Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Virtual Worlds: Libraries, Education, and Museums Conference to be held at New Media Consortium Conference Center in the very beautiful Second Life.

“Virtual Worlds: Libraries, Education, and Museums”
Saturday, March 8, 2008 in Second Life - New Media Consortium Conference Center.
To register: http://www.alliancelibraries.info/virtualworlds

Purpose of the Conference:
To provide a gathering place for librarians, information professionals, educators, museologists, and others to learn about and discuss the educational, informational, and cultural opportunities of virtual worlds.

Please note: Although the conference will be held in the virtual world Second Life, presentation and paper proposals about LEM developments in other virtual worlds are encouraged.

Tentative Schedule

9:00 a.m. Second Life Time (Pacific Time)

"Ancient Mesopotamia: Engaging Online Resources from the Oriental Institute," Presented by Wendy Ennes and Lisa Perez

Wendy Ennes, Teacher Services and e-Learning Coordinator for the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago, will present information about the new, engaging website Ancient Mesopotamia: This History, Our History. In this highly useful online resource, students and educators can learn about various aspects of Mesopotamian culture. They can participate in the interactive "Dig into History", playing the role of an archeologist or a museum curator. Also, they can peruse the "Learning Collection", zooming in on various teacher-selected artifacts. Teachers can also locate primary source materials, lesson plans, and recommended learning activities. This presentation will be useful to teachers, librarians, students, and history aficionados. This presentation is brought to you in collaboration with the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries and Information Services.

"Persistent Worlds: Will They Ever Go Away?" Presented by Dr. Susan Hazan

Now that Second Life has hit the front page of Newsweek it seems Neal Stephenson's vision of the Metaverse has crossed over -- from being a fringe fantasy land for pure escapists to a persistent world for play, commerce, creativity and exploration. It's time to take a close look at this synthetic world. Presented by three leading avatars directly from Second Life, this panel will showcase some of the leading cultural institutions from their 3D graphic locations, and will explore how they welcome visitors, guests and colleagues in-world.

"The State of Librarianship in Second Life" Presented by Lauren Pressley

This session examines the idea of librarianship in Second Life, specifically focusing on reference practices and the development of a library's presence in a virtual world. The session will conclude with a discussion of possible virtual world library services that have not yet been designed and implemented.

"Reflections in Wonderland" Presented by Alison (Wynne Merlin) Williams & Mary (Merry Mayo) Hudson

This paper takes a reflective approach concentrating on the authors' explorations of Second Life. These explorations were undertaken as part of a project to assess how the university library might operate in such an environment to support student learning. An introduction briefly outlines the project and we then go on to describe our initial experiences of Second Life, and of participation in courses and meetings. In the light of these experiences we reflect on the possibilities offered by this type of environment, before concluding with our thoughts on the way forward.

"Reconstructing Maya: Student Created Poems" Presented by Beth Ritter-Guth (SL Desideria Stockton)

The students in College English II: Literature at Lehigh Carbon Community College are creating interactive poems to celebrate the poetry of Maya Angelou. Conference participants will be able to view the work of students, meet them, and construct a poem of their own. The workshop will require the use of voice and participants should download a free recording program like Audacity. Students will showcase their interactive poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou. A notecard with the instructions on how to build the poem will be provided, and participants will work together to create a collaborative poem using WAV files, objects, and scripts.

10:00 a.m. Second Life Time (Pacific Time)

"Voice vs. Text Chat: Solutions for Teaching/Presenting in Two Languages Simultaneously" Presented by Chris Haskell

As voices ring out over the virtual landscape, some oppose vocal communication for its technical imperfections, infrequent use, and VW cultural bias. Educators, presenters, and facilitators in the Metaverse need solutions to communicate in both "native" languages. This session demonstrates tools and techniques currently being employed to engage multiple learning and communication styles in this expanding virtual space.

"Immersion Environments and Recreational Learning: Opportunities for Informal Education on the Virtual Landscape" Presented by Aldo Stern and JJ Drinkwater

When the residents of an online three-dimensional platform such as Second life are able to create their own immersion environments, learning opportunities abound. Experience with a number of recent experiments has indicated that the educational potential of these builds comes not just within the context of a formal, institutionally-managed didactic approach, but also--and in some cases, more successfully--in the context of informal, self-directed learning opportunities.

Panelists Aldo Stern and JJ Drinkwater draw upon their real world backgrounds in the museum and library fields, along with their extensive experience in a variety of experimental collaborative educational, cultural and recreational environments created on the SL platform, to discuss the relative success of traditional "classroom" approaches in various builds, and the surprisingly vibrant informal learning dynamic that has developed alongside--or as an alternative to--the attempts at structured, hierarchical didacticism.

