A friend reminds me how seductive Second Life can be. The sun always shines (I've only seen a rain cloud purposely placed over an avatar once in the 14 months I've been here) good music and dancing are everywhere, my av looks perpetually 25, clothes ALWAYS fit, I never have a bad hair day, my ass never looks fat, and I can have as many shoes in my inventory as I want. Does it get any better than that? Top that off with romance and sex for those interested, and anyone can be led astray in that world.
It is very hard for real life to compete with such perfection and bliss. Especially when the demands of RL are overwhelming and an escape valve is needed. I see this in so many people I meet in SL. But the seduction of SL is great, and it is frighteningly easy to give up more and more of RL to live in an easier world. But RL is not so forgiving. RL will only stand by for so long. While it is different for each of us, our real lives have a critical mass to maintain. As we digress into our fantasy worlds, friends become concerned. They notice. They care. But until that critical mass is reached, we can ignore their warnings.
But at that critical point, our real lives roar. They shout to be noticed. They demand our attention. I am at that point.
My real life is calling me. And I must respond. I must learn to balance my worlds better. To stay in the moment. To keep a perspective on my priorities. I have no intention of giving up my second life, but I must make sure it does not take priority over my first life.
I have been toying with the idea of using SL as a platform for teaching various subjects and working on interdisciplinary projects. I first heard about SL at a Tech Expo for educators in New York. The workshop was given by a middle school library media specialist, who is the SecondLife facilitator at her school. She works with other teachers in all subject areas and across subject areas to teach her teachers and students how to teach and learn in a 3D virtual world.
There is a lot of discussion as to whether of not social networking sites, and especially virtual world, can enhance the learning process. Dr. Lisa Dawly has been studying using 3D virtual worlds, specifically SecondLife, as a learning tool. She defines Social Network Knowledge Construction as a framework for how students can interact and learn and actually impacts the learner's thinking process. She argues then that new pedagogies are needed to effectively integrate new ways of communicating into the learning environment.
My RL colleagues, and now SL friends as well, and I are putting together a grant to develop a SecondLife platform on the Teen Grid to use in our middle and/or high school(s). I'm looking to meet with/talk to anyone who has an interest in also developing such a platform or has already developed one. I think we would be still on the cutting edge of this form of learning, but would be among the first to produce students who are capable of creative and collaborative work, a necessary skill in today's and especially tomorrow's job market...