During the week of Nov 7-11, my 15 year old daughter and her friend worked with me as part of the internship program at their junior high school, Mörbyskolan, here in Stockholm, Sweden. I arranged for them to do a few specific tasks as part of this internship: 1) Design my website, 2) Build an office in Second Life, and 3) Help with the launch of the NVWN VCEI (Virtual Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Second Life).
For the first task, they quickly discovered iWeb – the Mac program, and by Tuesday at lunch they had already designed and filled my website with content from my CV and that they found on the internet: www.robinteigland.com. (I had already bought the domain name so they just had to figure out how to publish the site on the web.) I was quite surprised at how fast they accomplished this task and I was very pleased with the result!
For the Second Life tasks, I showed them how to create an avatar and install Second Life. I also showed them some stores in SL and the marketplace and gave them some Lindens for purchasing items. They had fun designing and styling their avatars, and once they found some good stores, they seemed to enjoy shopping and purchasing the items. By Friday, not only had they managed to build and decorate the office, but they also created a relax area in a cave that we have on our SL island.
For the third task, my daughter’s friend helped with the launch of our center. She greeted people when they arrived, showed them where the auditorium was, and took lots of snapshots during the event.
I was curious to see how they experienced their tasks working with the 2D and 3D internet and prepared some questions for them. Below you will find their unedited answers. (Please note that English is not their first language.)
Q. How difficult/easy was it to design the website?
A. It wasn’t that hard to do since we had the program iWeb on the computer. iWeb already had different themes to choose among so it was easy to use, which is good for beginners like us. The bad thing is that you need to have a Mac to use this program.
Q: What did you think about working together on this site?
A. It was fun to learn about how to design and “post” a website and fun to do it together so you get different perspectives and opinions.
Q. What did you like the best about this?
A. The part where we got to design the page. It was fun to see how you can put in different widgets on the page just by putting in the URL.
B) Second Life
Q. What did you think about Second Life?
A. At first we were a bit skeptical about the whole thing but when we got our avatars and started to explore “the world” we discovered the use in “the game”. For example you can have conferences, presentations, meetings etc. with people from all across the world. It’s not that fun to be in Second Life if you don’t have a particular reason to be there as building an island or meeting someone, since then the only thing you do is wander around.
Q. How difficult/easy was it to use Second Life?
A. At first it was a bit difficult to know how to control your avatar and changing clothes etc. but as in everything you learn over time. It was easier for us to learn since we had an instructor that could help us.
Q. What did you think about the designing and building experience?
A. Since the whole thing is in 3D you experience the whole thing much more realistic.
Q. What did you think about working together on this?
A. It was almost easier to work on this together than the website since we both had our own computer to work on. This made it much more fun since we could have our own avatar and both be active at the same time.
Q. What did you think about the use of money and the ability to buy things? stores, etc?
A. We think it’s good but also think that you should be able to play games so you can win money and not have to buy it with real money.
Another bad thing is that most of the stores was filled with crap.
Q. What did you think about the seminar that you attended and took photos for on Wednesday?
A. It was fun but I think it may have been a bit one-sided for the visitors, even though it was great that there is a lot of ways to communicate like either joining a chat, use the microphone or even show how you feel by doing built-in gestures. It could get a bit boring since there is a lot to do within the visual effect area. But the most good thing about having an event like this in second life is that you don’t have to go somewhere IRL and that people from all over the world can come and see.
Q. How was it to interact with people you did not know during the seminar?
A. Since most of the people who where at the event knew my instructor I felt safe because all I really did was to help them find the premises and similar. But I think you have to be careful with people you don’t know and be careful to give out too much information about yourself since you don’t really know anything about them, just like on the internet.
C) 2D vs 3D
Q. How would you compare designing the website with designing/building the office/cave in Second Life?
A. It’s completely different from each other. The website is more like designing a page, almost like drawing a picture and the cave/office is more like designing a room in real life, just that you couldn’t touch it.
Q. How would you compare working together on the website vs on Second Life?
A. As we said before it was better to work together in Second life since both of us was active at the same time and we could both establish our ideas in SL.
D) Other and Future
Q. What did you like to do the best this week?
A. It was fun to see that all the work we had put down on iWeb actually paid off and became a real website. We got a clear result.
Q. What did you learn this week?
A. We learned how to create a website and design it. We also learned how to use Second Life which may be useful in the future.
Q. How might you use a website or Second Life in your schoolwork or extracurricular activities?
A. Second Life may be useful when we need to communicate and discuss essays and projects with teachers and other students. It would be great if the teachers had their own place where they could publish their presentations and similar things.
Q: How would you like to use virtual worlds in the future? Or how do you think they could be used in the future?
A. We think it would be cool if you could create an avatar that looks just like you and then go shopping in the big clothe-chains and that they could make their products realistic so that you could try the clothes on and see how they would fit and then order them from SL so you get them IRL.
We also think they will be useful for meetings and presentations etc. in the future so you don’t have to go somewhere.
What we don’t want is the virtual worlds to take over so that everyone is addicted to their computers and get unhealthy etc.
In summary, I was very impressed with their ability to learn how to work and create things in both 2D and 3D. For the most part they needed very little guidance and with the help of Google, they managed to answer most questions themselves.
And most of all, it was great fun for me to have this opportunity to work with them as well during this week! A big thank you to them!!