Exploring Second Life

Eploring the Library in Second Life

Eploring the Library in Second Life

Exploring Second Life

Second Life was started in 2003 by Linden Labs. It is a Multi User Virtual Environment (MUVE) in which multiple payers can engage in an online community.

“Being a librarian working in Second Life is a double-edged sword, with both benefits and challenges” (Baum & Lyons, 2012). Whilst I understand the need for libraries to explore new technologies and ways of delivering their services, I have found that at this point the disadvantages of Second Life outweigh the perceived advantages. More importantly the age restriction of 18 years stops me as a school librarian from delving further.

Technology barriers are a deterrent as Second Life puts heavy demands on computers. A high end computer is needed with a fast processer and good graphic card making this a difficult application for those on the wrong side of the digital divide. Second Life is subject to frequent crashes (Helmer, 2007),  as I experienced on my third attempt to explore the application, crashing six times throughout the class tour. A frustrating first experience, which has definitely played a large part in putting me off as it would many other users.

Linden Labs also point out that orientation alone takes four hours which I believe is very conservative. As Baum and Lyons (2012, p. 387) indicate, creating and designing attractive and functional places in virtual worlds entails a substantial time commitment and a certain level of technological skill. Cost comes down to design, code and the hidden cost of staff time and training for both staff and patrons. This comes at a time when time constraints grow even tighter.

Greenhill (2008) elaborates on a number of advantages of Second Life. In particular, the breakdown of professional isolation; becoming  part of a collaborative learning community;  networking and professional support about real-life library topics and having fun in a “play” orientated application are all good reasons to persevere, particularly as becoming conversant with Second Life allows a librarian to better understand her gaming patrons. However it is important to remember that like any potential new service, there are costs, equity issues, and the demand from users should be assessed.

I have only scraped the surface with my foray into Second Life. I discovered today how to find Charles Sturt University and the identities of LenaLotus Latte  (Lyn Hay) and Heyjude Jenns (Judy O’Connell) on my own and was just getting excited about finding other places when it once again crashed.

Miller, Porter and Ryan (2010) advise considering the details associated with starting and maintaining a presence in a virtual world, and the safety and suitability of the chosen virtual environment before charging ahead. In my case, our school library is not yet ready but I am much better informed should the subject of virtual worlds be raised.

References

Baum, J., & Lyons, K. (2012). Librarianship Presence in Virtual Worlds. In (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in Virtual Worlds and Environments (pp. 384-399). Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-762-3.ch020

Greenhill, K. (2008). Do we remove all the walls? Second Life librarianship. Australian Library Journal, 57(4)

Helmer, J., & Learning Light (2007). Second Life and virtual worlds Available from http://www.norfolkelearningforum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/virtual-worlds_ll_oct_2007.pdf, 377-393.

Miller, Rebecca, Marjorie Porter, and Jenna Ryan. “Academic Library Services in Virtual Worlds: An Examination of the Potential for Library Services in Immersive Environments.” Journal of Information Technology Education 9 (2010): IIP 253. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 16 Jan. 2014. <http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/i.do?id=GALE|A251459967&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w&asid=e47ca375d400fa307cf56483718c47f3>.

OLJ Task Module 3.2 Building Academic Library 2.0

Transforming Libraries with Web 2.0

What is a Web2.0 Library?

Farkas (2007) maintains that in a Web 2.0 library, users are “participants” in information as opposed to consumers of information in Web 1.0.  Casey and Savastinuk (2006) contend library 2.0 is an environment focused on “user-centred change” in which users are invited to participate in the creation of the physical and virtual services they want.

In a YouTube video of a segment of a symposium entitled “Building Academic Library 2.0” at Berkley University in 2007, three speakers, namely: the CEO of Berkley University, Shel Wagner; Berkley Librarian, Tom Leonard; and Keynote Speaker Meredith Farkas; spoke about what they felt was important to the development of a Web 2.0 library.

