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My summary of the course ‘is one life enough?’

class 7_002

Development of attitudes towards learning and education

Having returned to formal education after quite a gap, I found that this module actually made sense to my own ability to learn. (https://inishblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/week-2/)

Jean Piaget’s theory on how we slot information into what we already know, based on previous learning and experience, ( http://psychology.about.com/od/piagetstheory/a/keyconcepts.htm ) is, in my opinion, the basis for adult education.This was very apparent right from the onset of the class.

As an adult I find that the method used for delivery of this module takes into account your own pre-conceived ideas, and without dismissing them, enables you take on board new ideas through discussion and debate. Also Vygotsky’s belief

(http://www.simplypsychology.org/Zone-of-Proximal-Development.html published 2010)  that we can learn through guidance from others was also apparent within the group, both from the tutor and other participants. I found that I learned best from ‘scaffolding’ within the group and from the tutors.

On a more personal level, I had my own reservations about information I see on-line through social networking platforms, and the validity of their research. What I have learned is that I can dip into any of these content creators, learn from their research, and through listening to the experiences and views of others, I can form a more educated theory of my own. I guess that makes Vygotsky and Piaget right after all!

Online Course vs Real.

For me this has been an amazing experience. I live in a Town with no university and work full time. To study at this level would mean taking at least two hours of travel to campus – that is, IF the course is offered at night-time – or at weekends. I had always avoided the usual formats of online classes. However – the fact that this course was held in a virtual space , and that we had virtual bodies that could interact with each other and the environment, -embedded the illusion and comfort zone of a familiar learning environment.  This made it totally different from other online class formats.

I feel there is something here that could be used by educators at all levels. If anyone has any links to research on this I would be very interested – please leave a comment.

Knowledge gained and new skills developed

On creating an online presence – I feel I have been living in the ‘dark’ ages when it comes to my personal online presence. I really didn’t have a clue about twitter, or blogging. During this course I have learned to create accounts, use the tools available within the social networking platforms, and now surf the web in quite a different way.

Rgulations, Conventions and Etiquette.

see blog entry https://inishblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/essay/

Social Networking – Establishing and maintaining relationships online –

I have learned two main points on this:

  1. That linking with what interests you professionally and personally are two different things, Although sometimes it is a good thing to share both with all, it can get confusing if you establish relationships as a Fae , then share that with your professional life as a politician! (or maybe not!) inish xmas_5
  2. Maintaining those relationships is probably more important on line than it is in real life. If you are inactive on line you can be quickly forgotten, where as in real – relationships formed are not expected to stay in contact quite as regularly.

Intellectual Property (IP), copyright – Still a bit of a minefield – and seems to be growing organically with each case and evolving with the changes that happen in various platforms.

Summarising yourself – “the elevator pitch” – YOU REALLY CAN SAY THINGS USING A FEW WORDS!

Working in groups, & presentation

presentation 1

As avatars – age barriers were blasted away! That was a huge relief for me when it came to the group work. We were able to focus on personalities and skills much quicker that we would have, had it been a ‘real’ classroom.

Sitearm Madonna also shared the best piece of advice on presentations I have had to date. – to start off  a clear message and to end with the same message.

Message – group work was really fun!

End message – group work was really fun!

Question

I am left with a question for the tutors and module developers. What is the next stage now that this module is the success that it is? Can this method of delivery be extended to offer a full online Level 7 or 8? If so sign me up!

As I have stated before, I am an early school leaver, lone parent, and recovering dyslexic. I learned more in this course than I did in a year at school. I honestly feel that this course needs to be evaluated with a view to developing the format further to open up learning at all levels to ALL age groups.

How old knowledge has been altered or modified

In simple terms – I had always felt that social networking was a bit of a ‘joke.’  I saw no value in using social networking for anything more than a fleeting pastime. I now realise the value of them if used properly, with thought and planning. I have discovered that sites like twitter will take you by the hand and lead you to things that interest you or are relevant to your professional or personal life. Something that google tries to do by throwing up suggestions based on your search history. This just doesn’t work in the same way as when you choose to follow something based on your own personal choice or interest.

