Blogging is not new to me, but I have yet to blog as en eLearning practitioner. My blogging efforts have been geared to promoting my “freelance” work in Second Life®. These efforts, and the lessons learned, have afforded me a certain expertise in Second Life.
Thus this first post shall paint a picture of some of that experience to frame my perspective on Second Life and it’s possible uses within eLearning content.
I was introduced to Second Life during the height of it’s coverage by the news media and further drawn to explore it because a few of our client’s were using this bizarre metaverse where you can buy virtual land. By day I am a multimedia developer, along with 10 other eLearning specialist, for Newmarket International. Newmarket creates sales and catering software for hotels. In fact, the hotel for the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn 2008 Conference uses Delphi to book and manage functions, such as the conference itself.
Our eLearning is used by over 100,000 users in 110 countries. As with any training, we strive to create engaging eLearning and look to the eLearning Guild to help guide our exploration of the latest “best practices”.
And that is where the meshing of eLearning and Second Life occured for me. We had been striving for incorporating video into our training but were faced with the reality of actual budgets!
With the discovery of machinima, or inworld video, it seemed to perhaps offer an alternative to the challenges of real video. After all, avatars don’t age, it’s easy to create a cast of characters, outfits and sets. As a “proof of concept”, I took it upon myself to learn how to do machinima.
I was suprised at the lack of information on how to effectively “shoot” video within Second Life. Many late nights were spent both on the web and inworld discovering what tools were used to obtain the results I had seen in machinima posted on various forums and on the Second Life site.
Those links will follow in later posts, as well, as advice on what I found to work well.
Coincidentally, just weeks prior to this time I had built a prototype of a “best practices” teaching facility for a possible eLearning Guild presence in Second life (isl). I had been teaching inworld classes on building techniques and THiNC book creation and “tested” the prototype with two classes.
Funny how some things just intersect in life. Well these events led to the start of a virtual real estate business and, many sims later, I truly grasp why someone (or some company, institution, or university) would own virtual land.
So that is a little glimpse as to where my background lies . . .