Meeting clients in a virtual world: Visiting Queensland Island in Second Life.


Second Life & Queensland Island

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

Queensland Island.
Smart Service Queensland’s Online Services Unit (OSU) is currently demonstrating Queensland Island in Second Life, promoting their services to Queensland Government agencies (such as DETA, and TAFE QLD). Queensland Island is a virtual meeting place that exists in an online setting, and is accessed using multimedia tools. I believe that Queensland Island will play an important part in engaging TAFE clients, by using multimedia in a virtual world.

Second Life.
It’s not a video game, although it uses three-dimensional interactive media: Second Life is a virtual world populated by ‘residents’ – avatars – who can walk, run or fly, change their appearance and buy or sell goods and services. Second Life residents communicate using text chat, instant messaging and voice, and meet in virtual places that mirror reality, are pure fantasy, or are a blend of both. Second Life provides a rich sensory experience that engages participants with a multimedia mix of images and sound. Many educational institutions already operate in Second Life, some running courses entirely ‘in world’.

Experiencing Second Life.
There are some technical requirements necessary for entering Second Life, namely: a broadband network connection; sufficient computer processing capacity; and a good quality video graphics card. With the right technical set up, the application is downloaded at no cost, and an avatar is moulded to suit individual taste. Many first-time users choose to first visit ‘Orientation Island’, where tutorials in navigation skills are presented, although Jokaydia Island’, a home of educational events, is a great place to learn ‘noobie’ skills.

TAFE in Second Life.
Some TAFE institutes choose to run courses in Second Life, such as Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE (GippsTAFE), however there are problems to be addressed: meeting the initial cost (and follow-up costs); controlling security of the site; accessing via the TAFE network; and, enabling infrastructure capabilities. Queensland Island has been built as a service provider for virtual world events, and Smart Service Queensland can advise on how to deal with these issues.

Learn More.
View some video clips of previous Queensland Island events, and attend the next Queensland Island demonstration on Wednesday, September 10th 2008. For more information, message onlineservices@smartservice.qld.gov.au

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