SecondLife, but Linden guidance is that they should not be published without the permission of everyone who took part. Therefore, if anyone has a transcript, could they refer to it to add to the notes below - but please don't qute people directly without their permission.
The meeting began with a lot of social chit chat, and this carried on throughout (Why is your face blue at the moment? Why are you so tall? Why are you standing on the table?). Many of us found it difficult to follow the thread of a conversation. We weren't sure what to expect (What's the agenda?) Nevertheless, we covered a lot of relevant topics between us. These included explanations of Schome and Sloodle, plus the topics outlined below:

Hardware / Software possibilities / limitations

These include:

  • Computers which don't meet the minimum requirements, so crash out all the time
  • Need for the right sort of video card
  • Need for a fast connection
  • Need for a sound card
  • Possibility of using audio software
  • Other SecondLifers wandering through puzzled by what we were doing
  • Problems keeping track of a chat conversation between so many people
  • Compulsory SecondLife updates - take a long time to download at home

Skill sharing

The meeting included lots of sharing of skills. This included:

  • Explaining how to use gestures
  • Experimenting with the available 'pose' modes
  • Sharing of external websites
  • Pointers to useful SecondLife sites
  • How to access the message which allowed you to teleport to the pub
  • How to get to Cetlment island
  • Discussion of audio software.

Affordances of the medium

Or, in other words, what can we do in SecondLife which we can't do in Real Life:

  • Medium provides distance, you can hide behind an avatar
  • Visuals and sense of reality give confidence
  • synchronous multi-person conversations at distance (not sure how this is different from telephone conference calls or Hexagon web chats?)
  • create, script and interact with virtual objects as an individual or as a group
  • groups appear to form more quickly than they do in real life
  • groups have the facility to put forward and vote on proposals (also present in some other synchronous online tools)

This discussion continued at http://schome.open.ac.uk/wikiworks/index.php/Why_use_Second_Life
Please post extra material there.

Subjects which could be studied in Second Life

  • psychology
  • economics
  • politics (for example, group formation and voting patterns)
  • art
  • scripting

Ethics

Like real life, this is a potentially unsafe environment but, unlike, real life, you have to agree to the Conditions of Service before you enter.

Decision

OU Group to meet regularly at the Three Lions pub on a Thursday evening.

Discussion

My big question right now is what Second Life gives us that other distance ICT tools don't give us? (e.g. video conferencing like KMi's Hexagon, internet chat, discussion boards...) --Mgaved 12:44, 8 December 2006 (GMT)

In SL you have the ability to create, script and interact with virtual objects. The ability to socially construct/engineer example cases of the subject being discussed is potentially a very powerful learning tool. Of course you do need quite a bit of knowledge to be able to build, script .etc. which can prove quite a barrier --Dan 13:06, 8 December 2006 (GMT)
Good thoughts Dan. You'll appreciate I am playing devil's advocate, like my old t-shirt used to say: I want to believe. But I think if we can be very rigourous about identifying the values of Second Life then it will give us a stronger case to pursue research in it further. Maybe we need to open up a wiki debate page on "What SL is good for"? My concern is there is too much vague hand waving and not enough substance. I played with virtual reality spaces ten years ago and the same hype was offered then, in those days it didn't come to pass. So what's SL got that Black Sun or Alpha Worlds didn't have? Of course blue sky experimentation is one of the things we pay universities to do, but it would be great if we could offer some concrete data. --Mgaved 15:12, 8 December 2006 (GMT)
I agree about needing to be a bit more rigorous about all of this - and guess what, the NAGTY contract has evaluation frameworks in it with 'success criteria' related to how well the teens do in relation to those frameworks (and a number of other things) - so some supposedly hard data - but not really addressing the killer question of 'so what is qualitatively different about SL?'. For my money - its something to do with the issue of identity ... but need more data/evidence/thought to unpack this. PeterT 16:04, 8 December 2006 (GMT)
Please continue with the Devil Advocacy Mark, you do it well ;-) Seriously we need to keep a balanced view, and I match my enthusiasm for the potential of this kind of environment with the realities of its current limitations. Before we even get near talk about how well activities even work (or what they are!), the reality is that the SL client is very weak, their are ridiculous issues with the software (both client and server side - ridiculous in as much as anyone coming from a more stable online service literally won't be able to believe what SLers put up with), machine requirements are exceedingly high for what you actually get (as in SL isn't really a looker, but it's requirements act as if it is), bandwidth is a big problem, you can't guarantee parcels of land being up .etc. And it seems that the general level of problems is exacerbated at the moment by the additional traffic generated by recent increased press coverage. Linden Labs don't seem equipped to handle the level of popularity (however, if that continues then the level of popularity isn't likely to be sustained). --Dan 16:23, 8 December 2006 (GMT)
Some really good points guys. I think taking a look at the NAGTY contract might give us stuff to match SL experiences against. And you know I've a suspicion the way we work it out is to continue as we've been going - by pushing the boundaries and seeing where it does fall over or succeed. I'm really excited by the cool ideas people are having and the building that we're starting to do, I think this is where it we'll get our hard data and find out exactly what SL can support under the hype. I'm thinking that maybe I'm going to struggle with the scripting but I was really impressed by the people turning out at the meeting last night, maybe I will try to think of a game/exercise for people to play in space over 20 minutes and see if this can be used to test some of the psychological theories we're having (identity, group work, presence etc). --Mgaved 21:19, 8 December 2006 (GMT)