The audience was large and rowdy. The room was crowded. The people presenting just before the session wouldn't get their stuff out of the way. The equipment was balky. People were floating in and out. Sound like a real live conference presentation?
This happened to be at a real Second Life conference presentation given by Kathy (Schrock) Dryburgh this morning at 8AM SLT as a part of the Second Life Best Practices in Education International Conference. Despite the problems at the very start, the talk was absolutely terrific.
Kathy uses her powers of telekinesis to position the white board where her slides will appear.
I also had a chance to stop by Elaine Tulip's (Lisa Perez) poster session at the event. The Chicago Public School Library Department was well represented. I was inspired a few weeks ago by Lisa's presentation on Second Life at a library conference near Chicago and I continue to be impressed by her department's presence in Second Life.
I am in total awe of these two educators. Their knowledge and understanding of this new medium amazes me of course, but I even more astounded by their bravery for putting themselves out there - presenting and displaying in this unpredictable and even controversial new environment. These are very brave people.
Many educators seem to have a reticence about Second Life as a teaching tool, even those folks I would otherwise consider visionaries in other ways. Yes, Second Life has an "adult" side to it. Yes, it is crash prone, slow and unreliable. Yes, there is a steep learning curve to creating content for it.
Yes, it sounds just like the WWW of about 10-12 years ago. (Doesn't anyone else remember Mosaic and three minute page re-draws?)
I am also convinced that many of us can't quite reconcile "fun" and "useful." Every time I've gone into Second Life I've really had fun and I wonder if anything this enjoyable can possibly be good for a person. It's my inner Puritan.
Anyway, thanks Kathy and Elaine. You've made this new environment really exciting for many of us.
I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend (if you celebrate). I am off to see my beautiful grandsons and their beautiful parents this weekend and I am doing workshops in Olathe, KS, next week, so I'm signing off the blog for a few days. See you in June.
Oh, I visited with a fellow who dances with his wife in Second Life whenever he is away from home. I couldn't decide whether this was sweet or sort of weird and pathetic.
I've come down on the side of sweet.