First, I need to tell a story about me and Twitter. I created an account, but I didn’t find it useful, so I just do not use Twitter. I have several friends and colleagues using it and every time they talk about it I feel some how excluded. Like they are talking about something that I do not know about. It is not a so strong feeling that make me use Twitter, but exists. I know people who say they use Twitter because they have this phobia of not knowing what is happening 🙂
A few months ago, I was talking with a friend that was taking a master using Second Life and she was not very happy about it. I am researching into these things so I tend to explore best practices in this field and I was surprised with her opinion so I asked her about the methods used in that master. Soon I understood why she was feeling like that.
In Second Life, as in any other medium of e-Learning, you have to do things differently. You can not use the same methods you use in face-to-face classroom because they will not work. I talked with her a few days ago, and she seemed more motivated than in the beginning.
I can understand her criticism.
I read in a two or three blogs, people criticizing Second Life in general. I must say the firsts times I went SL I felt like being in a strange world where I do not know how to act. It was only after I search about people and projects running there that I begun to understand it’s potential. So, I can understand that first feeling of people, but I can not understand why some posts are so aggressive in their criticism when the web is full of examples of reputed professors running successful courses in SL.
I remembered my friend’s experience and thought something was wrong, something must have happened, but on those posts I didn’t found any situation related to this.
Last night I was reading SL Educators List and a person from Information Systems of Berkeley College sent an email about Metaverse, in which he pointed something about exclusion and I remembered my feeling about Twitter :
The concept of Metaverse, the one unified virtual world platform as 3-D Internet is not something that everyone welcomes since many have their skills and status grow obsolete by such. Therefore, Metaverse will get mocked by some and ignored by others since it is not within what they esteem as their own reality.
Their criticism will be directed toward Second Life whereas this technology presents itself foremostly in the course and direction of Metaverse. Change is inevitable and technological change even faster.
Yes, we know that SL is not everything dreamed about but who honestly expects Rome to be built in a day? However, it will not take too long for the envisioned Metaverse to come to wholeness.
And I started to think about this. I had a first person experience with teachers rejecting the computer and the internet as a tool of education because they felt students knew more about it than they.
Is it possible to talk about exclusion in Virtual Worlds as we did and do about people with or without access to Internet? Will Virtual Worlds create another gap? What do you think?
If you want to read the thread about Metaverse (which is really interesting) you can find it here.