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Monday, March 30, 2009


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Osprey Therian

Is a great application for artists. It's another useful tool along with pencils and clay.


We have numerous examples of this for our work at Global Kids as a youth development nonprofit.

The one that springs to mind is our machinima program, the Virtual Video Project.

In VVP, Global Kids brings together 20-some students in New York City to create together a machinima video about a particular social issue, and in the process learn about filmmaking, machinima, virtual worlds, and different global issues.

This is the 3rd year of VVP, and it operates over an entire school year. So it is definitely part of our regular workflow.

Our qualitative metrics of success relate to how well our students learn about the subject matter, work collaboratively, and get passionate about their own work. Our quantitative measures are how many views our VVP machinima get online, how often they get publicly presented at conferences, festivals, classes, and other venues. Our first machinima "A Child's War" for example has been viewed more than 10,000 times.

For us, machinima is a cheap way for Global Kids to run a serious issue filmmaking program that doesn't involve creating real world sets, costumes, vehicles, lighting, cameras and other assets that would prohibitively expensive to procure. All we need are some good computers and fast internet and Second Life accounts for our teens.

We've received a number of accolades for our teens' machinima, had them shown at a number of non-machinima film festivals, and received invitations for our teens to present at various new media and education conferences.

Our teens are making serious issue films using Second Life. Is that real world enough for you? :-)

Morris Vig

Between us kids, I think that "real world application" is a false premise. Why wouldn't one think that the virtual reality of Second Life is enough as is? Why is relevance to real world activity so important? Can Second Life not be important to itself?

Alas, Second Lifers seem to keep looking for RL validation...

Charles2 McCaw

It strikes me that Second Life in particular and VR in general is at the same stage now that the web was a dozen years ago ... businesses, schools, all sorts of organizations sensed that the potential was huge and many rushed to invest time, talent and treasure into the new technology .... often without a clue about what they were getting into.

The vast majority of these early efforts came to naught and were ultimately abandoned. Yet today we think of the internet as being an indespensible tool for business, for schools and for all sorts of organizations, as well as individuals.

At this early stage of development it is still not clear what strategies for using virtual worlds will prove sustainable. But those who figure it out will prosper!

Koinup Burt

Along with the educational apps, that are now viralized and I hope they will succeed, I think that the other major real life applications for Second Life are in the field of creativity:

1) Machinima
Now that even Hollywood is suffering the financial crisis, Second Life could become an ideal set for an alternative "low cost" kind of digital animation. If the studios want to save their money, why don't look into the machinima issue. Not everything could be made with machinima, but more and more cinema productions areas could be covered...

Machinima, moreover, could be a viral tool for advertisers (because of costs cut, handmade style, because the medium syntax, etc..)

I hope LL will get more involved in the SL machinima potential

2) Architecture/Modeling/Design
If Educational uses of SL deserve the attention they are getting, I'm wondering why the most suitable education use of SL is not yet getting the right attention? I'm talking about the use (in classes, studios, companies) of SL as tool for prototype in architecture, design, 3d building

3) Live Music
Myspace gained all is success on the ground of music. Second Life could be, without any doubt, the 3D Myspace, because of its audience, because of the chance to give indie musicians a chance to go live, because of the immersivivity and beauty of performance live in virtual worlds. I'm wondering if there is something missing in the SL as live music tool? is the capability not enought to support live show? is it not the killer app LL is interested in?
Anyway, I think that it could be really a great app for SL

4) Photography/Visual Art
500000 photos posted on Flickr, almost 150000 photos posted on Koinup. Thousands of people speinding their time managing windlight, photostudios, poses for their best photos...if you think that this does mean something? well, probably it is because photography and art creation is one of the most obvious, evident and powerful apps in SL. From this perspective, I think that SL and LL are doing a great job, particolarly in the person of Torley, who is continuously producing tips and useful resources for sl photographers and artists

Thaumata Strangelove

My partner and I just built a sim in world for Acklam Grange school in the UK. The school is doing a massive renovation this year, which will result in basically entirely new facilities. They hired us to take the blueprints and create the upcoming building to scale in SL. From there, teachers and students can log in and familiarize themselves with their new classrooms before they even exist in RL. (Ground is just breaking for the actual brick and mortar build.) They can test things like paint colors, furniture layouts, and general flow. Last time I talked to them, they were using it to sort out where they might put in CCTV, using mouselook and checking for blind corners.

Eventually, the students, teachers and parents will be able to use it as a social space or events area online. Acklam is pretty good about already using the grid as a classroom. When the BBC covered our build, they also did a piece about the teachers setting up lesson plans and had some really interesting interviews with the students, who think it's less intimidating to interact with other students when they're avatars.

Overall, they've found it very helpful to have a 3D model of their school - helpful enough that we've been contracted to do another one for them starting this week, of a school across town for special needs kids. Special requests this time? A wheelchair with AO so teachers can check for accessibility and experience the school from eye level when you're sitting all the time.

Also, I'd agree very much with the poster above me who listed live music and art. I've met so many awesome musicians on the grid that I'd never have a chance to see in real life, and really, there's nothing else like it out there. I moderate the biggest SL pool on Flickr, too, and we're at 9,300 members and almost 270k images. People find it very inspiring. :)


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