Friday, 16 July 2010

The 1920s Berlin Project in Second Life

This is the website for The 1920s Berlin Project in Second Life:

More information, with screenshots and videos, can be found in the AVALON Ning:

Second Life is a 3D world in which simulations (“sims”) of any real or imagined location can be created and in which people can interact in their avatar guises. The aim of the project is to stage a German course in a historical setting. Participants are asked to wear clothes of the 1920s, and a free set of clothes is provided for your avatar. There is an active role-playing community with great characters like Jo Yardley, a war widow, and Petrus, the barman, who might give you a glass of Absinth when the police are not looking.

Here is the SLURL:

The German course is an experiment to see whether language teachers in Second Life can set up a sim and a community where they can offer their courses and where the lessons offer real added value for the learners, introducing them to a community and place which they can come back to by themselves and practise their German.

Here is an extract from the description of the project at the above website:

“Berlin in the 1920s was a very interesting time, politically, culturally and in many other ways. We wanted to try and recreate the atmosphere of this fantastic city in that amazing era. But we wanted to show a realistic and authentic view of the darker side of this city. Most historical sims show a somewhat romanticised, clean, charming view of the past. We wanted to show our visitors what common people lived like in the backstreets of the poorer neighbourhoods. No big houses, palaces, lanes and glorious theatres in our sim, but tiny apartments, a cheap modern looking cinema, a theatre that has seen better days and a dance hall that is situated in a damp basement and where they have lukewarm beer in dirty glasses.”

Second Life - the long goodbye: re Gavin Dudeney's blog

There is a very lively discussion taking place right now in Gavin Dudeney’s That’SLife blog in a thread headed Second Life - The Long Goodbye. Gavin has decided to say goodbye to SL, at least in terms of continuing to play a role in using SL for teaching and training. He has decided that SL is not the most suitable environment for educators, citing technical problems, the unfriendliness of Viewer 2 and the general lack of real improvements during the last two years.

As Gavin puts it: “It’s frustrating not to improve at a better pace, it’s frustrating to see competent users still having voice and other problems and, well, it’s just frustrating sometimes.” Read Gavin’s blog and the large number of comments by people who agree or disagree with Gavin.

What do you think? Is SL “ too demanding and too unreliable for most educators” and are there “better ways of doing most things you can do in SL in terms of education”?