Archive for July, 2009
Over the past year, while helping with the MUVEnation and LLL3D projects, I have come to see Second Life as more than just a ‘game’, as some people still see it. The aforementioned projects look at it’s use in education, but it’s practical uses spread wider than that. This week alone saw Amazon, a world leading e-commerce company, hold a job fair in Second Life, using the virtual world to meet candidates for real life positions located all around the world. This may not be a new concept, but it is the first event of its type that I’ve heard of since starting work in Second Life, and also the first I chose to attend.
The event ran from 06:00 to 00:00 PST, which worked out at starting 13:00 GMT, as it was geared more towards those living in the United States and Canada. There were some positions in the UK, but few compared to those in America. Due to this, when I first went to Amazon Developers 2 Island, where the fair was held, it was very quiet, there were only a handful of people there. I took this opportunity to explore, reading the information boards that were located around the island. The information ranged from things about the job fair, how you could submit your CV in Second Life, and also details of specific positions they were looking to fill. There were also stands offering free gifts, including a rather cool looking flying vehicle!
After this initial exploration, I left the island, and returned later, about 17:00 GMT (10:00 PST). When I did, the island had become a hive of activity, with at least 50 people now there, both candidates and Amazon employees (identified by their group ID displayed with their name). One of the things I noticed quickly were the number of generic avatars present. These are the ones given to those first signing up to Second Life, before they change their appearance. Looking further, at their profiles, it was clear that many of these people had signed up to Second Life within just a few days of the job fair, presumably with sole purpose of being able to attend. It leads me to wonder, how many of these will continue to use Second Life?
Among this hive of activity, people were talking to the Amazon representatives to find out information about the various jobs, and also conducting interviews with potential candidates. Just watching the chat, it was clear that a lot of people wanted to talk to the Amazon staff, especially around the reception, and were being told to wait while the staff would finish the conversations they were in the middle of. The interviews were conducted in smaller buildings away from the main one, so that less people would disturb the interview process.
While I was not there to look for a job with Amazon myself, I can see how this type of event is practical. It allowed people from all over the world to meet key representatives from Amazon, without the need for anyone to travel. I would also imagine that the information was more beneficial, coming from those with experience in the roles advertised, instead of more generic information often found at real world job fairs, with staff that don’t actually do the jobs. I’ll certainly now be on the look out for other job fairs in Second Life, as hopefully more employers will see it as a great way to find talent. If UK based companies lock on to this idea, maybe I’d be in with a chance of finding a job that suits me when the time comes
I know I never had big plans for this website yet, or even to update the blog with anything worthwhile that often, but still, I never planned to leave it this long between updates. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my control, I had to put my life on hold for a couple of months, which meant, quite obviously, that this place was forgotten, at least temporarily. Well, except for the multitude of spam comments that it seems to attract regularly. Fortunately I have it configured so that every comment made must be approved before it is publically visible, so they do not make it on to the blog. Only genuine comments, if anyone makes any, will be approved.
Anyway, I’m back now, and while the last two months have been difficult, including having to postpone my final year exams and finishing my final year project until later in the summer, I am hopefully back on track now. To accompany the necessary work finishing (eventually) my undergraduate degree, I have been fortunate to have been employed by the university to help complete a research project I have been helping out with during my final year.
My involvement, and later, assistance, came about somewhat by accident. At the start of my final year, I decided to investigate Second Life (SL), an online multi user virtual environment (virtual world), and see what it was like. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I contacted a lecturer at the university who I knew had been doing work in SL, Dr. Shirley Williams. Soon after, I was introduced to the research projects, MUVEnation and LLL3D – Lifelong Learning 3D, that look towards using virtual worlds, including SL, for educational purposes.
Once I realised my initial queries about SL were easily answered, I ended up attending some of the in-world sessions held as part of MUVEnation, and discovered I was able to help those that were themselves being taught about SL. This was to enable the educators to gain the necessary skills to make use of SL when it came to their own teaching in the real world. Throughout this I helped run training sessions, write guides and instructions for certain tools, and test things out before the training sessions.
Now, the project is coming to an end, and the time has come to collect all the information so far together, making it easy to find and understand. All of the tools and resources used so far need have their documentation finished, be tested and photographed and included in an exhibition. This is where I now come in, along with two other students being employed during the summer. We have the time to do this, while Shirley is busy doing the many other things a lecturer must do.
So rather than just exist for the purpose of pitifully attempting to learn web development, and pointlessly blogging about it, this website and blog will now have more of a purpose. Partly because I have been asked to as part of the work, and also because I want to, for the next few months, while I’m working on the MUVEnation project, I will be attempting to blog about the work that I do. This may even include pictures! Learning web development, as it’s never been a top priority, will take a back seat, but, depending on how things go, may be attempted in the background, and blogged about if it happens. So, enjoy!