Virtual Reality: Benefits of a Second Life

By: Georgia Orgain

Virtual reality is stimulating our senses more than ever, creating new illusions in our everyday reality. We aren’t just experiencing virtual reality when strapping on Microsoft HoloLens but when we create our personalized Bitmoji character or playing online games such as Minecraft, Sims, and Second Life Official. Although virtual reality can be portrayed as a way to escape the real world resulting in a loss of true self guest Speaker Donna Davis educated us on the many ways that virtual reality specifically Second Life improves and expands the expression of many individuals true self.

Second life is an online virtual world, where over 1 million regular users can create, connect, and converse with others from all over the world. The avatar is designed to be a representation of yourself (like Dwight’s Second Life Avatar from The Office) or an ideal representation where users can explore the world while participating in group activities, building, learning, or shop all using a virtual currency.




Second Life is a platform for educators used by colleges, institutions, and government entities. This virtual second world is expanding our educational practices allowing students to get deeper into the subject and most importantly become truly actively engaged compared to the traditional classroom. I think it’s obvious that most of us would rather meet with a group of Italians at a virtual bar to practice speaking Italian rather than in a classroom. For medical students, Second Life utilizes meaningful care practices without the risk of harming a patient. A study from an accounting department at North Carolina University discovered the benefits of Second Life by creating a virtual warehouse for their students to audit which improved, “inventory observation knowledge, interviewing, audit documentation, critical thinking, and group work skills.” Virtual chemistry as shown in the video below also proves the remarkable difference of a virtual hands-on lab which resulted in more precious data and a more enjoyable learning experience.

Another impeccable benefit to Second Life is seen within the disabilities community which can include people who are blind or deaf, people with emotional handicaps such as autism and PTSD, and people with conditions that limit their mobility, such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. Second life opens up a new self-free of disabilities; allowing some of their most important and “normal” life moments to occur. Imagination movement is researched to have abundant positive effects on motor skills, balance, and learning. Virtual movement is important but humans sense of belonging and community is vital to our wellbeing. Second life allows many individuals the sense of belonging they have longed for without the fear of judgment or physical effort.

Who would you be in your Second Life and what can you discover in the virtual world?

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This Article Has 6 Comments
  1. Milla Hansen says:

    I really like this blog post! I think taking a history or science course through virtual reality would be very interesting and would definitely be a sight to remember! Also, allowing persons with disabilities to use Second Life to open them up to a whole different world is amazing. It’s crazy to think how far technology has come and how much more room for growth there is.

  2. Sophia Meyer says:

    I really liked this topic and Donna Davis’ guest talk, because I was one of those people who saw Second Life and other virtual reality games as kind of silly and didn’t quite understand it. I felt as if it was a way for people to act as if someone they’re not and pretend, but Donna made me realize that for a lot of people it is the one way they are able to be their true selves. I never once considered the educational benefits that Second Life would have (like you mentioned speaking to real Italians at a simulated online bar, rather than learning Italian in a classroom). It makes me curious as to how the future will look and the many ways in which we can use virtual reality to better benefit society and our educational system. It also makes me happy to hear that those with disabilities get an opportunity to be treated normally, as they do not in the real world. Great post!

  3. Brian Willison says:

    Great post! I think this topic is very interesting because there are so many things you can do with second life and virtual reality that I had no idea were possible or even helpful. The idea to use VR in classrooms to help understand topics would be interesting to see and the difference it has on student to the traditional style of learning. I heard of second life but had no idea the impact it had on so many both in the educational field and the disabled and how much of an impact it had. I really enjoyed this post.

  4. Sierra Goodman says:

    Great post that touched on all the benefits discussed about SecondLife. It opened my eyes to all the possibilities and benefits that come out of that technology. In the past, I understood that type of VR as a video game but it is so much more than that and can truly help people in numerous ways.

  5. Lauren Muniz says:

    Great post to complement Donna Davis’ guest talk. I never realized the benefits that SecondLife provides to its users. This was definitely one of my favorite topics covered in class this term. It was an eye-opening and insightful discussion that showed the impact of restorative narratives that virtual reality can give to those who could not find such opportunities in the tangible world.

  6. Marley McIntosh says:

    I absolutely loved this presentation because I have never thought of virtual reality in an educational sense. It has the ability to take our classrooms to new heights and give students opportunities that have never been available. The fact that it is able to incorporate people with disabilities and maybe even alleviate the pain for a moment makes virtual reality that much more essential. Thanks for the post!

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