Part of the Volume on the Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning
While virtual worlds share common technologies and audiences with games, they possess many unique characteristics. Particularly when compared to massively multiplayer online role-playing games, virtual worlds create very different learning and teaching opportunities through markets, creation, and connections to the real world, and lack of overt game goals. This chapter aims to expose a wide audience to the breadth and depth of learning occurring within Second Life (SL). From in-world classes in the scripting language to mixed-reality conferences about the future of broadcasting, a tremendous variety of both amateurs and experts are leveraging SL as a platform for education. In one sense, this isn't new since every technology is co-opted by communities for communication, but SL is different because every aspect of it was designed to encourage this co-opting, this remixing of the virtual and the real.