SL educator Joe Essid has a compelling post in response to the news that Linden Lab is quietly reaching out to selected schools and nonprofits who lost their 50% sim discount. Should they take it? He argues this is not a good idea for several reasons, including one related to this picture of a pixie, which now graces the Second Life homepage. Since Linden Lab has only been pursuing online social game consumers in the last few years, Essid argues, "[I]t would elicit laughs in the classroom and worse in the IT conference rooms where purchasing decisions get made. It illustrates how far the Linden Lab strategy has shifted, and I don't think a granting agency or IT department would look at today's SL and say 'here is your $150 per month, prof. Go play with Victoria's Secret pixies.'" Essid offers another reason that's even more compelling -- Second Life is a platform out of touch with how Millennials generally communicate and use technology:
"I polled my current section of 16 first-year students. Not one brought a desktop computer to campus, and only three own one at their home... They use mobile technology for everything: laptops for making content and phones plus, increasingly, tablets for communication. SL does not play well on many laptops with wireless and not at all on phones and tablets, barring a third-party viewing with limited functionality. The platform is wedded to the desktop computer that remains popular with the sorts of users who can swap out a video card on a weekend. Students can't do that with laptops, and our labs, where desktops remain available, are not set up for that sort of on-the-fly upgrades."
Read much more here. While these are all solid points, I still think some schools could benefit from the discount -- names, those whose students do use desktop computers. I.E. students in the arts, architecture, and other programs that require heavy computing power and 3D graphics. Beyond that, there's non-profit uses where Second Life is still the best platform -- specifically, as an immersive, open-ended social platform for the disabled.
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