Second Life as a Virtual Learning Environment
Presented by Theodore Wright, Programmer/Analyst
(a.k.a. California Condor in Second Life)   Dec. 10, 2006
Revised September 17, 2008

Second Life® ( ) may be referred by some as a game, howbeit, of itself, Second Life actually is not a game. It is a virtual world without theme, a virtual canvas for creativity, not inherently based in mock war such as video games.

With this current advent of virtual world technology, there now exist enhanced and expanded learning opportunities with an environment to relate to.

Even up to present, much of distance learning has been made time convenient but impersonal. Avatar-based virtual world education is highly interactive, providing the same convenience of not having to travel while providing a richer, more effective and more enjoyable experience. For such, many students would most gladly make the scheduled time for the virtual classroom.

Whether used for distance or classroom learning, the benefits of this rapidly expanding and adaptable virtual technology become manifest. The most common disadvantages that have existed in online education are now overcome. Educators are not slow to step into and embrace this present, simple to use, interpersonal and further developing media.

Articles about education in Second Life...

For such virtual campuses it has been recommended for educational institutions to have private areas in Second Life, not open to the public in order facilitate a secure learning environment.

Second Life: Educational Possibilities

A five-minute video about education in Second Life from NMC
NMC Campus: Seriously Engaging

Second Life Education FAQ...

Second Life's page on education also provides info for joining the Second Life Educators (SLed) mailing list...

101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroom
by Dr. Megan S. Conklin (Elon University GLS)

Educational Uses of Second Life
by Mary Ann Mengel (SL Marissa Moody)

Education in Second Life: Explore the Possibilities
by Cheryl Carter (SL Cheryl Wiggins)

Sarah Robbins (Intellagirl Tully in Second Life) of Ball University in Muncie, Indiana conducted a class in Second Life where 300 applications were submitted for a class which had only 18 available slots...,1370,135131-9886-47624,00.html

Sarah Robbins blog...
Click for full-sized image


Moodle ( ), an open source e-learning platform, has partnered with Second Life in an integration project called Sloodle...

This Adobe file describes Second Life as a new logic and presentation shell over existing data....
Putting a Second Life "Metaverse" Skin on Learning Management Systems

Giving a PowerPoint Presentation in Second Life...

Videos have been effectively used in Second Life, including full movies and streaming media...


Register for a free account with Second Life to obtain an avatar to interact with this virtual world. Cost occurs if you wish to purchase the virtual currency of Linden dollars or if you desire to be able to purchase or to purchase virtual land...

The software is free and available for download...

It is necessary to use a computer which has the minimum system requirements to use the Second Life software. Video graphic capabilities are especially important...

Firewall configuration is required for Second Life software to function on a network...


It is advisable to start small to begin with, starting out with an extra credit course perhaps. Permission to use virtual locations in Second Life on the NMC Campus may be requested from them. For regular use of a virtual location, renting land from NMC is 10 cents per square meter per year. This ranges from just $100 per year to about $800. New Media Consortium offers services to educational institutions...

The building of a virtual campus in Second Life is but a small financial an investment for an educational institution. The first step is to purchase the land in Second Life. Cost for a small island of 65,536 square meters, which is approximately 16 acres, is currently $980.00 + $150.00 per month for usage fees. Thus, the cost from Linden Lab® is $2780.00 for the first year. Costs for additional years are less, which are about $1800.00. Please note that costs may be subject to change.

Pricing for land use in Second Life, mentioning discounts for real world educators, may be found on the Second Life website...
There are small, but cumulative, upload and download fees. Virtual items already created may also be purchased in Second Life far less expensively than their real life counterparts.

All pricing is subject to change without notice here.


It will take approximately six weeks to obtain an island. During that time, ideas for the virtual campus may be refined. This is much like building a website. There are the related components of graphics, quality, and content. Costs for development vary depending on the scope of the virtual campus required and what is desired to be built there.

Once the scope for the virtual campus is defined, the project for the building of the virtual campus may be announced through the internet. Bids may be received from those desirous to take the project. There are various experience levels and differing skill sets for such in Second Life. Quality of developers' work may be evaluated by viewing their completed projects in Second Life.

