Virtual Worlds from Brisbane

26 10 2007

And then there were none… the last presentation is in the can! But what a fun way to close out here in Brisbane. The venue for my Virtual Worlds: Promise or Perils (this site has all of the URLs I referenced, links to the movies, and the slides via flickr) was the beautiful open and glass structure of the Queensland State Library in Brisbane. As just about all of my sessions, the technology was flawless, practically plug and play.

A genuine highlight was getting to meet up with Lindy McKeown, whom I have known only in Second Life as Decka Mah, someone who is truly an expert in Second Life.

I was looking forward to this session because I had a full two hours (used every minute of it) but allowed for showing more videos and a little bit more discussion than my previous rounds. The audience was a mixture of TAFE, university, and private trainers.

We started the live Second Life demo, where Kevin Jarrett, a researcher from Walden University who received a grant/fellowship to explore/research this virtual world had arranged a meeting with some of the folks he works with at ISTE island.

Second Life Demo
Meetup with Victoria and KJ

We got to hear as well from Victoria Gloucester (Catherine Parsons in RL) and and Ken Greer (Dr. Ken Hartman in RL). My audience was most intrigued by Victoria’s avatar, in fact, they were still talking about her wings, dress, and wondering who she was when we met 6 hours later for a reception — see Kevin’s writeup Hello Brisbane, I Must be Going.

Next, we teleported to NMC Campus to hear Ed Lamoreaux, from Bradley University, talk about how his avatar, Professor Belivue teaches social ethnography classes in Second Life. And the Professor shared his sideline activity of performing music every Saturday night.

When it was time to ask questions, Lindy spoke up and invited the Professor to perform at her SL island, Terra Incognita. Connections!

It would have been fun to do more in Second Life, but I had so much more to cover. Just like all previous sessions, the audience just loved the World of Warcraft machinima Balled of the Noob. It is such a hit, I may work it into all my presentations! The also really appreciated Robbie Dingo’s Better Life. I moved through some discussion of other virtual worlds such as Qwaq, Wonderland, Hipihi. I ended with a quick demo of OpenSim running on my laptop. The demo itself is not all that impressive (I have a virtual world with a lump of land, 4 pieces of wood and a welcome sign) — but the principle and potential of being able to run a virtual world on a local server, network, does hit home. I think.

And like that, I was ready to say, stick a fork in me, as I am Done. We had a nice lunch n the lobby, then Lindy and I had a nice coffee out on Southbank. It was then some decompress time to walk back to the hotel, relax (over a Cascade Pale Ale)m ebfore heading out for the late afternoon reception with ACPET. They had a prime location at Venice Cafe right on the water looking at the Story Bridge. Food was awesome, and everyone seemed pleased I was drinking the local beer, XXXX.

It was a great series of conversations with a wide variety of people, most of whom were still very excited about Second Life. The put me on the spot to say some “remarks” about my reflections on what I had seen across Australia in the last 2 weeks. I have very little idea what I said!

CogDogBlah

I had some enlightening conversation with two hearing impaired women who had “heard” my presentation by lip reading, and it reminded me in a hard honest way that I had not factored that into my presentations, as they relayed (quite nicely) the frustration of not being able to access the audio content (the voice chat in Second Life) and the lack of captions in my videos. We also laughed as they shared the common occurrence that their need to stare intently at a speaker to lip read sometimes gets misconstrued as a signal of attraction! And I sure remember a woman looking at me ever intently 😉 We really laughed at this.

The reception was lovely, thanks everyone for joining us, and helping close this trip in the best way possible.

It was only topped by the view of the bridge as I headed back down Queen Street:

Nighttime at Story Bridge

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4 responses

26 10 2007
Catherine Parsons (iSLaka Victoria Gloucester)

Last night was so quick in and out I am not sure I remember all of it! Kevin tried to convince me to change – but I felt what the hey – this is SL you know… So who am I in RL they ask? Kevin and I are on the left (I am in the yellow dress) http://web.mac.com/cjsdpars/victoriagloucester/RealLife.html#41

I am open to talk with anyone about the applications of Virtual Worlds – and invite people to contact me (you can get me through the website http://www.victoriagloucester.net). Check out the about page while you are there…

26 10 2007
Alan

Thanks so much for sharing, Catherine. I am glad you said, “what the hey!” – it’s all about doing serious work and having fun at the same time. My colleagues here will surely appreciate your photo– I just am having trouble seeing your wings, must be the angle 😉

27 10 2007
Simon

Alan, thank you for your visit and your presentation, it was a great introduction to educational possibilities in virtual worlds. Your comments at the ACPET function brought home to me just how geographically spread and under-resourced we are in Australia. I think you mentioned that despite this, we have innovators willing to collaborate and share, and this will be important in the race to keep up with educational technology.

1 11 2007
EdHouse CafeChat « Cafechat’s Weblog

[…] It’s been a week since we met at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane to hear what Alan Levine had to say about virtual reality in […]

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