Kira Bryant


TUTORIAL 1.

Second Life - Introduction
1. What do you know about Second Life already?
I have read about Second ife in several art magazines, the articles reported experiences in Second life such as communicating with other members, flying and interacting with the interface.
2. What were some of the key ideas made in the video?
Some of the key ideas mentioned in the video include; the capacity of creativity to transcend reality as we know it, into a different space, a different realm. Another idea is the bringing together of artists, teachers, photographers to a central place to discuss ideas and concepts. The video documents some of the experiences that Second Life can provide, explains how even music can be created and played and how there is an audience. It is connecting like-minded people from all around the world.
3. What range of spaces were reflected in the wiki and in the SimTeach 12 report?
SimTeach’s report mentions several spaces including the International Spaceflight Museum that holds exhibits and presents information about real world spacecraft created by Second Life members who have an interest in this area. Global Kids Island is another space that is accessible for 13-17year olds that aims to bring up global issues. Second Life members must be within the age restrictions to be members of this page which innately creates a safe space for teens to access the world of Second Life. Info Island is a space that is not for profit, it allows users to access search engines such as Google and Wikipedia to find information. This space highlights specifically the capacity of Second Life to engage with the world wide web with web-enabled appliances.
The wiki mentioned the Virtual Conference Centre where creativity conferences have been held and accessed by many Second Life members. People were free to contribute their own ideas, their own work and through this space teachers, artists, photographers, all kinds of people have been able to discuss and mull over important concepts such as the role of drama and poetry in Second Life and in the classroom.
  1. What are the questions you think would make an interesting discussion?
Some questions that would make an interesting discussion are how can Second Life be used as an assessment tool in the classroom, whether for high school aged students or those undertaking undergraduate study. The use of PowerPoint features in Second Life could be utilised for students presenting their own research and as a visual component is included the understanding of visual literacy is integral.
Second Life – Potential and Capacity

a) What makes Second Life unique and of interest to so many different groups of people?


Second Life has no restrictions, it transcends reality as we know and understand it into a realm of infinite prospects. It is a creative space where people can connect with other Second Life members who are also creative and perhaps want to compose something new and limitless.

Second Life allows the creation of an avatar that represents ones personality, their individuality, who they are. Whether a form of escapism or a way of simply representing their ‘real’ self online this avatar can be changed or added to, offering each Second Life member the possibility to be who they really want to be, to enhance their ‘femininity’ the sides of their personality they feel free to unleash in the Second Life community.

Second Life allows a fantasy that is not always easily accepted in a regimented and conservative world. Where we a restricted by gender, socio-economic, racial, political, religious stigmas and stereotypes in Second Life, in this other world we are not so much encouraged but enamoured with the possibility to try new things or be something or someone different.

b) What do some of the stories and case studies tell us about the worth of a space such as Second Life in their lives?


It is evident that Second Life offers individuals an opportunity to be themselves in a non-judgemental space. They are able to experiment in role-playing situations, experiment with ‘real’ and ‘fantasy’ situations. Second Life, through expression has allowed participants to ‘blossom’ in the ‘real’ world. Clearly, through acceptance and the transcendence of typical boundaries people feel more content with themselves and their identity.

c) What are some of the potentials for using Second Life in and across a range of contexts?


Second Life could be utilised as a way for people who have difficulties relating to people face to face the opportunity to connect with others who have similar interests and creative pursuits. As it is possible for people to connect in a group situation, Second Life could also make talking about serious and difficult issues in real life a lot easier. For many, getting to a support group, having the courage to meet with unknown strangers is simply too much and they continue to suffer. If there was the opportunity to have guided group therapy sessions in a safe environment Second Life could aid people in a new way.

d) How might you now answer your own questions before viewing the slides? What is left unanswered?


The way in which people utilise an avatar is intriguing and interesting. When I have created my own avatar I mostly tend to have it to look as much like me as possible, but then, I have highlighted what I believe are my better features and have always tended to ensure the prettiness of the avatar is apparent.

Virtual Worlds

  1. What are some of the key themes and issues related to life in virtual worlds?

Virtual worlds always have the capacity for the user to create their own avatar. This allows an ownership, a connection with the world that would not be possible if you were simply given a character. The time, decision making, thought process that goes into representing ones identity is a process that almost mirrors real life, in that most people care how others perceive them. However, in a virtual world, you have the choice of what you look like and this ultimately changes how you will perceived.

Fashion, creativity, music and self expression seem to be common in virtual worlds and especially Second Life.

  1. Some say that 80% of internet users will have a second life within the next few years - do you think this is probable? Do your own bit of future speculation :)

As people are always looking for more and more ways to be connected and entertained, ultimately more and more will try Second Life. As the content is so broad it is evident there is something of interest to everyone and as a way to express oneself Second Life is appealing. There are many online gaming communities who connect people through the pursuits of the game, perhaps these people too will want to connect with others in the same ways but in a different forum. Second Life would allow this to happen.

  1. What questions do you still have unanswered?

TUTORIAL 2.

Avatars

The presentation was intriguing because:

- Females commonly create avatars in the stereotypical Westernised notion of beauty. I find this immensely intriguing as we commonly feel emancipated from this ‘ideal’ beauty but in creating an avatar we come back to the image.
- The concept of feelings being represented visually and through costume is the way in which film directors add depth and meaning to their characters. I find the way in which people innately create characters that mirror their feelings and perhaps how they feel about themselves, attaching a narrative to the visual is incredible.
- The concept of ‘reality’ is apparent, through creating an avatar individuals rid themselves of any restraint and it is commented that the avatar is the ‘real’ them. It is intriguing that through Second Life people feel free of constraint, it is like the ideal world with options of expression and creativity that we cannot access in the real world.

I found the following surprising:

- That individuals ‘blossom’ in the real world through their other, Second Life. It is as if Second Life gives its members the opportunity to start over, to be perhaps the person they have always wanted to be, but have been too afraid to become.
- The concerns listed about people show shame, guilt worry about not telling the ‘truth’ about the real them to their Second Life friends. It is as if the whole process of discarding the restraints they feel in the real world have come back and the social inequalities are still felt.