I really struggled to move around – and it had nothing to do with my skills using a mouse/arrows. I have many more hours of experience than I care to admit playing Champions and The Sims – so I know how to navigate an avatar. But there was a five second delay (or MORE) between me hitting the key and my avatar moving. Since I am not patient, I tended to hit the arrows many more times than necessary. So when the avatar finally decided to move, I tended to end up far away from the desired location. I’m lucky it was just an avatar because more than once I stepped off the side of the building. I was frustrated, but not upset enough to jump.
Most of my frustrations can be blamed on my laptop. It is not ancient (less than three years old), but it could not handle the demands of Second Life. My doubts for Second Life in a K12 setting stem from this. Technology in a school is bogged down from so many security precautions. The computers and the laptops that the students have access to are typically older than the teacher technology by a few years. If my “newer” laptop was not able to function fully in Second Life, how frustrating would it be for students? I am not saying there will never be an application. However, Second Life and other virtual worlds need to prove themselves at the collegiate level before having a place in k12 education. The idea of taking field trips in Second Life is the best application in the short run.
Another concern is the random interactions with other avatars. Both during our Second Life experience and last nights exploration of Small Worlds, there were run ins with some locals. Both environments had creeps. As adults we were able to laugh off being hit on or set on fire by someone we did not know, but I would not want to worry about that happening to a student. At times the language (or just the sound effects – such as moaning) was completely inappropriate. I realize that there are private worlds within the world, so this could be avoided. However, I do not have the programing expertise nor the time/money to create the private space. The potential benefit I saw was in a virtual field trip to a public places – like the Globe Theater or Virtual Madrid – so there would be no control of other avatars. Very scary thought.
I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later … I couldn’t like every single the learning technology I tried. I would be interested to venture and explore a little more in some of the educational places in Second Life. Anyone have suggestions for a location that is awesome enough to change my mind?