Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Education Support Faire in Second Life

Faculty & Student: Office Hour...
Location: Supporte Island

This event will be a first, and it shows a direction that Linden Lab clearly intends to move, and forcefully. It runs on 4 dedicated sims from Jan. 25-30, and I plan to volunteer for at least an hour or two.

Next week's Education Roundtable will, in fact, be held at the Faire. Here's a direct teleport link to the Faire's starting point (not valid until Jan. 25). Faculty and administrators from many institutions will gather to discuss best practices, show off projects, and network.

The official announcement runs at this blog post. The news of the Faire has been swallowed up by Linden Lab's purchase of two online marketplaces that sell goods for SL: Xstreetsl (formerly SLexchange) and the OnRez marketplace. Yet the two events are not unrelated.

Linden Lab seems to be positioning itself to acquire more revenue streams going into and out of their virtual world. The markets are primarily for social users, whereas educational support aims to shore up steady sources of income and a more wholesome profile for SL.

2009 will be an eventful year for Linden Lab. And educational institutions are looking at ways to cut costs while integrating new technologies into teaching and research. That could mean more SL for meetings and conferences and low-cost simulations. Linden Lab certainly appears to think so. Whether they can assist faculty with some of the technical--let alone pedagogical--challenges facing SL users remains to be seen.

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