Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another Interesting Article

Actually, its more of a picture gallery than an article, but does showcase yet another way in which Second Life proves its potential to be more powerful than just 2D pictures.

"On Thursday, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched an immersive, interactive 3D presence in the virtual world Second Life.

The site, created by NOAA's Earth Research Lab, gives Second Life users the opportunity to walk through a series of interactive exhibits, showing, for example, the effects of global warming on large glaciers; what it's like to fly in a NOAA plane or weather balloon into, through or around a hurricane; and what undersea caves and marine life look like from a submarine."

Here's the link

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Hey, Greg Mathy here and I'm sure many of you have been wondering what's going on. The island has been acquired and is quite spacious (Asif will post about it later on).

As for the villa build, it looks pretty promising right now, though it doesn't follow the schematics laid out for it. Nonetheless, it looks pretty good and not bad for our first build.

Pictures and Videos soon to come!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Just Found This Article On Second Life Education

Hey guys,

I know its not my turn to post, however, I was going to go on to another website and I just found this on the msn homepage. I found it quite ironic because it just shows that Second Life is affecting more than just us.

Take a look!

Thanks, Just thought I'd share it!

Dre Masala

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Music as a medium

Hey everyone, this is Shizzle Rau comming back with a new post. Todays post is going to be about music as a medium, integrated into online multimedia. A medium – this extension of our body or senses or mind – is anything from which a change emerges. And since some sort of change emerges from everything we conceive or create, all of our inventions, innovations, ideas and ideals are McLuhan media. Thus we have the meaning of “the medium is the message”. The traditional definition of a medium is one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television.

A more radical definition is "any extension of ourselves, and the message of the medium as 'the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs". It was created by a genius named Marshall McLuhan. He has written several books, but his most impressionable one would be a book called "Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man". Mark Federman from the McLuhan Institute at the University of Toronto explains McLuhan's ideas in his article, The Fifth Law of Media. There is a link to his blog under 'Readings' (what is the next message).

How can music be a part of, an 'extension of man'? I'll tell you. Well, lots of songs have subliminal meanings to it. For example, the band Iron Maiden doesn't really have subliminal messages but direct and straight forward messages. Most of which are on wars and how they are not good. Music can make a person feel a certain way. Songs like: Forget It - Breaking Benjamin can make one feel down, but at the same time aware. One must be aware of what is going on.

I would like to say that Global Kids are having a thing for the Virginia Tech victims and their families, so keep an eye out for that.

This relates because to spread the word out, one needs the media. SL, e-mail, posts and forums are exactly those types of media. McLuhan once said, " Utterings are outerings (extensions), so media are not as words, they actually are words. I think this makes alot of sense because if you really think about it, media isn't just the act of delivering information, it is what the media is delivering.Well that is all I have for today.

"I don't want them to believe me, I just want them to think." - Marshall McLuhan

I am Shizzle Rau from DAA. I hope this helps.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Discussion between using Second Life or a Video phone conference.

This was our first class since being on Spring break, so our minds were fresh and ready to work. Today in class there was a big discussion about whats more conveinent, using Second Life or making a Video conference call. Through-out the discussion we were able to come up with some advantages or disadvantages reguarding the two things. In terms of Second Life i would think it was easier as you could use it to get many peoples opinions, thus having new ideas or things to agruee about. As there are many users in Second Life you are able to hold many avatars within a small space. Also the good thing about this particular program is that you are then able to read peoples conversation by just going close to their avitars. From this people are able to give their own personal opinion. Further more, you are even able to teach classes in Second Life. By using the Video Conference Calls you are only allowed to speak to people that are in your contact lists, resulting in less opinions.

In terms of the time in Second Life it takes to meet people, this is a disadvantage as you have to go through a series of steps such as, teleporting the avitars and also finding them in the area. However, in the video calls you only have to press a few buttons to communicate effectively to one another.

When you are talking to people you dont actually know who exactly you are talking to in Second Life as they are not who they appear to be, this implies people change the physical portraits of their own avitars. However, in some cases the operators try make their avitars look the same as they do in real life. By using a video call you are able to identify exactly who you are talking to as you are able to see them in the appropriate time.

One other advantage when using Second Life is all of the chats or discussions are typed and projected on your computer screen. By this technology you are able to look at the history and take out key points or whatever is nessicary to the conversation. In comparison between the Video calls you are unable to do this as acurately as you are basically writing down the points when being said.

This is just a brief overview of our discussions in class, and partially my point of view.
Whats yours?

Dre Masala

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Future

In the project overview, it says we will work with our teachers to "document the educational value of using Second Life as a digital media tool in and out of the classroom" and "develop a collaborative build that utilizes the unique qualities if the 3D medium".

We’ve been working on this Second Life experiment for two months. We’ve learned how to build objects and learned how to cooperate online without face to face real life communication. We have some experience now and it is time to develop our understanding of this medium. Some of us seem to have an intuitive understanding. I think it is time to put it into words. What is the future of this program as a learning tool? What is the future of Second Life?

Over this spring break, these were some of the questions that entered my mind. In 8 weeks, our team will have to present a proposal for next year’s students. But before we do this, we must ask ourselves to define exactly how Second Life is a useful tool for teaching and learning.

Analyzing the different ways we communicate with each of these tools while we compare online media may provide some in-depth answers. I think some of the online communication we learned to do in Second Life can also be done in other media, such as blogs and forums. 3-D design can also be done with Google SketchUp for example. Exactly how are these tools different from each other? How are some of these tools better than others for certain things?

Some claim Second Life might be the successor to the traditional internet browser, or add to the 2-D experience. However, I need to develop my understanding of the benefits of a 3-D environment when it comes to researching online. There certainly seem to be disadvantages to using SL for some things.

Of course, you could see how many other people are looking at the site, but I’m sure many would find that inconvenient. Since Second Life uses the basic laws of physics, the more people there are at an area, the further away some people will have to be, making their online experience a nuisance. In other words, if there are 50 people at the same site, some people will not be able to view the site properly, because of perspective issues.

Second Life seems like it could be a useful educational tool. I want to understand what makes it useful and why some experts believe it is a glimpse into the future of learning. We need to continue this discussion together and include experienced SL students from other communities. We should be able to identify the qualities and benefits of this new medium that distinguish it from other media.

On a light note, check out this mock video. How far should we extend ourselves with online communication? Is there a limit? I look forward to responses from DAA students and people outside our school.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


We're sorry that the blog hasn't been updated for this week, it was Spring Break, and our First Lives took precedence over Second Life.

Updates soon to come!