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The virtual Brady Haran
The Virtual Journalist
Video journalist Brady Haran has become a "virtual journalist" for a series of reports into the Second Life phenomenon.
With a little help from his friends, Brady also launched an East Midlands Today "bureau" in the online world.
The virtual office modelled on the real
He said: "The bureau is modelled on the main EMT building in Nottingham.
"It even has a replica of our studio so anyone can come in and sit on the famous white chairs usually occupied by Anne and Dom."
The virtual bureau also has links to BBC East Midlands content, including all radio stations and websites.
Brady added: "Hopefully any Second Life visitors will have a look around, and maybe get in touch about stories in their first or second lives."
The bureau was built with help from University of Derby students Matthew Brittain and Chris Butler.
Second Life is a virtual world with more than 8.5 million residents.
Members create "avatars" , which are three-dimensional characters they control in the fantasy environment.
People can buy and rent land, build things and interact with other residents.
Such is the popularity of Second Life, people have started making real money by conducting business in the virtual environment.
One example is Ricard Gras, whose company La Interactiva is based in Leicester.
Ricard started out making films in Second Life (known as machinima) but now concentrates designing and building virtual property.
He said; "We've created offices, campuses for universities and a lot of interesting artistic projects."
His most recent project is an art gallery, for which Ricard has paid real money for virtual artwork!
The University of Derby is also heavily involved with Second Life.
John Sear - first and second life
John Sear, who runs the computer games programming course, has even purchased an exclusive island which he uses as a training area for students.
John said: "I can just quickly nip and look over (students) shoulders and see what they are working on but don't have to be in the room... I can be at my desk at home or in my office."
Psychology lecturer Simon Bignell is about to start conducting lessons in Second Life.
He said: "You can be a distance learner on the other side of the world, and you can interact with Derby students in real time with your real voice."
Simon said Second Life allowed educators to create ideal learning environments that may not be possible in the real world.
The real and virtual Simon Bignell
But he did not think virtual education would ever replace the real thing.
Brady said: "After hearing so much about it, my time in Second Life was certainly eye opening.
"Many people are extremely positive about it, but I also encountered some concerns.
"The pitfalls are often similar to those experienced on the Internet - or the real world for that matter.
"For example, many people are using Second Life for adult activities and some people act anti-socially, so vigilance is essential if you wish to avoid this."
Brady also said he had many problem technical problems with Second Life.
He said: "I thought maybe it was just me or my computer, but anecdotally I've heard many people have similar problems, so maybe there are still some bugs to be ironed out."
If you're on Second Life and want to visit our EMT building. you find it at the island called 'Games at DerbyUni' and co-ordinates 44,50,29
last updated: 14/08/07