Is it real life or Second Life? New Apple Store in NYC.

New Apple Store on upper West side of Manhattan is visually reminiscent of a retail store in Second Life. Is life imitating art? Wait I think I see Ruby Snook flying around in there!


New Media Consortium Symposium on the Future October 27-29

Professor Jan Baum and Bridget Sullivan attended the New Media Consortium Symposium on the Future October 27-29. The conference is the fourteenth in the NMC’s Series of Virtual Symposia and was held in Hakone. The conference explored "actual and potential applications of technology that could impact issues of global importance over the next five years and beyond."(nmc.org)

The presentations and sessions where all held in the new Hakone environment. "
The Hakone Project is a collaboration between the New Media Consortium (NMC) and Linden Lab to create a new platform for the creation and operation of virtual environments for use by educators of all levels, from pre-K through graduate school. This new environment comes complete with all the power and potential of Second Life®, but with none of the constraints that have troubled many educational adopters." (nmc.org)

Apparently the new Hakone area is on a server hosted by NMC behind their firewall and completely controlled by them, with the assistance of Linden Labs of course. The client used for connecting with the environment strongly resembled the standard SL client, making the transition to the new environment easy. Linden Labs and NMC are due to announce the details of this project this fall.

The presentations where of high quality. All are archived on the
NMC website as audio recordings. I especially enjoyed the second day keynote speaker Beth Kanter. Her talk, The Networked Nonprofit showed us how network weavers are using social networks to enhance the reach of non-profit enterprises. Kanter read to us from Robert Frosts’s “The Wall” to illustrate concepts of and open and closed networks, and transparency. So many great ideas about the potential power and usefulness of social networking.

The Hakone Project area will be used again for the next NMC virtual symposium to be held in spring 2010. Maybe we'll see you there!


CNBC story "The New Definition of Networking"

From the CNBC website: "In business there's nothing more important than relationships, but now people are saying goodbye to face-to-face networking and embracing social media. CNBC's Julia Boorstin has the story." The story includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – and Second Life.


TU Design Faculty present SL work at UCDA Design Education Summit

Jan Baum, Bridget Sullivan and Jessica Ring, Department of Art+Design, presented the following papers at the Annual Design Education Summit, held in Mobile, Ala., May 28-30: Teaching Design in Second Life: Institutional, Program and Course Level Implementation Strategies, Jan Baum and Bridget Sullivan; Teaching Interactive Media and Object Design using Web2.0 technologies and Second Life, Jan Baum and Bridget Sullivan; Fostering Community, Connections and Change Through Green Mapping, Jessica Ring; and Design and Social Entrepreneurship, a.k.a. Design Like You Give a Damn, Jan Baum.

Getting Started in SL

Fall 2009 is just around the corner.
If you will be using Second Life in an upcoming course at Towson University you may find previous Getting Started posts useful. For general information, video tutorials and other useful SL resources follow the Getting Started link (also listed under Topics on the left).


Study Break with President Caret a great success

Students, faculty and staff enjoyed in-world refreshments and lively conversation with President Caret in Braman Hall on the Towson Innovation Lab island in SL Thursday 2 April 3:30-4:30pm.

Questions included: concern for increased tuition rates, the method for determining a snow closure of the university and its impact on commuter students, would the University support a design collective at TU similar to the one a SCAD, and thanks from students for the recycle-all program and extended TU shuttle service.
Reporters from the Towerlight and Baltimore Sun were present for the event.


Workshop with Karen Carmer (aka LaDonna Upshaw)

The OTS sponsored workshop on building in Second Life was jammed packed with useful information. Karen wasted no time getting us right into the step-by-step process of building a treasure box with a lid that opened and closed when clicked. It was an ambitious demo and everyone learned a lot about building.


upcoming Second Life workshops

Please join us for one of the four upcoming Second Life workshops. To register please visit www.towson.edu/otstraining.

Workshop 1: Second Life 101
This hands-on workshop is an introduction to Second Life and addresses the basics, such as avatar creation and navigation. The workshop is designed to help faculty, staff and students interested in exploring Second Life, get started. No experience required.

Workshop topics include:
• Creating your avatar (creating a SL account)
• Altering the appearance of your avatar
• Navigation techniques (walking, running, flying and teleporting)
• Networking and communication methods (Friends, Instant Messaging, Groups)
• How to buy, collect, and share in-world objects
• Taking pictures in-world

Date & Times:
• March 5 (11am - 12 pm)
• March 26 (1 pm - 2 pm)
• April 2 (11 am -12 pm)

Location: Cook 404B

Workshop 2: Building Objects in Second Life with In-world designer Karen Carmer
Second Life is an Internet-based virtual world where users create online personas to learn, socialize network, collaborate and participate in commerce.
Are you interested in learning how to build in Second Life?
The Office of Technology Services would like to invite you to the Building Objects in Second Life workshop with designer Karen Carmer, an in-world business owner and designer from Towson University, on March 11 at 1:00 PM in the Cook Library.
This hands-on workshop is an introduction to basic prim building in Second Life. Ms. Carmer will direct participants in the creation of various objects in SL such as furniture pieces. No SL building experience is required; however you should have moderate experience navigating the SL environment (4-6 hours spent in-world) and an SL avatar. Participants may attend virtually in Second Life or attend the simultaneous hands-on workshop held in Cook 404B.
Prerequisites: Created a Second Life avatar and have moderate experience navigating the Second Life environment (4-6 hours spent in-world)

