The lecture on Meditation and Music seems to have gone well. There were several participants who had seemed to enjoy themselves and the process involved.
The event took place in Dublin at Trinity College. The format of teaching was by way of both text chatting as well as broadcast into the game via microphone. Intermingled with the talk were a few moments of improvised electronica music.
Another class is scheduled for November 4th at 1pm (11am SL) – also at Trinity College. There will also be a performance in association with the event on November 2nd.
The interesting thing about teaching in game is that it allows a number of forms of communication at the same time.
In real-life (RL), students must listen or raise their hands to speak. When they speak, they do so in front and in earshot of everyone else.
In Second Life (SL), one can send an instant message (IM) – meaning that only the speaker and the recipient know of the conversation. In addition , the teacher may speak via microphone where everyone hears or write through general chat where everyone can see. One side can mute the other. The audience can turn off the sound and not listen while others do. Or a person could simply walk away from the screen, instantly transporting himself out of the game world into RL.
These properties are not entirely unique to SL – they could be potentially done in any massively multiplayer online world (MMO).
These do not really seem to be games that are developing. Rather, they are interfaces for social communication. When encountering something new, a stage of Play is often a very good learning mode. The game aspect of MMOs seem to represent this Play state while the development of the interface between people continues.
Likely, the societal association of these interfaces with games will slowly dissolve as they are recognized more and more as places for communication, teaching, learning as well as entertainment.