Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Educators on Avatar Appearance & Learning

Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable 7/20/2010

Location: Slapping Forehead and Laughing

I missed one of the best VWER meetings in a while. We have this impression of academics as frumpy eggheads who don't really care about their appearances. But what about their avatars?

Over 40 participants discussed the role that clothing and other aspects of avatar appearance play in getting respect from students, administrators, and the public beyond Second Life and other virtual worlds. More than a few of my colleagues came to the meeting in hilarious costume (AJ in a Mayan outfit is priceless). I'm pleased to report that everyone did wear clothing.

Some stand-out quotations follow, some hilarious, some sobering, all true:
  • I once had a rather eye-opening talk with some students in which they dissected the dress sense of everyone male and female in the dept, this is in RL, they expected people to "make an effort" and they made assumptions that however you dressed you were thinking about THEM (students) when you made your decisions
  • I don't think it matters MORE in SL, I think it is more that outside SL we are already conditioned to obey certain norms/expectations and so there tend to be fewer surprises.
  • Thinking about our appearance requires the same kind of intentionality that other rhetorical decisions do.
  • I can't show many presentations in SL to my bosses because there are just too many bosoms in them.
  • For me we are doing [medical] simulation not a lot of furries on a ward ;-)
  • That's an issue we haven't discussed. Psychological associations. What we perceive as "fun" might set off issues in fragile folks.
  • I am old and I remember when a teacher was fired for wearing his hair on his forehead .. bangs.
  • I once came to a chat with my students with a cigar, and one of my students had a real problem with it.
  • Well i had changed my avatar skin and i was meant to look like Angelina Jolie. . . . i looked like a man.
  • Yesterday I was wearing nothing. I think SL servers are perverted.
Need fashion advice? Try "What Not to Wear in Virtual Clothes" and look at the entire transcript from our meeting

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