VCARA offers many ways to participate, and anyone with an Internet connection can access our webcast recordings and follow us through social media to discover the virtual worlds and online learning research and events we share.
But for those wishing to immerse themselves in VCARA and virtual worlds, read on for a step-by-step guide on taking your first steps:
Getting Started with VCARA
For information about Second Life, check out the official What is Second Life website.
To learn why participating in virtual worlds might be right for you, explore the VCARA Blog and VCARA on Social Media for past and coming attractions and opportunities.
Step 1: Create a Second Life Account
Signing up for Second Life (SL) is similar to creating a video game character and downloading game software.
(As you begin your journey with VCARA, you'll realize Second Life isn't a game; it's an entire virtual world that parallels the real world in many ways! But for now, if you've ever played an MMORPG like World of Warcraft or a life simulator game like the Sims, you're already ahead of the curve!)
First, make sure your home computing environment meets the iSchool's requirements. Then go to SecondLife.com and press the Play for Free button. Follow the website's instructions.
When signing up, you will:
Step 2: Install a Second Life viewer
Choose one of the following options:
Step 3: Participate in Second Life
Open the viewer like you would any other program on your computer, type your username and password, and have fun! When Second Life first opens, your default location will be Learning Island. Follow Learning Island's official Second Life tutorial to learn some basics.
Virtual Ability, Inc. (a non-profit dedicated to virtual world accessibility) also hosts an excellent tutorial.
To access the tutorial, paste http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/170/99/23 into your viewer's search bar. You will learn valuable skills like navigation and opening objects. Bonus: there is a ton of free avatars and clothing at the end of the tutorial!
If you're feeling shy, don't worry--most of us do when we begin Second Life! Paste iSchool Island's URL into your viewer's search bar: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SJSU%20SLIS/43/73/33
You'll end up in friendly territory right outside of the VCARA Amphitheatre. There may be a VCARA member (an iSchool student, faculty, or alumnus) there to answer questions, or you might have the island to yourself. Either way, feel free to explore and enjoy our safe, educational space!
Step 4: Attend a VCARA Orientation
Sign up for an in-world (in Second Life) VCARA orientation to learn about VCARA and Second Life.
We can tailor the session to your needs, so don't worry if you're having trouble with the basics. Second Life's learning curve is steep, and everyone on the VCARA team remembers what it is like to be new to this amazing virtual world.
Orientations last 30 minutes to an hour, and the VCARA team is happy to host multiple sessions as your Second Life skills progress! Check the VCARA Blog for scheduled orientations.