Drexel University has joined the “Second Life” land rush and bought property called Drexel Island, naturally shaped as a dragon.
“Second Life,” an online, 3-D virtual world with more than 6 million users worldwide, is a parallel universe. Users can create customized avatars and interact with objects and other avatars, participate in activities and create and trade goods and services.
“Second Life” also offers a revolutionary environment for teaching and collaboration, according to Dr. Jean-Claude Bradley, associate professor of chemistry, who has helped lead the University’s initiative. While logged on to “Second Life” and stationed on Drexel Island his students can view video streams of lectures, 3-D models of molecular structures and PowerPoint slides, take quizzes and work on extra-credit projects.
“This new 3-D virtual world is available to the entire Drexel community,” Bradley said. “Although under construction, there are already several examples of objects used for teaching. Faculty and students are welcome to explore new ways of collaborating and communicating on the island.”
Tim Siftar, information services librarian at Drexel’s Hagerty Library, is working with Bradley to bring all of Drexel’s 13 colleges and schools to “Second Life.” Siftar said the Library’s objective is to “be where our users are.”
“With the growing popularity of gaming, we anticipate that more students and faculty will use virtual platforms like ‘Second Life’ to extend the education experience,” he said. “On this platform — where anything is possible — the Library gets to explore new ways of supporting academic programs, research and student learning, limited only by the scope of the imagination.”
“Second Life,” which uses open-source software, can also be used to enrich and expand the education experience for the thousands of Drexel Online students by putting them in closer contact with one another, Bradley said.
Harvard, Stanford and MIT are among the universities using “Second Life.”
Link to more information about “Second Life”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life
News media contact:
Brian Rossiter, Drexel News Bureau
215-895-2705, 267-228-5599 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org