Positive Work Being Done in Second Life & Other Virtual Worlds

One of the efforts the Mentors group has been focused on these last few weeks has been on this project of collecting news and other interesting items that would reflect the kinds of positive work being done in Second Life and other virtual worlds settings. The idea has been to then share this perspective with the world at large in order to help balance out the general image presented by popular media, which tends more often to focus on Second Life and virtual worlds as places for purely recreational gaming or which tends to take a perspective that perhaps highlights more potentially sensationalistic pursuits, like virtual sex.

So as part of this effort by the Mentors group over the last several weeks, I've been gathering items I thought were especially interesting from this standpoint to share. As I collected and began to study the items that caught my attention, I realized they were falling into three general categories for me...

First Category: Items Focused on How People Think of and Behave Towards the Virtual & One Another.

These items provide opportunities for exploring and perhaps changing how we perceive & understand virtual spaces, as well as opportunities to consider how we relate to one another both concerning virtual spaces and within them. These are topics I find especially interesting to consider given my intrinsic interests in the social sciences, philosophy, and the human experience.

 

Second Category: Items about Second Life Being Used to Help & Empower Others and for Self-Development.

 

Third Category: Items about Second Life Being Used for Education & Learning:

 

Finding and studying these examples has really opened my eyes to the kind of creative thought and innovative, constructive work being done in virtual settings. As I’ve encountered and studied these items, I’ve also shared them with friends & colleagues as well as with others in the broader social network environments I inhabit.

I hope that you’ll find some of these items as interesting as I did and also consider sharing them with others. And speaking of sharing, if you’ve encountered similar news or other similarly interesting items I would invite you to please share them with us here!

P.S. I’m realizing in hindsight that I’ve entirely missed items related to the arts, which is a glaring omission! From my own experience, I know that Second Life has a great deal to offer in this area of endeavor as well, so there must be news or other items out there highlighting some of the incredibly creative work being done; I would personally be grateful if people could also share items related to the arts and making a difference.

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Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds (FCVW) Livestream Archive

Here's another great resource for learning about the kinds of serious focus and working being done in virtual worlds. Virtual attendance was free and I have to say it turned out to be a really rich experience. Highly recommended if you have even a passing curiosity in this stuff... :)

* Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds (FCVW) 2012 Livestream Video Archive: http://www.livestream.com/ndustreampremium/video?clipId=pla_8cd15426-72f...

~ Jerry

Additional article about digital dualism.

Here's another piece by PJ Rey that continues an exploration of the digital dualism which seems to exist in society at large and its implications. I had highlighted two of his previous articles on the topic above.

Though I find the topic interesting to consider in its own right, I think it's also useful to explore from the standpoint of outreach, because how people may understand the 'virtual' affects their perception of its value or personal relevance. And sometimes a better understanding of this can help reveal other effective ways to approach the lack of willingness to access or to engage the technology that we sometimes encounter.

* The Myth of Cyberspace by PJ Rey: http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/the-myth-of-cyberspace/

~ Jerry

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* TEDxAtlanta - Rhonda Lowry - Literacy in a Networked Society: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxAtlanta-Rhonda-Lowry-Litera

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~ Jerry

 

Many thanks to Brownrice Internet for hosting the NPSL site.