Thursday, June 11, 2009

NOT a Second Life!

Cross-posted from Oh!VirtualLearning!:
Facebook post yesterday morning:

Scott Merrick Still reeling from the experience of being on a virtual talk show last night. It'll be up online in a week or so at the show's site. My family watched via the stream URL at the family computer while I stumbled through what I had to say, and the Q and A at the end was the best part, IMHO. Heavy sigh! Thx to everyone who made this happen!

Heavy sigh indeed! It was fun! Most of all, it was fun being up in front of a very nice-sized audience onstage with four other dedicated educators, three of whom I already count among my real-life friends and the forth of whom I'm sure will join those ranks in a couple of weeks, as technology educators and administrators gather in Washington, D.C. for intense networking based on a shared interest in technology for education. NECC, of course, is the National Educational Computing Conference.

You can read the pre-show details now at the ISTE Eduverse Talks site, and that's precisely where the spiffed up [nods to Andrew] show will be up for viewing in about a week. I highly recommend you view it when it's there: This was a great experience, and from the comments from the audience after the cameras were shut down, it was a jewel amongst the growing library of Eduverse Talks.

One comment I made toward the very end bears repeating in print, or at least I think it does.

To paraphrase (you'll have to view the show to hear the original): "If I hear a teacher say 'I don't have time for my first life--why should I go get a Second Life?' one more time I'm going to SCREAM! It's NOT a 'second life,' ya'll, its a rich, rewarding, entertaining, fun, and professionally valid extension of my life, the only life I have, into a creative, challenging, and all-those-other-adjectives new realm." Okay, I embellished a bit, but that's the beauty of afterthought.

Spiff/Andrew also said something that sticks with me. It may be that my reaction to his comment issues from a (unintentional, I am sure) hurtful comment a colleague made a couple weeks at the Vanderbilt School for Science and Math, when I was recording material for my CSO podcast, Snacks4theBrain!. He smiled, looked away from me, and said, "I hear you have three wives in Second Life."

Well, I don't (as I replied, stifling the urge to respond more assertively). And I won't, even though, as Andrew referenced the Bible near the end of our show, "Seek and ye shall find." If you go looking for bad stuff in Second Life, it's there, though as we speak Linden Lab is making serious and controversial efforts to isolate the so-called "bad stuff." But if you gear your time and efforts to seeking creative, innovative colleagues and fun, interesting educational content, it's there, too--and in spades, as I hope this blog has been reporting since May, 2007. Isn't it exactly the same "in real life?"

So the problem, it seems, is in Linden Lab's choice for a name for their metaverse. This is no new idea. I submit, though, that the scoffers and otheres who are letting this intense and important phenomenon pass them by while they choose to spend their media time watching CSI (who did a weird and possibly off-putting episode involving Second Life) should get off their "real" backsides, turn off their TVs [hears John Prine], should simply "Get a Second Life." Remember, it's NOT a second life!

There's a link in the sidebar. Go. Look me up when you've done your assignment. I'll give you a hug. If you're already in, and you're going to NECC09, come see me in the Second Life Playground. I'll give you a hug there. I'm a big fan of hugs.

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