Development costs for a virtual campus on an island usually range from $20,000 to $25,000 if done by a commercial firm. These costs are generally lower if done by a non-profit organization, approximately $15,000 to $20,000. Individual consultants can range dramatically in both skill and rate. Development costs are separate from and in addition to land pricing and usage fees.

It is recommended, therefore, that $25,000 be budgeted for costs to build a virtual campus in Second Life. The popularity of this interactive virtual environment will provide a fertile ground for higher enrollment and will economically justify the expense.


Eye4You Alliance, on October 20th and 21st of 2007, hosted the 1st Annual Second Life Teen Grid College Fair. Colleges and universities received leads from prospective students at this event. Events, such as these, are intended to be scheduled for the future also.

Eye4You Alliance Blog

First virtual college fair attracts almost 200 visitors over the weekend
from Second Life Network News

Pics of the SL Teen Grid College Fair


The Unofficial Guide to Building Your Business in the Second Life Virtual World

...Soon to be released!

Second Life: The Official Guide

Second Life The Official Guide: Second_Edition

Creating Your World

The Enterpreneur's Guide To Second Life

Scripting Your World

Second Life In-World Travel Guide

Scripting Recipes For Second Life

Introduction To Textures, Animation, Audio And Sculpting In Second Life

Introduction to Linden Scripting Language

Designing Your Second Life

Second Life: A Guide To Your Virtual World

Second Life For Dummies

The Second Life Herald

How To Make Real Money In Second Life

The Unofficial Tourists' Guide To Second Life

The Making of Second Life

Metaverse Manifesto

A Beginner's Guide To Second Life

Coming of Age in Second Life

How to Get a Second Life

How To Do Everything With Second Life

Out on the Town: Book party for Second Life Herald editors

Where is computer technology going?
  In my conversation with futurist Jerry Paffendorf (SNOOPYbrown Zamboni in Second Life) at the November 2006 Metaverse meet in Brooklyn, I have come to understand that the future of metaverse may be expressed by the envisioned development and merge of technologies such as Second Life with Google Earth. With the exponential growth of technology, the worldwide virtual web will soon be here. This is referred to as the Metaverse.
  I also had the privilege to meet Ron Blechner (Hiro Pendragon in Second Life). Ron quit his job as a Cellular Network Technician and started his own business of Out of Bounds Software as a full-time Second Life developer. From Ron, I obtained further insight of the wide scope and depth of real interaction that goes on in the virtual media of Second Life. He also raised the reminder that the one inevitability of the computer world is change.

There appears to be only a mere hand's breadth yet for the software for Second Life to function also as a browser for the internet. From there, the door to the full rise of 3d virtual operating systems will be opened. This will lead the way to the internet itself to become a 3d virtual environment.
Metaverse Roadmap Overview
by Jamais Cascio, Jerry Paffendorf, and John Smart
A study of developing trends moving to 3-D internet

The Future of the OS Wars
Windows? Linux? Mac OS? One day it won't matter.
by Erik Larkin (PC World Magazine, November 2006),126856/article.html

The Future of You
Think the Net has changed your life? Wait until it becomes an immersive 3D environment--and it will.
by Mark Wallace (PC World Magazine, November 2006),126861/article.html

continuing pages...
More Than a Game,126861-page,2-c,onlineentertainment/article.html

A New Means of Human Expression,126861-page,3-c,onlineentertainment/article.html

The 3PointD World,126861-page,4-c,onlineentertainment/article.html

Educators explore 'Second Life' online
by Grace Wong (Special to CNN)

In addition to education, there are a rapidly growing number of businesses, news agencies, charities, and a widely-diverse number of interest groups active in Second Life. Virtual campuses are on the rise to face the changing worlds of education and computers. The world of tomorrow has arrived and it is virtual.

-Theodore Wright
Organizer for the New Jersey Metaverse Meetup
( contact e-mail: secondlife -at- dokimos -dot- org ).

The virtual world experience. Try it out free NOW!

Second Life® and Linden Lab® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.
All rights reserved. No infringement is intended.