During this week of the ICTs in ELT course, our facilitator, Professor Evelyn Izquierdo, taught us about Second Life (SL) that is a virtual world developed and launched by Linden Lab on June 23, 2003 and it is accessible via the Internet. A free client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called residents, to interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another, or travel throughout the world (which residents refer to as "the grid"). Second Life is for people aged 18 and over, while Teen Second Life is for people aged 13 to 17.
Second Life is a three-dimensional modeling tool based around simple geometric shapes that allows a resident to build virtual objects. It can be used in combination with the Linden Scripting Language in order to add functionality to objects. More complex three-dimensional sculpted prims (colloquially known as sculpties), textures for clothing or other objects, and animations and gestures can be created using external software. The Second Life terms of service ensure that users retain copyright for any content they create, and the server and client provide simple digital rights management functions.
There is no charge to create a Second Life account or for making use of the world for any period of time. Linden Lab reserves the right to charge for the creation of large numbers of multiple accounts for a single person.
Avatars may take any form users choose (human, animal, vegetable, mineral, or a combination thereof) or residents may choose to resemble themselves as they are in real life,or they may choose even more abstract forms, given that almost every aspect of an avatar is fully customizable. A single resident account may have only one avatar at a time, although the appearance of this avatar can change between as many different forms as the resident wishes. Avatar forms, like almost everything else in SL, can be either created by the user, or bought pre-made. A single person may also have multiple accounts, and thus appear to be multiple residents (a person's multiple accounts are referred to as alts).
Avatars can communicate via local chat or global instant messaging (known as IM). Chatting is used for localized public conversations between two or more avatars, and is visible to any avatar within a given distance. IMs are used for private conversations, either between two avatars, or among the members of a group, or even between objects and avatars. Unlike chatting, IM communication does not depend on the participants being within a certain distance of each other. As of version 188.8.131.52, voice chat, both local and IM, is also available on both the main grid and teen grid, using technology licensed by Vivox - a provider of similar services to other MMO worlds.
Instant messages may optionally be sent to a resident's email when the resident is logged off, although message length is limited to 4096 bytes. If a message is sent to an offline resident it will also be saved to be viewed when they log on.
As a course task, we had to create our avatars and visit some fantastic places where we learned how to communicate, walk and even fly.Personally, I think that Second life virtual world could be an useful tool to be applied to make different English teaching activities more attractive and enjoyable for our students. I would like to study more deeply the educational potentials of this virtual world and use them in my English teaching contexts.