What an adventure for someone like me! I tend to work hard to stay up-to-date with new technologies, but one piece I have missed, purposely I might add, is the gaming avenue. I have never had much interest in that type of activity mostly because I enjoy the outdoors along with art and creativity and never felt that gaming would be the best use of my time. I've also pushed my four children in that direction, allowing them to play these games at friends' houses, but not bringing it into my own home. The reason I bring this up is because it immediately came to mind when I first started using Second Life, it was very foreign to me! Just to walk was difficult at first, I was also challenged to problem solve in this environment, consequently a lot of time was spent getting myself acquainted!
I tried to put myself in the shoes of others who use Second Life, I realize one of the benefits to many people is the opportunity to become someone different, not themselves, a way to escape the real world for a little while at least. For me, I found it difficult to become someone different than who I really am. Maybe it was because I was meeting my class there, so it really was a part of this life. But, I tend to think I would have a hard time with that anyway.
Another interesting note I thought I would share, when I first got on and was learning to walk, I walked into a few walls, there were a few people who walked up to me and tried to assist me. How nice to know there are good people out there. But, the day before meeting for the class, I got on to find ISTE Island and practice getting around that island. I'm not sure what I did but somehow I ended up doing a flip, when I landed on the ground my left arm became detached and my neck stretched out to the left quite a distance, I was quite deformed. I had no idea how to fix it! So I decided to ask passersby for help, no one would respond, it was almost as if I was looked at and ignored. It really made me think of the real world and how people are treated. It became very important to me to get myself back to normal! Maybe Second Life could be used as a way to get a true sense of how it feels to be disabled, overweight or just different from what is considered the norm. Just a thought!
All that aside, I see Second Life as an opportunity to meet new people, and to learn from others. It's a way to collaborate and work together. I wouldn't suggest it as a way for a group of staff members to collaborate or those who encounter each other on a regular basis, there are certainly easier ways, email, blogs, meetings etc. But, it would be a way to work with anyone from anywhere. As a teacher it would give me the opportunity to talk with people that I don't know from other schools and even other countries. This is just another way that we are flattening the world!