Webheads Tour #1 of Second Life: Real Life Cities in Second Life

The idea behind this tour was to visit a number of cities in Second Life that have been based on their Real Life counterparts. There are lots of these and they are mainly European cities for some reason, so we decided to visit a number of them:

In the usual Webheads fashion, it didn't turn out as planned, but what did happen was very educational ("inspiring, even" was a comment I received from one of the participants)

The general idea I had in mind was for us to visit these places and try and find out the answer to some of these questions:
  • why do people choose to recreate Real Life places in in a virtual world where what you build is confined only by your imagination?
  • Do these places attract native speakers from these countries?
  • Are these places interesting visits for learning the language associated with the cities?
  • What can you learn about culture from visiting these places?
I was surprised at the turnout, and after briefly assembling at the Webheads beach hut in Edunation, I handed out a landmark and we headed off to Venice Island.

This place is not unique - you can go to another sim called Venice , but here the feel is quite artificial and the buildings are mostly boxes. It's so obviously a quick build by somebody out to try and make money - the lack of love and care comes through and (because of this?) whenever I have been there there's never been anyone around nor a gondola in sight.

There are gondolas at Venezia, another Venice build in Second Life, and here the buildings and atmosphere is better. Far more love and care has gone into this sim and there's distinct lack of tacky publicity (which you can find all over the last Venice build).

I suggest that a field trip to all three, followed by a discussion might make an interesting discussion activity for learners in Second Life, especially if you ask learners to take photos and write up their opinion in a blog afterwards.

After ten minutes I think we were all tired of wandering around aimlessly in Venice, and disappointed at finding a lack of Italians (there had been groups of Italians the last time I visited, I wanted to tell everyone - perhaps they've moved on to a better place?)

Sus then suggested we visit Wonderful Denmark, and she IMd some friends and arranged a guided tour of the sim. This tour ended up being so absorbing that we didn't make it to any of the other cities...

Our guide was fabulous and used a combination of the Second Life voice client and relayed text (not everyone had voice installed) to talk us through the different spaces of the sim, based on a typical Danish town from a popular Danish TV series. It was obvious that unlike the Venice sim, this is a real community of people working together to create something special - there were no shortage of people here, and signs of life everywhere we went : a healthy mix of commercial, cultural and leisure spaces that is obviously being used by many. A great example of virtual tourism and it woul also be a fabulous place for anyone interested in learning Danish to head for.

I have included the (partial) transcript of our tour below so you can get an idea of the experience, but I highly recommend you go and take the tour yourself.

