UK Developer Gets $1 Million in Funding for Language Training in Second Life (That's Not Branded as Second Life)
Interesting news for several reasons: Language Lab, a UK school that uses Second Life as a platform for teaching English, just received $1 million in investment from Avonmore Developments, Stephen Bullock, and Huda Associates to continue developing English City, described as "a virtual world you can access through your computer where you can talk to native English speakers anytime." Virtual worlds are a proven means of teaching language (since after all, cross-country communication in them is so typical, and you're chatting in context-appropriate situations, such as restaurants and city streets.) This investment is monetary recognition of that application. (Language Lab claims 1,000 paid student subscribers and 50,000 users in over 70 countries.)
Also significant is that English City, which is actually a private island in Second Life, is not advertised by Language Lab as being part of Second Life. Looking at the landing page for English City, Second Life isn't mentioned anywhere I can see. "The vast majority of our students come to English City having never visited SL before," Marcus Allender, Marketing Manager at Language Lab, tells me. This may be a good way for other developers to approach Second Life as a platform: Avoid any negativity with SL by re-branding the experience, while still taking advantage of the best Second Life has to offer.