While the hubbub over the virtual world Second Life has ebbed considerably in the last few years, the community is still active and one school in particular continues to leverage Second Life as an aid to its students and faculty.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) features a slate of properties in Second Life, including Comm Media Island, which serves as a “blank slate” for students to develop projects in, and Crimson Island, a destination used for both classroom instruction and to orientate new users.
IUP’s latest property is called Archaeology Island, and, as you might imagine, it centers on archaeology, featuring four areas—a Mayan pyramid, a Native American village, an underwater Lake Ontario shipwreck and a dig site located in Cyprus—for visitors to explore. All sites are modeled on data collected by IUP students and faculty who worked at the actual locations.
IUP Associate Professor Beverly Chiarulli explained, “It’s kind of an interactive museum exhibit where we can show students and general Second Life participants about archaeology, about some of the things archaeologists do, and some of the ways we know about the past.”
It’s hoped that Archaeology Island will assist in “easing the learning curve” for students that have no prior experience digging or searching for ancient artifacts.
Chiarulli’s avatar, named Beverly Qunhua, is pictured at Archaeology Island ‘s Mayan pyramid in the accompanying photo.