I posted this on another blog of mine but thought you might have an interest in this also...yeah, yeah, I'm skeptical...but it is worth investigating!
As if manging my first life wasn't bad enough, here come a web space known as "Second Life".
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by over a million people from around the globe.
You create a virtual person, known as an avatar and literally make your way through this world. There is an economy based on something known as a "linden dollar" which I believe can actually be converted to real money for people who would rather buy these virtuaa assets rather than earn them!
Why would I post this info on the RW Blog? Well, I recall a number of years ago joining a community run by Compuserve known as "World's Away" and finding it absolutely fascinating. The problem was that on-line time was expensive and 56.6K modems were too slow to effectively utilize the real-time aspects of the world. Now, given our new lap tops and high speed connectivity, it is actually time to see whether or not this idea has merit, free of the technological restrictions of the past.
This CNN article from 11/14 even suggests that, "A growing number of educators are getting caught up in the wave. More than 60 schools and educational organizations have set up shop in the virtual world and are exploring ways it can be used to promote learning."
Let's say we wanted an island for our organization well here are the specs..."We offer a discount to verified real world educators and academic institutions (e.g., universities/schools) or 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that will be using the regions to support their organization's official work. For these organizations, small islands are priced at US$980 for 65,536 square meters (about 16 acres), and monthly land fees for maintenance are US$150."
I know this is a far out concept but it may be time to consider the merits of virtual spaces. My 9 year old daughter is currently fascinated with a virtual space called "Club Penguin" in which she exists as a panguin, owns an igloo and, from what i just heard, an LCD TV! I kid you not! Ask any kid under the age of 11, with broadband, about it. Given the popularity of these spaces with the under-10 set they will certainly be ready to utilize an Avatar as an undergrad.