Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time to move on from Second Life?

I have had a love-hate relationship with Second Life for the last three years. But for all my moaning and groaning, I have known that the Virtual Birth Unit is available for me to use at any time with midwives and midwifery educators, and at last I have a midwifery educator in the USA interested in doing a research project with me.

But just as my new SL research project looks like it is going to come to fruition, Linden Lab (the owner of SL) has made changes to its pricing structure for educators which means I may not have access to the Virtual Birth Unit after next August.

This may be the final straw for many educators and researchers, including myself. Things have not been helped by the fact I cannot use the new SL viewer properly. So this may be a good time to think about exploring other virtual worlds such as OpenSim.

But to be honest, I am not sure if I have the energy to pour into getting to know another virtual world. I have spent three years trying to get my head around SL...I just do not know if it is worth my while starting all over again with OpenSim. This is especially in the light of the lack of interest in virtual worlds in midwifery education. I am just wondering if I am better off spending my time focussing on other platforms that midwives will connect with in a greater way...

If you are a user of Second Life, are the price changes likely to affect your work? Have you thought of moving to another virtual world? If so, which one? If you use OpenSim, what do you think about it?

5 comments:

mstephens said...

Your comments are congruent with the discussion at the virtual worlds educators meeting inworld last Friday. It was my first inworld event and I was very excited to be there but the mood was critical of Linden Labs new price structure and the mood was similar to yours. Jokay from Jokadia was interviewed and described how they are developing a world in Reaction Grid (which I have had a look at but am too much of a newbie to be able to fathom at this stage!). People discussed other sim worlds including one that can be transported via USB.You are not alone. I guess that Linden Labs' greed can be taken as opportunity to boldly go....

Carolyn said...

What a shame after all the work you did developing the birth unit in second life. I do believe it was a worthwhile project. It is great that the whole design a build process was so thoroughly documented. The steps, decisions and rationale for those decisions remain on record and accessible if anyone wants to replicate it. Maybe even someone might decide to build the project in real life, how fantastic would that be.
It is a shame that buy in for midwifery education has been so slow but maybe it was just a little ahead of its time.

Carolyn said...

What a shame after all the work you did developing the birth unit in second life. I do believe it was a worthwhile project. It is great that the whole design a build process was so thoroughly documented. The steps, decisions and rationale for those decisions remain on record and accessible if anyone wants to replicate it. Maybe even someone might decide to build the project in real life, how fantastic would that be.
It is a shame that buy in for midwifery education has been so slow but maybe it was just a little ahead of its time.

catkins_in_nz said...

Hey - its not all gloom! I think what the price hike has shown us is the SL is now an expensive place to EXPERIMENT with education - not necessarily an expensive place to teach.
No decision made yet on what we will do re the SLENZ builds but I know there is a committment to keep them in SL for as long as possible and I am sure that we will continue to have an SL presence after Aug 2011 - We will just be much more discriminating about what we do there.
As an adjunct to that we will be using other opensim grids for experimenting with ideas for teaching much as we did with SL for the last few years. We will certainly be using the NZVWGrid which as it uses KAREN will prove to be a very fast running grid for NZ educators I think.
Isa and I have also just taken a sim on the JokaydiaGrid and will be continuing with some of our entrepreneurial education activities there - We will invite you all to visit when we are set up!
If you want to investigate other worlds (with a decent and much more familiar viewer) just download Imprudence for example (http://imprudenceviewer.org/wiki/Downloads) - it has a grid manager button on the login screen which allows you to choose which grid (including SL) that you want to visit! Couldnt be much easier!! :)
Looking forward to welcoming you there some time soon!

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you everyone for your comments.

Carolyn: I am sure midwives will come to virtual worlds in the end, but the the technology has to be a lot easier than it is now to be taken up in a wide way.

mstephens: I'm going to have a play with the portable opensim when I get a chance

catkins: I'm not gloomy...just never that much in love with SL. I hope this move away from SL to more mobile and technologically easier platforms will be a great blessing...and much more likely to be successful for engaging people who are reticent about SL :)