[SLED] HTML on a Prim and education in SecondLife

Aline Click N10ARC1 at wpo.cso.niu.edu
Tue Sep 5 08:37:05 PDT 2006

Well said Ian. Okay let's start giving reasons for HTML on a Prim as
Jeremy suggested.

#1. Why have note cards at all if text is unnecessary? The note cards
give us one form of information and text without formatting is not as
easy to digest as formatted text (ease of reading, visual literacy...).
Why add images to that note card? Well why did the web go to HTML so
quickly, because a picture is worth a thousand words!

#2. Why a browser in SL? To move through information in the same way
you can on the web, non-linear. For example, why is SLexchange so much
easier to find things in than the search in SL?  

#3. Are there pedagogical reasons - flash presentation - embedded
QuickTime.... asynchronous information dissemination. No we don't want
our students to sit in 3 hour classes in world, but it is better than
sitting in front of Blackboard for 3 hours reading text and not knowing
if another person is there to discuss the assignments and with zero
visual interest, I might say. And think about the ability to import
Flash educational modules... the possibilities are endless. Not
everything can or should be demonstrated/simulated in 3D.

#4. How about multiple learning styles - they say each of us learns
differently - like our fingerprints. I may like to read (or not), I may
like audio (like some people I know ;) maybe I learn from writing or I
may like to manipulate things. SL gives us the opportunity to do all of
these things and HTML on prims (or at least on note cards) and gives us
additional ability to provide it all to our distance learners from
within the environment. Ever launched a browser from inside SL - takes
forever on my computer.

#5. Accessibility - HTML is already a standard. Lots of applications
are built on it's foundation - enough said.

I am not saying SL replaces the classroom where many of these things
already take place. I look at SL as a place for distance learners to
meet and learn from the environment and from others, to form a community
of learners, without living in the same RL region.


>>> ian at alwaysblack.com 09/05/06 9:11 AM >>>
Ah well, philosophically I don't make any distinctions between  
'outside of world' and in it. The in-world provides enhancements to  
what I had already, to me it's not to be seen as an alternative.

And anyway, no developments in communication appear fully-formed in  
pristine isolation, everything is built on the landfill of what came  
before. Just as screen read text has evolved from paper-based text in 

the case of the web, just as TV evolved from radio (picture of a man  
sat at a microphone) and radio from a man stood on a box with a  
loudhailer, heck, just as written text evolved from the spoken word,  
and so on and on.

Transferring knowledge through text is something everyone knows how to 

deal with, it's one of the oldest methods of communication and it  
works wherever it's applied, reading a text book or writing a shopping 

list. People use it in-world, people want it to be better, look at the 

multitude of in-world publications that struggle and compromise around 

the limitations, look at every product you can buy and the note that's 

included in the box that's crying out for illustrated instructions,  
cataloguing and emphasis.

I don't argue that an enviroment like SL can bring new and interesting 

and sometimes even useful and effective additions to the process of  
transfering an idea from one person to another, but I do doubt it can 

that without a foundation of familiarity for people to get a grip on. 

Take a look at the landscape of SL and see it consists mostly of  
people hacking together a crude facsimile of what they know, followed 

by additions and enhancements as their newly acquired knowledge and  
the unique necessities of the environment dictate. Nothing comes out  
of nowhere and evolution is always the most sustainable method of  

As far as specifically mentioning html, I only did that because it's a 

simple markup language designed specifically to be relevant across a  
multitude of delivery methods, there are about a million open-source  
parsers and a decade of experience built up by a world's worth of  
feverishly competing developers. I don't actually care that much how  
it's implemented, just so long as I can have little luxuries like bold 

and italics, maybe an alternative font size or two.

Quoting Jeremy Hunsinger <jhuns at vt.edu>:

>> A few more formatting options to make in-world publications a bit  

>> more attractive can't be a bad thing.
> That's what they said about html and sgml before that... and now we
> have a whole professional class of html producers....  was that a
> thing?   the more complicated you make textual production, the more
> likely it ends up being professionalized.  it might be that simple
> is the best for inworld.
> html, while it might make things pretty, can adequately be had
> of world, and any subset of html that is brought into the world will
> critiqued by some against the whole spec,  whereas any specialized
> language for markup brought into the world will likely be critiqued
> not being html.   [heck, why not just make each face of a prim a
> mediawiki].  The thing is, that while we find html useful.. It might
> best to think of other ways of doing things in world that escapes
> we find useful about html.  There might be other interesting and
> creative solutions that could be of more significance to the world.
> So, i would say  'why do you want it?'  be clear about the need, and
> then organize.  however, I do not see a need, I see the common
> of "i know how to do things in html, why can't i use html?' which to
> is like 'I know i am in a 3d world, but i was happy using
> moodle, sakai, why can't i use them in world, or why can't i just
> my students come into the world, sit in a classroom in world for 3
> hours and then go home.  You can do those things.... but to me it
> to be a terrible waste of an opportunity to do things differently,
> interestingly, and perhaps to do something not 'normal'.
> Jeremy Hunsinger
> School of Library and Information Science
> Pratt Institute
> () ascii ribbon campaign - against html mail
> /\ - against microsoft attachments
> http://www.aoir.org The Association of Internet Researchers
> http://www.stswiki.org/ stswiki
> http://cfp.learning-inquiry.info/  LI-the journal
> http://transdisciplinarystudies.tmttlt.com/  Transdisciplinary
> Studies:the book series
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