I will highlight five points made by the speakers that I consider to be very important and relevant to my situation in a semi-rural K-12 school.

 1.      Know Our Users/Students

Where they are they (in social media) and what do they want? Web 2.0 is participative and to maximise this, knowing our users and their needs is imperative (Miller, 2005), and allows us to establish trust and a good relationship with our users (Schrier, 2011).

2.      Time/Planning

All the components of social media including initial planning, getting to know our users, set up, implementation, ongoing maintenance and evaluation all require a significant amount of time allocation if the chosen media is to work well and achieve set goals.

3.      Constant Evaluation of our Services

The information landscape and social media is changing at an exponential rate. Farkas (2007) recommends getting rid of the culture “perfect”. There is no such thing as the perfect blog or wiki. We need to start out simple and understand that it is a constant iterative process.

4.      Staff Involvement and Understanding Staff Resistance

What are their needs and limitations? Involve them in all levels of planning. How can we best help them with change and professional development? New technologies can be overwhelming and everyone learns differently. Partnerships with staff are crucial to the success of new innovations.

5.      Transparency

This requires some loss of control and can be the most frightening, but allows the user to make comments and allows the library to build trusted relationships with its users. Users can offer insights on how to make improvements in services and the collection, making it more user-friendly and often results in more support (Schrier).

References:

Casey, M. & Savastinuk, L. (2006). Library 2.0: Service for the next-generation library, Library Journal, 1 September. Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6365200.html

Farkas, M. (2007). Building Academic Library 2.0. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved Dec 29, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI

Miller, P. (2005). Web 2.0: Building the new library, Ariadne, 45, 30 October. Retrieved from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller

Schrier, Robert A. (2011). Digital librarianship & social media: the digital library as conversation facilitator, D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011. Retrieved from http://dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html

Assessment 1- Online Learning Journal

What is “Social Networking”?

Web 2.0 or the interactive web gives individuals the ability to connect on a global basis anywhere, anytime and anyhow, allowing them to share, to collaborate, to interact imagesand to form new information and contacts. Virtual communities are formed by individuals with a common interest or purpose to share and create content. This content is shared through a variety of Web 2.0 tools.

In an educational sense social networking incorporates many 21st century learning skills, namely; collaboration, knowledge construction, self-regulation, real-world problem-solving and innovation, ICT for learning, and skilful communication (ITL research, 2013). It allows students to interact with information, create knowledge and then communicate that new knowledge to others.

What social networking technologies do I use?

I freely admit to being addicted to Pinterest and must self-regulate my usage. I began experimenting with Web 2.0 tools four or five years ago. I began with Facebook as I wanted to understand my students and my own children’s need to connect, however I quickly became bored with Facebook and the banality of so many comments I just did not need. Already in this unit, I am seeing how Facebookcan be leveraged in another way and this is exciting.

I also use Moodle, LinkedIn, OZTLNET, Twitter and a number of Web 2.0 tools with students like Padlet, Edmodo, Exploratree, Diigo, TodaysMeet and Prezi. I follow blogs that are of interest to me and am a member of a number of wikispaces. For example Blackbird Designs has a blog keeping interested cross stitchers and quilters abreast of their latest designs and patterns. http://blackbird-designs.blogspot.com.au/

The challenge for me is working out what to use without developing information overload. There are so many tools available I have discovered I must choose wisely.

What do I expect to learn?

As a library professional and teacher I believe I recognise the importance of staying relevant to my students, my colleagues and our library’s community. This landscape is continually changing. I have never blogged before having always been a follower, so I am already learning. I want to learn how to use these technologies to best advantage within the school library to create a meaningful, relevant and exciting place to connect and learn.

References

Expanding Learning Horizons, & Microsoft: Partners in Learning. (2013). 21st Century Learning Design. Presented at the 21st Century Learning Design, Hale School, Perth: Expanding Learning Horizons. Retrieved from http://www.expandinglearninghorizons.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/4pp_21CLD_Flyer_ELH_FA_Desktop.pdf