After frustrations with journalism, colleges defend Second Life

A few weeks ago the Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece titled “After Frustrations with Second Life, College Look to New Virtual Worlds“. While the article is correct that there are many academics looking at alternative virtual worlds, the reaction has been that problems were grossly overstated – and a host of comments rushed to defend Second Life.

Indeed, while some are leaving Second Life it seems that the majority are staying – and most leavers keep a presence in Second Life even if they are now using other virtual worlds.

Jeff Young (who wrote the piece) was brave enough to attend a meeting of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable recently – the inworld chatlog can be found here. Its a very long log – and clear that emotions were high. Too high I would suggest – there is I think a degree to which peoples’ love for the platform does blind them to some of the problems and issues with it, and at times the fervour reaches almost religous levels.

Near the end of the log Ellie Brewster puts it succinctly:

We ought to reflect on our own reaction — we’ve read so many ill-informed articles about SL, could be that Jeff is bearing the brunt of our feelings about those articles, too.

But after a slew of articles in a range of media declaring the death of Second Life, it is about time for a few more balanced pieces to appear.

One thought on “After frustrations with journalism, colleges defend Second Life

  1. John Kirriemuir

    This polarisation – sometimes extreme – of views on virtual worlds, and Second Life in particular, has been an unnecessary distraction for several years now and gets away from core questions such as “Where can SL be used effectively in education and where can it not?”

    I’m (still) not sure why SL in particular causes such a negative reaction in some people, especially people who don’t use it (though the media are a different kettle of fish). Mark Childs has some interesting theories on the psychology. I just find it odd, in a detached way, that normally rationale, highly intelligent, academics, sometimes get very upset about this and lose all sense of proportion.

    I’m writing a section about this in the “final” (as funded by Eduserv, though it’ll be continuing) report for Virtual World Watch at the moment. Happy to discuss, online or off, theories on why SL in particular causes such strong emotions.

    Virtual World Watch


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