On Friday 8th May at 11:00am (CET) HUMlab will be hosting its first official seminar from the virtual world of Second Life. Angela A. Thomas, senior lecturer in English and Arts Education at the University of Sydney, Australia and author of the book Youth Online: Identity and Literacy in the Digital Age (Peter Lang, 2007), will be speaking, showing and performing on the theme of:
Inside the mind of Macbeth: Understanding and interpreting literary worlds in a virtual environment.
Virtual Macbeth was designed to demonstrate how we might best use the affordances of virtual environments for Education. Shakespeare’s Macbeth reimagined in Second Life provides an adaptive bridge between classic texts and new media technology. In the virtual, the abstract can be made concrete, and complex poesis and abstractions of Shakespeare’s verse can become embodied, elusive, visceral, and affective. The poetic use of metaphor, image and symbol that permeate Shakespeare’s language is brought to 3D life using the online world as a discursive design space where visitors experience the motivations and emotional journey of character, and explore and make personal sense of the universal themes of Shakespeare.
In this presentation I will demonstrate Virtual Macbeth and discuss the way the design of the island allows students to explore aspects of narrative theory, literary criticism, drama theory, gaming theory and digital culture. In particular, I will highlight the deep potential of virtual worlds for immersive, experiential and student-centred learning. The presentation will include opportunities for questions and discussion.
I think this seminar will be an exciting opportunity for anyone who is interested in experiencing a high quality example of digital technology that has been used to engage students in one of the canonical areas of English language learning.
If you are interested in taking part in the seminar there are a number of ways to do so. You can come to HUMlab, under the UB library and Lindell Hall in the social sciences building at Umeå University. If you have access to broadband internet you can watch a live streamed version of the seminar (it will be broadcast from Second Life so you will be watching avatars in a virtual world – much like the video below). The video stream opens a little before 11:00 on Friday the 8th May from here. If you are a Second Life resident you can log into Second Life and participate in the tour and discussion on the Virtual Macbeth sim. The URL to teleport into the sim is http://slurl.com/secondlife/Macbeth/44/54/54 (click or copy and paste).
Of course you need to have a Second Life account and the Second Life program installed on your computer to be part of the tour in world. I would say that if you are unfamiliar with Second Life, come to HUMlab for the seminar and we can introduce you to it or you can watch the video stream if unable to visit us.
To provide some background to the Virtual Macbeth project here is a video about the island that captures well the atmosphere created by the site. Filmed and edited by Gary Hayes of MUVEDesign. Note: This film does not demonstrate the many interactive elements, social intentions or literary integration.
From more information about Virtual Macbeth there is a wiki from the project and a long article with many links from the MUVEDesign online journal on virtual world design, Atmospheric Australian Virtual Macbeth.