Second Life – a virtual world

Second Life is a virtual world, and is used by many people world-wide. It was not created as a learning environment, but there are quite a few educators who have looked at the potential for this kind of virtual world. In the University of Edinburgh, some interested staff in Artificial Intelligence, Management, and Moray House (education) have been building areas on some SL islands. The University islands are known as VUE (virtual university of Edinburgh).

To start using SL you must download the programme software from the Second Life website http://secondlife.com/ . You also have to sign up for an account, which is also free. As with most accounts you set up, you need to create a user name or ID (this is your avatar name), and a password. You will be given a list of surnames from which you can choose, and you can create your own first name. Remember to keep a note of the name you create!

Once you have a SL account, you can meet up with the group in one of the VUE island areas. The easiest way to do this is to give your tutor your avatar name before you arrive – use the course discussions and the wiki to do this. Your tutor can then add you as a “friend”, and once you accept this your tutor will be able to find you when you log on to Second Life and bring you to where the tutor is (this is done by accepting a “teleport” message which will appear on your screen. Make sure you give your tutor your avatar name, so that s/he can teleport you to the correct place.

The first task when you have entered Second Life is to become familiar with how to move and talk – “talking” can be done by writing in the chat line at the foot of the screen. There are some simple movements that are also useful – how to sit down, for example. At Holyrood Park in Second Life you can find a welcome box with some extra items you can choose to wear.

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