The #PLENK in SL cohort met on Tuesday in Conviviality Corners for a brief meeting to discuss a variety of topics. We have ordinarily been meeting immediately after the Elluminate sessions but we wanted to try another time to see if that worked better.
The main topic of discussion was the importance of online virtual worlds for a personal learning environment. While no clear consensus was reached in the discussion most of the members agreed that virtual worlds held great potential as critical elements of a PLE.
We decided to explore some virtual environments other than Second Life. The owners of Second Life have recently sparked concerns within the education community by removing the substantial subsidies that were previously available for educational institutions. This has lead to an increased interest in other virtual worlds. James OReily calls it Hyper Grid Hopping.
Emerging as popular alternatives are Open Sim options like ReactionGrid and Joykadia Grid. While these newer grids do not have some of the attractive features of the new SL Viewer 2, they are much more reasonably priced and flexible with regard to ownership and transferability of property.
The PLENK in SL cohort agreed that it could be productive to explore the new grids as a group. It was decided that Thurs, Nov 4, 2:30 PM SLT, all interested would be welcome to join a safari to ReactionGrid. See world clock for your time zone.
To join the safari participants will need to download a third party viewer. It should be noted that a viewer is like a web browser in that it is an application that gives access to a virtual environment. Many web browsers exist like IE, Firefox, Chrome and Opera, to name a few. Similarly, a number of virtual world viewers exist such as Hippo Open Sim Viewer and Imprudence
With one of these viewers installed, participants can join other grids to set up accounts in a process very similar to Second Life. You should join the new grids if for no other reason than to stake your claim to your avatar name. Some entrepreneurial types have been registering popular SL names and then trying to sell them to SL immigrants to other grids.
Members of the PLENK in SL group will be available on Skype to provide logistical support for anyone wanting to join the adventure. The easiest way to join the PLENK in SL Skype conversation is to add ggatin as a contact on Skype and I will add your contact to the running conversation at PLENK in SL Skype Chat.
While this may seem complex, I encourage people to explore this very interesting activity. I suspect that in the not too distant future it will be common for everyone to have an avatar that they will use to navigate numerous online virtual worlds for commerce, for entertainment and for education. My avatar will be able to go shopping in the virtual Amazon bookstore, picking virtual volumes off the shelf and placing them in a virtual shopping cart,and paying at a virtual checkout. The same avatar will then proceed to Home Depot and shop for home renovation materials with the help of virtual hardware clerks. My purchases will be shipped to my real world address. My avatar my then join the ongoing discussion in the virtual coffeehouse or log into an online class. My online identity which now is pretty much my email address, becomes a 3D representation of me in the online world.