As Teen Second Life continues to fail to deliver on its potential, I am as frustrated as ever by the lack of competition. But today I learned of a bright light in the distance.
While there are many interesting and entertaining virtual worlds, and a handful with good opportunities for education, few offer ANY combination of affordances that make TSL such a powerful learning environment, such as:
- The ability to create items from scratch and direct them with internal code,
- The ability to sell or trade objects and afford the new owner the ability to modify them,
- Ownership of the intellectual property within their creations, etc.
Most youth-oriented worlds share a common set of tools - avatar creation, object collecting, communication tools, currency, a personalized "home” - but only Linden Lab has created a powerful tool for collective creativity, empowering its users/residents with tools required to construct the world around them and give shape to their dreams and desires.
That is, perhaps, until now (or some time in 2009), when Lego Universe is revealed, which to the best of my knowledge is a combination virtual world/MMOG (that is, it will be a creative, social space but also contain a larger narrative with points and missions).