Lorraine Emerick: SECOND LIFE: A Virtual Learning Environment


SECOND LIFE: A Virtual Learning Environment

Machinima Presentation: Second Life - A Virtual Learning Environment


Founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale , Second Life was developed by Linden Lab and launched to the public in June, 2003. Second Life is multi user virtual environment (MUVE) created, and owned by its residents that offers a platform for communication, business, education, entertainment and organizational development. While there are a variety of applications, MUVEs ( aka 3D worlds, virtual worlds, digital worlds, immersive environments…) typically provide:

• the illusion of 3D space;

• avatars as visual representations of end users

• interactive synchronous chat environment for communication.

Second Life (SL) Environment

3D – rich multimedia media content; created by users; free platform for creating, interacting, collaborating, and networking.

Identity - Second Life residents create visual representations of themselves known as avatars. Gestures and animation can be used to express feelings, enhance communication with others allowing for rich, social interaction.

Communication - Residents can communicate with each other though chatting with text or through audio. You can also create communities by forming groups and communicating through them

Second LifeVocabulary – Common terms include:

SL= Second Life •TP = teleport (method of transportation) •SLURL= A SLURL is an URL for Second Life. Like a web address, a SLURL provides a link to a certain location within Second Life. SLURLS can be used within Second Life or an a webpage. •Inworld =refers to happenings or events in SL •Lag = Condition of delayed responsiveness •Prim= Building block(s) that form 3D objects •L$= Linden Dollars – Second Life currency •Landmark= SL bookmark •Griefer= An avatar whose goal is to cause another avatar or groups of avatars “grief” through various types of harassment •Rez: Process of making objects appear in 3D •InWorld= Anything that takes place within SL •Machinima= Machine cinema (movie quality animations) •LSL (Linden Script Language) = language code which allows you to control object and avatar behavior

Business Uses

Business Use of Second Life- Companies can host virtual meetings and share data with remote employees. Offices can stay connected using built-in voice conferencing, text chat, and group messaging systems. Project leaders can share data through presentations and streaming video, which can be shown at a meeting or played on-demand by employees in different time zones. Designers can show 3-D product models to clients in real-time and provide feedback to be immediately deployed.

Educational Uses

Second Life offers a wide range of learning opportunities as well as a forum for professional collaboration. Hundreds of educational institutions and thousands of educators utilize Second Life for pedagogical research as well for synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. Second Life is also a valuable medium for professional development Second Life.

Developmental Resources

Eduscape Blog

Second Life Education Blog

Second Life Education Videos for K20 teachers exploring Second Life

Content Topics

Listed are some examples from SLED:

Architectural Design and Modeling •Art and Music Projects •Artificial Intelligence Projects •Artificial Life Projects •Business, Commerce, Financial Practice & Modeling •Computer Programming •Data Visualisations and Simulations •Environmental Education •Health Education •Historical Re-creations and Re-enactments, Living and Immersive Archeology •Immersive Exhibits and Environments •Language Teaching and Practice, and Language Immersion •Libraries •Literature, Composition and Creative Writing •Machinima •Multimedia and Games Design •Philosophy and Religious Studies •Politics, Governance, Civics and Legal Practice •Product Design, Prototyping, User-testing and Market Research •Professional Development and Communities of Practice •Roleplays and Simulations •Science Education •Self-paced Tutorials •Social Science and Anthropological Research •Support and Opportunities for People with Disabilities •Teen Second Life Projects •Theatre and Performance Art •Urban Planning and Design •Virtual Tourism, Cultural Immersion and Cultural Exchange •Vocational Education and Training

Educational Tools

There are a variety of tools that can be utilized in Second Life. Examples include: •Data Visualization Tools •Sloodle /Moodle in Second Life •SL Building/Scripting Tools •Show YouTube •Utilize Power Point Presentations •Share Flickr Photos SL •Interactive Whiteboards •Language Translators •Organizers •Integration with various multimedia software (i.e. Adobe Director 11.5; Camtasia )

Educational Events

Second Life provides a platform for a variety of networking social, business, and educational events. Second Life in Education – otherwise known as SLED- maintains a calendar of inworld events

Educational Destinations in Second Life SLURLS:

Genome Island - designed for Texas Wesleyan University undergraduates studying biology (Science)

