[SLED] Editorial Reprise

rodney collins murray_mcardle at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 23 05:21:33 PDT 2006

Thank You Sarah for the repeat of your editorial.  I'm still new on the list and found my way to SLED after many unanswered emails to LL went by.  I had hoped that as an individual I was just not being persistant enough to be heard by the "big" corporation.  Your comments confirm my fears, that the problem of support for my university's entrance into SL may be a larger issue than first thought.

Don't dismiss education as an insignificant part of LL's marketing.  We are a gateway into large communities of young people's minds (and press), and they know this.  I do not think in any regard that Pathfinder Linden or the others want to ignore us, but we must continue to be that squeaky wheel if we want LL's attention, help and support.

Murray McArdle,
Diamond City Owner and Notorious! Design Retail, Irrlevant Isle

aka in RL
Rodney Murray Collins, Texas Architect, University of Houston Design Economics Lecturer

----- Original Message ----
From: Sarah Robbins <intellagirl at gmail.com>
To: SL Educators <educators at lists.secondlife.com>
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2006 6:15:17 AM
Subject: [SLED] Editorial Reprise

SLED: I'm posting the editorial I wrote for the Picayune last week. There was no reaction to it as far as I could tell and I thought "hmmm either folks didn't read it or they disagree with it" and I'd really like to know which it is. If the state of educators in SL isn't as bad as my editorial makes it sound then I'll stop being the squeeky wheel. If it is, then a bit more discussion might allow us to get something done.

So, here by popular demand, is the editorial. Thanks,

Frustrated Intellects and Lost Opportunities: the State of 

USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, MSNBC and many
more…major news media who all find education in SL worth talking about.
Hundreds of instructors from all levels of education from middle school to
graduate school and professional training find SL worth their effort and time. Dozens
of universities are investing thousands of dollars into virtual real estate for
campuses. But what are we really getting for our time and money?

Imagine approaching the administration at your campus and
saying "I'd like to invest $5000 in software for my class. I should tell you
that this software will crash often, will not run on most of our computers, and
that the company that runs it offers little to no support for its use." How
enthusiastic would their response be? But many SLEDers feel they are doing just
that, asking for a leap of faith when they ask their administration to support
their SL projects. Does it have to be this way?

In the last week I've received over a dozen emails from SLED
members with confidential complaints regarding the overt lack of customer
service, support, and communication from Linden Labs. From the lack of response
to research proposals to the total lack of support in technical problems, some
SLEDers are desperate for help and getting more discouraged by the day. 

In the last month there have been twice as many media
reports about education in SL as any other SL topic; national and regional
academic conferences are featuring SL panels; book chapters and dissertations
are being written about the effectiveness of SL as an education tool. There is
a ground swell of support, confidence, and enthusiasm from educators interested
in SL. Why isn't this spirit shared at Linden?  Need evidence?

In the emails I, alone, received in the last week: 10
SLEDers complained of unanswered LL email, 9 cited that their administration
had questions that only LL could answer but doesn't respond to, 6 had failed SL
presentations to administration due to technical difficulties in SL, 3 had
canceled a class due to SL down time, and 1 secretly admitted to having sadly
given up all hope in using SL in any serious educational way. 

Education is just one of many communities in SL. I know
this. I know we aren't the biggest money maker. I know we don't bring in
thousands of users. I know that we aren't a bright and shiny world-changing
movement. However, I also know that our efforts are some of the most powerfully
encouraging serious applications of the platform. I know that we buy land for
long term use (dozens of education islands totaling more than $50,000 in land
sales in the last year by my estimate). Yet big issues on the SLED list are met
with cursory or dismissing (yet friendly) responses from LL. Desperate emails
go unanswered for weeks. Billing snafus persist month after month. 

I know I do not speak for ever SLED member. I know that not
all SLED members have had negative experiences with LL. Instead, I'm speaking
up for those who have tried to make their voice heard to LL and failed. I'm
speaking for the educators who need a little more help, who haven't been able
to find the answers they need from the great community we've built. 

you've built a wonderful platform that education should be grateful for. We
appreciate your efforts in its creation. We support Linden Lab. It's your turn
to support us.

"I'm Intellagirl Tully, and I approved this message"

[The views expressed in this editorial are those of
Intellagirl Tully only]


Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins

Yahoo: Intellagirl
Skype: Intellagirl
SecondLife: Intellagirl Tully
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