Memoire-Vive.org has a blog post up with a video interview of Philip Rosedale, CEO of Linden Lab:
The interview starts with a question to Philip about what Second Life will look like in 10 years. Philip gives all the answers you would expect, and even wanders into some philosophical observations on virtual vs. real life and the breaking down of barriers between people in virtual worlds. It’s a very interesting interview, one that you should definitely take the time to watch.
Towards the end of the interview Philip comments on Education. He says that the impact Second Life can have on education is just beginning to be seen. With the addition of voice, language immersion is now possible in Second Life. And it is true that voice adds a whole dimension to educational projects that was not possible before.
However, I believe in order for education to really take hold and become widely accepted, Linden Lab needs to give some focus to the needs of educators in their virtual world. Maybe this will eventually take the form of an education grid, or maybe it will simply be deployed as a set of estate tools, but education is about sharing and collaboration between students. Right now, that is simply not possible with the current infrastructure.
On the teen grid education projects are like ships in a bottle. We buy private islands that we cannot leave, and nobody can come to visit. We must create virtually everything we place on our islands, or have not brought with us on the backs of our avatars from the Main Grid (often breaking any item that has any kind of update or upgrade capability in it). Our students are limited to interacting with other students that are part of our islands. And there is no feature set for taking a class out on a field trip to another educational project (school or attraction). In order for education to flourish, there needs to be openness in the education projects that allows classes to mingle, for students to explore, and for teachers to collaborate. We are exploring ways to accomplish this with PacRimX and are being told that they simply can’t accommodate our requests.
Without a new perspective beyond businesses, one that accommodates education’s needs, Second Life will never be fully realized as a platform for education. It’s time for those running educational projects in Second Life to speak up and put some pressure on Linden Lab to be more open to the needs of the educators and their projects. We need to have the same openness in our virtual community as we have in our real life educational institutions.