I don’t spend as much time as I once did in Second Life. The reason isn’t because of the people or events or whether or not it is useful or getting bored or any of the reasons people tend to suspect. It is for tech issues. With the second generation viewer (SL2) it has become so computer and bandwidth intensive that my computer usually won’t launch it, or takes half an hour of repeated login attempts to finally succeed. I spent six months trying to force it to work, then finally switched to Imprudence, but struggle even with that. It is so difficult these days for my computer to run SL that I spend less and less time there.
The next obvious question is, “So, why bother?” The answer is because of the quality of the people and learning experiences I have there. I spend time with (or used to) with a wide ranging variety of communities from health care to disabilities to genetics to economics to astronomy to life sciences to educators to geeks. Oh, and don’t forget art and music. One of these communities (just one, mind you) is Tools Jam.
Immersion: Tools Jam: http://itj.posterous.com/
Tools Jam (a.k.a. ITJ or #toolsjam) is a group organized around a similar philosophy to my own Cool Toys Conversations except that they meet more often and blog less. I try to attend when I don’t have a conflict because it feeds my own CoolToys activities. Today was the first day back to Tools Jam after the summer school break. Just as an example, here is a sampling of the range of tools and interesting URLs presented during today’s conversation, in roughly chronological order. It is just a sampling, because I crashed on login again, and so missed the beginning. Just imagine what I might have missed!
Change: Education, Learning & Technology (Change11) taught by George Siemens, Stephen Downes, & Dave Cormier
– The Change MOOC Schedule NOTE: The list of 35 leading educators blogs is in itself invaluable.
Diaspora Alpha (open source privacy-sensitive alternative to Facebook & Google Plus)
GPlus.To (URL shortener & personalizer for Google Plus)
Google Dashboard (to see a synthesis of what information Google has/shares about you)
What Do You Love? (visual overview of Google services based on topics your search)
SLanguages 11 / SLang11 (a free 3-day conference on language learning in Second Life)
Gestuno (International Sign Language)
– LifePrint: Gestuno
– World Federation of the Deaf. Unification of Signs Commission. Gestuno: international sign language of the deaf.
– Handspeak: Gestuno
– More Info: Gallaudet University: Library: LibGuide: Sign Language
HootCourse (tool for using Twitter in education, still in development)
Twitter in the classroom? (Genetics professor at UBC)
Alright, so all this happened in less than an hour while I ate my lunch. There was, of course, more that I didn’t capture. How much of this was new to you? Half of it was new to me. That’s actually quite a bit! Definitely worth my time, and I wish I had better tech and more time so that I could learn even more.