The Process of Learning, In & Out of Second Life

Illumination Island and Bibliotheque (moderate)

I don’t have children, but I can’t avoid the news that it is the beginning of a new school year for those who do. This has made me ponder the various learning methods and opportunities afforded to us all.

Inworld I explored three sister islands this morning. On the first is a library offering “collections of literary classics, religious works, philosophy and history”, which is very cool. They have a group and events which, if literature is your thing, you should check out.

The second island, gives you a chance to experience the Wilanow Royal Palace↑ in Warsaw. You could spend a long time wandering these halls and grounds. The third region, Museum Island, is crammed with ancient monuments and structures from a variety of cultures. They provide historical data/explanatory texts and give you a chance to see important works you may only have heard of (or, in many cases, have never heard of).

I love sites like this, because I’m never going to get to these places any other way.

Illumination Island and Bibliotheque (moderate)

My encounters with learning in the physical world are varied and unending. Who knew, for example, that you’re supposed to replace a furnace filter more than once every 6 years?

Or, how could I know that the designers of a modern computer tower wouldn’t take into consideration that water can be spilled when they decided that some USB ports should face the sky? My mouse now acts like it ate bad sushi and is experiencing uncontrolled stomach spasms. sigh

The newest addition to the household is also being educated. I’m using flash cards – “Yes, this is a squirrel, the enemy, you can chase them. These are the cats, the good guys, you cannot chase them!” I get the feeling this is going to take a while.

Wilanow Royal Palace (moderate)

One of my favourite “learning” past-times involves those television series where an historian travels in the footsteps of some explorer, or wanders around the ruins of a lost city.

One of the first shows I remember being captivated by involved a man in the traditional khaki fighting his way through the Central American jungle. I can’t remember his name. It wasn’t Michael Wood, I don’t think, but a very similar type.

The British are superb at this type of television. There is often an understated acknowledgement of post-colonial guilt, and a history of under-estimating the intelligence of other cultures. Mostly, it’s just great visuals and fascinating bits of information.

Museum Island (moderate)

I bring this up because I encountered a new series yesterday. Treasures of the Indus, is a 3 part exploration of the history of the Indian sub-continent and it’s very different from anything I’ve watched before. Oh it has the beautiful images, and the first episode taught me many things.

The big difference though is the guide. Sona Datta is smart and well educated and well spoken, which so far doesn’t make her much different from the men I’ve watched. However, she is also quite snarky (in an understated way) and funny.

I can’t imagine Michael Wood (or the others I’ve seen) introducing the greek influence on Buddhist art by referring to Alexander’s “testosterone-fueled mission to outdo Darius the Great”. I didn’t know about the impact the Greeks had on Buddhism, but that line about Alexander means I won’t forget it.

If you get a chance, do watch this series. I may have to see them multiple times – partly because her throw-away digs at other historians mean I spend a lot of time googling the names of these people. Sona’s opinions on everything shine through – but, I feel like I’ve learned something. That’s what counts right?

Now, where are those flashcards?

Museum Island (moderate)

Must See! 1867, The Virtual Pfaffenthal in Second Life

1867 The Virtual Pfaffenthal (general)

I went to visit Pfaffenthal in complete ignorance. I hadn’t read any blog posts at that point, so I didn’t really have any idea what I was going to find.

I came away with a renewed understanding of how much world history I don’t know. This was a very cool experience!

1867 The Virtual Pfaffenthal (general)

If, like me, you were unaware – Pfaffenthal is the name of a quarter in Luxembourg City. In the mid 1900s it was home to a Fortress known as the Gilbralter of the North, the culmination of 9 centuries of fortification.

As a result of a major kerfuffle known as the Luxembourg Crisis, the 1867 Treaty of London decreed that the fortifications had to be torn down.

1867 The Virtual Pfaffenthal (general)

As part of a major exhibition, the Luxembourg City Museum has commissioned an 8 sim build recreating Pfaffenthal before the dismantling took place.

Their website highlights this component of the full exhibit, and even provides quotes from some of our favourite travel bloggers. Visitors to the Museum can use Occulus Rift to explore the virtual build, but all of us can access it through our viewer.

1867 The Virtual Pfaffenthal (general)

The landing point provides an informative notecard and free avatars in the appropriate period costume. You’ll also encounter friendly guides and support staff.

The build itself is wonderful (and beautiful). I found a 1904 photo of the street portrayed above – it’s a remarkably accurate reproduction. Go wander the streets of Pfaffenthal and learn something about the City of Luxembourg in 1867. I loved it!

1867 The Virtual Pfaffenthal (general)

The Egg by Livio Korobase in Second Life

The Egg by Livio Korobase (moderate)

The second installation to open in this Round of the LEA Artist in Residence Grants is The Egg by Livio Korobase.

“Like multicolored skeins gathered around the nesting place of the cosmos, all cultures have woven their legends of the mystery of creation. Perhaps one of the most powerful symbols of this mystery is the egg.”

The Egg by Livio Korobase (moderate)

Livio’s Egg is balanced on scaffolding, centered on a ground of mandalas (for Buddhists and Hindus a symbol of the universe) and surrounded by vignettes.

These small scenes, to me, reflected little pieces of the lives and world we continue to create. There are images which endure from the history of multiple cultures – and objects which represent our youth and ambitions. Your interpretation may differ and be more accurate of course. :)

The Egg by Livio Korobase (moderate)

As you explore, click on objects and engage the poses. In true Livio style, there are toys and vehicles and surprises everywhere. Try the sound box (where you step on panels to create music), go inside boxes, and bounce on the spring horses. Have fun!

At the base of the center scaffolding you’ll see an arrow – click on this and you’ll be teleported into the Egg. Make sure you experience the animations (both on the petals and the shell)!

The Egg by Livio Korobase (moderate)

This installation is a joy and it’s beautiful. Engage the region default Windlight, Advanced Lighting, and make sure you have particles and sounds turned on.

Of course, since there is an egg – we also have chickens. Oh, and one last note – there’s a lot to see and play with, but I recommend you ride a paper airplane. :)

The Egg by Livio Korobase (moderate)
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