Each semester in LIS768 we take an hour and talk about Second Life and log in to see what it’s like. This is the first semester that we have actually chatted with a Reference Librarian and I was very happy the class got to participate. The librarian spoke with the class and told us she does a voluntary 2 hour shift weekly in world and gets a good number of reference questions from outside of LIS folk.
Some synchronicity: add to this an email I received from a librarian that follows me on Twitter who is teaching at Catholic University this semester.
You’ll note one focus of the class is working in SL. My LIS701 students were also very interested in the section in our new book about SL. I know SJSU has a presence, but what are other LIS schools doing with SL?
Today I collaborated (virtually and in person) with three other Second Life educators to present a session on Libraries and Second Life at theTELSIG National Seminar which is being held in Palmerston North today and tomorrow.
I was incredibly nervous, and we were all crossing our fingers and toes that there wouldn’t be technology hitches – but all in all – even though there was the odd hiccup, I think it went pretty well! Everyone I spoke to afterwards had such nice things to say.
The presentation is available via a Flickr set:
I’ve see a lot of good research
in the past few months centered on Second Life.Is someone gathering all of these projects in one place?
Via John Kirriemuir
Academics who have successfully developed in SL report that their host institution and technical services are largely supportive, though with the latter there are often problems with firewalls, PC capability and enabling voice functionality. Academics report varied reactions to SL from colleagues, ranging from interest and curiosity to suspicion and “hatred”. Unlike their US counterparts, UK academic libraries are not significantly involved in SL activities.
Academics described a very wide range of SL activities spanning teaching, learning, research, performance, construction and demonstration. The key advantage of SL in teaching and learning is that there are many activities in which the student must be more than a passive learner in order to progress. The student has to develop “stuff”, collaborate and participate. Before these can occur, he or she has to master a new and transferable skill set, meaning that, in SL, learning is done more by participating and doing than by listening and absorbing.
John Kirriemuir writes:
The latest snapshot report on UK Higher and Further Education developments in Second Life is nearing completion; the report should be out in a few weeks. Here’s the responses to one particular question, from academics who have been developing and/or using SL in their work.
• Generally a gimmick, though I think a few places who innovate are trying it out.
• Hatred of any new technology by those within a decade of retirement. They hate change, they hate having to learn anything new, and they just want a quiet life until they drift off. Unfortunately, these same people hold the power within faculty.
• Generally – with caution, the value of learning using ‘serious games’ and virtual worlds in general is being questioned.
• Varies considerably from fear and rejection, to healthy scepticism to evangelical enthusiasm.
• With much interest.
• Mainly with suspicion. To many lecturers, it simply looks too much like a video game, leading to negative assumptions. I am tired with people, and I refer mainly to senior academics, who are too idle to experiment with Second Life. Instead, they prefer to reinforce their incorrect prejudice. Many, I guess, don’t like it as it represents change or something different. Which may mean more work for them in the decreasing gap between now and when they retire. Personally, I wish they would all sod off; if they aren’t going to help our Second Life activities, then at least stop hindering them.
• Mixed – some people think it is a game and not serious others recognise its potential.
• I don’t think there is much informed awareness of either its potential or its limitations and, of course, there is bound to be a fair bit of concern about the less savoury aspects. The ability to run a private grid behind a firewall in due course may allay the concerns of some, albeit at some considerable loss.
• With enthusiasm and imagination by a minority, and with doubt, fear and even derision by the rest…
• Do you know how [expletive] off I am with people who, on being told about Second Life, respond with “Maybe you should get a First Life?” Like, they’re the first person ever to think up that devastatingly witty reply. Oh, how we laugh. Ha [expletive] ha.
Some sweeping statements on both sides of the spectrum and a dash of ageism for sure. This interests me as educators in my network look to incorporate SL into their teaching. It’s amazing how varying the responses can be and how similar the responses are to the things that have come before.
