Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Experiencing NPC's Mentors Central as a Presenter

"Real to Virtual": SarVana and Sally
What a week in real life and in-world! Since I am totally a "virtual being", I will let my "human ego", Sally S. Cherry tell you about the real life stuff. As the in-world "consultant", I am pleased to share virtual-based programs, activities, and information maintained or supported by Cherry Consulting Network. Our primary program, "Real to Virtual; Virtual to Real" focuses on marketing; networking; training; and capacity building through social media and virtual worlds. 

Entrance to Plush NPC Amphitheater
So, it was indeed a pleasure to be the Mentors Central presenter at the January 18th meeting of Nonprofit Commons in Second Life (NPC) sponsored by TechSoup Global. Mentors Central is a regular agenda feature of the weekly meetings. During Mentors Central, the Mentors present various relevant topics to share with the community; announce upcoming collaborative opportunities; or discuss requests for assistance. This network weaving avatar (that's me, SarVana) is honored to be part of the Mentors Central team. What an amazing, collaborative group of virtual-focused professionals!

Visualization of Collaborative Spirit
If you are not familiar with this virtual-based community, you may ask... "What is Nonprofit Commons?" "What's Second Life?" No problem... those are questions regularly asked of Sally about our virtual-based communities and activities. Please allow me explain a bit later while I continue with my comments about the recent NPC meeting and Mentors Central. I must stay focused... The excitement and awesome learning points of the meeting still have me flying high. Oh, yes... flying but flying is no big deal in Second Life nor in OpenSim virtual worlds. Flying is an alternate mode of in-world transport and the preferred mode of transport for this little "walking-challenged" avatar. You just have to watch out for tall structures, flying objects, and any other flying residents. Thanks to the help of several NPC Mentors including Buffy Bye (Bridges for Women) and Gentle Heron (Virtual Ability), my "walking" skills are much improved but are still need a bit of "fine-tuning" (smiles). Hence, the main reason for my excitement... the opportunity to learn and share information within this collaborative community of practice as well as its Mentors Central is indeed a capacity building experience for any virtual-focused professional even a computer-generated professional!   

Before Mentors Central meeting
As a member of the NPC community, I always welcome an opportunity to exchange information with my virtual-based friends and colleagues. That is why I need Sally in real life and why Sally needs her little avatar(s) in-world. Just knowing that behind each avatar is an human being with an fascinating inventory of real life experiences, skills, talents, and ideas heightens the excitement of  learning and sharing. At this week's meeting, I presented information about another Second Life/OpenSim grid client for Android smartphones and tablets... the Lumiya Viewer. The review of 3-D viewers and other related tools is essential to the ongoing learning process. Since most NPC in-world presentations are delivered via text, being a "Mentors Central Presenter" definitely enhances the virtual learning experience.

Fleep Tuque presents at NPC Meeting
Speaking of experience, the highlight of this week's NPC meeting was the information-packed presentation, 'Moving Beyond Second Life: Opportunities for Education, NonProfits and Healthcare in the Wider Metaverse' delivered by the featured speaker, Fleep Tuque (RL: Chris Collins). Woot, woot! What a real life and in-world highlight! 

It is my understanding that Chris started in Second Life during the beta period in 2003 and her avatar, Fleep Tuque was not even born until around 2005. Fascinating... Fleep was exploring the Metaverse even before Sally created me in the 2D virtual world of Metaplace and definitely before my migration into Second Life. I applaud Chris and Fleep for their use of virtual worlds, social media, and augmented reality in higher education. After many challenges while educating others about 3-D virtual worlds, the presentation and group discussion were indeed affirmations that 3-D virtual worlds are major collaborative workspaces for education, healthcare, and nonprofits. Our virtual-based research and projects will continue in Second Life and/or OpenSim grids such as Kitely and JokaydiaGRID. As I reflect on the meeting, an article from Maria Korolov' s Hypergrid Business comes to the forefront...  "Second Life is Not a game".

The level of learning and sharing within this 3-D collaborative community of practice for nonprofits  is definitely Not a game even though there is much fun to be enjoyed when the time is appropriate.  Kudos to Susan Tenby for the vision of Nonprofit Commons inSecond Life. Susan is TechSoup's Online Community and Social Media Director. She founded and manages Nonprofit Commons in Second Life. What an awesome vision!
Browse and Shop VanaBooks...