More photos can be found here


You: we can go to Edunation now Vance...
Webhead Link: will you t/p me?
Papallona Flow: Ok
Red Seesaw: ok
You: I'll tp you vance
Webhead Link: thanks
Webhead Link: I'm so lazy
Charles3D Raymaker: great carpet
Charles3D Raymaker: and wall :)
You: hi evertyone
Kati Voss: Hello Baldric
Wlodek Barbosa: Hi
Gwen Gwasi: hi
SusNy Foss: Hello everyone :-)
Kati Voss: Thanks for inviting us on the grand tour
Gwen Gwasi: yes, thank a lot
You: thanks for coming!
You: I didn't think so many would come!
Gwen Gwasi: :-)
SusNy Foss: Good to be among webheads friends, old and new
You: I thought it would be nice to take a tour of some of the RL cities in SL
Charles3D Raymaker: well an interesting topic
SusNy Foss: There are some Danish cities as well, mostly polulated by Danes speaking Danish
You: to do some exploring and to see if they are a magnet for culture/language
SusNy Foss: (I'm a Dane in Denmark)
Gwen Gwasi: yes, I dont recommend Frankfurt Main City
Gwen Gwasi: but Barcelona is nice
You: excellent sus - we can visit one of those too if you like
You: are we going to use text or can we use voice too?
SusNy Foss: the Swedish culture institute is more international
SusNy Foss: I would need to install the new version to get voice, sorry
Webhead Link: what do we have to do to use voice?
You: that's ok
Webhead Link: it seems to have just happened before
You: we'll stick to text
Gwen Gwasi: yes, need a new version here too
You: however, tell me something
Gwen Gwasi: but I can change computers
Gwen Gwasi: and on the other one it works already
Gwen Gwasi: good voip
You: if I speak and you don't have the voice client installed does that mean you can't hear me?
Gwen Gwasi: 20min and you stop hearing the other person
You: let me try it
Webhead Link: it worked on this computer before
Webhead Link: how do you get it going?
Kati Voss: yes
Babaluna Cuddihy: sorry voice is not working on my pce - i am afraid
Kati Voss: I can hear you
Gwen Gwasi: so I change pc
You: ok, not to worry
You: well, we can use a combination of text and voice
SusNy Foss: I'm installing new version for audio in another PC now
SusNy Foss: takes some time to get ready
Charles3D Raymaker: no problem
Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...
SusNy Foss: but go ahead and speak :-)
You: if anyone wants to set voice, you need to go to Edit->PReferences.>Voice Chat
You: and then click on 'Enable Voice Chat'
Misha Writer: oops - headphones on then!
You: Shall we start with our first city?
SusNy Foss: ok
You: I suggest we head off to Venice
You: to see if we can find anyone speaking Italian
Kati Voss: :)
Gwen Gwasi: Venice sounds nice
You: I'll give everyone a landmark
Gwen Gwasi is Online
Misha Writer: a bit watery
Wlodek Barbosa accepted your inventory offer.
Charles3D Raymaker: great
Webhead Link accepted your inventory offer.
Charles3D Raymaker: hehe soggy venice
Kati Voss accepted your inventory offer.
Charles3D Raymaker accepted your inventory offer.
SusNy Foss accepted your inventory offer.
Misha Writer accepted your inventory offer.
Gwen Gwasi accepted your inventory offer.
Babaluna Cuddihy accepted your inventory offer.
You: if we make each other friends too, that should mean we don't lose each other
You: ok, shall we go?
Gwen Gwasi: yes
Koen Antonioni: right
You: see you all in Venice
Kati Voss: I'm ready
Koen Antonioni accepted your inventory offer.
Kati Voss declined your inventory offer.
You: open the landmark and teleport there
You: IM me if you get lost
Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...
Gwen Gwasi: SusNy you need to move
Gwen Gwasi: otherwise we stand on top of you
Koen Antonioni: Buona sera
Gwen Gwasi: buona sera
Kati Voss: ciao
Misha Writer: wondered why I was so high up
You: here we are...
You: buona sera
Egmont Sperber: hi
You: let's take a look around and then meet here in say 5 minutes?
Kati Voss: ok
You: hi egmont
Koen Antonioni: can we have voice here?
Gwen Gwasi: che bella la vita a Venice
Gwen Gwasi: per un baccione
You: I think I want to take a gondola ride
Webhead Link: how did you manage that
Misha Writer: can we all get in?
Webhead Link: I did a sail thing and just flopped on it
You: right click vance
Webhead Link: here comes another
Webhead Link: I did, and chose sail
You: it's not going anywhere though
You: misha, I didn't know you cared
You: lol
Misha Writer: yes, close, isn't it
Misha Writer: I'm being offered Venice 1 or 2
SusNy Foss: Baldric, I have made an appointment with some Danes - we can meet now - I AM sailing!
You: you got it to work sus - well done!

