Skills Learning in Second Life

I’m a big fan of building classes. Most formal building “schools” train and mentor their instructors and using a standard format that moves you through the class so you get all the info you need and are done at the end of the hour (though they usually hang out a while to answer questions after). Most basic project-oriented classes will take you through several essential skills, like prim manipulation and linking, texturing, and dropping in a script. They may go so far as to have you open a script and customize a variable, but nothing complicated unless the class is specifically script oriented.

The standard building class in SL is one hour. Note that people attending “free” classes are strongly encouraged to tip the instructor and venue. In most cases instructor tips are shared with the venue, so I usually just tip the instructor. My usual tip is 200-300L. Paid classes are sometimes worth the money, especially for more advanced training. They tend to have more serious students and the cost is usually pretty reasonable. There are a couple of reputable schools that charge fees.

For free classes, New Citizens Inc. (NCI) has been around for a very long time and is probably the most popular place for newbies to learn new skills. They also have social events that are noob friendly. Classes every day. Everything is always free, I believe. I haven’t taken a class anywhere in a long time. In my experience NCI tends to be crowded and there’s always someone in the more advanced classes asking “what’s a prim?”. The really basic classes can be a bit chaotic, but the teachers are usually trained to handle disruptions.

I came across this place just yesterday. Happy Hippo has many free classes (tips strongly encouraged) and they seem to have a good reputation. They also have free and paid tutorial kits. Mostly really basic objects. Build a table or chair or lamp or something.

I’ve never taken a class at Builder’s Brewery, but they have a good reputation. They have sponsored some high profile architectural competitions, etc. I don’t have any information about their classes (whether paid or free) other than the schedule. They sell a lot of building materials, especially textures.

I’ve only taken one class at Rockliffe University and it was a long time ago. They charge for classes, but they have programs for certification in virtual skills and so on. They have a good reputation. Their online calendar appears to be current, but their website is a bit ragged and dated.

Jenette Forager holds weekly tools.jam sessions sponsored by her Epoch Institute. They’re on Tuesdays at 12:30PM.  Go to the Institute’s site at IMMERSION: tools.jam, Wells (87, 53, 26) and touch the Subscribe-o-matic to get notices.  Tools.jam often has a product developer come in to talk about their latest cool gizmo, usually with an education-orientation. The compelling reason to go, aside from previewing some pretty cool gadgets, is that often the presenter will offer free copies of the things to the people in attendance.

BTW, have you seen this TED lecture by Jane McGonigal? Claims we should be spending more time playing computer games in order to solve the world’s problems. Works for me…

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