SL will one day be a relic of days past, says Dr. Rashid Kashani

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Joint Protection Education Display is now a completed PhD project, open to everyone, that is aimed at instructing individuals how to correctly deal with Rheumatoid Arthritis. For people who do not suffer from the disease, the display is a neat infotainment. This research inworld was conducted by occupational therapist Dr. Rashid Kashani who is also known as Rashid (rashid.singh) in Second Life.

Here’s what I learnt from him:

How did you find out about Second Life? 

Dr. Rashid Kashani: I originally found out about SL via one of my PhD supervisors, Dr. Maged Boulos, who was doing a research study at the time using a Sexual Health SIM at Plymouth University. 

What inspired you to use SL for your PhD research work and how did it actually help you? 

Dr. Rashid Kashani: I tried out SL and felt it might be the more immersive online experience I was wanting my clients to have if they couldn’t attend RL education sessions. SL was the medium that my research was carried out in as it was a VW study, so it was very helpful.

What year did you start the project in Second Life?

Dr. Rashid Kashani: I started the initial exploration etc around 2008, but that was then followed up with a combination of qualitative interviews and coding, etc. The actual building and alpha / beta testing was from around 2010-2012. The actual pilot RCT was around 2013-2014 with the writing up taking up most of 2015-2016, including the final defence, viva and revisions. 

At present, are you working on any other project inworld?

Dr. Rashid Kashani: The PhD study was a success, so I am mainly working on catching up on my clinical practice, writing articles and looking at porting over the SIM to other VWs, if possible. Future projects are definitely in the works as I have also branched out my clinical practice to pediatrics and feel there may be a lot of uses for a VW medium with younger populations that are under served.  

How valuable is Second Life and other such 3D worlds when it comes to education?

Dr. Rashid Kashani: The value of VWs is considerable in education and there are several studies to support that claim. Quality studies, such as comparison studies, pilot RCTs, and full RCTs are needed to better define our best practices in education, provide evidence to funders about the efficacy and cost effectiveness and reflect a shift in the types of learning experiences users are expecting.

What, according to you, is the future of education and awareness in Second Life?

Dr. Rashid Kashani: I think that SL will eventually, go the way of other early iterations of new technology. America Online was the most recognizable name in ISPs several years ago, I now can’t get a room of 20 year old students to recognize the logo on screen. SL will not be disappearing immediately, but it will one day be a relic of days past, as newer VWs with similar user driven content capabilities are invented, and with better graphics and user experiences. I think VWs will gradually develop as a tool that can be used in traditional education settings as a combination of AR, the Internet of things and 3D web/movies/etc become more mainstream. Again, some of this will be tied to serious research as well as marketing focused not just on the enterntainment value or the the “wow” factor alone, but that there are studies that indicate it is an effective learning tool and has the ability to be value added as an educational medium.

Visit Rheumatoid Arthritis Joint Protection Education Display:
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Do you want to look like your avatar in real life?

Just a few days ago, I asked a number of strangers in Second Life the very question. So many people invest quite a considerable amount of time, money, and emotions in their respective avatars. Naturally, if people could edit their shapes in real life to look more and more attractive, why wouldn’t they? So, I wanted to learn from one of those individuals with a stunning human avatar how content they were to be in their real body. A number of women whose avatars resembled Victoria’s Secret’s “perfect body” had claimed that they already look like that in real life. Someone said that they made their avatar after their real appearance when they were twenty. There were people who said that they had tried to make their avatar look somewhat like their “real selves” but “more presentable”. Another person informed me that their avatar looked like their real mother who had died years ago.

Following are just the few related chat extracts that I found pretty intriguing…

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If I could change my physical features, yes I would. But, I don’t want to look like my avatar which is a giant spider right now.

Read the title of this post again and let us know your answer?

when a ban Muddy’s the situation

I go to clubs to meet people. Never for the music. So, anyway, not even a day ago, I teleported my avatar to this club. The main club building was a minute’s walk or a few seconds’ run away from the landing point. Was flying allowed? Nope.

Within three seconds of my avatar entering the building, walking past the owner that stood their avatar close to the entrance, I got banned. No the avatar wasn’t a few days old or wearing any of those….what you call…suspicious items. Here’s the innocent one’s picture:

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And here’s an excerpt from the surprising conversation with the owner of such a well-known music club in Second Life…

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Despite telling them that I had come over there just to chat with people, they carried on their silent treatment. Blocked.

Moral of this story? Make your avatar look like most others’ (sexy and all) inworld and you’re good.

 

Read a similar story: I go clubbing as a dark fat avatar and some people are alarmed

 

“Second Life is adults playing with pixel dolls”

I decided to interview a noob. I was on my mission to find someone genuinely new and not an alt. I got lucky pretty soon at sandbox island. The noob asked me not to publish their username. So I am just going to call them noob.

Me: What do you think of this world so far?

Noob: First of all, I think this is a play. Second Life is adults playing with pixel dolls – dressing them, bathing them, taking them out to pubs and hangouts, roleplaying being their avatar….

Me: That’s an interesting way to see this world, I must say.

Noob: Sure. What else should I think of it? It’s pretty amazing that so many adults get with someone only ’cause they like their avatar! You know what, I met this man who kept messaging me and saying that he was pretty sure I could be his real wife stalking him inworld! My God. Wasn’t even a week I took birth! Lol

Me: What can be the advantages of this play?

Noob: Well…..I think people who have suffered a big loss in their real life or are in pain need this distraction.

