Wheeling in Second Life

A fellow student sent me this clip on youtube this morning. It shows a person with cerebral palsy explaining how she uses Second Life as a way of socialising. In the clip. She goes to a nightclub in SL called Wheelies and meets Simon, the man who started the club.

At the moment in H809, we are looking at the developing research on Second Life. As fledgling researchers, we are to look critically at the material published. Is it from a peer-reviewed publication? Is it adding anything new? What methodologies are being used? What are the theoretical frameworks? And so on.

Much of the little I’ve found so far comes from Computer Science or other technical fields, but a trend is emerging for papers concerning libraries in Second Life. Quite a few libraries have been ‘built’ there and looking at the clip above, it’s not hard to see why. Cheap, ubiquitous technology is facilitating access to resources previously restricted by geography and time.

In Ireland, we have seen a 50% increase in the number of students with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia attending university. Many of these learners are tech savvy and quickly take to the tools that we are embedding in the university environment. In fact, at NUIM we expect not to have much dealings with students with milder forms of dyslexia in the future as, through technology and good practice, the environment becomes less hostile.

So, great work has been done to get this far. Persuasion, legislation, reason (and some manipulation and cajoling!) have been used to get educational institutions to take accessibility seriously and to take teaching and learning seriously. The traditional chalk ‘n talk model has its dogged adherents. Maybe they could be persuaded to spend an hour in Wheelies to talk about that?

Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day. Head over to Diary of a Goldfish for a round up of posts to mark the day.

10 responses to “Wheeling in Second Life

  1. how cool! The internet has amazing possibilities!

  2. I have a friend at a New York museum that’s working on developing an exhibit about this kind of “virtual access” – and I’ve forwarded this right to him.

  3. Very interesting; this is something I hadn’t considered… a lot of possibilities!

  4. @ Nicole & Angeline: It’s an exciting time to be around!

    @ Ira: Glad to be of help. It’s interesting how libraries and museums were quite quick off the mark with SL.

  5. Fascinating. Thank you. 🙂

  6. Very cool.

    I couldn’t access the video through your page here, BTW. It says “video no longer available.”

    I did find it though, by going to YouTube and searching for “Second Life Wheelies”. Maybe it just needs an updated embedded url?

  7. Thanks for stopping by Sara 🙂

    Thanks for the tip off, Kay, but it’s working from this side (maybe it was temporarily down?)

  8. Hi Enda,
    Great to read your comments on the possibilities of Second Life. As it happens, I’m just starting a project on Second Life, and how it can be used to develop social skills. Happy to chat about this with you 😉

  9. By the way, that’s Vic …

  10. Hi Vic,

    Interesting new moniker!

    Sounds like an interesting project. A colleague of mine surprised me the other day by saying she felt Second Life was a bit gimmicky. I told her about the person in the clip above though and the potential for other groups. She’s not entirely convinced, but I reckon its time has yet to come.

    We may not be talking about Second Life, but something resembling it and better able to cope with slower processors and less techie users.

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