Spotlight Interview – Valibrarian

VCARA Blog

This month’s spotlight interview is with Valibrarian. Valibrarian participates in multiple virtual worlds beyond Second Life including: Sococo, Jibe, and OpenSim. You can find her at the “Community Virtual Library and University of Washington” (SLurl: http://bit.ly/1lxC04M)

Valibrarian has volunteered in this community for seven years. She has served as an officer for the UW Avalumni (avatar graduates) and has volunteered on projects since 2010. Some projects she has worked on include:

  • Cybersecurity Island (created with graduation class from Univ of Washington 2010 certificate in Virtual Worlds)
  • Created a machinima that was broadcast at the White House & shared at the Federal Consortium of Virtual Worlds at the National Defense University
  • Created and held numerous library exhibits, book discussions and library displays
  • Led the Texas Computer Education Association SL group

{Begin Interview Questions}

How did you become involved with Second Life? “I initially joined the virtual world of Second Life when I learned that the American Library Association had an island back in 2006. I met librarians from around the globe and volunteered at the virtual library reference desk.”

What are some tasks you do your virtual world life? “As a machinimatographer, I enjoy capturing and archiving educational events (such as the Anne Frank MOOC simulation), organizing virtual exhibits (five so far), leading panel discussions, attending workshops and conferences for professional development, networking with educators around the globe and sharing new forms of information literacy.”

Something that is unique about Valibrarian is in RL (real life) she studied Virtual World interactions. During her dissertation she found two areas of that new comers struggle with are “trialibility and complexity”. The learning curve is pretty steep and that jumping in and “trying out” a virtual world is difficult.

What were some of the challenges of getting accustomed to the virtual life? “Personally, I spent about six weeks during the summer of my initiation in virtual worlds and became accustomed. Since I am not a gamer, I lacked background experience. Over the past two years in my school library, I have worked with 5th graders in Minecraft and am amazed at the capability of ten year olds to build and create in virtual worlds. The next generation is already there. My students are building a digital citizenship game in a virtual library in Minecraft (see video at http://youtu.be/lKMYGOUyTY0).”

Adjusting to virtual worlds can be a challenge, what would be a great tip for new comers in Second Life to help with the learning curve? “Remember that you do not need to become an expert at every tech skill. Find what you enjoy doing and join communities that enhance your interests and life-long journey. Not all of us can build or script, for example, but there are opportunities for learning, creating, and sharing on a global scale in virtual worlds. In addition to virtual world librarian groups, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) has a virtual world group that provides training sessions, virtual field trips, and professional workshops. Those interested in exploring virtual spaces might join “The Virtual Pioneers”. “

Virtual worlds open up opportunities to meet people and to experience really neat things and sometimes really awesome and bizarre things.

What were some of the strangest things you have experienced in Second Life?
“I have never encountered any bizarre situations, but I think that is because I have only visited education sims, art galleries, historical replicas, and library-related projects. Just as in the physical world, there are parts of town where you may be warned of danger or “seedy” elements! …. Once, at the Community Virtual Library Reference Desk, an avatar came up to ask a question and his persona was a huge snake! Because he was so unsightly, I panned my camera angle so that I did not have to see his avatar while talking with him. Later, another visitor mentioned that he looked intimidating and he changed himself into a rabbit.”

Second Life is a 3D world where everyone you meet is a real person and every place you visit is built by real people. Virtual Worlds, like Second Life, create opportunities for you to meet people from all over the world without ever having to leave your home. To conclude the interview I asked Valibrarian:

If you could invite anyone from real life to Second Life who would you invite? “I would invite authors to share book discussions (one of my favorite things about virtual worlds). I brought the authors of “Beyond the Blogosphere” to a discussion and the best part was utilizing a virtual world and making distance completely irrelevant (see video at http://youtu.be/aJxWiFNwWw8). There is something unique about the “shared sense of presence” in a virtual world that is unlike a webinar (where you share online video and chat together). In a virtual world, you choose who to “sit beside”, you can whisper to others or share to all, everyone can interact simultaneously and everyone shares a more equal ground- once you master the interface. “

You can read more about Valibrarian at her blog: http://vhill.edublogs.org/my-presentations/

Comments

Post new comment

9830664574251648717 » If you have a visual disability, please type the numbers two one three three into the box. Your submission will be promptly reviewed by a validation service and sent to the site administrators.
By proving you are not a machine, you help us prevent spam and keep the site secure.