Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Virtual Policy '08

I'm taking part in a panel session at the Virtual Policy '08 conference later today. The conference is being held in London over the next two days and has been organised by the Virtual Policy Network in conjunction with The Department of Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform with New York Law School providing program support.
The key policy themes for this year's event are:
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Financial transaction
  • Child online & education
  • Innovation
Sounds like fun!


Peter Miller said...

It was slightly hard-going inworld as the video and audio were playing up but worth sticking with. You made some cogent points but I had a question and a couple of observations.

I may have mis-heard but I thought you said something to the effect that it was "good" that universities (or more likely individuals or small groups therein -- let's call them early adopters or pilots to be a little more positive on that note) were using SL to identify what works but on the other hand it was "bad" that they were building stuff as though SL was the ultimate acme of everything VWs could be. Slight contradiction there: can't really give it a fair try without doing some building/learning?

I suspect the absence of evaluation is in many cases down to time pressure and resources -- many shoestring projects will just not have the wherewithal for professional evaluation. On the other hand they will usefully learn-the-hard-way/identify the limitations of the environment (even if only the shape of the learning curve or degree of commitment required) and provide some pointers for later adopters and/or evaluation of other VWs/uses. So all is not necessarily lost and you should probably consider funding another snapshot in 1-2 years time to see what has transpired.

Art Fossett said...

thanks for the response. On the 'good' vs. 'bad' thing I apologise for the confusion (on my part). I recall getting slightly tongue-tied at that point. Not sure why - when you only have a few minutes, you end up rushing slightly.

What I was trying to say, though I clearly didn't quite manage to do so, is something that I've said here before - that the important lessons we take from the experiments we do in Second Life currently are the generic ones about how to teach in virtual worlds, not the specific ones about how to teach in Second Life. Simple as that!

Clearly, building stuff inside SL is necessary and important to learn those lessons, but it is not the most important end in itself.

I agree very strongly with the points you make in your final paragraph and we certainly hope to continue funding snapshots in some form.