Tuesday, August 07, 2007

SciFoo Lives On in Second Life

After complaining that there was not enough time to cover everything at the Science Foo Camp, and after getting some very positive feedback from our chemical reaction mechanism representation in Second Life, it occurred to me that it would make sense to attempt to continue the conversation in a virtual medium.

I have previously presented a poster in Second Life and I was thoroughly impressed with how well it worked. People would walk around, look at my poster, ask me for more information and share their experience. And just like in real life, when there was a lull in the traffic, I would chat with my poster neighbor. One big difference was that I didn't have a draining and expensive trip to deal with.

Yes, I know that there is no replacement for face to face interactions during lunch and breaks. But it is surprising just how much one can get out of the experience, given the minimal effort it takes.

So I have set up an area on one of Nature's islands called SciFoo Lives On. I have put up my poster on Open Notebook Science. Clicking on the images flips to the next one in the presentation. Clicking on a side panel opens a browser to a screencast recording of my presentation. I have also included a headshot of myself - clicking on that takes you to my UsefulChem research wiki.

But Second Life allows not only images but also 3D objects. As examples, I included a molecule and an obelisk that generates an organic chemistry quiz upon clicking. Later on I'll copy the reaction mechanism that is currently on display on Drexel Island.

I invite any other SciFoo participants to put up a poster. If you have a Powerpoint presentation it is fairly easy to put it up. Just let me know if you need help. Powerpoint style panels are available for free at the Drexel Island store but you will need to be invited to Nature's island by either by a member like me or the owner Joanna Wombat (Joanna Scott in real life) to build there.

Although we can create a nice place to visit and view posters anytime, it would be very interesting to see how un-conference sessions would work. Keep in mind that Second Life now has voice in addition to chat.

I propose to moderate a session on "Tools for Open Science" at noon EDT (9:00 PDT, 16:00 GMT) on August 20, 2007 for the convenience of our European and US West coast participants. In the spirit of SciFoo, this will be a discussion, not be a presentation, although we should feel free to use pages from our posters to facilitate communication.

I will also set up a thread on the Second Life section of Nature Networks for people to propose sessions.

SciFoo Lives On slurl.

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At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea!

At 5:14 AM, Blogger Beth Ritter-Guth said...

Welcome home, Jean-Claude! Is it possible that you could send materials to my alt avatar to take over to the Teen Grid? We are looking for any PPTs, any tools, ANYTHING that would be useful to K-12 educators on the Teen Grid. The avatar name is Literature Binder. Also, just heard word that the Dusquesne Feral Cat grant was approved; this indicates that the NSF is taking science writing seriously (since the NEH does not). Any change for a collaborative teaching grant for open scientists and, perhaps, some tech writers (all meeting in virtual worlds)?


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