Thursday, May 03, 2007

Metaverse Misgivings

Yesterday, I went to the TRI-IT conference, hosted by UNC-Greensboro. For some reason, driving to Greensboro always seems like I'm traveling half-way across the world, despite the fact that it's approximately the same distance to Raleigh, which seems comparatively close. I think this is partially because you have to go through the splitting of I-40 and I-85 and I have this fear that I'm going to end up on the wrong one. It could also just be that I don't go there very often and it's not as familiar to me.

TRI-IT is an organization of instructional technology staff members at universities in central North Carolina. We meet approximately once a semester and it was started at Duke several years ago. It's a nice community of people who are facing many of the same challenges.

One of the highlights was a keynote on Second Life. In many ways, Second Life is cool. The graphics are nifty and you get to fly around. I, however, am still not very excited about the whole thing. I think the 3 dimensional models of buildings and trees are neat, but the whole avatar thing turns me off. I had a similar reaction to MUDs 15 years ago. It seems as if some of these virtual worlds add additional barriers to tasks that are more easily addressed by "standalone" applications. On the other hand, while I have seen an hour long demo now, I don't want to criticize it too much without having actually tried it myself.

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