Kati Voss: wow, pretty nice bridge
SusNy Foss: Oh Kati, how romantic!
Kati Voss: where are you from, Sus?
Indigo Mougin is Online
Misha Writer: can you rt click & sit?
You: sorry
Koen Antonioni: same here
You: not much language activity going on here
Koen Antonioni: good to see you started blogging again
You: yes, I'm happy too - want to keep it up- I'll write this up later
Jamesinparis Picnic is Online
Papallona Flow is Offline
Koen Antonioni: I dived into this ARG bizz too, interesting stuff
Jamesinparis Picnic: hi
Koen Antonioni: hello
Jamesinparis Picnic: hi do you have mike's active or are we just text chatting?
Jamesinparis Picnic: hi everyone
Charles3D Raymaker: hi James
Red Seesaw: hi
Koen Antonioni: yes I would be interested to try the voice functionaliy
Red Seesaw: oh a gondola
You: Hi Red
Jamesinparis Picnic: hi sorry i'm late... I had to update the program
Red Seesaw: hi
Head Teacher is Online
Charles3D Raymaker: well voice works sometimes, sort of :)
You: Sus has suggested going to a representative Danish city
Jamesinparis Picnic: fine with me
You: there are friends of hers there now
Koen Antonioni: Ok, let's
Jamesinparis Picnic: i might well get lost... how do we travel?
Charles3D Raymaker: this sim seems pretty popular, is it mostly our party?
Babaluna Cuddihy: do you think those cities would attract people in sl to learn another language?
Jamesinparis Picnic: ok we just click on the slurl right???
You: yes James
Charles3D Raymaker: where are we going next?
Jamesinparis Picnic: ok I'm going I think
You: then that should open the map and we tp over
You: shall we go?
You: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Wonderful%20Denmark/131/115/22

Charles3D Raymaker: great thank you
You: if anyone gets lost, ask for a tp
You: see you over there
Pach Voom: SusNy : go to the cityhall, it's on my right
Pine Greenwood: sikke en trængsel
Josephine Planer: ja det må man sige. nu lagger det lidt
Pine Greenwood: det lakker mod enden
You: hi
Josephine Planer: haha
Webhead Link: party time
Ane Rhode: Det er bare dig som gør det Jose..
Ane Rhode: Har du vidst altid gjort...
Josephine Planer: hvad gør jeg??
Ane Rhode: Du står stille...
Ane Rhode: LOL
Josephine Planer: står ikke stille, jeg danser
SusNy Foss: we're about 8 people I think
You: hi sus
niels Mizser: ok
Charles3D Raymaker: ty gwen :)
Gwen Gwasi: hi Charles
Charles3D Raymaker: hi there
Jamesinparis Picnic: hi everyone
Jamesinparis Picnic: i'm back again
SusNy Foss: oh - what a crowd!
Matilda Little: ja hade 1 expresso men veek
Gwen Gwasi: you are my neighbour right
niels Mizser: jeg körer dansk og så oversätter us
niels Mizser: sus
Gwen Gwasi: ah, dont speak Danish
Unik Mayo: nå oki ellers sødt af dig
Kati Voss: me neither...
Charles3D Raymaker: neighbor? where?
SusNy Foss: ok - Niels will speak Danish I I'll translate!
Charles3D Raymaker: beside you now
Matilda Little: :)
You: excellent
Pach Voom: OK susnu du siger hvornår vi starter
Gwen Gwasi: who knows danish?
SusNy Foss: Can we start now?
Pach Voom: here we got the cityghall
Jamesinparis Picnic: it's great I hear lots of danish in my headphones...
Pach Voom: its not a house from RL
SusNy Foss: I don't have audio tonight
Jamesinparis Picnic: someone helped me to find you and explained that the town was based on a tv series
Liv Cioc: hva så diz
Free Radar HUD v1.1 by Crystal Gadgets
Gwen Gwasi: ah, I want to hear too
Gwen Gwasi: will change PC now
Liv Cioc: hvad går du og laver?
Pach Voom: every house has a funktion, you can go into eatch building and se things
Gunnar Randt: hehe
Dizzy Larsson: Hejsa JM
Pach Voom: we go down Westergade (weststreet)
Gunnar Randt: hej på er
Dizzy Larsson: Jamen suser lidt rundt
Matilda Little: whos talking everyone ?
Liv Cioc: heeeej john ;-))
SusNy Foss: Follow Mr. Voom :-)
Johnmartin Larsson: Hejsa alle
You: sounds great
Unik Mayo: heyyyy JM
SusNy Foss: he's a local
Pach Voom: Just follow Niels all the time
Pach Voom: This is Hithouse wuitch was very populare in the 1960's in Copenhagen
Jamesinparis Picnic: lets go with him
Pach Voom: you are welcome to go inside
SusNy Foss: Hit house was a dance place
niels Mizser: picture is from famos danish bands
SusNy Foss: great!

