Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Double Dose of Good News

Two big news events to talk about, one educationally related and the other not – both SL related.

I have an alter ego in Second Life, two avatars. There are two main reasons for having two avatars. The first is that I have things I am doing that are educationally related and other things that are not. The second main reason is that I must keep my work related account separate from all other things financial, since it is the University that is paying for the CHSS project.

AJ Brooks is my work related educational avatar. Everything I do within Higher Education is via AJ. AJ is the leader of the AcademicCIO Group; he belongs to almost two-dozen educational groups, including two NMC groups and a MacArthur Foundation group. AJ is very active in the higher education community and a regular follower of, and sometimes contributer to, the SLED listserve.

Wealthy Mizser is my non-MSU related avatar. Everything I do in Second Life that is NOT related to higher education is where you will find Wealthy. Some of those efforts include The Center for Learning in A Virtual Environment, various real estate investments, and The Gallery Beleza at Avendale.

Wealthy Mizser has been working with Chris Lynch, a New York City photographer (http://www.instilledimages.com), to bring his work to SL via the Gallery Beleza. A customer would buy a photograph and not only get the virtual version for SL but would get an original signed version delivered to an address of their choosing - in real life. The opening for this should be soon, which is good news in-and-of itself. Chris is a very talented photographer and I’m looking forward to seeing his work in the Gallery.

In October Chris will most likely be doing a show in Chelsea (NYC) and he wants to tie that show to Second Life, having a mirror event in both places. He’s got some great ideas and I spent nearly 4 hours talking to him about those ideas last night. He clearly sees the impact SL can have, and its benefits (without being blind to some of the challenges) and he is looking forward to moving this forward with me guiding the Second Life part of this effort. Woot!

In educational news, EDUCAUSE seems fairly confident that there will be many people interested in the Virtual Worlds topic so they have canned the Birds-of-a-Feather and turned this into a Hot Topics Discussion (formerly Current Issues Roundtables). I will be leading this effort and I am also hoping to work with them to form a Virtual Worlds Constituent Group. A good turnout in Seattle will seal this deal.

Yesterday was a good day.

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