What is it? Why is it how can you get involved? Learn all about Second Life, creating an avatar of your own, Second Life vocabulary, and basic skills including navigation, inventory organization, and searching.
Download the Second Life Viewer

You can use other viewers to experience Second Life. You will hear people in SL talk about them, particularly when they are trying to help you. Just like you can view the World Wide Web with many different browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, etc., you can use Firestorm, Imprudence, Kirsten, or many others. You should begin with the official Linden Labs Second Life viewer and try the others eventually. Some of the others can be used to get to other virtual worlds as well. For more information:

Second Life, what is it?
Second life is a program that allows residents, or players, to interact in a virtual environment. Avatars can explore, meet other residents, and participate in group activities. Second Life is for ages 13 up. Teens must have parental permission. Linden Lab Terms of Service
  1. An important part of our Personal Professional Learning Network.
  2. A virtual world - the best virtual world to cut your teeth on because it is rich in content. Other virtual worlds have their advantages but Second Life is far more developed and easier to navigate.
  3. The home of the ISTE SIGVE, Special Interest Group for Virtual Environments, with movers and shakers like Andy Wheelock, Scott Merrick, Marianne Malmstrom, Kae Novak, Bron Stuckey, Rosie Vojtek, and others who can lead you to virtual worlds for children when you are ready.
  4. A fun place where thousands of educators gather to learn - ISTE has thousands of members, VSTE has hundreds. We run into other teachers, K12 administrators, college professors, and college students from all over the world. It is really very exciting.

Virtual Education Journal

How can it help me with my job?
ISTE's SL Video from 2008-2011 (ISTE's presense in SL is no longer four contiguous islands but a small parcel on Eduisland 9.)
  1. Build your own personal network of educators by joining professional organizations that have SL connections such as the Virginia Society of Technology in Education, Virtual Pioneers, Front Range Community College, and ISTE's Special Interest Group on Virtual Worlds.
  2. Find teachers with classrooms who want to collaborate with you and your students.
  3. Enjoy opportunities for professional development while at home in your comfortable clothes, sipping on your favorite beverage, nibbling your favorite snack.
  4. Get training that is relevant to your job ... topics such as using whiteboards, digital storytelling, the latest free Web Tools, and sharing ideas for mobile learning.
  5. Participate in book talks, app sharing, and lesson ideas sharing around a virtual campfire.

How can you start? (It’s FREE.)
Click Join Now.
Choose an avatar. Pick one you can live with for a while but know you can change it completely and fairly easily so don't stress over it.
Pick a name. This can take a while because it must be unique. People will likely call you by this name or a shortened version of it.
Make it something easy to type and pleasant to be called.
You will receive an email containing links to helpful information.
Fill in the form. This can take a little while as you come up with a name that has not been used.
Choose a FREE account. You can upgrade later if you want to.
Download and install the software.

Linden Labs, SL developers, update this software frequently. They are constantly improving it, making it more stable, and enriching the graphics. Upgrades are often required but they typically only take a few minutes to download and install.

When you open the SL Viewer, agree to the terms of service and login with your new avatar you will begin (rez) in a Welcome area with other brand new avatars.Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 2.32.31 PM.png
Walk along the beach , following the arrows, until you get to a portal and walk through.
You will be teleported to Social Island. Here you will get to explore a number of venues and practice walking, flying, chatting, etc.
When you are ready to leave this beginning area, you can get to VSTE Island using the link we have here.

This will open a webpage with a map on it. Click the Teleport Now button and your Second Life program/viewer will open (if it is not open already) and place you at VSTE Island.

You also have a Second Life your dashboard on their website now. You access this through the web. From here you can learn more about SL, buy Lindens (you don't need any), check to see what friends are online, view helpful video, and look up your account history.

The What Next? tab at the top left has quite a lot of help for beginners. Some of us purchased several books from Amazon about Second Life to learn on our own, but you have the VSTE Island team to help you!

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 6.44.19 PM.png

VSTE Facilitators (friend us, Instant message us, drop notecards on our photos here in the VSTE Community Center, and we will help in any way we can)

TOP ROW: Dae Miami (a Phd secondary and college teacher in real life), Mandie Mimulus (an instructional technology administrator in real life), Cyndyl Enyo (an ITRT), Beth Ghostraven (a middle school library media specialist)
BOTTOM ROW: Loren Alunia (High school technology coordinator), Jazmemo Zimminy (elementary school computer resource specialist), Thunder Insippo
(elementary school computer resource specialist), and Bluebarker Lowtide (our youngest facilitator, machinimist, builder, designer, amazing person in real life)

