Monday, March 24, 2008

Hallucinations & Second Life

Second Life is an online virtual world where anything that happens in real life can happen in virtual life. The graphical interface is similar to being in a 1st person game that your son or daughter might play on Playstation or X-box. I wanted to learn more about Second Life so I signed up and became Sigmund Sittingbull in my virtual life. I am attending the k12online conference so I viewed a presentation on 2nd Life by Kevin Jarrett, who also mantains a 2L Blog. One of the recommended places to visit in 2L is the University of California-Davis Hallucination Center. This center was designed so that individuals can take a tour and have an experience that will make you feel what it's like to have schizophrenic symptoms. I thought this might be an interesting activity for my AP Psychology students. You can view a youtube video of a tour of the hallucination center.
My 2L experience continued on this occasion by teleporting to the Cisco Networks stage to participate in a presentation by John Connell. A funny thing happened on my way to this presentation...the hallucinations didn't stop. This was really quite maddening. It wasn't until I realized that I had to remove my "museum tag" that the voices ended. I actually begged the computer to "make it stop!"
So, let me explain that Connell was physically in Europe and was giving a presentation titled "Learning 2.0" at 7pm his time. For me, it was 3pm on the East Coast. The person behind me was physically in Florida but here we were all together. The man behind me, after finding out I was near Rochester, NY, ends up telling me he used to stay over in my hometown when he played drums for a band who played locally. Small world...even in Second Life.
In any case, I had two interesting experiences in my first venture into 2L. I learned to fly, teleport, among other 2L skills. So how do you see 2L playing in classroom? What if Ancient Rome was recreated in 2L and students could visit and tour the city with other students from around the world. What if you gave a speech using an avatar to a 2L audience? What if you could conduct research with others in 2L? What ideas do you have?


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