Why give a Power Point Presentation in Second Life?

There's an interesting discussion going on in the Webheads list about replicating Real Life (RL) features in Second Life (SL) .

There are lots of interesting points here (why put roofs on buildings, add stairs, etc?) and whilst I agree totally that SL becomes more interesting when you don't try to replicate the limitations of RL, I do think there are occasions when showing a Power Point presentation, for example, is valid.

I've been thinking about this recently, especially as I'm presenting at the SL Best Practice in Education conference this Friday:

ESL, Second Life and Teenagers : Learner Autonomy for the Digital Natives
Friday 25th May @ 11.00 GMT
I'm hoping to stream the presentation (it'll be a Skype conference call) through World Bridges on Sandbox A

All the presenters have been encouraged to give a Power Point type presentation, or at least start with one. This makes sense for various reasons:

  • Organisation - it's easier for the organisers to set up. We are giving the organisers our images in advance, and they'll be loaded into the Slideshow presentation (not only makes it easy, but also means the organisers don't have to worry about giving certain people building permissions, etc)
  • Crowd control - when you have a lot of people together in the same sim, moving about, running animations, etc you get something called 'lag' in SL, which means that things slow down. That's why there are seats too - you can have more people on a sim if those people aren't walking around and moving. Essentially what this means is that you're using SL as a visual chat room (a bit like a 3D version of Alado or Elluminate), but I like this, and it's particularly appealing when you turn on the 'Show Chat Bubbles' feature (from the Edit->Preferences->Chat menu). This feature makes for some interesting snapshots too, if you include the chat bubbles in the snapshots.
  • Speed / Chaos - the point to most of the presentations at this conference is essentially 'show and tell', and people will be (with audio) presenting ideas that for the most part will be complemented by a picture. The same is true here as in a RL conference - why do we usually ask people to sit and show people slides there? Becuase it's often the best way of getting a point across. Could be the same in SL (depends on what you're presenting I suppose).

Of course, once you've started, you could always give people a landmark and take them on a tour, and I'm sure many people will do this, using the presentation area as a meeting point.

In our case, however, we can't take people on a tour (a great idea, that I would do if I could) as our project is not accessible to non-teenagers (it being on the Second Life Teen Grid) so we have to show people still images or video.

Now, take a look at this photo above to get an idea of how the space has been organised (this is a snapshot of the NMC Outreach Sim, one of the conference venues)

You'll see that apart from the screen / seating area, there is also a vendor/booths area that looks just like a similar space in a RL conference! This I found very interesting, but once again - with so many people due to participate, making it this way does have its logic.

I suppose it's all been set up this way because it's the first such conference - I do think that similar events in the future will look very different to RL conferences, but this one doesn't...and I'll definitely be asking people at the conference why (watch this space - I'll report back with comments!)

I'd love to hear what other people think about this...


  1. Hi,
    Just found your blog today. Thought you might like to take a look at the learning points from our project. http://www.innovajc.moe.edu.sg/academics_elearning.htm

  2. Hi Natasha - this looks very interesting (here's the correct link everyone)

    Thanks for sharing it!


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