Application and implementation of learning

During the course I remained true to my Second Life avatar throughout the course. Now I am ready to take my ‘real’ avatar and applying what I have learned on this course -begin to develop a professional online persona. I also hope to continue to blog as Inish – for someone who usually shies away from the written word – this is a real breakthrough for me and certainly not an expected outcome of the course.

The application of the learning from the tutors, guest speakers and lecturers was immediate and reflected in the blogs we were ‘forced’ to write (;-). Our final presentation implemented the learning on a visual and verbal scale.

Feeling at the beginning and end of module

It took some time at the beginning of the course to adjust to the idea of returning to ‘formal’ learning. I had the preconception that because it was from a real university it would be stuffy and geared towards academia and things that would fly over my head.

At the first class, it wasn’t long before I realised that I couldn’t have been further from my expectations! The course helped me get an understanding of citations and referencing very early on, and that was a personal fear of mine.

There was so much new information to take on board which refreshed my ideas and renewed my interest in learning. (Which again proves Vygotsky right!)

The feeling at the end was that I didn’t want it to end – a feeling I am sure that classmates shared. I am left wanting more, but unsure what or how to do that.

What was not useful about the learning

I really have to say that the learning has all been useful. The only thing I would change is a little more time and focus on the group project. The group project we worked on could have travelled more extensively throughout Second Life and gathered more ideas and comments if we had had more time. A consistent thread within the class was that it was difficult to meet up as a group. Perhaps some extra timetabled classes to actually do group work would be useful (with some willing facilitors on hand to help if needed).

Group dynamics and tutor/student dynamics

Although we all come from very different professional settings – we all have something to contribute and learn from each other. The group was not afraid to ask questions and to share ideas and experience. The tutors enabled the group to learn this way and even though the time allocated to the subject was tight – they remained flexible and at a pace that suited us all.

Although the atmosphere was very relaxed, it didn’t take away the seriousness of producing the evidence needed to credit the module. Tutors were no less demanding of students and deadlines than they would be in the real college.

The group I worked with on the project became like a little ‘family’. This is a dynamic I don’t think would be possible if we were within the college campus. Relationships on-line seem to form much faster than in the real world. In Second Life, we could travel together, shop together, dance together, and slap each other – all in the space of a couple of hours. Impossible in real! Sharing these experiences brought us close very fast.

Time and the group project prevented the class as a whole to connect as deeply as I would hope for – but having said that I have made many friends as a result of this course that I intend to keep! Maybe we should all meet up for a pint in Temple Bar as our avatars??

Follow up needed

A cert giving night in Gogarty’s pub !

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Invitation time!

bill board - texture by B.ro

bill board – texture by B.ro

The day is almost upon us ….13th of December 2012 12 noon  -Second Life time (8.00GMT) – Ties That Bind 2.0 presentation. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dublin%202/205/87/27

As we traveled around with the display, we ‘friended’ those who interacted with us, and  invited them to attend.

Now it is time to do some more inviting. Our group discussed different ways we should invite. We decided to make an events page in Facebook and B.ro agreed to this. http://www.facebook.com/events/235722419891120/?context=create.

We will also ‘tweet’ closer to the time and use our blogs.

I took on the task of advertising the event within the virtual world of Second Life. I started with the simplest form of advertising … a billboard at the venue. Using the texture made for our presentation by B.ro, I added the information on the presentation and built an easel to hold it (picture above).   I have prepared a note card to send to groups as well as individually inviting friends. We were asked to invite ‘relevant’ people to this presentation, and as the subject mater is on virtual worlds and networking, the relevance is wide open as these things affect any of us who use social networking platforms or virtual worlds.

By using the virtual world to invite people by virtue, should attract those already immersed in on-line communities.

The course has certainly opened my mind to consider my own virtual presence and hopefully the presentations will do the same for the audience.

I have discovered that advertising events in Second Life anything more than a few days before, will fall on deaf ears.  Newer viewers store group notices and with the new allowance of 42 groups that can be a lot of notices to get through.  Once the invitation  is sent, it is more effective to target those who are actually on-line on the day.  This will be done in two ways – (1) an instant message to groups (2) individual invitations to people on friends list.

