Second Life for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

<quote> We, as we read, must become Greeks, Romans, Turks, priest and king, martyr and executioner, that is, must fasten these images to some reality in our secret experience, or we shall see nothing, learn nothing, keep nothing. – Ralph Waldo Emerson </quote>

Presentation Type: 1/2 or Full Day Workshop
Group Size: up to 25 people
Audience: People new to or wishing to learn more about Second Life
Presenter(s): Jim Parker

Second Life provides an excellent virtual space for teaching generally, and for teaching technical subjects in particular. It provides a first rate set of 3D object construction tools, enables physics simulations, and allows audio in many forms. This workshop assumes no previous experience with Second Life and shows educators how to access the ‘grid’ by gaining an identity and an avatar, how to navigate the space, and the basic tools for working in Second Life. The second hour is more advanced, showing the participants how to build objects, make costumes and use sound. We will visit some existing educational spaces to see what is going on now and what the potential is.

Video games generally are simulations, and Second Life in particular allows many levels of fidelity and many communication and collaboration mechanisms for teaching and learning. We will also briefly discuss OpenSim, a downloadable tool that allows researchers to build their own Second-Life like virtual space for specific applications. The Digital Media Lab at the U of Calgary has years of experience with virtual reality and Second Life in the educational sphere, and can give interested educators a good start.