[iDC] Second Life as educational tool

dave at edtechtalk.com dave at edtechtalk.com
Thu Feb 22 18:42:55 EST 2007

More proof I suppose that secondlife is the model T of virtual space. Not
as fast or slick as some of the other options available... clearly not as
good on gas. (Although I note that the KWH comparison was made against a
worldwide average and not the average of someone who is currently using
said computer and has the financial support to purchase broadband.)

But this model T is making it so that every (well connected and video
encarded) computer user can, for most I would guess just once or twice, go
in and consume some '3D' space. I'm also interested by the Wii talk, and
with the motion sensor controller (the first of many no doubt) it does
offer the chance to meld first and second life as it were.

The issue with many of the critiques that i've seen of our model T is that
they criticize the first real success of a new way of doing things for
having all the failings of a trailblazer.

Yes. It is bloated. It runs on too much power. The interface and designs
are limited. It is run by a company which profits (one would assume) from
running the environment. It slows down, depending on who you talk to
somewhere in between 15,000 and 38,000 concurrent users. It's proprietary.
The things created inside are not portable. All true.

But it does win at being first to come to the public domain. It's allowing
people like me to apply for research grants that are going to explore how
to interface 2D and 3D digital domains. (if you'll pardon the expression)
We are going to take some students in and see what they do... It's a
project that no one would have funded for me in Croquet. No matter how
good that particular dream promises to be.

I'm not sure what the value of 'virtual space' will be pedagogically. In
the interim its greatest value is allowing us to try out a few ideas, to
get some funding and some leeway to poke our noses in. To talk to some
people about their experiences. To help, perhaps, in the development of
the next generation of 3D spaces, by contributing what we've learned.

I wonder, finally, if there is a research group that is accepting
educational research from virtual space already out there... if not... I'd
be more than willing to start one.

cheers. dave.

> Looks as though your post and/or Nicholas Carr's original blog entry
> caused a ripple in the blogosphere and the Lift 07 conference a few
> days later, courtesy Julian Bleecker.
> http://research.techkwondo.com/blog/julian/297
> Lift presentation slides here:
> http://www.liftconference.com/media/2007/docs/
> 1625884786_Lift_00_FirstLifeMeetsSecondLife.key.pdf
> I'm intrigued by Bleecker's suggestion that Nintendo's Wii provides a
> way to reconnect with the materiality of our '1st Life' as he puts
> it. He admits this is just a start.
> Where can an interface like Wii lead if applied to, say, mobile
> networks? Will it reduce or increase the carbon footprint of an
> avatar or increase it?
> Chris
> On 2 Feb 2007, at 16:22, Eric Goldhagen wrote:
>> At 8:09 PM -0500 2/1/07, Skawennati Tricia Fragnito wrote:
>>> This Mohawk/Italian chick, who considers herself fortunate indeed
>>> to have a university education, is now going to her Second Life
>>> where she meets up with other artists, nerds, Indians, and Others
>>> to chat, have fun, make art and (dare i day it???) change the world.
>> have you thought about the real world impact of your Avatar? What
>> is the energy requirement to keep second life alive? Is the payoff
>> worth all that carbon and soot?
>> I've not checked the math on this, but the following post suggests
>> that your avatar uses as much power as you do. That's a pretty
>> large footprint for limited gain, in my opinion.
>> --Eric
>> from http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2006/12/avatars_consume.php
>> He quotes Philip Rosedale, the head of Linden Lab, the company
>> behind the virtual world: "We're running at full power all the
>> time, so we consume an enormous amount of electrical power in co-
>> location facilities [where they house their 4,000 server
>> computers] ... We're running out of power for the square feet of
>> rack space that we've got machines in. We can't for example use
>> [blade] servers right now because they would simply require more
>> electricity than you could get for the floor space they occupy."
>> ...
>> If there are on average between 10,000 and 15,000 avatars "living"
>> in Second Life at any point, that means the world has a population
>> of about 12,500. Supporting those 12,500 avatars requires 4,000
>> servers as well as the 12,500 PCs the avatars' physical alter egos
>> are using. Conservatively, a PC consumes 120 watts and a server
>> consumes 200 watts. Throw in another 50 watts per server for data-
>> center air conditioning. So, on a daily basis, overall Second Life
>> power consumption equals:
>> (4,000 x 250 x 24) + (12,500 x 120 x 24) = 60,000,000 watt-hours or
>> 60,000 kilowatt-hours
>> Per capita, that's:
>> 60,000 / 12,500 = 4.8 kWh
>> Which, annualized, gives us 1,752 kWh. So an avatar consumes 1,752
>> kWh per year. By comparison, the average human, on a worldwide
>> basis, consumes 2,436 kWh per year. So there you have it: an avatar
>> consumes a bit less energy than a real person, though they're in
>> the same ballpark.
>> --
>> -------------------------------------------
>> Openflows Community Technology Lab, Inc.
>> New York | Toronto | Montreal | Vienna
>> http://openflows.com
>> People are intelligent. Machines are tools.
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