Unfortunately it was not possible to add the presentation to the events list as you can only do this if you personally own the parcel, the parcel is owned by a group that you are an owner of, or that you have the ‘host events’ ability for the group.

Until the presentation

Inish 🙂

All the group working

Guest staring Acuppa Tae & Locks Aichi and class of 2012!

Class 8 WE ARE NOT WORTHY!

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What can I say!  Our guest speaker at the class on week 8 (29/11/12) was none other than the concept creater and owner of Second Life Dublin (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Dublin/125/188/25) Ham Rambler.

You need to understand that, to me, who was a pimpled faced noob when I first duck-walked into the Blarney Stone virtual bar some four years ago,  Ham was something of a legend – a guru and an unknowing mentor to all.

So what did he talk about?   I DONT KNOW! …. I was so busy being in a trance at the very IDEA of hearing Ham speak that strange Anglo-Irish-American brogue!  I was brought back to earth abruptly by the sound of Sitearm reminding us to turn to “slide 22”.   I managed to type in a dot to let all know I was actually conscious.  It was fascinating to hear that the real bar in Dublin, (the one that the bar in SL was modeled on) has been visited by residents of Second Life and that ‘non- virtual’ pints have been shared.  This class was co presented by Sitearm, who gave us a very good overview on content creation and copyrights.  Ham described the ‘copying’ of builds from real world to virtual ones as no different than an artist who paints a picture of a building onto canvas.  I like this argument for reproducing what we see.  It doesnt seem the same to me as copying work, then calling it your own.

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It was nice to see us all gathered in class – our last ‘formal’ one.  I missed seeing those who couldnt make it.  I will miss Thursday evening in D.I.T. and will definitely miss the awesome team of tutors – who tried so very hard to be serious – (not realising we could hear the snort laughs through the mikes!).   My only regret has been that this course did not last longer – so much to take in!

Oh!  and sometimes the heating was not on in the room!!!!!!  🙂

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Until next time

Inish 🙂

Week 8 – progress group work

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With just 2 weeks left to present the project we all met up for pow wow at the campfire.  After Seranox swapped seats with Ace (because he felt his sit animation was too ‘girly’) we chatted about the project.  I remembered Sitearm’s words of warning, and first made sure that everyone understood what we aimed to present.  That done – all seemed fairly confident that they did.  Ideas are still flowing, but with little time left, we need to move on to phase 2.  We have arranged to meet up, and to take the finished ‘exhibition’ out for its first journey into a public area of Second Life.  It will be interesting to see if we connect with more people through our exhibit on connections!

Looking back over the past weeks and this project, I have time to reflect on my own contribution to the group.  I feel I have been lucky to have the experience and skills that I have learned through the time I have spent previously in Second Life, and have been able to offer these to the group.  I was able to provide a canvas that the rest could add to with thier thoughts, artistic talent, and skills.  With anything that you do, I think the hardest part it to get started. The starting line – I was able to provide.  When the ‘GO!’ bullet fired … we were all off running.  I would also like to say that I have offered genuine friendship and some fun to our meetings – providing ice breakers such as a ship voyage and our cozy fire.  I will say that there is little I would do to improve how things have gone so far.  The main improvement would be in getting us all together.  We overcame that by working on individual tasks, and then bringing those together in the exhibit.  Even if our presentation falls apart, Ace’s computer blows up, B.ro’s hair catches fire, or Seranox breaks his avatar again by turning into a rabid rabbit….  I can honestly say that it has been a privilege to know these people, and that we HAVE connected and made our own ‘Ties that bind’

TO BE CONTINUED….

until next time Inish 🙂

Progress of group

This is me (inish working with the groups design textures

Comparing ties that bind team work with the theory

BRAINSTORMING

BRAINSTORMING WITH GROUP

We had a very enlightening and thought provoking talk from Sitearm Madonna,on teamwork and roles in the virtual environment.  We listened and followed a slide show http://www.slideshare.net/sitearm/virtual-collaboration-tips-and-tools#btnNext

After talking about leadership, we took a look at the slide below, which breaks up the roles needed for a successful team into 9 categories

Two things I found very interesting about this are:

1) THERE IS NO LEADER ROLE

2) THERE ARE 9 ROLES AND ONLY 4 IN OUR TEAM!.

Seemingly the assumption was made by other classmates that I was the ‘leader’ of our project group.  Not something I saw myself, but can understand why that assumption was made.  Firstly I have had experience in the virtual world of Second Life, and each group was set up with one person with experience in each – therefore language like “you three go with Inish” can lead us to believe automatically that I have some responsibility to ‘lead’ the group.  Secondly I could possibly be accused of having a rather big mouth, am pretty vocal and have an opinion on most things.  Lastly I have green hair and could be heard in twitter threatening the group to meet up or feel the sharp blade of my sword!!!! – this may make me stand out a tad at times.  In all honesty, the only things I have done in terms of leadership is to provide a place to meet, and to put the groups ideas and concepts into a 3D visual – this is entirely down to my experience and skills built up from time in Second Life.

So how to put that into Belbin’s theory? http://www.belbin.com/rte.asp?id=8 (modified 25th November 2012)

So far I can place myself in a few of the categories:

Plant –   I am good at solving problems in creative and unconventional ways – but I would also say that all of us are that way in our team.

Co-ordinator – Up until now I have been the one to focus on the team’s goals, facilitate team members, and give choices on tasks based on skills and abilities in the team.  I can see this role being taken on by others in the team, as the tasks ahead of us change.

Implementer – There is an agreed plan in place, and each team member has some work to complete.  Again this is a role that all four of us agreed on, based on skills, IT capabilities, and experience.

Teamworkers  – This is the role I most identify with.  I believe we ALL fit into this one the best.  We have  bonded well because of all our  different personalities.  The lads are boisterous and noisy where the girls are serene and ladylike (there is no link or citation to prove that last remark – so form your own thoughts on that!!).  We have all also identified our own skills, and are completing work individually, on behalf of the team to present a final project together.

Shaper – I have a sword – what can I say??   I would have prefered to have this role named ‘team nag’ – as it is something I do very well.  It comes from years of experience of parenting alone and learning quickly that a virtual ‘ear twist’ has more impact than gentle persuasion.  That said, I have passed a virtual slap animation to all team members to use on each other – including me, should the need arise.  This has been used on me several times when I pronounce B.ro’s name wrong (said like BEEEEE roe, not Bro.)

The group is still fairly new, and still jumping around from forming, storming, norming, and performing.  I am pretty convinced that by the end of the project we will see all nine points of team roles be apparent in all four of us equally………… though I will always be best with the sword!

My progress on the project so far

I have built a 3D piece that represents the concept of things we have learnt in this module. Textures have been made and shared between us in the group and I have included them in the build.

Sometimes this has involved visits to shops that have the perfect textures that we need to portray the ideas.

Out and about

I have tried to take the ideas from the group and change and adapt  the build to represent the different inputs.  This can be a tad frustrating when I don’t have instant access to group members to ask if things work or not.  It is important that we all feel ownership of the project, so I have to be mindful not to ‘race’ ahead without the rest.  Our intention is to take the final build, and display it at various ‘sandboxes.’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-JNQsI_KAI  We are hoping to get some discussions going with others – on our group build.  We will film these interactions, and present our experiences for the final presentation.

Sometimes skills are stifled by technology. This I discovered when Ace, who can make films, had problems when trying to download software that will work in second life.  We will try to all film some pieces and pass to Ace for editing, but this may not work as we all have different operating systems and such.  We may need to call upon a Specialist (HIDE SITEARM!) to help us out with this one.

Project build

Evolution of build

Evolution of build

Many thanks to Sitearm not only for the lecture, but also for the chance to dance like a professional dance group after class – and also for the solid ideas and advice.

Snapshot_002

Until next time Inish 🙂

experience of working in the group (so far)

After the first session of the class ‘is one life enough?’ http://virtualenvironmentsmodule.wordpress.com/  I kept looking out for classmates on Secondlife.  Remembering that Secondlife is like real life in so many ways,  I had as much chance of seeing them as I did of bumping into them in Grafton Street on christmas eve!  I did  however manage to make contact with one participant  – Dudley Dreamscape, who has been a great help to me and also has experience in Education as well as in Second Life.   We met up with Sitearm who helped find the problem with Dudley’s lack of voice, (his voice is just fine, but his equipment didn’t work)

Duley, Sitearm and me

Dudley, Sitearm and me

Then to class – Just before the groups were selected for the final project ‘ties that bind-20’, in pops a new face – ‘Seranox’  who was certainly making a grand entrance!  There he stood wearing a bicycle and bumping into things.  At first I thought he was a random person who had drifted into the class by mistake, or worse – a ‘griefer’ http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/subcultures/griefing (modified 17/11/2012)  Looking round the room I noticed ‘Ace’ having problems sitting down. ‘b. RO’  I recognised from the first week, when in the pub he had plowed though a host of  revelers and totally missed any of my friendly attempt of “hello”.  selection time was here – I kept my virtual fingers crossed ” please let Dudley be in my group ….oh and not the bike guy or the person bumper anything else but that! ……..please please!”

Group 3 is………. (fanfare) Inish, Seranox, B.ro, and Ace.  TAAAAAAAA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

I should have realised that my wishes suck, I have tried that method many times when playing the Lotto and have yet to be a millionaire!

Everything happened a bit fast after that,  class over Ace vanished  just and just managed to grab B.ro and Seranox after class to try to get to know them both a bit better.

As the others are new to Second Life, I decided to use my island campfire as a place to meet.  I think a fire creates a positive mood whether or not its real or virtual (and there is also a free bar!)

Group meeting place

We didn’t discuss anything about the project on that first meeting, we ‘chilled’ and virtually ‘smoked’ very large cigarettes.  My first reservations were quickly dispelled.

The next time we got together, Ace managed to link up as well.  This was a focused meeting on joining a social network together (https://inishblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/ties-that-bind-2-0%E2%80%B2/) and this time we arranged a date and time to all log in.  This seems to be the best method to link up with each other (jus as it is in real). Strange that with all this social media that we are all members off, arranging the next time we meet at the end of a meeting (all be it virtually) is still the most effective way to gather.  Word of mouth still has a place in these virtual platforms!

This meeting we had on a ship, and again the group ‘gel’ took more of a piroity than the disscussion on work.

safe on the dock

safe on the dock

The next time we met up, we finally discussed the project.  This time we all managed to be together, we discussed our skills, and I AM SO LUCKY! .  The group have a mixed bag of skills that compliment each other.  We have  a graphic designer, a graffiti artist and a media (almost) expert, and me who can build, knows a bit about most things in Second Life, and who is awesome with a sword!

Such a talented group! and together we may even come up with something amazing!  I just wish that we had more time to work on things.  I am lucky that I am not having to dive into the Second Life ‘learning curve’ but this is an added task for the others in the group.

TO BE CONTINUED ……….

It started with a prim!

ON CONTENT CREATION

Social networking sites rely on the users to supply the content.  There is a set format, and can include sharing of links, posting of own photographs, as well as artwork.  Virtual worlds such as Second Life differ because, apart from ‘sea’ and ‘land’, there is no set ‘format’.  The user is given the opportunity to create all forms of content –  3D builds, textures, clothing, animations, music, machinima, mesh,  sculpties, and scripts.

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Creation_Portal (accessed Novemer 13th 2012)

The world of Second Life provides a blank canvas for creation, and a learning platform for those who want to learn, or to rediscover hidden talents.  Creation can cost nothing – there are many free places to build,  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Builders%20Resource/142/127/23

(visited 13th November 2012)

free textures to use,

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Oleg/111/11/21

(visited 13th November 2012)

and even free programmes to download to help you to create content, e.g.  http://www.getpaint.net/ (last modified 10th October 2012)

There is a cost to export content from your computer into Second Life.   However, you can place content on the marketplace at no cost (you pay a commision if an item is sold). This is one way to cover the cost of downloading content.

When I first joined Second Life in 2007, there were hordes of people rushing to buy full permission items to resell.  Now in 2012, people crowd into full permission texture and scultpy shops, where they can create an item using an already created map and texture.  Personally, I think that this is both a good and a bad thing for the Second Life environment.  Good, in that people can create with very little skill as a builder, but bad because you do tend to see sims with similar, or the same objects all over the Second Life grid.  When you create full permission items, you run the risk of the item becoming tomorrow’s ‘freebie’.