Heart Murmur Sim -learn to identify heart patterns (Science)

Forensic Pathology -conduct and autopsy (Science)

Health Info Island - operated in cooperation with the National Institute of Health. Provides health related information, support, and research (Science)

Ann Myers Medical Center - learn about patient practices (Science)

Social Simulation Research Lab (Psychology)

Univ. of California’s Virtual Hallucinations Project (Psychology)

Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Literature)

Dante’s Inferno Project (Literature)

Library Association(Literature/Library Science)

Edgar Allan Poe(Literature)

3D Knowledge Base Network: Mind Map

ESL-SL (Language)

Chinese School 3jLife (Language)

Rockcliffe University – Language Lab (Language)

Babel Language School (Language)

Loyalist College Parrott Art Gallery (Art)

Music Island (Music)

Sliterary - Literature and Art (Art & Literature)

SL Shakespeare Company (Theatre & Role Playing)

Deadwood (Theatre & Role Playing)

Research and Second Life

Through the integration of participatory, social and immersive media, virtual worlds are gaining popularity as a subject of research relative to their educational significance. Research in MUVEs are bounded by the same law and ethics as all social research authorized by university research review boards.

Below are just a few of the hundreds of resources for research in Second Life:

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

Resource Database for Second Life

Second Life Researcher’s Listserv

Research Topics

Includes experimental research, pedagogical innovations; and virtual world best practices for integrating technologies into the educational experience. Popular areas include:

Social Presence in Virtual Worlds

•Gender, Ethnicity, and Identity in Virtual Worlds

•Gaming and Learning

Constructivist Learning

Situated Learning

Role Playing

Collaborative Learning

•Assessment Issues

•Virtual Worlds and People with Disabilities

•Visual Methodologies

Self Efficacy and Learning in Virtual Worlds

•And More


•Free (unless you own land) •Highly adaptable, user created, and users retain intellectual property to their creations •Visualisation – 3 D models •Social Interaction through dialogue and collaboration •Informal learning opportunities (foreign language) •Simulation and experiential learning/Role playing – lived experience •Ability to establish groups to social network – i.e. communities; Connect to wider world of learners/researchers/professionals •Virtual Economy (business/marketing) •Virtual job pool •Quests and problem solving ability (i.e. games) •Green •Ability to record chat, voice, video and capture data for research •Language translators available •Supports PowerPoint, video, audio, graphic images, voice over internet protocol, public chat, private chat, text based information, and an interactive whiteboard •Ability to remain anonymous •Greater connectivity and engagement in distance education classes •Level playing field for a wide range of individuals including those with disabilities.


•Learning Curve •Time •High speed Internet connection, a quick microprocessor, and a good video/graphics card •Technical problems can include slow responses, lag in resizing objects •Need to continuously update software •Need for headphones •Barriers and distractions to learning (sexually explicit content, outsider intrusions) •Managing inventory •Unless known in the Real World there is no real way to check the “true” identity of an individual. Even if they give you a web site or blog, unless clearly and absolutely mentioned that they connect their real identity with the Second Life persona there is no real way of proving this true or false •Obsessive Behavior concerning the way an Avatar looks •Role Play if it becomes serious or obsessive may lead to delusional activity •Confusion between virtual reality and reality


Bell, M. (n.d.). Second life researcher’s listserv. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://list.academ-x.com/listinfo.cgi/slrl-academ-x.com

Educational Uses of Second Life (n.d). Retrieved April 3, 2009, from the Second Life in Education Wiki http://sleducation.wikispaces.com/educationaluses

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://jvwresearch.org/

Kemp, J. (n.d.) Resource database for second life educators.. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://simteach.com/

Lewis, P. (n.d.).What is linden lab? Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://lindenlab.com/pressroom/general/factsheets/lindenoverview

Mengel, M., Simmonds, R., and Boucher, R. (2007). Educational uses of second life. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOFU9oUF2HA&feature=related

Ragan-Fore, J. (2008). International society for technology in education: ISTE second life. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP137QgYKvQ

Second Life (n.d.) Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://www.secondlife.com

Second Life Cable Network (2009). Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://www.slcn.tv

SLED Events in SL (n.d.) Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=f3b7ubjteso0776u83v4i38qm8%40group.calendar.google.com