Second Life Vocabulary

Avatar – a character in SL. You will choose a starter avatar but it can be personalized. You can be an animal, human, realistic, or fanciful.
AO - Animation Override – This is an optional HUD that you can wear to make your avatar look more natural in its movements.
Camera Control – A tool you place on your screen through the View menu that helps you see the front of yourself and zoom into objects far away.
Freebies – Objects and clothes you can “buy” in SL for $0 Lindens. You can live your SL for free easily.
Friending – Becoming friends in SL means adding another avatar to your list so you can see when you are both inworld.
Gestures – a set of actions you can make your avatar perform by clicking them, typing them after a slash [/clap], or wearing them.
HUD – Heads up device – a tool that appears on your screen to help you navigate SL, such as the Camera Control
IM – Instant message – you can talk to a person privately while in SL whether they are nearby or far away. In fact you can leave messages for them to receive the next time they login.
Inventory – a list of everything you have acquired since becoming an SL resident. It includes clothes, furniture, tools, HUDs, plants, jewelry, hair, skin, shape, complete avatars and can approach thousands of items.
Inworld – Actively being in Second Life “Will you be inworld tomorrow?”
landmark – A window with a photo of a sim and a clickable link to send you to a particular place in that sim.
Lindens – SL money is called Lindens. Currently $10.00 US will purchase 2640 Lindens. 500 Lindens will buy a really nice pair of SL shoes. You do not need money in SL, but it gives you more options. Linden Labs is the company that runs SL servers.
Navigate – There are many ways to get around in SL. You can fly, walk, ride, or TP. There are maps to show where you are going and how many avatars are nearby. The SL world has directions NESW just like the real world. You navigate with your mouse, touchpad, or a movement HUD.
Newbie – also “noob,” a new person in SL.
pose balls – Pose balls are scripted balls used to make your avatar take a pose or perform an animation. Normally you right click and “sit” or “animate.”
Profile – Personal information people write about their avatars for purposes of networking with others in SL. You may leave it blank.
real life – also called RL or “real.”
Rez – come into view such as other avatars you don’t see right away or the sim you are in, pull something out of your inventory so it comes into view.
Rez date – The day you first became an avatar in SL. This is on the first page of your profile.
Script – Computer programming language in an object, like a pose ball or HUD, that is used to cause some action to occur when used.
Shape – the shape of your avatar, including your face. You can be an animal, a box, a robot, male, female, etc. depending on the shape you choose. You can change shapes as often as you like.
Sim – simulation, or island, each piece of SL, a square 256 meters by 256 meters, is called a SIM. Some organizations, like ISTE have several adjacent sims.
Skin – the color of your exterior, beige, tan, with make up, without make up, green, furry, etc is called your skin. You can change your skin as often as you like.
SLURL – Second Life Uniform Resource Locator. Using the SL Map or a landmark you can copy the location of your avatar and email it to others to find that spot even when you are not there.
SLT – Second Life Time – all activities are based on this time zone. It is the same as Pacific Standard Time because that is where Linden Labs is located. For Virginia time, EST, add three hours.
teleport (tp) – to move instantly from one location in SL to another. You can use the map and double click a spot you want to explore, click a saved landmark to return to a place you have been before, or ask a friend to send you a TP to where she is.
Woot! – The “Great American Noise,” as my husband calls it. Used whenever someone accomplishes something in Second Life, however minor the success!

Walking and turning using arrow keys, using shift and side arrows to walk sideways, View movement controls, view camera controls (looking closely at an object and seeing yourself), flying Mac and PC. teleporting!

**Changing Your View**
  1. clicking on your avatar and moving the mouse
  2. scroll wheels when you are clicking on something and when you are not
  3. right clicking on your avatar, other avatars, and objects
  4. the home key (fly/stop flying)
  5. page up/ page down (fly up/fly down)
  6. the click-alt combo (centers the object clicked on the screen)
  7. the click-ctrl-alt combo (centers the object and allows you to rotate around it)
  8. the click-ctrl-alt-shift combo (pans the scene in the direction you drag the mouse)
You can move your avatar with the arrow keys on your keyboard. The up arrow moves you forward, and the down arrow moves you backward. The left and right arrows rotate you to the left or right.
Keys: ­Up arrow -Move Forward
Down arrow -Move Backward
Left arrow, right arrow -Rotate left or right


There are two ways to fly. Flying is often faster than walking. To fly you can click the “fly” button at the bottom of the screen. You can also push and hold the Page Up key to begin flying. Page Up increases altitude and Page Down decreases altitude. Once you get airborne, movement controls are the same as for walking.
Page Up Increase altitude (hold down to begin flying) Page Down Decrease altitude
It takes practice to learn to move around in Second Life, for everyone. Good luck!

Introduction to Your Inventory
The inventory is a list of items a resident "carries" around. The inventory can be organized using folders and it is virtually unlimited in size. Items are automatically placed in folders based on type (i.e. objects go into the "Objects" folder). The more items in the inventory the longer it will take for it to load when searching.
The inventory is also split into two main folders: "Library" and "My Inventory". The library folder contains Linden-created items that anyone can use freely (but only Lindens can edit this folder). From Second Life Wikia

How to manage your Second Life Inventory, a TeacherTube video by **dshields**.

Inventory Mangement

A Torley YouTube Video

Four main forms of communication in Second Life

The Chat button at the bottom of your screen will open a small white bar just above it so that you may chat. If you type something there and press Enter, all the other people around you (fairly close to you) will be able to read, or "hear" what you've said. There are more advanced commands like like typing /whisper and /shout before your message. Keep in mind that if you /shout everyone in the entire area will be able to hear you. Shouting is generally not appreciated in most Second Life areas so if you're going to use it, use it wisely.
**Instant Messaging**
Instant messaging (IM) is a private way to chat with an individual or a chosen group of people. There are a few ways to do this;
If you see an avatar you can right click on them and click the IM command.
In the Communicate window you have a Contacts tab, above that you have a Friends tab. If you click on a Friend and then push the IM button on the right side of the window a personal IM window will open.
You can also use the Search feature to locate an avatar and then IM that avatar. If that avatar is not online, the message will be stored until next time they log on.

When your chat window is open, on the top left of the window is a drop down menu called gestures. These will animate your character and some come with sounds. You can click on the gestures to activate them, or you can type the /command. For example, type /clap and your avatar will clap.
Voice can be used in SL with a open chat, or private chat (group or individual).
talk.pngPush the talk button when you are in a chat, or have begun a call and if you have a microphone, the other party can hear you. It is best to use a headset with a microphone so that there is no feedback between speakers and microphone.
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