Even though the Terms Of Service offer a creator some rights and protections, it is difficult for creators to keep track of their creations.  One protection for creators is in the way they set permissions for the next owner.  You have a choice of giving full permisions on the item,  or to modify and copy it , to give away or sell the item, to tranfer only, or  to copy only.  Using the right combination of permissions for the next owner is an important element of protecting content.

Copy bots have discouraged many content creators from spending time creating http://news.cnet.com/2100-1043_3-6135699.html (November 16th 2006)

“The essence of the creativity in this world is largely because of creators and their work being protected,” Mallon said. “This tool defeats all protection. So if you labor to build a business like we all have, your work can be stolen.”

The best defence in the war against unauthorised copying is LindenLab’s commitment to expel offenders, and the alertness of Second Life residents to spot and report offenders. Neither of these efforts will completely eradicate devious use of the Copybot, but they will slow down the crime rate.  In the mean time creators are less and less motivated to create.

For me personally, sales of what I create are not so important to me.  I view Second life as one huge art class, and, in an art class, you dont put pencil to paper with the thought that you will make thousands for this ‘work of art’ or that another student will peer over you shoulder and copy your drawing!

I wonder how many times the Mona Lisa has been copied? and how does Leonardo feel about that?????

until next time Inish 🙂

Essay

The importance of regulation,

convention and etiquette in

online communities

One definition of online communities that I like is written by Jeremiah Owyang, (using the input from the communities themselves), “Online communities are bodies of people joined together by a common interest”

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2007/12/28/defining-the-term-community/ (modified 5/11/2012)

There are various online platforms which are communities and host smaller communities (or groups) within them. The main platform has its own governance or terms of service (T.O.S), which all members must agree to on joining and abide by them or face expulsion or in the worst case scenario, legal proceedings. Smaller groups may set their own set of regulations for their members which, if breached, may result in ejection. In this essay, I will focus on the virtual 3d world of Second Life http://secondlife.com/ and discuss the importance of the rules.

End User Licence Agreement (EULA) or Terms of Service http://secondlife.com/corporate/tos.php ( last updated and effective Date: December 15, 2010) are a contractual agreement between the owners of the virtual world and in the case of Second Life – the resident or user. These rules evolve over time, usually in response to litigation or changes within the ‘world’ that they are intended for. These terms of service work both ways – the obligations from Second Life to residents, and visa versa. A benefit to linden labs in this form of governance, is that resident disputes can be resolved swiftly, if there is evidence of violation of the T.O.S..

Linden labs set the ‘norms’ and the management of every day interactions is led by the community itself. Residents are given the means to file abuse reports, mute and block other residents. Virtual land owners have the power to freeze, eject,, return objects to, or ban other residents as they see fit. They may apply their own rules to the land by using a covenant e.g. http://reachisles.com/sims/covenant this enables a group or the user to define rules that suit the setting. These things all help maintain the etiquette that is acceptable in that area or group.

As residents can ‘buy’ virtual land within Second life, the terms of service have been adjusted to define this as purchase of a limited license to access the space. They now define the purchase as acquiring a virtual land licence and reserve the right to revoke this licence at any time without notice under certain circumstances. This prevents litigation such as the Brag verses Linden case 2007 http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=583434033289222111&q=bragg+versus+linden&hl=en&as_sdt=2,5 (modified 05 November 2012 ).

Linden Labs reserves the right to use content for the purposes of promotion, but the creator retains all intellectual property rights. Action is taken when content has been obtained without purchase, or the creators permission. I have had personal experience of this. When innocently obtaining copied content – it was deleted from my inventory and I was informed by Linden Labs.

In conclusion, good EULA’s are important as they serve as protection for both the owners and the users of virtual worlds . Covenants and group charters give users clear guidelines on etiquette and conventions.

Ross A Dannenberg – Computer games and virtual worlds: a new frontier in intellectual property law /- 1st edition ( American Bar Association – ISBN:13-978-1-60442-750-9) 5

Tom Boellstorff – Coming of age in Second life – (Princeton University Press ISBN 978-0-691-14627-0 – 2008) 234 chap 8