Art and Exploration, Education in Virtual Worlds, Events, Second Life

The Story Box: Second Life Breaking Borders

Second Life is a Story Box:

But when I look at Second Life I don’t see a game, and I don’t see a role-playing environment, and I don’t see an e-commerce engine (although to some degree it is all of these) – I see the possibilities for stories. And in these possibilities I am attracted to how Second Life may be a new camp fire around which we weary hunters gather, scratching pictures in the sand with our primitive tools and telling each other of the days we’ve had, and the adventures ahead.

Stories without Borders has extended this beyond our personal narratives into a power for healing. Under the tag “Weaving the Narrative Threads(TM) of Our Lives” they are building the methods and executing projects to extend the capacity of virtual worlds to tell stories with meaning. On Thursday October 1st, they will premiere the results of a Story Quest that explores the life of an HIV-positive person known simply as Uncle D.

“The only way to eradicate a pandemic like HIV/AIDS is through education,” says Jena Ball, co-founder of TVWSP and Coordinator of Karuna* the National Library of Medicine-funded island devoted to HIV/AIDS education in Second Life. “One of the biggest challenges we face is the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. It’s not enough to understand prevention. People must be helped to become passionate about saving lives. Stories are the way to do that.”

“The power of story is undeniable,” says Martin Keltz, co-founder of TVWSP and producer of such well-known educational television programs as The Baby-Sitters Club, The Magic School Bus, and Goosebumps. “When combined with machinima and immersive, interactive environments in Second Life, stories come alive.”

The Quest, entitled “Stories Without Borders: The Life and Times of Uncle D” and the compelling film made from its story line will premiere Thursday, October 1, 2009 at Noon (PST) in Second Life. In addition to the film’s screening, attendees will be treated to live music, a Q and A session with the actors and producers, and guided tours of the Quest.

Pathfinder Linden interviewed the creators:

Pathfinder: I love the idea of leveraging people’s desire to contribute to a story as a way to make it grow over time. That seems to be a theme in human society. What’s so special about stories?

Jenaia: Stories engage, encourage creativity, and free the imagination. They help us make sense of our worlds. By sharing those stories with others, differences become less important and communities of interest/practice evolve organically.

Marty: And Story Quests in a platform like Second Life are ideal experiential learning environments. They offer opportunities for child/adult-centered education where different learning styles and personalities can be accommodated and most importantly celebrated.

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