As I continue my work with the model for 3D remediation strategies, I’ve decided to replace the numbers in the four quadrants with indicators of the four corners of the world thinking they don’t imply a fixed sequence in the same way as numbers or letters tend to do. Having done this, I’ve also abandoned the idea of merging my model with Kolb’s learning cycle. Though I do believe that Kolb’s model has been subject to misinterpretations over the years, I’m not interested in forcing one specific learning theory upon my model. Indeed, I think one of the major affordances of 3D user generated VW, as compared to conventional proprietary 2D CMS/LMS/VLE, is the fact that you can design for teaching and learning based on any theoretical foundation. Diversity and countless possibilities are keywords in platforms like SL and with my model I aim at showing this diversity. When you first enter SL it appears to be pretty uniform with lots of beautiful Barbie-Ken-avatars and by and large respectfully remediated places, which unfortunately also is the way the official Linden Lab prefers to promote SL, but there is so much more to this wonderful world …
In connection with my analytical unit, People I’ve identified four archetypical ways of customizing the avatar:
- Avatar as Real Life-human – respectfully remediated based on an augmented approach.
- Avatar as Non-human – respectfully remediated based on an immersive approach.
- Avatar as Pseudo-human – radically remediated based on an augmented approach.
- Avatar as Sentient object – radically remediated based on an immersive approach.
I’ve also identified a number of seeming dichotomies that one should be aware of when contemplating using SL for teaching and learning. With the addition of these elements in the red People’s sphere the model now look like this:
I don’t mean to imply that the possible tension between e.g. professionalism and play only occurs between the NW-SO corners – I believe this tension (as well as the other tensions) can be identified within the whole sphere. Being a work in progress I’m currently settling for identifying key elements and placing them in the model, but if thorough investigations prove these elements to be relevant and viable I will improve the graphics.
As a preliminary demonstration of how the model can be used, I’ve identified four examples of the avatar types within my current research cycle, the MIL09 case:
NW: Mariis Mills, my main avatar who is a respectful remediation of my real life person. Though I have to admit, that she looks both younger and cuter, I do sense that my students recognize her as a reflection of me.
NO: Mew Aeon, my co-facilitator who at present chooses to represent himself as a cat because it goes well with his first name and playful nature.
SW: Mariis Placebo, my main alt who is currently a humanoid super heroine with butterfly wings and special powers. I use her when I need to work undisturbed in-world and she’s also member of a number of groups that are only peripherally connected to my field of study.
SO: At a certain point MIL student, Jorn Jinx showed up as the – in Denmark – very famous teddy bear, Bamse. Though Bamse clearly is an object, it is usually referred to as a male persona and associated with the ability to feel and perceive subjectively.
I think the avatars above represent the more moderate examples of the four achetypes, but it will certainly be possible to identify more extreme cases as in this excellent interview moderated by Hydra Shaftoe (a wolf) for Nokia on the topic of Perceptions of Non-human avatars or as in this Orange Island Identity Summit, where e.g. qDot Bunnyhug is represented as a sentient rectangular box.
By definition a model is a simplified summary of reality designed to aid further study, and I really do not perceive the world of SL to be as simple, clear-cut and uncomplicated as the model may give the impression of. I do, however find it useful in trying to identify different aspects of possible remediation strategies. With a final example of an avatar remediation that fluctuates between Real life-human and Non-human I’ll finish this post with a photo of my centaur friend, Birkenkrahe: