Category Archives: Trend watch

eLearning 2.0: Live all day Friday

Just a quick reminder: We’ll be live streaming the eLearning 2.0 Conference on Friday September 5 from Stockholm into the Second House of Sweden auditorium. The sessions start at 9am and will finish around 6pm, Stockholm time (midnight to 9am, Second Life time).

eLearning 2.0 is being organized by the Swedish Association for Information Specialists (SFIS) and will be conducted in English.

Here’s what the schedule looks like:

Friday, September 5
8:30am: Registration. Coffee and sandwich.
9:00am: Introduction to eLearning 2.0
9:15am: Conference tool kit: Second life, Jaiku, Facebook
9:45am: Web Conferencing Tools – overview for education and effective meetings (Mats Brenner, NSHU)
10:00am: The Best of Both Worlds! Moodle + Second Life = Sloodle (D.I. von Briesen)
12:00pm: lunch
1:00pm: Let’s Web Conference! (Part 1) Angele GIULIANO. Tips and tricks for successful web conferencing
2:00pm: Adobe Connect (Dan Lidholm, WeZupport)
2:20pm: DimDim (Sundar Subramanian, Co-Founder of DimDim and Director of Business Development)
2:40pm: WiZiQ – A free virtual classroom tool that needs no downloads! (Marc Cruthers)
3:00pm: Coffee & Visit to Kista Science Tower
3:30pm: Let’s Web Conference! (Part 2) Tips and tricks for successful web conferencing
4:30pm: Conclusions / end discussion / evaluation

I’ll be moderating in Second Life, if the need arises, making sure that participants in Second Life can take part by asking questions to the real-life moderator. It will be a laid-back affair, and take place all day long, so drop in and take a look or spend a longer time on those sessions you’re interested in. Alas, the only food and drinks you’ll get during breaks at the Second House of Sweden will be virtual:-)

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US politicians take note of Sweden’s Second Life presence

To paraphrase a famous New Yorker cartoon, In Second Life, nobody knows you’re Newt Gingrich. Apparently, he’s visited the Second House of Sweden, and namedrops the virtual embassy as an inspiration for a stronger US push into virtual worlds:

Second Life is a more sophisticated extranet, representing the next wave of collaboration using a 3D Internet virtual world. It is so compelling that people actually spend real money to buy real estate in this online reality. The Swedish government actually has an embassy in Second Life.

Newt may not have invented the internet, but he’s certainly pushing the 3D web:-) (Via The Escapist, which adds a nice take on the news)

Umeå’s HUMlab ventures into Second Life

Another Swedish univertsity is venturing into Second Life. Umeå University’s HUMlab, “a vibrant and diverse meeting place for the humanities, culture and information technology”, has just bought part of a sim and is beginning to explore the space. The HUMlab Blog is documenting progress — you can read more about it here and here.

Estonia to ope virtual embassy in Second Life

Looks like Estonia will soon be joining Sweden in getting a virtual embassy on its own dedicated sim.

Stockholm seminar on Second Life: Presentations

The Stockholm School of Economics held a seminar on Second Life on June 14. PDFs of the presentations are now online here. (They’re in English even if the page linking to them is not.)

Machinima in the service of political cartooning

Now here is an example of machinima where I can see the point: In the service of political cartooning. (Via Andrew Sullivan)

Virtual versions of real buildings: Permission needed?

This is interesting:

LONDON (AP) – The Church of England accused Sony Corp. (SNE) on Saturday of using an English cathedral as the backdrop to a violent computer game and said it should be withdrawn from shop shelves.

The church said Sony did not ask for permission to use Manchester cathedral and demanded an apology.

The popular new PlayStation 3 game, “Resistance: Fall of Man,” shows a virtual shootout between rival gunmen with hundreds of people killed inside the cathedral. Church officials described Sony’s alleged use of the building as “sick” and sacrilegious.

This raises some interesting intellectual property issues. We certainly asked for (and got) permission to use the architectural plans for House of Sweden to build Second House of Sweden. We also got permission to build IKEA and TMF furniture, and we got permission to show the documents in Raoul Wallenberg’s office, the photos taken for the Sweden in 60 Images exhibit and the paintings from Nationalmuseum. In some cases, with the permission came help that made the job a lot easier, and opportunities for both sides to publicize the collaboration. But at the foundation, did we need to ask for this permission?

I tink the answer is “It depends”: If text or imagery is copyrighted, then it is clear that permission is needed. But does that requirement extend to buildings? None of the big players in real-world virtualization stakes — Google and Microsoft, notably — are asking for permission to recreate buildings from the real world in their virtual globes. Some of those buildings are already highly detailed, and will certainly become even more life-like. Crucially, both Google and Microsoft make money from their virtual globes and the buildings on them — just like Sony with the buildings in the virtual worlds of its first-person shooters.

When it comes to furniture, I think the issue is less clear. Would it be okay for Sony’s game to feature IKEA bookcases in the cathedral, especially if they are used in the game as objects to hide behind in a firefight? My hunch is yes — if you wanted to make a movie with IKEA furniture in it, all you’d have to do is buy it. You don’t first need permission to show it, no matter how much blood and gore gets spilled.

As for the Church of England’s cathedral and Sony, I think Sony is in the clear. If it is okay to virtualize signature buildings without the permission of the owners or designers, then it has to be okay in all cases — and not depend on whether you approve of the use to which the building is put.