Posted by: sluthier | July 14, 2008

Arts and Education Heat Up in SL

Just a few comments about SL.

Education and art are the two hottest areas in SL, I think. The art world is just exploding. I went to two major openings yesterday. In the opening remarks by the new CEO of Linden Labs at SL5B he mentioned both arts and education as the most exciting areas of activity. The SL5B events included panel discussions in education. ISTE, MacArthur, and others are really diving into it.

The recent surprise unveiling of Google’s Lively metaverse is intriguing. It’s really crude by comparison to SL, but may appeal to lightweight users who want a simpler introduction to immersive environments. One of the more popular spots in Lively, apparently, is the SL room, where users largely hang out and ask what the point is of this relatively limited space. But having Google in the metaverse as an active player has huge implications. Especially as SL announces the first official transport off the grid into another world using the Open Grid protocols. The avs arrived (eventually) rather thoroughly ruthed as none of their SL assets transported with them. But as the metaverse expands to worlds and servers outside of Linden Labs, I believe we will see the real growth of this technology, just as the web grew 15 years ago when it was released to the public. Look forward to worlds without prim limits or size limits; with fully sculpted objects of the quality now seen only in game consoles. To moving from one world to the next seamlessly.

If you have looked around at other university regions in SL, you’ll see that UK compares very well, at least from a visual standpoint. We still need to get student and faculty involvement in doing actual work there, but that will come as more concrete examples and success stories are heard.

It was good to have even a small presence in the SL Fifth Birthday festival. With better planning, I hope we can have a more substantial exhibits in such events. With the exception of Princeton University, which took up much of the sim with a copy of their giant prim-eating behemoth (old news), and Columbia University of Chicago’s more interesting variety of student installations (including a large model of the Empire State building with a facsimile of King Kong hanging off the top), the education community was largely unrepresented at SL5B. I don’t know exactly why, but it seems to show a lack of community involvement in SL by educational institutions. We know there are a lot of colleges and universities in SL. Why were they not there? These are opportunities that we should be better prepared to grab when they float by. We are in as good a place as anyone to show leadership in this world.



  1. Great points, Oz. I’m glad UK had a (minor) presence in the SL5B event and I’m not sure either why more universities were not represented. We do need to take advantage of these opportunitie as they come. Wouldn’t it be great for UK to be a leader in education in Second Life!

    I think our island is at a crossroads. Our first semester was very successful, in my opinion, but now we need to move to the next level. We need to sustain what we have and continue to grow and develop. We do need more student and faculty involvement. I hope everyone with a glimmer of an idea for events/builds/experiments on the island will jump in and give it a shot! It’s all new and experimental. We need activity on every scale to see what works. I think we’ve got a great start with many creative and enthusiastic residents, and we just need to build on it.

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