Patricia Uttaro, Assistant Director, System Services at the Monroe County Library System in New York, writes:
I’ve been meaning to write to you for awhile to fill you in on activities in the Monroe County Library System since your visit here in 2006. The system now has an Emerging Technology Committee that just celebrated its first anniversary. At our last meeting, I asked if anyone was ready to drop off the team after a busy year, and the response I got from one and all was “No Way! We’re having way to much fun!”
The ETC has produced three Technology Camps for system staff in the last year that have been extremely well-received. We’ve covered gaming, music and audio book downloading, web-based applications, and social bookmarking so far. Creating and using video in the library is our next topic. The ETC meets monthly in various coffee shops in Monroe County (caffeine boosts the creative process, after all!), but we sometimes move from the coffee shop to places like Radio Shack, Best Buy, the Apple Store and other places where we can discover new toys. The Tech Camps have been so successful that we’ve been requested to produce two Camps for Library Trustees in June.
We also just finished up a training series based on Helene Blowers Learning 2.0 and I can say it was a resounding success. The 8 week series was extremely popular with system staff and resulted in the creation of a network of people who are using various web 2.0 tools and also connected via Meebo, which makes them available to other staff who are interested in learning more about the Learning 2.0 training.
During April & May, the MCLS has produced a Big Read grant program funded partially by the NEA. We chose Fahrenheit 451 for our Big Read, and have incorporated some web 2.0 concepts in the our programming. One that I thought would interest you is a book burning and discussion that will be held in Second Life at MCLS Amphitheater in Cybrary City II. We thought it appropriate that we hold at least one event in SL given the theme and imagery in F451. We’re hoping for a good turnout and a lively discussion.
Patricia – Thanks for the update and information about the ETC. I think you described the workings of a model ETC. I especially appreciated the off-site meetings – we used to do this with our team of internet trainers at SJCPL. It always made the meetings more interesting to get everyone together somewhere different.
Please let us know how the Second Life event went!
This semester I am working with a student at The College of St. Catherine (Dominican has partnered with the school for a few years) on an independent study examining the information needs and information-seeking behaviors of Second Life Users. Check it out:
I constructed this research project because I desperately want to know more about people who use virtual worlds. Knowing more about the users can help librarians who are experimenting with how to provide library services and information there.
Virtual worlds present a unique opportunity for librarians to creatively apply the mandate they have to serve user communities. A better understanding of user traits, preferences, needs & behaviors can help design the best services and resources for, and in collaboration with, the denizens of virtual worlds like SL.
This post links to a PDF of the proposal. I am looking forward to working with Margaret this semester. If you’re curious, please monitor her blog for more.
I visited again this morning, and am sure that there are buildings there that weren’t there yesterday — big ones. I must admit a real sense of space there, and I’ve already made some friends, most of whom I have no idea who they are in RL (that’s real life). I did meet one guy (I guess) who admitted to being a principal in Vermont. He wouldn’t share his name, however, for fear of my thinking that all principals in Vermont have nothing better to do than wonder around, zombie like, in Second Life.
Anyway, as I was flying around, looking for the paramecium, I ran across this, a virtual memorial to the victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre. It was quiet. Three other avatars were there. Lots of flowers and pictures of many of the victims on the wall.
There was also a pedistal, with nothing on it, entitled, “The Stolen Flame!”
So I mentioned recently that I’ve been spending some time in Second Life, and with some great help from Kevin Jarrett, I’ve now actually got my own “office” space with a view on EduIsland II. If you click on the picture, you’ll see that last night as I was decorating with the help of “Clare Lane” when lo and behold, in walked some guy named “Suriwang Dapto” who looked strangely familiar. Glasses…beard…lookin’ like a 70s holdover…WAIT! It’s David Warlick! Seems he’s setting up an office right next door!
Fascinating take on Second Life, health libraries and a look at some intiatives within SL for healthcare training.
I appreciate the fact sites like slideshare allow us to get to content like this so easily and image sets, such as http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/sets/72157594399807060/ – Communities of Practice in SL – allow us to see what other groups are doing.
What a nice why to inspire curiosity about Second Life!
Can you guess who is who? Wondering about libraries in Second Life. Visit the Info Island blog to find out more about library services in the virtual world. infoisland.org