You: I think the voice has been turned off in here, is that right?
Gwen Gwasi: no music
SusNy Foss: I never made it by then, but some older friends came to Hit House
niels Mizser: yes no voice
Pach Voom: No not tonight, but sometimes
Kati Voss: I can hear the music
Charles3D Raymaker: your music player is at the bottom of your screen gwan
Gwen Gwasi: ah, music alright
Charles3D Raymaker: gwen
Gwen Gwasi: nice music
Gwen Gwasi: yes Charles
niels Mizser: ok we leve hit house
Charles3D Raymaker: great club
Misha Writer is Offline
Pach Voom: you can all come outside
Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...
Misha Writer is Online
Cobalt Motors - 59' Kaddy Kruiser: Anti-Theft system activated. Enjoy your flight.
SusNy Foss: Many Danes meet here, right Niels and Pach?
Gwen Gwasi is Offline
niels Mizser: waiting for the last one
Gwen Gwasi is Online
Pach Voom: Yes there are more than 500 members of this town¨
Pach Voom: moestly danes
You: do you find anyone here trying to learn Danish?
Gwen Gwasi: ah, I can finally hear now
niels Mizser: this is the waitingroom
niels Mizser: with old danish signs
SusNy Foss: This is kind of Virtual Roskilde famous from a TV show almost like Upstairs and Downstairs
niels Mizser: famos tuborg to
Gwen Gwasi: hi Vance, shame you cant hear
Webhead Link: why not i wonder
Gwen Gwasi: update the software
Webhead Link: I hear sl sound
You: that's odd vance - you had voice on Saturday
niels Mizser: korsbäk has the longest railway about 100 yard

Gwen Gwasi: a train that cant drive
Gwen Gwasi: never mind
SusNy Foss: Korsbaek has everything you would need!
Jamesinparis Picnic: it's a hundred years old?.
niels Mizser: this town is typical 1930-1945
Misha Writer: was that the train puffing?
niels Mizser: the tv serie
Charles3D Raymaker: around the left I think here
SusNy Foss: I am sitting in tge train!
SusNy Foss: my wings are poking outside the window
Charles3D Raymaker: oh I heard someone clearing their throat! Voice :)
Koen Antonioni: that is in the gestures menu, trying things out actually
niels Mizser: we walk to the littel townplace
Charles3D Raymaker: ah ok
Babaluna Cuddihy: well what interests me is -do you think those replic placesa atttrac people more then other sl places?
Babaluna Cuddihy: or to start learning its language
Charles3D Raymaker: more than fantasy places you mean?
Babaluna Cuddihy: y
niels Mizser: here we ha some buldings from tv serie
niels Mizser: it is very likli danmark
SusNy Foss: It is very much how we think Denmark was back then
Babaluna Cuddihy: yes its lovely!
Charles3D Raymaker: it is charming
Jamesinparis Picnic: niel is explaining the economic structure
SusNy Foss: our nostalgic sense
Jamesinparis Picnic: the stores here are real stores in denmark
Gwen Gwasi: hey this is even 3 D sound
Gwen Gwasi: wow
Babaluna Cuddihy: i just wonder as it seams all those real live place to be empty
Gwen Gwasi: when I turn my head, it fades too
SusNy Foss: my grandfather was born here, and my grandson :-)
Gwen Gwasi: not only distance
You: do you get sponsorship from the companies?
Gwen Gwasi: impressive
Jamesinparis Picnic: a company that makes beds... about 12 companies
Jamesinparis Picnic: in all
niels Mizser: we can say this part is the historik part of the city
Webhead Link is Offline
Jamesinparis Picnic: and they use real money as well as lindens
SusNy Foss: Niels, who sponsored this, do you know?
Door: SusNy Foss is at the door.
Gwen Gwasi: ah, a church
Koen Antonioni: this is interactive audio I assume: triggered by our presence?
Helter Alexandre is Online
Jamesinparis Picnic: pach explained that there are real tombstones outside... that are in memory of real people
You: hi Helter, welcome to Denmark
You: we are in the middle of a city tour
Jamesinparis Picnic: sus is here..
SusNy Foss: I was working on my other PC, sorry
You: susny - love the way your name is pronounced!
Jamesinparis Picnic: susny is Danish... so Pach is saying that she can tell us about the island

