You are Invited to Participate in the TOLC Second Life Initiative

    The Texas Regional Collaboratives has established a virtual meeting area in Second Life open to all Texas STEM educators. You can use the TOLC Mountain Campus as your home base for exploring professional development and networking opportunities throughout Second Life. The following step sheet will guide you through the process of creating your free account, establishing a personal avatar, and logging in for your first visit to a virtual education learning environment. TOLC is short for Texas Regional Collaboratives Online Learning Community.

    The following FAQ will also help you learn some of the basics of using Second Life. Here is a QuickStart Gude from Linen Labs. If you print this PDF out and keep it near when you are learning Second Life it will help greatly. I'll be adding some video instruction, but you can access beginning video demonstrations here. Linden Labs has over 287 video tutorials located here.

    How much does it cost?
    You can participate in Second Life for free. If you decide you want to take advantage of the "inworld" products, you can optionally register your user name with your credit card and purchase Linden dollars for in-world purchases. There are also lots of free items.

    How do I get started?
    1. Click this link.
    2. Click the Sign Up button in the resulting window (upper right).
    3. Complete the online forms for defining your Avatar's name and initial appearance. You will be asked to give a first name for your avatar and pick from a list of available last names. If you want your real name to show you can optionally use something like KeithMitchell Mubble so that your Second Life first name makes it clear to community members who you are. Keep in mind you can create other accounts with different names if you prefer to be anonymous when shopping or exploring Second Life outside or our education community.
    4. During the sign up process you will be given a link to download the current free Second Life application. If you miss that link, click here to visit the download page.
    5. When you first launch the Second Life application, you will need to enter your Second Life First Name, Last Name, and password. Check the box to remember so you will not have to enter this data each time you wish to log in.
    6. Hopefully, you will enter Second Life on TOLC Mountain Campus. If not click here to be teleported.
    7. Send Keith Mitchell an email when you are in with your Real Name, Avatar Name and email: keith.mitchell@mail.utexas.edu Keith will send you an invitation to join the TRC Online Learning Community Second Life special interest group (a Ning network) This is where we provide support and announce professional development opportunities in Second Life.
    How do I insure that I can get back to TOLC Mountain Campus?
    In order to make our Second Life island your "home," you will need to be invited to join the island group, titled TOLC Educators. Share your Second Life First and Last name to Keith, Warren, or Shawn either by email or find them in-world to request membership. After accepting this invitation, from the World menu, choose Set Home Here. This will insure you automatically start at TOLC Mountain Campus when you log in. After setting TOLC Mountain as your home, no matter where you are in the meta-verse, choose Teleport Home from the World menu to jump to our island. Control shift H (windows) Command shift H (Mac).

    How do I move around?
    There are lots of answers to this quesstion. Here are a few basics:
    • Arrow keys to walk.
    • Press Fly button at bottom of screen to fly, then use the arrow keys for direction. This will take you up to about 2 meters in height. Or use the F key on your keyboard to toggle this type of flight on and off.
    • Press the Page up and Page down keys to fly as high as 200 meters. On a limited keyboard, such as that available on many laptops, you might need to press the Function key along with up arrow key and down arrow key to access page up and page down. If you click the page up button briefly you will jump up and come right back down. Press it longer to fly and keep pressing it until you reach the altitude you desire. Then use the arrows keys for controlling your flying direction.
    • Teleporting is also a way of moving from one place to another and is required for moving large distances between Second Life locations. If you click a SLURL on a web page it will give you the option to teleport. If you find a new location via Search you will also be given an option to teleport. If someone gives you a Landmark you can double click it to teleport.
    How do I sit down?
    When attending a meeting, you might wish your avatar to sit down as it will look more natural. You can Right Click any flat surface to sit on it. Often chairs have sit scripts to control your sitting direction and height. In this case, when you right click the sitting area a Pie chart will pop up and option to Sit Here given. Finally, some sit scripts are written so that when your mouse hovers over the sitting area, the cursor changes to an image of a chair. A single click will set your avatar down. Mac users, the short cut for Right Click is to hold down your Command Key (open Apple) while you click on something.

    How do I chat?

    You can enter chat text in the small chat bar at the bottom of the window. Press the return key if the chat bar is not open and Esc key when you which to close the chat bar. This will be local chat (within 20 meters). When others respond you will see their answer layered on top of the Second Life view at the bottom left of your screen. In this mode chat text will fade away in a few seconds. This kind of chat is useful for short comments or when you need to keep the screen fully viewable.