Me: Yes, in fact there are many disabled individuals to whose lives this “play” adds some meaning.

Noob: That’s cool. I think in like a few weeks I have seen strange things.

Me: Like?

Noob: People craving for Second Life family life. I have overheard people talking about feeding their “SL babies” and putting them to sleep. I thought they were joking about the whole family thing. So I typed a “hahaha” in local and got into a little trouble. One of those people shouted, “Shut up, you little noob!” I actually think that people who are able-bodied with opportunities to live better real lives, should actually aim at making their real lives as much fun instead of wasting their time in here.

Me: Do you know many people meet their real-life partner or friend here?

Noob: Yes, I watched a number of documentaries and read published pieces about this game. I don’t know about meeting partners and all but I definitely can see that a lot of retired old people who have the abilities to make a significant influence in the real world in their free time are getting too serious with this game. For them this game should be like a small stress-relief break or a learning experience to carry out a real world business or work or something like that. But the fancy clothes and hats and stuffs for avatars fuel the craze of spending lots and lots of money on decorating a pixel doll. To sum up things, this play is very healthy for some and dangerous for some.

Me: So, you think the creators of attractive content in Second Life are to be blamed for people wasting their time with their avatars?

Noob: Yes, and also those people refer to the avatar as “me” or “i” instead of “it”. That’s another amazing thing I noticed.

Me: How old are you, again?

Noob: Twenty

JudiLynn: “Second Life art community has allowed me to become more prolific”

I recently discovered JudiLynn India’s evocative artworks at the Center Ground Gallery of Art owned by the artist herself. Within a few hours I was exchanging emails with her asking all that I wanted to know about her life and dreams as an artist as well as the kinds of opportunities that artists in general have in Second Life. The interview, edited a little for precision, follows…

Are you from India? What is it like to be an artist in the country you belong?

Though my Second Life name is JudiLynn India, I am a woman of African descent from the northeast region of the United States. (The name “India” was chosen from the list of suggested names in SL in 2009 in homage to my deceased pet cat named India, after the movie character “Indiana Jones”.) I studied Commercial Art and Graphic Design through high school and college, attending the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. Fortunately, , I grew up in an environment that celebrates the arts in all form. My father was a commercial artist and my mother, though not using her artistic talents in life, encouraged my artistic endeavors on every front.

Covered-2017-JudiLynn
Covered, 2017, by JudiLynn

How difficult is it for a commercial artist to successfully market their art in today’s competitive world?

I believe it can be quite difficult to market yourself without solid promotional skills and the right connections. The web has opened the doors to every creative spirit, which is a beautiful thing for exposure, but makes it more difficult to stand out unless your skills are exemplary – or you are in the right place at the right time. Your personal resources and determination will dictate your success.

Cry Out-2017-Judilynn
Cry Out, 2017, by JudiLynn

What are some of your goals as an artist that you are looking forward to achieving?

Though I’ve been creating all of my life – since early childhood – I have yet to achieve status as an independent, professional artist. My goal is for my work to become more widely accepted among collectors and organizations so that I can focus most of my time in it’s creation. I want my work to specifically bring a sense of joy and peace to the collector while raising funds and awareness for human resources and animal rights. I want my work to be more than decorative. It must serve a broader purpose in the world.

Dreamscape 3-2013-JudiLynn
Dreamscape, 2013, by JudiLynn

Do you have some all-time favourite colours?

I love bold, brilliant colors most. Fuchsia, purple, shades of blue and brilliant greens stand out most for me. I’m always experimenting with techniques that allow me to isolate and incorporate these colors in my work. I find it most effective to create digital pieces, as well, because of the vibrant color combinations possible without muddying. Besides creating art, I used to sew continuously and create outfits that were equally as colorful.

Elements-2013-JudiLynn
Elements, 2013, by JudiLynn

What are your thoughts on creative block?

I spent many years in creative block. It was horrible. I had ideas constantly swimming in my head and heart, but could find no way to bring them life. It was a personal hell. Even a support group didn’t help me. It was the purchase of a Wacom drawing tablet and experimentation with it that actually broke the dam. I replenished my art supplies and began painting continually in 2006, exploring new acrylic mediums that had come on the market since the 90s. It was marvelous! I believe the secret to avoiding a block is to force yourself to pick up a brush, pen, pencil, stylus, and just do something – anything to gain momentum. In retrospect, I’ve also come to realize that the time that I felt blocked could have been the time needed for my spirit to absorb and mature creatively. I never stopped watching what other artists were doing. On a subconscious level, I may have been gathering information from the environment that would serve me later.

Seperate But Equal - JudiLynn 2017
Separate But Equal, 2017, by JudiLynn

How can the Second Life art community benefit an artist?

I can say that, for me, the Second Life art community has allowed me to become more prolific than I might have over the past 8 years. Because of ongoing invitations to group shows and solo exhibits in SL, I was further motivated to traditionally paint and create digital works, learning new techniques and software. It has also been quite inspirational thanks to the many RL artists I’ve met in the process. Exhibiting my work in SL has also served as marketing research. I’ve learned more about curating exhibits in the process. This has given me more confidence in my own creative processes and marketing skills. One need not raise much capital to open a gallery and invite the world to the party – a major plus!

 

Center Ground Gallery of Art: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Han%20Loso/196/39/65

The Art of JudiLynn Studio and Gallery: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Tabula%20rasa/115/33/25

Shop for beautiful abstract Artwork of JudiLynn at: http://www.judilynnart.com/