Note: Sharing her unique perspect on Second Life, Malinda McCormick is guest blogging on Around the Corner for a few weeks, if not longer! This entry–originally published 05/07/2008 is her introduction–is entitled My Life in a Box: A Virtual Field Report from Joie Despres.

A quick intro and then to get on with it; first, thanks Miguel for inviting me to guest blog my experiences to your audience regarding my walk through the virtual world of Second Life (SL). In real life (RL) he knows me as Malinda McCormick, Director of School Services at KLRN public television in San Antonio. Miguel and I have known each other in RL for as long as I’ve been involved in SL, since July of 2007. Both the RL and SL journeys for me since then have been very meaningful in my work and collaborations. And both my RL and SL life happen simultaneously and are interdependent.

Previous to July, if you would have told me this was going to be the “look and feel” of my work and life, I would have given you the tilted head, sideways glance that, I am sure; you are quite likely giving me now as I introduce you to these virtual matters.

My Life in a Box aptly describes the long history of using computers and television in my home and work. I think we can all relate to this. In my case, my husband and I got to the point, in our evenings after work and dinner where we would ask each other, “What box are you going to use tonight?” Referring of course to whether we meant the computer or TV. After a while, in an effort to avoid this question, we just got more boxes. We sit next to or near each other in our independent uses of these tools and share the media experiences with each other and our children.

In RL, I am responsible for providing workshops and conferences for educational technology; specifically on KLRN Connect/Discoverystreaming in the south Texas region. I promote PBS TeacherLine, professional development courses for Texas educators. I also provide content to educators on our PBS programming through websites, emails, and a monthly e-newsletter.

In SL, I own a home on Jokaydia Island, run by education specialist, Jo Kay from Wollongong, Australia. I docent at ISTE Island greeting new educators to SL and I work as a Discovery Educator Network Guide in Second Life, helping others with Discovery Education and SL tools alike. I also host and/or attend social events and professional development meetings.

I network with a great group of education professionals in SL on an ongoing basis. I have many friends and meaningful relationships with people from around the world whom I’ve never met in RL and may never have the chance. This is my life in a box and Miguel has asked me to open this dialog with you on going virtual and what it means for education.

So right out of the box, let me tell you the funny story of how Miguel questioned me one day early on in our meeting, about what I thought of Web 2.0 (the read/write web). I gave him the sideways glance and thought to myself “what is he talking about?” I hadn’t classified web generations yet in my mind but what was even worse was I had already shifted gears into web 3.0. So naturally I just tossed back to him, “What do you know about Second Life?” And there we stood, staring blankly at each other. He has taken me on the journey, through his blog and mentoring, about all things web 2.0 and now I will share with you and him the wonderland known as the metaverse.

Stayed tuned for my weekly postings on Mondays. It is like falling down the rabbit hole.

I am pictured here in a virtual room designed by Second Life magician, Tuna Oddfellow. He and his beautiful assistant put on free shows in SL every Monday. Peggy Sheehy, Ramapo Islands on the Teen Grid, visited his parcel to talk with him about how to help her middle school students get “out the box” in their creative process of building in Second Life.

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