Date: March 11, 2009
Time: 1:00 - 2:30 PM

Location: Cook 404B or Towson Innovation Lab (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Towson%20Innovation%20Lab/97/207/23)

Workshop 3: Second Life Building 101 - Introduction to SL building
This hands-on workshop is an introduction to building objects in Second Life. The workshop is intended for newcomers to Second Life, but all are welcome. No SL building experience is required; however you should have moderate experience navigating the SL environment (4-6 hours spent in-world). This workshop is helpful to faculty who intend to create instructional articfacts in SL.Participants may attend virtually in Second Life (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Towson%20Innovation%20Lab/97/207/23 )or attend the simultaneous hands-on workshop held in Cook 404B.

Workshop topics include:
• Building primitive objects
• Altering the appearance objects
• Changing the physical qualities of objects
• Ownership rights to objects, selling objects
• Adding scripts to objects to add functionality

Date: April 15, 2009
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM

Location: Cook 404B or Towson Innovation Lab (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Towson%20Innovation%20Lab/97/207/23)

Workshop 4: Second Life - Teaching Methods and Course Activities
The hands-on workshop is designed as an introduction to current modes of teaching and learning in the Second Life virtual environment. The primary goal of this workshop is to empower faculty with the basic information, resources and experiences necessary to explore an immersive virtual environment like Second Life for instructional purposes.

Participants may attend virtually in Second Life (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Towson%20Innovation%20Lab/97/207/23) or attend the simultaneous hands-on workshop held in Cook 404B.

A basic understanding of building in Second Life is required, and you should have moderate experience navigating the Second Life environment (6-8 hours spent in-world).

Workshop topics include:
• Build a presentation board in-world.
• Tips and Tricks on using SL in a course
• Faculty and student learning curve timeframes and strategies
• Technical requirements for using Second Life in higher education
• Tour of Simulation environments
Prerequisites: moderate experience navigating the Second Life environment (6-8 hours spent in-world)

Date: April 15, 2009
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 PM

Location: Cook 404B or Towson Innovation Lab (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Towson%20Innovation%20Lab/97/207/23)


The Second Life Unveiling @ TU event got some nice campus press - www.thetowerlight.com

Second Life used as way of teaching

University granted "visual island" to communicate in virtual social network

Olivia Obineme | 2/15/09

A screenshot of Second Life shows the unveiling of a visual island for students to learn in a different way than usual.
A screenshot of Second Life shows the unveiling of a visual island for students to learn in a different way than usual.
[Click to enlarge]
Second Life, a virtual social network, is being used by some professors to expand the classroom environment for their students. Faculty members held a presentation in Paws Thursday to share with others their new method of teaching.

"Second Life is a virtual 3-D environment where you create a persona, an avatar, and you can exist in this environment," OTS instructional design technologist and trainer LaTonya Dyer said.

Dyer was one of the collaborators for this project, along with department of computer and information sciences lecturer James Braman and associate professors for the department of art Bridget Sullivan and Jan Baum.

According to Sullivan, the professors requested a teaching innovation grant to have a "visual island" in Second Life.

"I teach online, so this [Second Life] offers a different way to interact with each other instead of just through e-mail and Web page," Sullivan said.

"Now we can actually get together 'in world' and we can hear each others' voices."

Released in June 2003, SL has grown from a social network for anyone to an educational environment for many universities. "Many universities have their own islands, such as University of Delaware, Princeton and MIT," Sullivan said.

Sullivan hopes that SL is taken into consideration by more professors on campus and used as another way to teach students.

"It really extends the boundaries of teaching," Baum said.

"As a teacher, I am always looking for what is the new frontier in technology because I really want to prepare my students for their competition in the real world."

Baum, who teaches metalsmithing and jewelry, uses SL in her classes and has said unlike SL, traditional teaching is very labor intensive and very costly, when it comes to making the art and getting professionals to see her students' artwork.

"With SL it is much faster and free. My students can get immediate results to see what works and what does not work with their art pieces," she said.

"I could be in China right now and if my students needed feedback, I could simply log on and do so," Baum said.

Though the collaborators agreed that SL has potential to grow on campus, most of their students were skeptical at first using the virtual network in class. "Initially, most of my students thought it was a little crazy at first," Braman said. "Once they saw the potential and what could be done with it, they are more open to it and they think it is interesting."

Junior mass communication and communication studies major Melissa Novak went to the presentation and signed up for Second Life because it looked like her favorite video game, The Sims.

Although Novak felt that SL would be another way for meeting new friends, she is not too sure if it can be used for educational purposes.

"I am not sure if it can be used for classrooms. Professors on Facebook still freaks me out," she said.

On the other hand, there were students at the presentation who immediately felt comfortable with the emerging teaching method.

"Overall it is pretty easy to become acclimated to Second Life and students can benefit from this because you do not have to be in class at certain times and you can log on to Second Life from anywhere, on your laptop," graduate student Amy Klainer said.

According to Dyer, Second Life was officially unveiled to the University on Thursday.

Despite the skepticism, Second life has received positive feedback and provides a new opportunity for faculty and students.

"It is free; you just simply create an account. Just make sure that your computer meets the system requirements," Dyer said.