The AZIRE in Second Life

In the quest for training in online education in 2009, Zingrone started joined the International Society for Technology in Education. In those days, Hewlett Packard was sponsoring a series of really interesting lectures on teaching with technology in partnership with ISTE. The only catch was that the lectures were being delivered in the Virtual world, Second Life. It took Zingrone three months of reading the summaries and watching some of the recordings to screw up her courage and take the Virtual World plunge, setting up a free account, and choosing a ready-made avatar so she could attend one of the lectures live.

In those first few moments in Second Life, she never would have guessed she would figure out how to sit or change clothes, much less make solid friendships, discover colleagues, learn to build, go on “dates” in Second Life ballrooms with Alvarado, or be sufficiently inspired by the universities, museums and libraries to set up The AZIRE Learning Center in August of 2009.

Alvarado and Zingrone's Avatars, Rodolfo Mirabella and Maggie Larimore (back in the day when real names were forbidden in Second Life) in front of the first Learning Center
Alvarado’s and Zingrone’s Avatars, Rodolfo Mirabella and Maggie Larimore respectively, back in the day when real names were forbidden in Second Life, standing in front of the first Learning Center. A friend and glass artist in Second Life, Kristine Jinx-Kristan designed the window.

The Visitor Counter gadget that was set up on the Learning Center wall, and set to cover the double store front that came later (rented for 50 cents a week) has registered over 5000+ visits from that day to this, as The AZIRE itself changed, moved location, expanded outwards and upwards over the years.

The first expansion was the addition of a library space granted by the Alliance of Virtual Libraries on Innovation Island in Second Life that was never fully built out. But the opening day celebrations of that island occasioned Alvarado and Zingrone’ first lecture in Second Life.

Mirabella and Larimore giving their first Second Life lecture on their Out-of-Body Experience Research of course.
Mirabella and Larimore giving their first Second Life lecture on their Out-of-Body Experience Research, of course, with significantly improved avatars of course.

From there, the Library and Learning Center merged with an additional bookstore with snack bar (because folks love to eat and drink in virtual worlds) and a discussion room set up while the Library was being built. The composite site changed locations a couple of times, split up and re-emerged and then settled in a two story building in the Madhupak Sim on the mainland of Second Life, in what is now known as the Chilbo Neighborhood.

The AZIRE Library on Innovation Island
The AZIRE Library on Innovation Island

 

The books were all links to Amazon.com so browsers could buy, and well, folks in Second Life really enjoy drinking and eating and relaxing at the windows of a cafe staring at the scenery outside!
The books were all links to Amazon.com so browsers could buy, and well, folks in Second Life really enjoy drinking and eating and relaxing at the windows of a cafe staring at the scenery outside!

 

Interior of the First Discussion Room across the street from the original Learning Center and next door to the Bookstore and Snack Bar.
Interior of the First Discussion Room across the street from the original Learning Center and next door to the Bookstore and Snack Bar.

 

The two story Library and Learning Center as it was before the road changed and the third floor was built to merge all the remaining buildings into one.
The two story Library and Learning Center as it was before the road changed and the third floor was built to merge all the remaining buildings into one.

The following is a tour of The AZIRE Library and Learning Center as it exists now. The tour was filmed for the students of the ParaMOOC2015.

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