Life Skills Simulator - Crash Test or Fast Track?
Second Life was crafted as an open-ended environment that would allow players to fly, drive fantastical vehicles, dress up in outlandish outfits and build just about anything they could imagine. The game's developers at San Francisco's Linden Lab, however, didn't expect it to be used as a way for business school students to test entrepreneurial talents or for abused children to rediscover social skills.
According to a woman who goes by the in-world name of Gwyneth Llewelyn, a British organization called ARCI is using Second Life to help abused children in Portuguese safe houses by bringing them into the game and then working on socialization, collaboration, team building, computer skills and more.
"They easily get in touch with people that they don't personally know," said Llewelyn, explaining how the children, who are forced into hiding to get away from abusive parents, benefit from the game. "This means we seem to break a barrier of socializing."
The only issue of concern here is the potential for underdeveloped interpersonal skills and ability to empathize and perceive.
These simulations will soon replace instructors on sales floors, universities, anywhere a traditional instructor would have been engaged. We move into a humanless, interface-based world of transactions. Kinda sci-fi, isn't it?