Virtual Librarian

The Librarians of Second Life are an outstanding group of librarians who are working together to build information delivery systems with the virtual environment of Second Life.  This network is an example of how Web 2.0 allows professionals to collaborate in new ways across great distances.  Volunteering time, expertise, and creativity, this group has built numerous in-world exhibits and provides helpful information to newcomers, educators, and individuals from around the globe. 

Second Life has been criticized for having a “difficult learning curve.”  Finding a network of knowledgeable people to turn to is crucial to learning the skills needed to explore virtual reality. 

Without the help of HVX Silverstar, I would not have been able to begin learning machinima (filming within a virtual environment).  Numerous other helpful individuals have kindly offered help.  As I continue to learn building skills and explore immersive learning environments, such as Renaissance Island, I realize that virtual reality will impact education perhaps sooner than most people think.  Children growing up in the digital age are already comfortable with avatars, computer graphics, chat sessions, and Web 2.0.  Educators have no option but to consider new technology tools to deliver information to the next generation.  Older people are often intimidated and are the ones likely to describe the “high learning curve.”  I found the skills needed to learn in Whyville were difficult but children 9 – 13 years of age are apparently quite adept at maneuvering Whyville without difficulty.

Virtual worlds and Literacy

I am reading What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee.  The author believes that video games encourage high level thinking and learning by immersing the learner (just as I am immersed in my experience in Second Life).  Literacy is more than reading and writing, but also viewing images, graphics, listening to sounds, etc.  How will this change learning for children?  Check this article:

Virtual Playgrounds

Will children find Immersive Learning Environments a way to learn in the near future?

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originally uploaded by validator.

So I spent the summer learning about Second Life- exploring, finding educational sites, and meeting fellow librarians. The ISTE Island is a really cool place for educators to meet and learn what is happening in virtual reality. I found helpful individuals who taught me the ropes and I feel right at home now! Some summer highlights: the Bookbinder’s Ball (up in the air over Caledon) and a fireworks show.

My Second Life

valavatar Over a year ago I heard, through another librarian’s blog, that the American Library Association held a meeting in a conference area of Second Life (a virtual environment).  I was intrigued but could not get the program to download on my laptop.  This summer, after a year of trying to keep up with ever-changing technology and maintain my school library, I finally got on Second Life.  I had to download it at home, since access at school is blocked by a firewall.

OK, I will admit it. I am hooked! First, the virtual world is fascinating- beyond what I dreamed.  Second, my avatar is so cute- I even have a fur hat & muff.  Third, the possibilities for creativity are endless.  How am I going to add this to my list of things to learn and do?  I barely had enough time for my first life and then…