Okay, I'm gonna do it.Last night I was pretty sure I was gonna be a party pooper, but today, after catching up on all kinds of things all morning at the hotel, I'm downtown at Gordon Biersch with a cold brew in front of me and my laptop aperch a singularly central bar table. People on the wait list just didn't see the table, I guess, or would rather sit at a traditional table or booth. I'm a happy camper.
- Second Life is not a "game." You can find any number of statements, manifestos, and flat-out angry diatribes on this topic with your Google search engine and a few careful search terms. Perhaps the most eloquent is the "Classification" segment of the Second LIfe entry at Wikipedia. To whit:
During a 2001 meeting with investors, Rosedale noticed that the participants were particularly responsive to the collaborative, creative potential of Second Life. As a result, the initial objective driven, gaming focus of Second Life was shifted to a more user created, community driven experience.
Second Life's status as a virtual world, a computer game, or a talker, is frequently debated. Unlike a traditional computer game, Second Life does not have a designated objective, nor traditional game play mechanics or rules. As it does not have any stipulated goals it is irrelevant to talk about winning or losing in relation to Second Life. Likewise, unlike a traditional talker, Second Life contains an extensive world that can be explored and interacted with, and it can be used purely as a creative toolset if the user so chooses. However, the vast majority of users use Second Life primarily as an entertainment medium, and for most of them the ability to interact with other users is critical to that.
- Second Life may be a "simulation," but--at least as it is used by educators--it is much more a social networking platform that is mounted on a platform that is a simulated environment than it is a "simulation."
- Second Life educators, while they may be individually interested in gaming, are more educators than gamers. Many come into SL simply to enjoy the company of others, to benefit from the amazing sense of place that SL can provide for networking, teaching, and learning.
- The nearly 5000 members of ISTE Second Life could mostly care less about the content promoted by the membership of SIGGS, aside from Second Life. I'm not saying that content is not valuable, and educationally valid, and shared with good intentions, but the underpinnings of most of the content I saw at the wonderful SIGGS Playground are not relevant to many of the members of what I propose to be SIGSL, SIG Second Life. Shoot, there should probably be a SIGVE (one for all other Virtual Environment platforms as well. But even that's getting too broad for many of our ISTE SL members, and I truly think we need to populate the discussion with resources for SIGSL without broadening its scope.
- Second Life is free. Most of the SIGGS content, other than SL, is not. That's a huge difference that can't be overstated. While there are commercial aspects to networking, teaching, and learning in SL, an educator need not spend dollar one to benefit from it on a daily basis, if she or he so chooses.
- Back when the SIGGS was first proposed, I had put in a concurrent proposal in for a SIGVE. For a number of reasons, including my own overcommitments in various venues and on various projects, I deferred to ISTE's suggestion that we merge, and deferred leadership to the capable Greg Jones, since the broader topic suggested that his level of expertise is clearly more suited to leading that SIG. As far as I can see, none of the leadership of SIGGS has much interest in SL, aside from using it as a platform to promote their own interests. That's a good thing, and I applaud it, but I maintain that the Second Life "tribe" needs more representation in ISTE than the SIGGS can provide it. It needs its own SIG, ya'll.