Right at the outset, let me say that I have yet to be in an environment with enough bandwidth to be able to make Second Life a viable option for me. I have also yet to meet a client with the appetite for a solution which might involve delivery via SL.
That doesn't change the fact that I am deeply curious as to where it might go. and what it might have to offer. These thoughts bubbled up again today after I read Mick's post.
As I said in my comment on his post, it is important to grasp that SL is not a “computer game”. It’s a platform. People who go there and expect exciting things to happen are missing the point. After all, you don’t go to town and then sit around there waiting for things to happen. Nor do you go and drift aimlessly wondering what the point is of being there. You go because you have some fixed objectives in mind.
When the same is true of SL, it makes more sense. If you’re attending a meeting, visting an art gallery, attending a seminar, etc. you have a goal and a purpose and SL becomes the platform by which you achieve it.
Having said that, I see no point in using this new wineskin for old wine. Why use SL to deliver a traditional classroom-based, teacher-led, chalk-and-talk session? Instead, you could have a dispersed team from around the world carrying out a project together and learning as they go. You could have simulated scenarios that can’t be recreated in the physical world for whatever reason, and use those for learning. I have been told that there is a teaching hospital in SL, where patients with predetermined conditions await treatment by student doctors and nurses. Obviously, in the physical world, there is the risk of patients dying or suing. This risk is mitigated in a virtual environment.
I suspect that what people tend to do is to say: "This is what we've always done, let's do it via Second Life, because that will be sexy." Instead, I suggest we should be saying "This is what we want to achieve, is there some functionality in Second Life that will help us get there?"And, yes, Second Life has been around for a while, now, but it is still a fairly fledgling technology. There are teething problems. The direction these technologies develop in can be dictated by their users. If we start making demands of it, start pushing the envelope in this or that direction, it will have to evolve to keep up.
Think about it this way: we can have a say in what virtual worlds become by dint of the magic words "I want..." This is what I suspect is happening with the Wii.