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[slcc] Barry's commentary from the SLCC - Saturday
And I thought I was tired yesterday!
I realized why it might feel stranger to meet people in person whom you only knew remotely from Second Life than from other online venues. With other venues – like the phone, Skype, AIM or email – you never lose sight that you have never had an embodied experience of being in the presence of the other. But in Second Life you do, fooling you into thing you HAVE actually been in the presence of the other. So when you meet in the real world, marking the first time you have ACTUALLY been in their presence, it feels odd because it is as if you “presence sense” had been “fooled” into thinking you had already done so.
In any case, we ran the first three of the five Non-Profit and Philanthropy presentations, and they all went great!
The day began with Connie Yowell’s keynote. You would never know she just arrived from Singapore and had not yet slept. Her presentation was insightful and inspiring. She offering a useful framework, a paradigm shift, for understanding virtual worlds’ impact on education, and emphasized the importance of teaching the paradigm rather than simply throwing technology at a problem. The room seemed packed – 150-200 people – and was very well received. A number of people told me it set the right tone for the conversation to come.
Twittering during the conference was again a new experience. It was a great way to learn what was going on in the other tracks, or when one ended earlier or later than the one I was attending. I could find out where my staff was and who was speaking with ABC. I could also call them together when we needed to meet or just hang out after hours. I found it very useful. We could use it to comment on Philip Rosedale's presentation while it was going on. However, the person generously twittering almost every ten minutes overwhelmed me and I had to eventually remove her from my list.
The second presentation was Mercury Metropolitan moderating Angela and Nafiza talking about the Virtual Video Project program, Lucky talking about the Convention on the Rights of the Child Summer Camp, and both screening their videos. Angela has been rather mellow all weekend but the MOMENT she got on the panel, and had that mike in her hand, she was a goofy ball of fire. Nafiza gave a magnificent presentation, clearly depicting the program and her passion for all she learned. Lucky gave an excellent overview of the summer camp. And Mercury did a great job moving them through their presentations, asking them questions about why they can’t find such a program within their schools, and talking questions from the audience (of about 50, with Brooke Barmy running around with the microphone). It was also fantastic to screen all the videos from this past year – 16 in all, over twenty minutes in all – and watching them with an audience. They look great.
The part that sucked – and it REALLY sucked – was the loss of the audio stream into Second Life. They hotel actually lost their Internet connection for HOURS. It was insane. We had teens organized on the teen grid following different tracks and their was no sound coming through. None of our panels came through today at all. I just hope PhreakRadio was still able to capture the audio, as more than those who could be here should benefit from the presentations and some deserve to be transcribed.
The final presentation was our Best Practices in Education panel. The limited 30-minute time frame was quite a challenge but I just used that to amp-up our plans. We got off to a fast start and distributed the Moo cards while screening the Incomplete History of the Teen Grid Video. I hope people found it useful. We then instructed everyone to look on the back of their card and to then find the others with the same time and Best Practice number. It was wonderful to watch people get up, run about, and self-organize. We helped the teams build their 4x4 puzzles to “reveal” details of their best practice and provided them with material to tape it to a sheet and write some reflections around it. After a few shared their best practices and reflections we posted them on the wall. I was really pleased with how everyone took the exercise seriously and all they came up with on their sheets.
At night most of the teens came together - Angela, Nafiza, Lucky, Mercury, Brooke, Chilko, and (finally got to meet) Malarthi – with Tabitha, Blue, his lady, Iridium, and myself to celebrate Lucky’s recent birthday. Blue took us to a pizza place so excellent he orders pizza from them… in San Francisco! To our surprise and delight Philip Rosedale joined us, chatted with us about the teen grid, brain synapses, and saltines, and cover the bill. Very sweet! He seemed to like my idea of a Press Crawl of the teen grid and said he would speak with Catharine. We had lunch this afternoon – most of the teens – with Claudia, who spoke about some of the thinking since Philip announced on GK Island last march about an all-age space, and asked the teen’s advice. We shared some of that with Philip and further explored the idea.
I did not go the Ball afterwards but certainly enjoyed watching all the costumes go by.
p.s. I just remembered! One of the coolest thing today was meeting a fellow from ECPAT, an amazing organization in Thailand (yes, he flew all the way) that works to end sexual exploitation of teens. He attended and asked a great question of the teen machinimists, was interested to learn of last year's Maze Against Child Sex Trafficking, and was totally surprised to learn that the money raised from the maze was donated to... ECPAT! That was awesome to tell him.