David Phipps, RIR-York
David had the privilege of attending the UK Knowledge Mobilization Forum 2014 in person. George Julian (@GeorgeJulian) attended in Second Life. Did it work for George the same way it did for David?
David a eu la chance d’assister en personne au Forum britannique sur la MdC 2014. George Julian (@GeorgeJulian), lui, y a assisté dans Second Life. Les choses se sont-elles passées pour George de la même façon que pour David?
The short answer is no, but that doesn’t mean it was a failure. I think it was a successful first experience. Second Life doesn’t mimic real life… because in real life you can’t attend as a cat (as George did) nor can you transport to different environments that offer different perspectives on knowledge mobilization.
Second Life is an online virtual environment platform. Users create avatars and join other online users in a variety of online “lands”. Health Land was created by Dave Taylor of Imperial College as a space for holding a conference in Second Life. The online space mirrors the real life space in that there is a gathering hall where participants in Second Life can view the posters that are posted in real life.
Health Island also has a conference room with a projection screen and a tweet wall. In this picture you can see Peter Levesque (@peterlevesque) making opening remarks at the Forum. All the presentations in real life were projected into Second Life.
In Second Life you can view posters, listen to the talks and ask questions to the Second Life moderator who is attending in real life. You can also have one on one or small group conversations with other participants in Second Life if you have a head set and microphone. But you miss the networking and off program serendipitous conversations.
But did it work?
George tweeted :
#UKKMbF14 Being in SL was educational, visceral reminder of what it feels like to not be in the room where the convo happens!!
One of the poster winners was a poster presented in Second Life by a participant in Second Life. That is a huge testament to the potential of conference participation in Second Life.
But George was also kind enough to let me know the following.
“The massive plus is that I can attend at minimal cost given I’m 4hrs away from London. The experience is an interesting one, really don’t know how to sum it up in a couple of sentences, definitely need to blog about it. I’d say it’s a good reminder of what it’s like to feel completely new to something (I only joined SL for this conference), but also to try and be part of a conversation when you’re outside of the room. We’ve had teething troubles with audio and video, so technically it’s not been the easiest to follow, that said it’s been good to see people, and combined with twitter has made me feel like I can follow some of it.
I’d say it’s been educational, certainly so far, in many ways. It’s been good to meet a couple of people, but we’re a very small group in SL and it does feel like we’re missing out on a lot of the benefits of being in the room, especially networking obviously.”
George also posted her own blog on her own experience.
My experience of Second Life mirrors George’s although she was in there for 2 days and I was popping in and out. Second Life offers great potential to engage a wide audience in the content of the conference. The conference organizers intend to use Second Life to carry on small group discussions and special interest groups arising from the Forum.
I need to become more proficient in my own use of Second Life. The audio issues were likely amplified due to the time delay between real life and Second Life. It might actually be easier when participants are all in Second Life. We know this is possible because of SLActions, “the original international conference held simultaneously in several countries on the topic of virtual worlds and metaverse platforms”. It is a conference that can be attended solely in Second Life.
The UK Knowledge Mobilization Forum isn’t there yet but huge shout out to the organizers for this experiment. The KMb Unit at York University tried out Second Life with very unsatisfying results about 5 years ago. Returning to Second Life now, with a coach like Dave Taylor, made for a much more successful experience.
By the way…. The elf lord you see in these pictures is me. As a newbie to Second Life I chose the only off the shelf avatar that had grey hair. With more time and more experience I can choose to lose the cloak and sword, add glasses and look more like my real life self. Or just remain as an elf lord… I bet they can mobilize all sorts of things!
And don’t forget to check out the CDN KMb Forum in Saskatoon June 9-10.