An audience with …

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Announced today. in-world, via the Educational Podcasting group and from the Real Life Education in Second Life group:

[9:04] Bjorlyn Loon: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin will be speaking shortly (9:00 AM PST) from NASA’s Next Generation Exploration Conference. Live video. Location: http://slurl.com/secondlife/NASA%20CoLab/157/45/63

Yes, it is worthwhile attending such events; for although I could in all likelihood have watched this very same broadcast tomorrow on YouTube, only here do I have the opportunity to sit with likeminded souls, to chat in real time with people I’d otherwise probably never meet, to network with others from across the globe, and in general to do all the things I’d wish to do in RL and that are so much more cumbersome on the 2D web.

There are many such events around SL every week … public lectures and meetings, workshops, discussion groups, … that are likely to be of interest to both staff and students. I attended a Sloodle meeting a couple of days back. Last week, a ‘Lessons in Second Life’ education meeting. Not so long ago I went to a workshop on programming with Symfony (PHP-based web framework). And, back last September, the Software Freedom Day, as well as a CSIRO (Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) talk by James Bradfield Moody: “No Longer Virtual: convergence of the digital and natural worlds”. (CSIRO has, for a long while, been using Second Life as a platform for communicating its scientific work to an international audience.)

So many lectures, meetings, discussion, and talks I’ve attended, in fact, that I’ve lost track of them all (though a few were captured in screenshots; see end of this post).

So what’s this got to do with our endeavours at Kingston University and in The Knowledge Zone? I’m offering two suggestions:

  1. that, in the short term, I publish announcements of a few upcoming events of interest in the CISM building that I’d encourage staff and students to attend
  2. that in the longer term–and this is the strategically more important of my suggestions–The Knowledge Zone, once open to the world, offer open-access public lectures, for example the CISM Annual Industrial Lecture (the next, on 6th March in Knowledge Centre, John Galsworthy Building, is by Google’s Geospatial Technologist, Ed Parsons, speaking on “Google and Maps: Why Where is important”).

I’d be delighted if the university were to take my second suggestions seriously. There is an opportunity for the university to raise its profile as a serious-player education provider in Second Life.

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About Christopher Hutchison

Museologist, cognitive dissident, political grouch, curmudgeonly bibliophage, and all round jolly nice chap.
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