So, having annouced the new project it’s taken me a shameful while to start blogging again. But here we are, embarking on Phase 2, during which our main aim is to move the model and the information contained in it out into the world, in particular by making it available and useful to secondary school students and to visitors to the Crystal Palace park. Making that happen involves working to make the content and functionality appealing and useful for these groups, which is why we have a partner school with whom we’re designing a suite of activities for Year 10s.

But, as ever, technological issues dominate the accessibility of the model. Second Life has been great for trialling the model and exploring the experience of accessing the lost past through reconstruction but it’s not a sustainable platform for ongoing engagement with a wide audience. We’ve written here before about the problems of working with minors in SL and Linden Labs have now compunded these by annoucing the end of their (significant) educational discount, which means that we can’t afford the rent on our island long-term. Beyond that, the kerfuffle of logging, creating and guiding an avatar is a step too far for people simply wanting a tour of the Court. So we’re planning a two pronged-attack:

1. Migrating the model to Open Sim. The very interactive nature of SL is what makes the model so full of potential for teaching and learning so we need an alternative that offers the functionality but is more sustainable for us (i.e. cheaper), allows us more control and offers school users a safe environment. Our chosen alternative is Open Sim and Nic is now working on the migration and getting to grips with how much work is needed to restore the functionality of the model, ‘bots and HUD.

2. Preparing a standalone, interactive DVD. Whilst the experiences of inhabiting virtual space are crucial to our research, we also need a more simple medium through which to showcase the model and the information contained within it. As a result, we’ll be filming flythroughs of the model, featuring guided tours from our avatars. The DVD might still offer some interactivity, and we’ll be experimenting with that, but the emphasis is on making a simple, easy to use presentation of the Court.

So not much to do before March then….


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