Lively Google (second) life – don’t miss this!

Have been saying for some time now that our online experiences are going to become more and more 3D. Yes, we need to explore all the options – which is why we are looking at Teen Second life as a co-curricular learning experience for our students ‘in world’ at Skoolaborate. Another option for our Year 7 students will be Quest Atlantis. But kids will get into anything that is going, so I am going to watch this closely!

Like the beginnings of the web, when we first learnt about ‘www’ searching, and visual interfaces, it is time for us now to turn our educators thoughts towards emerging 3D environments. No, we can’t put it off any longer! There are many options of course, but the most recent entry into this from Google Labs (for PC only at this stage) is Google Lively.

Second Life requires users to download and install a separate “client” software package that taps into the online world. Lively also requires a download and installation–Windows only for now–but then people can use Internet Explorer or Firefox to enter the virtual world.

Integration with the ordinary Internet takes several forms. For one thing, you can pipe in content hosted elsewhere on the Internet, including photos or videos. For another, you can embed your Lively area into your blog or, using widgets Google has written, on MySpace and Facebook Web pages. And you can e-mail your friends a normal Web address to get them to join. You can set up you own online spaces–rooms, grassy meadows, desert islands, and you can change the clothing or form of your avatar. And of course you can chat, do backflips, or whatever takes your fancy. Check out the rooms, apparel and accessories at the product catalogue. Read more about it from Ars Technicha (the art of technology).

Guardian Tech says:

At the moment, Lively doesn’t support user-generated content, so you’re stuck with whatever is available in the Google catalogue (click the “Shop for more” button),,,,,it’s another step in Google’s plan to achieve world domination…..

There are already a couple of systems like this around, such as Pelican Crossing, SceneCaster, Imvu, Meez and RocketOn (still in a closed alpha). But Google, like Microsoft, can use its market power to get Lively in front of a lot more eyeballs.

So, is this an important part of Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information”? Or is it just a cheap knock-off that will be binned by Christmas?

This is definitley another 3D thing to check out. Truth is, if it is a Google product, students will grab it and play with it, as they did with Sketch-up and Maps. Watch out world!

Information literacy – and Second Life

If you read this in time – then I recommend attending the a mini-conference focused on Inquiry Based Learning on 26th June in Second Life (the virtual world) from 0.00-05.00 Second Life Time (this is 5-10pm in Sydney, for times in other regions/ countries go to

It is a free event, taking place on Infolit iSchool (Sheffield University’s island in SL, which is focused on Information Literacy and Inquiry Based Learning). The focus of the mini-conference is exploring the nature of Inquiry Based Learning (IBL), and its use in teaching in both Real Life and SL. The mini-conference is aimed at anyone who wants to discuss the potential of IBL, learn more about it and/ or exchange experience: you may be using IBL already (whether in RL teaching or SL teaching) or just be thinking about using it.

Note that delegates can attend one or more of the sessions – you can choose the ones that suit your schedule or interests. It is a SL track for a real life education conference taking place in Sheffield. It includes a “crossover” session interacting with the real life conference: Lyn Parker (a librarian at Sheffield Uni) will be leading that discussion in real life. Anyone who wants to attend in SL should email including their real life and SL names. There is full info on the sessions at

(optional extra para) Inquiry Based Learning is basically like problem based learning but more open ended – more like learning through research – and several unis in the UK have a focus on it, hence the RL conference.

From Sheila Webber, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield

CNN enters Second Life

Just as CNN asks its real-life audience to submit I-Reports — user-generated content submitted from cell phones, computers, cameras and other equipment for broadcast and online reports — the network is encouraging residents of Second Life to share their own “SL I-Reports” about events occurring within the virtual world.

CNN citizen journalism everywhere you turn! It is interesting to speculate how many teachers are abreast of citizen journalism trends, and the impact of these types of initiatives.

Read the report or watch this introductory video from CNN.

  • Dispatches from Downunder – catching up with Alan

    Saturday has an exciting edge to it for me. Alan Levine has finally made it back to Sydney on his travelling tour Australia, which he has been documenting in his flipped version of his blog at CogDogRoo!

    Alan is an inspiration to many of us, so if you haven’t added his blog to your RSS feeds, then you’d better catch up now! CogDogBlog is Alanโ€™s place to bark about cool technology, web X.0 hype, weird web sites, photography, and other targets big and small.

    This is my chance to say thanks Alan! Thanks mate!

    Alan is a pretty important guy really ๐Ÿ™‚ as Director, Technology Resources and Member Services of the New Media Consortium (NMC) as well as the Vice President Community and CTO with an international group of colleagues. In Second Life everyone knows he’s a dog (CDB Barkley)!

    I met Alan recently ‘in world’ during a NSW Learnscope seminar being hosted on Jokaydia Island (where I have the good fortune to regularly meet educators from Australia to talk the good talk). In fact we had a good gathering at HeyJude Hall last night (that’s my place in Jokaydia and I’m Heyjude Jenns ‘in world’). Thanks to Sue Waters (Ruby Imako) for managing all the introductions! Phew!).

    I was so excited by the whole ‘in world’ seminar that I didn’t stop to talk or ask questions. Today its different. A bunch of us are meeting up with Alan for shopping, movie and dinner – somehow I think we’ll all be barking furiously for a piece of the action.

  • Later: From left to right – Angela, Judy, Alan, Westley and Lynnette.
  • A directory of wonderful things

    For our schools it is time to take a well-earned break with the term 3 holidays now underway. So it’s time for me to have a bit of fun on this blog too before I get back to more serious matters….

    Time to talk about wonderful things…boing boing style …. prompted by my lightweight breakfast reading of the Sun Herald (no, not my choice of paper).

    An article there about a device that creates plates, bowls and other tableware on demand and recycles them (a Star Treck fan like me recognises this!) , produced as a prototype by MIT led me to comment “I bet they got that from boing boing!”

    A little research showed me that Boing Boing listed the story Dishmaker: Printer for Dishes on February 12, which came from Gizmodo, who had linked to this story 12 months earlier at TreeHugger. Well, here’s a video about the earlier prototype…you are looking at the beginning of replicators for us all ๐Ÿ™‚

    By the way, boingboing is a weblog of cultural curiosities and interesting technologies, and is listed by Technorati as Number two blog in the world, with Engadget, the number one blog in the world, having replaced boing boing at the top.

    Boing Boing is a ‘beaut’ blog full of eclectic news!

    Today I read about a recent “in-world” labor protest that took place in Second Life. The company in question: IBM. The aggrieved: 1850 avatars, including some bananas and triangles. Link.

    I discovered a beautiful Gallery of Illustrated Endpapers. What are they? Endpapers are the inside covers and facing pages of books. Today, endpapers are almost always blank. But our more sophisticated forebears made good use of endpapers by adding thematic illustrations to them.

    Look at the endpapers here.

    I also found out about a Terry Pratchett DiscWorld reading order guide; thought about the Walk to Rivendell challenge; and saw how mobile technology worked for a reporter in Myanmar who had had his camera confiscated.

    There’s lots more to read on Boing Boing every day – so add it to your RSS reader! Lots of good ideas to provoke discussions in your classrooms.

    Now, settle back and watch another video – Dice Stacking – reported by Boing Boing of course!