The panelists also will seek to explore how what has transpired in-world is analogous to the real world living history/reenacting "hobby" movement of the 1970s-1990s and other recreational self-directed learning opportunities, and consider issues of how institutions and organizations might utilize the potential of online creative platforms in the future to more effectively foster and encourage self-directed learning, and to integrate it into their programming in ways that it could compliment and enhance more traditional approaches to engaging and educating diverse audiences.

"Whatcha Gonna Do?: An Academic Health Sciences Library in Second Life Embraces New Roles" Presented by PF Anderson (Perplexity Peccable); Gillian Mayman (Gillian Oh); Anne Perorazio (Kaiya Qunha); and Jane Blumenthal (Wrenaissance Jewell)

Academic health sciences libraries support the educational, research, clinical, and service missions of the universities and healthcare institutions of which they are a part. In the recent past, this has meant primarily building print and web-based collections of health and research information, and providing classes and services that facilitate the use and integration of these collections into the skillset of the local academic healthcare community. In Spring of 2007, the University of Michigan Medical School purchased an island in Second Life. In supporting the activities associated with this initiative, we have found that many of the activities and services we have traditionally offered are not immediately relevant in the new environment, are needs that are being filled by others, or are beyond the scope of what is possible with the resources currently available to us. Examples of these might include teaching how to search Medline, offering classes relating to health skill sets, building collections of health information. Similarly, many of the activities and services we have found ourselves embracing in Second Life are hard to imagine ever happening in our real life libraries. Examples of these might include building freebie collections, teaching classes on how to make clothes, setting up a Spirit Shop for the university (along with making the inventory), hosting in-world and out-world events to engage community, setting up a patient support group, as well as helping folks navigate Orientation and Help Islands. Here we present information about the similarities and differences between what we do in which environment and why we do or do not offer similar services in the other environment, as well as discuss the planning process and skill sets required. We would particularly like to focus on tools that have formed the basis of our community building efforts, which have largely depended on resources that bridge Second Life and the broader online and analog environments. So, when it comes to leading the way in a new and emerging technological environment, what are librarians going to do? Our answer: whatever needs to be done.

"Interaction, Visibility and Searchability in Virtual Worlds: The Possibilities, Benefits and the Future" Presented by Namro Orman

Interaction with the Web should be a major focus point for libraries in virtual worlds. Resources, news, and communication are needed, and not only with Second Life Residents. The merging with other social networks looks promising, but a lot can be improved/gained inside Second Life as well to make library services and resouces more visible, and findable, also on the Web. This goals of this session are to improve awareness of current possibilities, to show developments, and to offer a sketch of the future.

"The 3D3C Metaverse" Presented by Yesha Sivan

Dr. Yesha Sivan, founder of Metaverse Labs, is interested in interoperability. He also has been looking into how virtual world simulations can interface with the real world.

11:00 a.m. Second Life Time (Pacific Time)

"Applying Distance Educational Theory to Virtual Worlds" Presented by Rebecca Hedreen

Current adult educational theory is student-centered and those students have experience, abilities, and preferences that affect or control the learning process. This presentation will show (and tell) you how to use these theories, and the practices that spring from them, to improve your Second Life presentations. In the process, we'll cover some techniques that also improve accessibility and decrease the chance that a technological glitch will ruin your work.

"The Museum Phenomenon in Star Wars Galaxies" Presented by Annie Platoff

Annie Platoff, the Director of the Wookiee Cultural Center, the premier Wookiee museum in Star Wars Galaxies, will discuss the museum phenomenon in Star Wars Galaxies.

"My Life as an Avatar (So Far)" Presented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This presentation is intended for teachers, librarians, and those who work in museums; as well as amateur history buffs. In this discussion I will provide an account of how I came to portray one of the best known authors of the Victorian era; the development of a plausible "back story" to cover my inadequacies; my successes and failures in Second Life; my views on the educational potential of ReCreationism; and, finally, my advice to aspiring ReCreationists.

"The Festival of European Languages in Second Life" Presented by Birdie Newborn (Birdie Newcomb in SL)

This session will look at the Festival of European Languages recently held on Belle Isle in Second Life. It was a venture in outside-the-classroom education. It was a 6-hour festival over half the island with a schedule of speakers, demonstrations, booths, and a giant map of Europe with landmarks to every known language community in Second Life.

6:00 p.m. Second Life Time (Pacific Time)

"Self-directed Group Learning in Virtual Worlds" Presented by Nick Noakes

This will be a mix of an interactive discussion session on the affordances of Virtual Worlds with respect to self-directed group learning, followed by a tour of Boracay sim to see one way self-directed group learning can be implemented.

