University of KY Island in Second Life (SL), will celebrate its opening on Thursday, March 20, with tours, speakers, games and more. Second Life is a virtual world that allows people, through the free SL software, to create an avatar, buy property, hold classes and educational events, create items for themselves or to sell to others, and interact with people from anywhere who participate in SL.
Events begin at 1pm (all times are Eastern) with a welcome in the virtual WT Young Library followed by a talk by Second Life educator “Eloise Pasteur” (as she’s known in SL). Eloise, who in real life lives in England and holds a PhD in biology, has been working in Second Life since 2004. She has taught biology, numeracy, and literacy skills in SL, and regularly supports students with learning difficulties. Her presentation may be viewed “in world” (in Second Life) or via projection in the Young Library Auditorium.
Immediately following her presentation, a panel will meet (in real life this time) in the Young Library Auditorium to discuss their current work in Second Life. Christopher Rice, PhD, teaches PS 545 (American Political Thought) on the UKy island, and Tad Mutersbaugh, PhD, teaches GEO 714 (Political Economy and Ethnographic Imagination 2008: Commodities and Realities) there. They will be joined by students in those classes.
At 3pm, or immediately following the panel, those attending in the Young Library will be treated to a tour of the island, and those who have avatars may join the tour in world.
At 3:30, the games begin! Educational gamer “Jeremy Braver” has donated his game Windbag to the University of KY opening, and an island resident will be present to help players get started. Other games will be available as well, including a scavenger hunt in which the first three finishers will win Linden dollars (the currency of Second Life).
From 3pm until 5pm, avatars are welcome to tour, play games, ask questions, explore the island and practice building in the UKy island “sandbox” area. At 4pm, avatars can attend an in world dance on the island, and in Young Library their real-life counterparts can go to the computer lab in Room B35 to dress up their avatars for the evening out and learn a little more about getting around in Second Life.