Jamesinparis Picnic: it gives us historical perspective about how people used to live in the 30s
SusNy Foss: Yes
SusNy Foss: because this is modeled over a TV serial in 24 chapters called Matador (Monopoly)
SusNy Foss: it was turned in the 70's but shown again just recently on national TV
Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...
Gwen Gwasi is Online
Helter Alexandre is Online
Misha Writer is Online
Unik Mayo: okey så du var heldig
Kati Voss: lagging big time though
Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...
Gwen Gwasi: hi
Babaluna Cuddihy: is it mostly commercial area or also residential -anybody knows?
Jamesinparis Picnic: a unino like a trade union?
Doctor Asp: most shops in Wonderful Denmark are owned by RL compagnies
Jamesinparis Picnic: we're heading into the harbour area now...
Babaluna Cuddihy: ah kk-- ty
Doctor Asp: btw - I am the manager of Wonderful Denmark :-)
Gwen Gwasi: you dont seem to be hearing me anymore
Charles3D Raymaker: it is actually unusual to see so many real world products for sale in SL
Babaluna Cuddihy: congratulation -y did a wonderful job
Doctor Asp: feel free to ask any questions you might have
Jamesinparis Picnic: the 12 real life companies ...one of them is here
Gwen Gwasi: thanks again
Jamesinparis Picnic: doctor asp is the owner of the iland i believe
Doctor Asp: JYSK, 1902 and Krifa are all RL compagnies
Misha Writer: Thanks Pach, a v interesting tour
Charles3D Raymaker: yes thank you very much, a wonderful site
SusNy Foss: And they are sponsors?
Doctor Asp: we also have a TV compagny and a travel agency

Doctor Asp: no - they are customers
Gwen Gwasi: so this is the end of the tour
Gwen Gwasi: right?
SusNy Foss: Interesting
niels Mizser: we come to the tv company later
Head Teacher: thanks everyone. I really enjoyed this - really interesting
Gwen Gwasi: me too
Doctor Asp: they rent a shop here on a monthly basis to promote there RL activities
Head Teacher is Offline
niels Mizser: ok
Gwen Gwasi: ever so great
Kati Voss: yes, thank you all
Jamesinparis Picnic: they even have a tv station
Babaluna Cuddihy: are y promoting it in rl to make the join sl -Doctor asp?
Jamesinparis Picnic: let's go to the harbor...
SusNy Foss: ask me for eventual translation :-)
niels Mizser: this is at typical danish haburg
Jamesinparis Picnic: a typical danish harbor
Jamesinparis Picnic: why is it typical? the fishing boat?
Jamesinparis Picnic: Fisheauktion is where the catch is sold?
Jamesinparis Picnic: auction?
SusNy Foss: yes

