... how participation in an online virtual community has impacted one teacher's understanding of history, and how that has been reflected in actual classroom instruction.
Friday, January 18, 2013
18 January 2013: Developing Character, Part 2
An "identity crisis" is a whole new issue for people starting to role play in a virtual environment.
Introductions tend to be pretty straightforward. Someone says "hello" and you begin to communicate, and you decide how much of your personal history that you want to share with this new acquaintance. As an avatar in Second Life, and engaging in your first role play (RP) in a new community, this process is a bit stickier. Someone says "hallo" and you begin to communicate, but what personal history is there for you to share? Panic sets in... and one of two things happens. You either avoid the issue, or you start to make things up. In RL, making things up about yourself can get you in a whole lot of trouble! In SL, making things up about yourself is essential!
Cavalry veteran, stockbroker, ... Berlin gentleman.
My first memory of engagement in conversation in The Keller was with a very tall and distinguished looking gentleman, who noted my name as I entered the establishment. (An avatar's chosen identity is visible to others, depending on how your viewer is set up.) Some tease me as having the longest name in SL, but there is a story behind Augusta Carolina Maria von Nassau-Weilburg which I will discuss another time. But suffice it to say, that his comment about why German nobility would be found in a place like The Keller put me on the spot immediately.
After being at Versailles in SL, I used one of the animations I had, which can be used to make an avatar move in a particular way. One of the most important animations for the French court of the late 1700s, of course, is the curtsy. As the gentleman in The Keller had the title "Sir" attached to his name, I immediately dropped a gracious curtsy... and began making things up!
Yes, Augusta is a member of a lesser noble family located in the Rheingau, and had come to Berlin to make her own life, rather than have her Mamma make it for her instead. I did some quick calculations; my own RL maternal grandmother was 22 years old in 1929, so Augusta was also born in 1907, but on my RL birthdate. She is basically an only child, having lost her older brother at the end of the Great War. Her Mamma had "plans" for her future, and given the lack of eligible men her own age, Augusta did what any self-respecting young lady of the time would do.
She ran away.
PS: My friend the stockbroker got in trouble for coming into The Keller with his collection of butterflies. They're not very realistic, but the sure were fun!