Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just a second

cat and mouse
I've been following the public debate (in so far as a blog debate is public) between Clay Shirky, Beth Coleman and Henry Jenkins around the status and significance of Second Life. I think I'm interested in Second Life for much the same reasons as Jenkins. It's what people do there - what they perform and what they produce that interests me. But, at least for the time being , I've drawn a line. First Life is too demanding, too complex and too full to even entertain the thought of having a parallel second one! That aside, Jenkins makes some powerful points. Here's a summary of the ones I find most significant:

1. SL provides a model of civic participation and cultural production;
2. The more significant uses of web-based communication lie in asynchronous written communication that frees us from the constraints of place and time;
3. SL represents a particular enactment of Bakhtinian carnival;
4. SL is keeping alive the idea that 'we might design and inhabit our own worlds and construct our own culture' (see 1.)

This said, I think we need a more in depth look at how virtual worlds could provide environments for a wider variety of things - collaborative learning and dispersed problem-solving amongst them.

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