Falk Bergman is Online
SusNy Foss: and there's a smokery chimney
Kati Voss is Offline
Jamesinparis Picnic: bbc world journalists do this too of course
Jamesinparis Picnic: so this is a real danish station with a presence here
You: this is the latest from the BBC World Service
Gwen Gwasi is Online
niels Mizser: in this faktory you can se some of the things from ouer builders
Gwen Gwasi: my voice doent work anymore
Gwen Gwasi: shame
Jamesinparis Picnic: this factory makes things for sl people

Doctor Asp: note that the brown signs actually are in english :-)
SusNy Foss: rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrI have never seen so many corners of Korsbaek before
Jamesinparis Picnic: korsbaek is fascinating
SusNy Foss: This is a great place for learning!
Second Life: Items coming in too fast, automatic preview disabled for 10 seconds.
Misha Writer: most of your visitors are English speakers?
Pach Voom: It sure is
SusNy Foss: I already have a hoge horse now I also have a cow!
Gwen Gwasi: hi
Babaluna Cuddihy: are ther danish courses as well here?
Gwen Gwasi: voice crashed
Jamesinparis Picnic: the bikes are often available in Denmark sl
Gwen Gwasi: must reboot
Gwen Gwasi is Offline
Jamesinparis Picnic: you pay a deposit but it's returned when you return the bike
Babaluna Cuddihy: oh clever system
Babaluna Cuddihy: saves off the litter
Jamesinparis Picnic: bikes are available like that in all the cities in denmark
Jamesinparis Picnic: and there are lots of bike paths so it's not too iffy
CJ Tomorrow: Fulgte der ikke en bjørneskinshue med
Jamesinparis Picnic: i'm wondering if the webheads are going to move on soon or not
CJ Tomorrow: er skin også nyt?
Gwen Gwasi is Online

Burgess & Sons standing double bass: Beginning playback...
Burgess & Sons standing double bass: Playback Halted...
You: thankyou so much for the tour
Charles3D Raymaker: yes, thank you, it was wonderful
Doctor Asp: you are welcome back anytime
Doctor Asp: remember to create a Landmark
Wlodek Barbosa: Thank you! This place is GREAT!
Burgess & Sons Grand Piano (Goldberg Edition): Beginning playback...
Burgess & Sons Grand Piano (Goldberg Edition): Playback Halted...
Misha Writer: well I'm playing this double bass but I can't hear any music . . .
Doctor Asp: glad you like it
Doctor Asp: luckely:)
You: yes it is...
Doctor Asp: hehe
Misha Writer: who's singing?
Misha Writer: is it Niels?
Pedro Lustre is Online
Misha Writer: or is it Pach??
niels Mizser: thank to you to
Doctor Asp: i think its playback
SL:Tenor Steel-Pan (RED): Touch to Change Pattern
niels Mizser: yes we like to do that
You: thanks a lot for the tour
Jamesinparis Picnic: thank you and Niels for this great tour!
You: got to go - bye everyone
Doctor Asp: look for the groupname WD Byguide
Pach Voom: your all welcome
Gwen Gwasi: thanks a lot Pach


  1. THE SECOND VENICE by Askin Ozcan
    ISBN 1598000888 Outskirts Press
    154 pages $16.95

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  2. I'm writing to all the ESL-related blogs that are on my blogroll. I'd like to invite you to consider sending in a post from your blog that has appeared within the past few months, or that you will be writing in September, for inclusion in an ESL "Carnival" that I'm hosting.

    A Carnival is basically a collection of posts from various blogs on a selected topic. All you have to do is pick a post you've written sometime over the past few months or one that you will write in September that you think is particularly insightul or helpful and that's related to teaching English Language Learners. Send the link to me by Sept. 30th and I'll post the collection shortly thereafter.

    If there's interest, it could continue monthly or quarterly, each time hosted by a different blog.

    Here's a post I've written announcing it:


    And here's a link to a recent "Carnival of Education" to give you an idea of what a Carnival might look like:


    Larry Ferlazzo

  3. Sounds like a great idea, Larry - count me in


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