OK, so I’ve spent time working out how all this Second Life stuff works.  Just as I am about to launch into constructing the space that will accommodate my process drama Second Life upgrade their browser and I find my computer will not longer function with the SL software.  I’ve made do until now with the Intel integrated graphics and breakaway cards in my trusty machine – with the knowledge that Linden do not support that configuration with their development.   So after 18 months of slipping through the gap and managing to successfully run SL I find I need to race out and buy a new graphics card.  Well, with time and money being major issues I had limited choices.   I’ve settled on a GeForce 7600GT – that allows me to operate dual monitors (SL across 2 x 19″ widescreeens is quite an experience) – the nice people at Navada even installed it for me for free!

Anyway, with the new card in place and back at work in Second Life I have cleared the land at Maceday in preparation for   building my 3D version of the Lost Cities MOO environment I constructed for Phase 2 of my study – I still want to do a few more runs in the MOO so if you’d like to be involved in that, or this new phase in Second Life, please contact me let me know.

The new SL space will need to replicate (or suggest) a small town mainstreet – it will have the following places built – Library, Council Chambers/Town Hall, a TV studio and production office,  a net cafe, a cinema with a coffee shop and a school…   I also intend to include a billboard, a couple of shops, a community notice board and some signage.

The basic premise is that due to the rise of griefing and misuse of the internet in this small town, the city elders are looking at a radical proposal to outlaw the internet within its confines.  The process drama participants will be introduced to a variety of information (via text, audio and video) that present different aspects of the issue – from examples of transgressive behaviour to case studies about online projects that contribute to community growth, education, etc.

Trying to cram all this onto one small parcel of 4096sq. m. will be an interesting exercise in SL logistics.  I can only hope that activity on the sim remains fairly light and that my small group of participants (and I’m still chasing interested people) will be able to operate without serious lag.

I’ve just been introduced to another project that seems to have some similarities with mine –

“An exploration of the process and pedagogy behind establishing a non-linear narrative inside Second Life with the view to create a learning space rich in cross-curricular opportunities.” – the Red Barn Blues 

So, the next phase commences in earnest – I’m hoping that by the beginning of May I’ll have taken a few small groups through the drama.  I’d like to remind people that this isn’t much like a single player game – an individual will have little to do on their own except to investigate the available information and resources.  There will be a few engaging gadgets here and there but the intention is that the drama will only exist if participants engage with each other in role taking onboard the available pretext materials.

One of the strengths of SL in this case is that it is very easy to quickly update the material – to change notices and to introduce new tensions not only through teacher-in-role but also through adding elements to the environment.

While I am building the new space the land will still be open to visitors – during the process drama sessions the land will only be available to participants.

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