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What is Second Life?

Second Life Aerial ViewAn aerial view of our program's Second Life location

Virtual worlds are rapidly becoming a vital part of the educational technology landscape. Second Life (SL), one of the best known of these virtual worlds, consists of a flat-earth simulation of roughly 1.8 billion square meters (if it were a physical place, it would be about the size of Houston, Texas). First launched in 2003, SL is an example of an immersive, three-dimensional (3D) environment that supports a high level of social networking and interaction with information.  Visitors access the virtual world as avatars, through a free, client program called the SL viewer. Once there, you can explore environments, meet and socialize with other residents (using voice and text chat), participate in group and individual activities, and learn from designed experiences.

While virtual worlds with their 3D landscapes and customizable avatars, might sound similar to popular massively multiplayer online games, they do not adhere to the traditional definition of a game. Virtual worlds, like SL, are more focused on socializing, exploring, and building. As a result, there is an active educational community in SL. Over 300 colleges and universities have “builds” in SL where they teach courses and conduct research. A number of organizations (NASA, NOAA, NIH, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Public Radio), along with a host of government agencies, museums, and educational groups host regular events, seminars and workshops in-world.

Like these organizations, the WIC project will leverage the constructivist and connective approaches to learning that an online, virtual world supports so well.  We see the virtual world as a way for our patients to interact, experience, and learn in an immersive and playful context-rich environment.

WIC Pilot in Second Life
Pilot Program in Second Life
WIC Pilot in Second Life
A private meeting
Second Life
A virtual world conference




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