"Virtual Museums: When Do They Become "Real"?" Presented by Annie Platoff

With the launch of massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs), players were given the opportunity to build their own communities within the confines of virtual worlds created by the game developers. When Star Wars Galaxies was launched in June 2003, players were also given the opportunity to manipulate their environment. SWG Developers not only allowed players to place structures within the landscape of the game, but also gave them the opportunity to decorate the interiors of their buildings. It wasn't long before players began to open their own museums. At first, the museums were nothing more than decorated houses containing developer-made paintings and objects. Eventually, however, the museums evolved and now there are quite a number that include interpretive labels, thematic exhibits, and more. While some of these museums are quite well known within their communities, they are virtually unknown by those who do not play the game.

That is not the case for the museums in another virtual community, however. The emergence of museums in the virtual world of Second Life has been the topic of much discussion in the museum community. Also launched in 2003, Second Life presents itself as a 3-D virtual world rather than a game. In the world of Second Life players can create just about anything they can imagine and add it to the environment including, of course, museums. Some of those museums have been replicas of real-life museums created by private individuals. Other museums in this virtual environment were created as initiatives of established real-world museums. But there are some museums in Second Life that only exist in that virtual landscape. The International Space Museum, one such museum, has spawned a real-life non-profit organization to support the work of the virtual museum.

All of this activity in virtual museums brings with it some interesting questions for members of the museum community. Are virtual museums "real" museums? And if they are, what are the implications for established real-life museums? This paper will examine a variety of museums in two virtual environments ? the MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies and the virtual world of Second Life. It will apply established definitions of what is a museum and determine which of those virtual museums appear to meet the criteria. Finally, it will draw conclusions about the "realness" of virtual museums and the potential of these institutions for reaching new audiences.

"An Overview of Science-Related Stuff in Second Life" Presented by Dr. Troy McConaghy (Troy McLuhan in SL)

Troy will give examples of how Second Life is being used for science education, public outreach, prototyping, and research Intendend Audience: Scientists, science educators, science librarians, and science museum professionals.

"Immersive Education: New Models for Lifelong Learning" Presented by Kevin Roebuck

Open source technologies for virtual worlds, on-line games, and new media have tremendous potential to offer new models for lifelong learning. Sun Microsystems Global Education & Research Group has formed a new community to explore these new immersive worlds and their application with the Project Wonderland 3-D tool-kit, Project Darkstar Game Server and SunSPOT sensor platforms. The new Sun Immersion Special Interest Group has announced a joint initiative with the Immersive Education Initiative at Media Grid including a $25,000 set of "Immersion Grants" to see pilot projects in K12 schools, community college, and higher education institutions. This session will feature Kevin Roebuck, Community Manager for Immersive Technologies at Sun, to give a brief overview of the communities activities, initiatives and worldwide projects in open source and open content for Immersive Education.

7:00 p.m. Second Life Time (Pacific Time)

"Using Second Life to Enhance Student Research and Presentations" Presented by Robert Walker

The presentation will look at an exciting Second Life assignment being used at Labette Community College in the Music Appreciation classes to enhance student presentations. This assignment could easily be adapted for use in any class that requires students to research and present that research to the class. It is useful for both onground and online classes. Students are given the following assignment, using Second Life, prepare a museum exhibit on the following composer. You should include written information, audio, images and perhaps video. Your presentation should not only include biographical information about the composer, but information about the period that the composer was writing. That information should include people of historical interest, other artists of the period, clothing and architectural styles of the time. This presentation will show the mechanics of managing an assignment like this. What tools do the students need? What knowledge/tools does the instructor need? These concerns will all be discussed and examples of previous semester projects will be reviewed as well as the assignment and the rubric.

"Virtual Worlds for Learning" Presented by Ann Crewdson and Sachin Patil

Virtual Worlds offer a quick and inexpensive ways of simulating information artifacts(in libraries and museums) into multi-faceted synthetic learning environments that merit interaction, immersion and information equally. The Federation of American Scientists, as part of its "Virtual Worlds for Learning" research program, has created a Virtual World Sim (Mesopotamia) in Second Life that leverages collective intelligence by enabling interdisciplinary communities of scholars such as archeologists, librarians museologists, historians, technologists, artists, and academia to share data and their expertise. The prototype has developed a web-integrated inworld tool, called Medulla, to collaborate on 3D content creation, peer-review the content for authenticity and edit it continuously based on new academic & research findings. In the near future, this tool will support functionalities for incorporating game-like features to make simulation experience more interactive and engaging. This presentation will describe content creation & management processes we have developed to collect, render, manage, evaluate and preserve digital assets for 3D virtual environments. Attendees, mainly librarians and museum administrators, will learn how virtual worlds together with web technologies can be used for a wide variety of learning opportunities, scholarly interaction, and the collection, development and management of digital assets for 3D virtual environments.

"Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" Presented by Rochelle Mazar

This presentation will demonstrate and explore the ways that digital objects have been archived in older virtual environments, their contribution to a competitive gift economy, and the kinds of lessons those practices bring to bear on the work being done by librarians and educators in Second Life. In text-based MOO spaces, object archives function as museum spaces, shops for finding useful objects to use in one's own builds, and as a structure that reinforces and supports a functioning gift economy. In worlds without built-in money economies, archiving and "generics" organization allows new users to see what has been built before, to take advantage of that older work by taking their own copy of these generic objects to build upon, and provides a form of feedback and recognition for those who build the best objects across the entire MOO community world-wide. With a long tradition of including the builder's name as part of the object, a successful builder can build a reputation across many different virtual worlds as others request archived copies of their objects. This gift economy encourages builders and programmers to donate their work for use by others as well as to create more and better generic objects for general use. Their active participation in the gift economy thereby assists in the creation of richer online spaces for all. Could this model work in Second Life, in spite of its existing money economy?

This presentation would consist of audio content detailing the structure of these digital archives and their use, as well as detail about the gift economy and how it encouraged more and better objects to share with the community, and would include discussion with participants about its pros and cons and feasibility for use in Second Life.

8:00 p.m. Second Life Time (Pacific Time)

"Education on the Teen Grid: The View from Eye4You Alliance Island" Presented by Kelly Czarnecki (Bluewings Hayek in SL), Anthony Curtis (Stone Semyorka in SL), and Beth Kraemer (Alice Burgess in SL)

So what's it like to be an educator on the teen grid? Eye4You Alliance Island has been a source of education, creativity and fun on the teen grid since 2006. Librarians, professors, authors, technology specialists, subject matter specialists, and teens from around the world are involved in projects ranging from classes about SL and RL skills; recurring events like book discussions, space talks and island management meetings; special events like the recent literary festival, last year's college fair and craft fair; and a host of other activities. The presenters will provide an overview of what it's like to be an adult educator on the teen grid, describing the challenges and opportunities, and will discuss recent activities and plans that are underway. We'll compare the experience with education on the main grid and discuss our view of the future of education for teens in Second Life. The presentation may also incorporate comments from the teen residents themselves.

"VW Libraries and Education: The Purpose and the Potential" Presented by Valerie Hill (Valibrarian Gregg in SL)

Virtual worlds seem to be exploding into existence online. For everyone from toddlers to senior citizens, a virtual world beckons. Valibrarian Gregg, a Second Life librarian (and real life school librarian) shares her journey learning in a virtual world to help understand the purpose and potential for librarians and educators. Read some of the latest Virtual World news at iVinnie.com.

"Providing Library Services in Second Life" Presented by Margaret Ostrander and Anne Mostad-Jensen

Margaret Ostrander will share her research in progress exploring information seeking behavior in Second Life. All research is taking place in-world, combining structured interviews and ethnographic fieldwork. Research questions include: What are the information needs of everyday Second Life residents? What kinds of information are people in SL utilizing, and how do they go about finding it? This research explicitly studies SL residents in non-library contexts. A more robust understanding of such "native" information seeking behavior can help inform SL library services. This research is under the supervision of Dr. Michael Stephens of Dominican University (Illinois, U.S.A.). Read more about Margaret's research at Librarian Dreamer.

Anne Mostad-Jensen will present her research in progress focused on the new user's experience in Second Life. Research questions include: How do new users approach and use virtual worlds? What are the information needs of new users and what are their information seeking behaviors? Research subjects will be observed while utilizing the Second Life interface for the first time, accompanied by pre- and post-interviews. This research will inform how libraries in Second Life can help meet the needs of new users. This research is under the supervision of MLIS faculty member Dr. Joyce Yukawa of the College of St. Catherine (Minnesota, U.S.A.).

Both Anne and Margaret will share their findings to date, along with learnings about the methodologies and research instruments they have adopted.

This machinima was filmed on location with the help of avatars in the teen grid and main adult grid of Second Life: Info International (Alliance Library System), Talis Cybrary City, and Eye4YouAlliance Island, funded by the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC).


Machinima: Bernadette Daly Swanson / HVX Silverstar in Second Life
Yea, to the very beautiful Second Life!

Music: Benediction © Lynne Publishing - Revostock

Note: for MUCH better viewing on YouTube:
Click on the 2nd button on lower right side of viewer to view uploaded resolution (better!) or view the larger version on libraryfamous.blip.tv

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