Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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CBBC World – a children’s ‘second life’?

January 24th, 2007 by Seb Chan

This project by the Childrens’ arm of the BBC sound interesting especially in light of all the talk around Second Life and museums.

CBBC, the channel for 7-12 year olds, said it would allow digitally literate children the access to characters and resources they had come to expect.

Users would be able to build an online presence, known as an avatar, then create and share content.

Bosses said CBBC World would not have the financial aspects of other online worlds such as Second Life.

A spokesman said: “This kind of cross-platform broadcasting is becoming the norm for people who have been born into the digital world.

“It will give children a chance to move around a safe, secure world where they can not only interact with familiar characters but have an opportunity to make that world a more fascinating place with their own imaginations.”

Perhaps the BBC has the audience reach to make this sort of project work, as for smaller organisations colonisation of other existing services may well prove more fruitful. Or, would museums be better off colonising worlds such as CBBC’s proposed world where the synergy between public broadcaster and public museum may ensure a better take up of virtual content?

Tags: 7 Comments

7 responses so far ↓

  • This is really interesting – see also http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/01/30/1169919283914.html and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6310915.stm

    One of my PhD colleagues did his dissertation on school students using email and very early versions of chat. As the technology kept changing it was quite a tough project, but what he finally found was that email and chat was all about identity – kids spent a great deal of time thinking about their online identity. This work pre-dates the Second Life/MySpace wave so obviously these new forms of social media are really meeting some kind of human need to have multiple personas/identities across a range of contexts. I find all this quite fascinating.

  • Seb, i was wondering whether you, or any other museum, has thought about using Second Life (or something like that) as a way to test out exhibition development plans in a 3D visual format?

  • Lynda

    Take a look at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/exhibitions/inspired.asp and look at the 3D gallery flythrough video.

    This was built directly from the CAD package we use for exhibition design. The exhibition designers prototype them in 2D and 3D. This is the first time we’ve made one of their fly throughs publically available.

    Seb

  • Sounds good (i couldn’t actually view it tho!). Do you think they could be used for actually evaluating potential visitor physical experiences/behaviour in a virtual way before the exhibition is built?

  • Definitely. And internally they *are* used in that way to help visualise possible layouts for curators and executive staff already.

    We haven’t yet moved to a model that might invite *public* examination of the proposed design models before they are physically built though!

    You need Quicktime7 to view.

    Seb

  • Do you think public examination could be done this way?

  • Potentially so – but I think a more fundamental question would be whether the public has enough conscious awareness of their behaviour and preferences as potential visitors to allow them to make a well reasoned critique of a proposed design.

    I think this is more difficult than a 2D ‘peoples choice’ like the Archibald etc. Conscious awareness of 3D space is certainly a learned skill.