The Added Value of 3D World in Professional, Educational, and Individual Dynamics

The Added Value of 3D World in Professional, Educational, and Individual Dynamics

Ivonne Citarella
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2426-7.ch015
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The author focused her studies on the series of professional competences which have grown within virtual worlds, and which have been made possible thanks to two main peculiarities: the highly intuitive software and playfulness gaming. The research allowed to classify the various professions born within the Second Life virtual world, these have allowed also to become a viable economic opportunities in real life. In parallel with the observations on the dimension of “work” within Second Life, the author gave also attention to the relational and educational dynamics. The author decided to enact her sociological and didactical experiment in the occasion of the event Salerno in Fantasy, a yearly convention dedicated to the Fantasy world.
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The objective of this paper, entitled “The added value of 3D world to professional, educational and individual dynamics”, is to highlight the acquisition process of professional skills in virtual worlds, with special reference to a virtual platform called Second Life (SL). The interest in this platform derives from its key features, i.e. its extension in terms of residents, the number of objects that can be built, the activities that can be performed and that involve a great number of communities from various countries. SL has proved to be the most effective platform in providing users with a unique, full immersion experience in a virtual world where they can be overwhelmed by the beauty of the avatars, landscapes and lands they create. Users can transform and animate their creations because virtual space can be modified giving life to an ever-changing place.

The acquisition of such professional skills is made possible by two specific characteristics of virtual platforms: a highly intuitive software and a recreational environment. A survey conducted on SL revealed that 72.7% of the sample involved had autonomously acquired technical skills in various fields: 3D building, photography, sculpture, art, the creation of clothes, shoes and accessories, as well as script writing skills for object animation or machinima. What is mostly important to emphasize is the process that led the users involved to acquire such skills not only through play, but also through a training process conceived to be within everyone's reach. For some, it also meant a radical change in their lifestyle and in their working lives with new royalty income.

This process implied a step-by-step knowledge development without the hard work, and even the sacrifice, that any learning process often entails.

The most distinctive feature of virtual worlds is the versatility of the purpose they can be designed for. The end can be professional or not, educational or purely recreational. A virtual world can be an inanimate, empty place, a desert, or else it can quickly become a paradise, a futuristic place, an ancient one, or just a fantasy world.

By the manipulation and transformation of the virtual space they are immersed in, users can give life to their imagination countless times.

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