Second Life is a FREE sandbox concept program based around its community of users. The allure of Second Life is the ability to create whatever you can imagine and explore what other people have developed and spent their time bringing to life. For you, it means the ability to visit Japan (and other places) without ever having to travel beyond your computer. It can be explored at home, in a classroom, or anywhere with an Internet connection. Come see what we've done!
Second Life offered a unique experience for our class because we were able to take what we had seen in Japan and recreate these elements to design a Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple that could offer some information, as well as visual appeal, to help other students learn and experience what we did. With just basic shapes like pyramids, rectangles and cylinders we were able to create two large-scale buildings in just a few weeks time. What is also really engaging and special about Second Life is the ability to 'script' actions and responses. In each of the areas we have added actions like meditation or bowing to teach others about common ritual behaviors at shrines and temples. Second Life really opened a lot of doors for our Japan experience and created a whole new level of depth that we could use to share our findings with other students.
How to visit our shrine and temple: 1. Go to secondlife.com, follow the instructions under "Join Now", and download the FREE software (it's safe!) 2. After the software has downloaded successfully, open it and begin setting up your "Avatar" 3. Once you have done that, the next step is to visit our shrine and temple! Enter this address (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ball%20State%20University/182/159/1022) in the Information/Location bar at the top, or click on it here and it should open your Second Life program and take you there. (Note: You need the Second Life program downloaded first) 4. Explore the shrine and temple. Be sure to read the signs and click on the "pose balls" to make your Avatar try the different rituals. Do you see any differences between 'what-to-do' at Shinto shrines versus Buddhist temples? Any ideas why they differ? Visit the rest of this website for details, or see our References page and do a little research on your own to find out more!
Instructors: If you'd like to use Second Life (or other parts of this website) for lessons on religiousness in Japan, go to the Instructors link.
Special thanks to Professor John Fillwalk, Jake Baxter, and Trevor Prime and the folks at the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts at Ball State for their training, advice, and support with this project! This project was generously funded by a Ball Sate Provost's Immersive Learning Initiative Grant.
Below are some pictures of what our students built. Above is a picture of the class in the main gate to our shrine.
Written by: Andrew Schreiber Photos by: Jade Huston