SAESL Blog: Chat Bridges and potential use for education in SL

Yesterday, I was treated to a rather unique Second Life experience.  The little startup online radio station I’m working with, KBWMradio.com, hosted an in-world listening party for Abney Park’s new album, End of Days.  It was a fun event, packed with so many avatars, we very nearly crashed the sim multiple times–good conversation, good music–what could be better?  Well, the unique part of this event was that it included an IRC bridge.  What this type of bridge does is link a local location in Second Life with a chatroom on a webpage, so that those who cannot get into Second Life, for whatever reasons, can still participate in the conversation.  Yesterday, we were very honored to be joined by Captain Robert and Kristina, both of the band Abney Park.  Neither of them are in Second Life (yet!) but they were able to communicate and field questions thanks to the website and chat bridge. 

The chat bridge tool is available free in-world, though it does take a bit of web expertise to set it up.  My thoughts were–especially after seeing how well it worked yesterday, handling the crowds both in-world and on the website–was that it could certainly be used in educational applications.  For example, if you have students who want to attend SL lectures via a smartphone, a chat bridge could handle that.  Also, if you had guest lecturers who were apprehensive about the whole notion of creating an avatar and learning the basics of SL, just to give a lecture, you could have them simply speak into a chatroom on a website and bridge the conversation into SL.

It *could* be a useful feature for educators–I just wonder how much has been done with the technology so far.

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