What is Second Life? Second Life is the largest user-created 3D virtual worlds managed by Linden Labs from San Francisco. Linden Labs report that in the last quarter of 2010 alone, over 750,000 global users spent more than 105 million hours experiencing Second Life while exchanging Linden dollars, Second Life’s currency, worth more than $165 million (USD) in its economy.
Second Life Learning Locations. London Metropolitan University offers a range of services on their virtual university campus. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
London Metropolitan University industry partner Alan Hudson is a specialist 3D designer and developer who offers design, build, and support services to education and cultural industries.
Advice on safety and security. There are global codes of socially acceptable behavior in the real world and in world in Second life. There are three types of regions in SL appropriately labelled for specific use. Second life General regions are set-aside for all users including 13-15 year old users. Mature land is for mixed content. Adult land may include more explicit content and users must be age verified over 18 to access it.There should be no illegal material anywhere in SL, no gambling, and SL users should use socially acceptable behavior. If socially acceptable moral codes of behavior are being compromised or threatened as in any Real Life situation, you need to take measure to safeguard your comfort and safety.
Measures to safe-guard your comfort and safety:
Most users in SL are helpful and pleasant. If they are not, you should walk away. If the problem continues there are three measures to safeguard your comfort. Report the incident by noting the avatar, witnesses and location if possible to:
1. SL tutor supervising the session.
2. SL landowner who can evict the avatar and its owner from that SL land.
3. Users can report other users to Linden labs by right clicking on the offending avatar.
In preparation for working in Second Life, the SL tutor can discuss with the students topics on moral and ethically acceptable behavior in real life and how this understanding could transfer to virtual worlds. In real life public places, moral, ethical and socially acceptable behaviour is underpinned by values of:
- Empathy, respect, and tolerance for others;
- The capacity to communicate and seek advice,
- Hospitality to strangers.
Advice to SL landowners:
To respond to inappropriate and abusive behaviour, you can ban any users from your parcel using your estate tools. Right click on the avatar and select "eject," and follow it up by clicking the "Eject and Ban" button. You can add their names manually under "About Land" or "Region/Estate," depending on the type of land and land rights you have.
Acceptable dress codes:
Creative imaginative people populate second Life. In most circumstances it is acceptable to tailor your avatar in imaginative ways. Some projects may require specific dress codes to simulate RL conventions. Dress code is dependent on the project.
Linden lab Terms of Service. The Second Life Terms of Service are a useful guide to general behaviour in SL. Although there are frequent breaches, most users of SL are friendly considerate and tolerant people. However, all users should be aware of the Terms of Service and tutors should ensure students have read and understood them.
Before you can use SL you must register your avatar. You can change everything about your avatar except the name. Registration is free and you can have more then one avatar, however, Lindens do limit the number of avatars registered from one IP address and the number owned by one person. This can cause problems in some institutions. You can ask Lindens to have your IP address 'white listed' allowing unlimited numbers of avatar registrations.
You must also download and unpack the free open source viewer. The download only takes a few minutes. Open the file and it will automatically unpack. Some virus checkers may prohibit this so you may need to talk to your institution's technical staff. (The viewer is not installed like typical software. You only need to copy and execute the .exe file (on Windows systems) so once unpacked you can quickly copy and run the viewer on other computers without needing to download and unpack.) When you run the viewer some institutions' firewall may block it. Again you may need to talk to your technical staff.
Computer requirements. Most fairly new PCs, Macintoshes, and LINUX computers will run SL. Having a good graphics card is probably more important than having a fast processor. For computer requirements see http://secondlife.com/support/system-requirements/ . However, don't be put off by warning messages about your graphics card. It will probably still run OK even if it does give you a warning message saying it doesn't recognise your graphics card.
Now log in and try SL for yourself. Your avatar will first appear at an info hub. This is a space for new users to familiarise themselves with SL. Try talking to other users and use the first handouts to familiarise yourself before you begin introducing students. You can meet your students at a nice cafe. You can even try building at a sandbox - a free building space for anyone to use.