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Monday, June 23, 2008


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I found in my courses that students enjoyed building and learning to build only if they'd been given a reason to learn. Until I gave them a specific goal to accomplish they weren't motivated to spend the time to play with the tools. I see this in workshops as well. If I simply give participants time to play with the building tools they aren't quite as engaged as they appear to be when I say "try building a chair."

Ann Otoole

Maybe this question should be answered by Teen Grid Residents.

Connie Sec

Perhaps it's a mindset with which students come into SL. Most may have experience of "games", but the games are directed play. They are spoonfed goals..eg..kill the monster at the end of the level. SL, at its core, survives because of "creative play".

Adia Clary

Since Im the (college) student catagory, I think I will respond. i think it depends serveal factors:

1) Time - studying and partying take away a lot of it. With SL and building with such a high learning curve, if it there isn't any reason to stay and learn the creation abilities, then you are wasting time.

2)Major or program of study - I'm an anthropology major, there is no point for me to be building or creating on the surface level. Graphic communication majors and graphic artists make a large majority of sl designers and artists.

3)Interests - While all interests are represented in SL, other online sites, like Gaia, which have been on before, the major interest is set. Take for example Gaia, it is largely a teen crowd that likes...no wait...adores anime and the avatars are designed in a magna/anime way. Also connecting with the time issue, if people can't find their first niche within the first weeks SL becomes pointless and they go away.

4) Parents - This would be more the teen set. Parents get scared of pedos and the like, especally when crime shows decide to use a virual world angle. Also with social networking sites, parents can get an account to keep track of their kids. In SL it is a bit harder to do that. Also the main grid topics such as sex are always something that parents don't their kids to even be assoicated with, even though the teen is on the teen grid.

5) Friends - I agree with the statement that there aren't rl friends to hang out with. With Gaia they are always trying to get your friends to come and hang out with you, which then have the same interests. SL's campaign hasn't been as big. However, when Im out with friends or at school, Im always talking about sl. Sometimes I will be asked how to join or something like that and i give them my sl name just incase they love sl and wish to stay.

6)The thing that it all come down to is if the student likes it or not. I won't go and explore something or put tons of effort into something I don't like. And you have to admit, even if you love/adore/whatever SL, you have to admit it is somewhat cheesy and concept-driven.

btw Im taking a media and society class in the that talks about SL, at least briefly Im told, but I doubt we will go into the grid, unless I can someway get onto the prof. good side, which should be easy since Im a teacher's pet, and do a in-class demo! Wee! lol

Austin Welles

As a person who enjoys SL and all that can be created and experienced, and a teacher who can see some of the potential benefits of using SL as a medium for teaching this post seems to capture my doubts about the real uses of virtual world with teens and early college students. Most students need some kind of defined goal to achieve. To have them look and walk around the virtual Globe Theater I am pretty sure in most cases would produce reactions such as "big whop," whats the point. Even though most of these kids have been exposed, some might say over exposed, to the information available on the web, they lack the discernment and cognitive tools to evaluate and assimilate the vast knowledge and opportunity on the web and in SL. I think it could be said they are more comfortable with the social sites like Facebook and My Space because many are still in the process of discovering and creating who they are and what they want to become. This then is the goal of those sites for the teen/young adult user. How many people like the me I have created and what does this mean for my actual self. In SL perhaps the bulk of users who do most of the creating and using, which in my experience seem to be those over 25, they have reached that first stage of self actualization and in SL get to explore more of who they are or could be. They are not so worried about what others are thinking, but are eager to discover more of what they can do with out peer approval.

Suzanne Aurilio

One of the salient issues I see consistently is the technology first approach to learning. In the case of SL, this takes the form of finding ways to make the technology relevant to whatever course/discipline we're teaching as compared with finding the technology that best makes what we're teaching relevant to students.

Nexii Malthus

As a former Teen Grid Resident, I have to say that the social network aspect of Second Life during my childhood years was an incredible experience and made many various friends from 13 and up to 17 year olds.

Since the entire economy at the core of SL was divided between the two grids, I glimpsed many residents fed up of trying to get the Main Grid's cool stuff such as vehicles, guns and clothes but instead decided to make their own.

I do agree with Austin's regard with the explorative teens of self actualization and Adia Clary makes some good points in his/her comment.

To me, the TG was exactly like the MG except; It was significantly smaller, communities were less divided, Sex was seen as entirely taboo (One thing I very direly miss..) and the Developer versus Resident ratio was a little higher.

I personally think that all the teens that weren't apalled by the lack of 'gameness' of SL have replaced the lack of a goal with a Social Game. (Like, trying to make friends, hanging around, talking, rumours, cooperating and/or competing. Far more interactive than 'My Space' or 'Bebo' could ever achieve to do. I just kinda realised that, hm.)

Nexii Malthus

Also, it's incredible fun to play with SL's creation abilities, it is like playing Lego all over again with an infinitely fold more combinations. (A lot of teen developers are also scripters! Some of the top teen developers could easily compete with the top main grid developers) :D

I guess it all adds up, combining the SL creation ability Lego Game and Social Game.

Oh and yeah, one final point is that I believe that a ~surprisingly large population~ of the main grid are.. in fact.. teens. Contrary to what most people think it is incredibly easy (without shame, yes I did try as an experiment while as a teen (Still stayed on TG though until my 18th Birthday)) of making a main grid account versus a teen grid account AS a teen, quite ironic.

Adia Clary

i would like to comment of what Austin said about teens and the ablity to evaluate and retain information. I believe that teens are able to do that. I think we are still, at least in the older generations, where memorizing things was the way to learn and you learned a lot of information. But now we have a ton more information to learn and process, and not in the sense there is more history or larger knowledge bank, although that can be a part of it, but we can get news from all around the world in the blink of an eye. Students have to filter out a ton of information just to be able to understand the world around them and the details about a war that occurred 100 years ago is kinda pointless, unless the student is really interested in the subject. But say you ask a question about a detail they don't know, they know how to access the information.

Also I would like to address the trying to find who they are. I think that is true in many ways. Perhaps Im different in that I roughly know who I am and where I want to go, but I think that many students also feel that way. But at the time I joined SL I didn't know what was my goal or who I was. I was completely shattered, but SL really helped in getting a basic understanding of who I am and now I can explore even more of myself and figure out what my life is about and what I have to bring to the world.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

See what happens when I go on vacation???

Thanks for running this. If anyone is still paying attention, feel free to drop me an e-mail or in-world IM.

I'm iggyo - at - mac - dot - com

I will be teaching again with SL this fall.

Arwyn Quandry

Having used Habbo for over 5 years now, I think I can take a shot at answering this. One big reason Habbo is so popular is because of accessibility. You only need a Shockwave Player to get in, signing up is free and only requires an email address, and everything is very easy to learn. SL doesn't have these features. SL is harder to access, requiring a phone or credit card to sign up with, needing a better, faster computer to get around in-world with, and is much tougher to learn. Teens will lose interest in a game quickly when they can't figure it out within an hour or so, unless they're really set on that game. Habbo also has a lot of people under 13 (I've met 10 year olds on it). You can make as many alts on there as you want, and the rules are generally very lax. Habbo is on a different level from SL.

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