21 March 2010

Getting into it

I'm delighted to be presenting our Second Life initiative to the Provost and other faculty at a Center for Teaching and Learning Luncheon. The initiative spins off nicely from pICT's focus on faculty and innovative teaching into working with students in collaboration with faculty.

Centered on world-building as a context for deeply engaging, academically influenced activities, the initiative obliges us all to at least understand if not do some building.

I've developed the island thus far and gotten into doing it. I've spent most of my time with terraforming and landscaping. I've created a few objects from scratch, like the signage, the "floorings" and "seating". I've bought objects, like the zip-line, and installed them.

World-building isn't something you do casually. 3D modeling is a language. You have to get into it, and this having to get into it is a barrier to a lot of people. It certainly is to me. I can't help but think about the insane amount of time I devote to it, as compared with other things I do at work. People ask me if I'll ever write or perform music again. Other than whipping up intro music for a podcast or video, I have no desire to get back into it because it's not a casual thing.

Web 2.0 users tout how digital tools compel us all to create stuff, or at least be excited that we can. There's something underhanded about the rhetoric though; it leaves no discursive space for the materiality of creating stuff. 2D or 3D, the people who have the material means (time and/or money) are the ones who get to get into creating stuff. I'm looking forward to reading You are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto because I'm always looking for alternative viewpoints.