Surprising Research Results

Thinking…This past week I had the privilege to attend my first RL workshop on Second Life®… locally, at the University of Aveiro, on their 1º Workshop on Communication, Education and Teaching. The University of Aveiro is one of Portugal’s youngest universities — a bit over three decades old — and, due to its strong ties to Portugal Telecom’s research lab, it is one of the leading Portuguese universities in telecommunications and computer science.

They were closely tied to the very beginning of my country’s Internet and the home of the first Portuguese search engine (long since bought by Portugal Telecom) and it is not surprising that they were, once more, leading the other research institutions in Portugal with the sponsorship and organisation of this workshop/conference.

No, it wasn’t “SLCC Portugal” — not yet — although we even had the privilege of having Robin “Linden” Harper, VP for Marketing at Linden Lab, as a keynote speaker (Robin is even sweeter in person than her avatar!). Instead, it congregated the current universities and colleges who are doing serious research using Second Life — from education to pedagogy, sociology, architecture, journalism, and also the odd computer science doctorship. Oh yes — around here, people are getting their master’s thesis and doctorships in Second Life. Very surprising for a country which practically just had one representative (Eggy Lippmann) for a couple of years and still has only 50.000 users on SL today — many of which quite recent, as the Portuguese media just “woke up” to Second Life less than half a year ago.

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