Stacy Surla invited me to participate remotely at the IA Summit taking place this weekend in Las Vegas on a panel about IA in Second Life and informal poster session to introduce Second Life to IA folks.
The photo above is from the poster session and shows what my screen looked like logging in remotely from in the Boston area ... I had skype with a video camera and Second Life application opened (which kept crashing my computer.) We briefly visited Boracay Island - designed by Nick Noakes and the home of communities in practice (and the Vecop group). You can see the back of my avatar in the green skirt, the male avatar is Josh Knauer, and my colleague, Susanne Nyrop from Denmark who we bumped into while wandering around Boracay Island.
That "bumping into" situation happens a lot on Second Life and is one of the good qualities ... the networking piece that happens.
The next day, the formal panel session, was a very strange experience because I wasn't able to see what was going on the room. Also, my audio was very garbled and my skype and Second Life were a bit too much for my computer and it crashed. (several times) Nonetheless, Stacy told me later in an email:
Though from your end it might have seemed like a bit of a muddle, the panel was a great success. The room was full, there were lots of questions during and after the session, and there's been a strong buzz at the conference about what's going on in Second Life ever since.
The highlight of the session was while sitting in the beautifully designed IA Summit Office (there's a Herman Miller rug there), a female avatar walked up and said hello. It was Peter Morville! Alas, no photo as my computer just couldn't handle anymore stress at that moment.
Lori Bell, from information island, gave us an overivew of her impressive work -- and growth of library activities and programming. I spoke briefly about nonprofits in second life and techsoup efforts, although I had some audio/technical problems. Josh Knauer showed some highlights of the newly opened Commonwealth Island that one of ten islands that make up the information island chain. He also spoke about the his vision of integrating data from 2d and 3d spaces (from what I could hear as my audio was garbled). I also wasn't able to see what he was actually showing the screen - a very strange user experience to say the least!
A little later, I ran into Josh in world and he took me on a little tour of Commonwealth Island. The part that I found most amazing was the the interface design of a VR space inside of Second Life that integrates google maps, RSS, and Second Life. You have to really experience it to understand it ..
So, here we are in the map room - a 3D google map space. The dots represent data - some brought in by RSS feeds pertaining to geocoded stories from that area or you can click through to a web site. Next, we entered the VR Room. Think Omni Theatre in an immersive world space. Anyway, there was a navigational interface that allowed us to project an environment and actually walk through it. There were natural environments, urban environments, and inside environments. Here we are inside a gallery, I think. (It felt like the Mary Poppins merry-go-round scene to me.) I explored several different environments, including this restaurant. I was able to get inside a painting too!
Aside from the gee whiz cool factor and not to mention the fact that it is very early adopter, this interface has some amazing potential for cutting edge educational projects, musuem exhibitions, or simulations.
Update: Read Stacy's blog post aobut the panel here.
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