    The Communicate Window is better for most chatting. Open the Communicate Window by pressing the Communicate button, bottom of your screen, or by typing Control T (Windows) Command T (Mac). At the bottom of this window, select the Local tab for local chat or if someone at a distance is chatting with you, select the tab with their name. If some one shares a URL with you in chat, you have to use the Communicate window for this link to be clickable.

    Camera Controls?
    By default your view is normally from behind you and slightly above. So you are looking at the top and back of your head in a forward direction. With your Avatar standing still, you have the ability to move your camera (view). This allows you to "zoom" in close to something too small to see or even to look around corners. Practice the following key strokes until they are second nature.
    • If you hold down the Alt key (Win) or Option key (Mac) and click on an object you can zoom in and out and rotate your view around the object. In effect the object you click on becomes the center of rotation of your camera.
    • While still holding down the Alt/option key, add the Control key. This will keep the zoom constant but now allow you to shift your angle of view up and down.
    • Add the Shift key to these two keys to pan your camera higher or lower.
    • Press the Esc key to get your view view back to normal.
    Objects, landmarks, note cards, items you purchase, etc all wind up in your inventory. Access your inventory by by clicking the Inventory button at the bottom of your screen or type Ctrol/command I. To find items in your inventory you can browse or use the search field at the top. The recent tab will narrow the list to just the items obtained since you logged on. Search the word "Worn" to find items worn by your avatar. Right click items to wear them or to detach or take off worn items.

    Often purchased items will come "boxed." To actually transfer the contents to your inventory, you have to drag the box to the ground in an area for which you have build privileges. (our sky sandbox) Then right click the box and select Open in the pie menu. Finally click the "transfer items to inventory" link. The items will usually arrive in your inventory in a new folder named similar to the box name. If you accidentally select a box to wear, you can remove it by right clicking the box and choosing detach. To remove the box from the ground, right click it and choose take or click the more button and then delete.

    Your Inventory has a folder at the bottom labeled Library. This folder contains free items you can use or wear. Everyone's Library folder is identical.

    How do I change my appearance?

    When you created your account you selected from one of the default avatars. It is a good idea to keep your basic appearance constant so that people will recognize you, but you may want to spend some time trying out different looks before making that decision final. You can easily change clothes by dragging an item out of your inventory on top of your avatar. If you drag a new shirt to your avatar, it will replace your current shirt.

    Before you experiment you might want to save your current appearance so that you can easily get back to it. To do this, Right Click your Avatar and choose Appearance. At the bottom left of the resulting window, click Save Outfit. Check the boxes for what should be saved. This will add a folder in your inventory that will contain all the clothes and even the body shape you were using. In the future, simply dragging this folder from the Inventory to your avatar will bring your avatar back to normal. It might be a good idea to save two versions of a given appearance as a backup.

    Finding and using complete avatar set-ups
    There are free and for sale complete Avatars which include the body shape (Skin), hair, and sometimes complete wardrobes. Unfortunately shopping for these in-world can bring you into contact with offensive side of Second Life fantasy. I have found a few places on education islands that have free Avatars for you to "buy" for zero dollars and put in your inventory. Often you can start with one of these and then modify them using the Appearance dialogue and selecting different clothes to make a unique avatar. Click one of the following links. After finding the avatar images, Right click the ones you like and choose buy from the pie menu that appears. You will get a confirmation that you are spending zero dollars before accepting. If you find other locations for free Avatars, please help me add them to this list:

    How and Why do I Add Friends?
    You will be notified when people who are in your friends list log in or off of Second Life . Your friends cannot tell where you are, only whether you are logged in or not.You can initiate a chat or voice conversation with anyone in your friends list (anywhere in-world), and send or receive Teleport requests. The friends list is accessed from a tab in your Communicate Window or Right Click your avatar and choose friends. To initiate a chat, select their name then click the IM/Call button. To teleport them to your location, select their name and click the Teleport button. To request that someone be your friend, you can Right Click their avatar (if they are within sight). If not, Find them within the Second Life Search, and send the request from their Profile page.

    Joining Second Life Groups
    Joining groups is the best way to stay on top of professional development opportunities in Second Life. Once you join, you will receive notifications of meeting opportunities which include the starting time and a SURL to the location of the meeting. Times are always given in SL time which is Pacific. From the Second Life app, type control F to open the search window. Click the Groups tab and enter the name of the group. When you find the group description page, click the Profile link. Then click the members tab in the profile window. There you will see a join button. Here is a list of groups you can search for and enjoy. Please submit education groups you enjoy to add to this list.

    ISTE: Educational Technology Assoc
    Discovery Educator Network
    MICA - VW Astrophysics
    Science and Art Collective
    Science Center
    NMC Members