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Thoughts on the SL Celebration

So I popped into Second Life (SL) on ISTE Isle about 30 minutes early. Scott's SL friends were scrambling over last minute details that reminded me of my last minute preparations at IMSA (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy) last Saturday!

Using the chat function in SL, I could tell there was another IMSA person there, but I couldn't tell who. Everyone in SL has a different name. I am Donald Threebeards. You will recognize me in pictures for having really bad hair (big black afro over my natural orange hair) and messed up footwear*.

*A tip to SL newbies: don't try to change your appearance without help! Once you mess your avatar up (and you will mess your avatar up), you will painfully discover there is no "Undo" in SL.

I finally figured out the other IMSA newbie was Sendhil. He was getting directions set if Gail, Scott's mother, wanted to pop in as him. As far as I know, Gail never made it that night. The SL gang said she had been there earlier and had asked them to record the event. To them, that meant not using their headsets as they preferred, but using chat only. If anyone has the chat log, please e-mail it to and I will post it here.

Before too long, all of Scott's friends started showing up. All told, there were over 30 people who stopped by. I don't know if you've ever participated in a chat with over 30 people before, but it was very interesting, if not more than a little chaotic. Arrivals and departures were met with a chorus of comments. I guess it really isn't much different in real life, but I guess I've never read a transcript of a conversation in a foyer!

But sometime after most eveyone arrived, the ISTE gang (International Society for Technology in Education) started sharing stories about Scott. I will let the chat logs speak for themselves, but it was cool to see how Scott had touched the lives of so many people. Scott was instrumental in the work the ISTE was doing in SL. They put up a VoiceThread site with pictures of Scott and some narrations about the pictures. If you haven't seen it, it is worth checking out. I especially like the pictures of the World of Warcraft gaming group, "Cognitive Dissonance", and the video of the SL dance. (Speaking of which, we need to contact Blake from ACS (Avery Coonley School), who has taken down his great YouTube video.) It was very cool that they were able to run the VoiceThread pictures on a big screen in SL as we were gathered there. I tried to take some good pictures, but I'm no Tony Nuval... Tony would have enjoyed the ability to fly in SL to get that perfect aerial shot!

Then something strange happened. While we were all gathered there, large white dots started falling from the sky. Too white and round to be rain, too big to be snow. It looked like the sky was crying, but happy tears. Being new to SL, I had no idea if this kind of thing happened all the time, but it seemed to take the regulars by surprise too. Someone wondered if it was Scott...

Then I remember someone asking, "Why are we all flying?" As a newbie, I thought everyone was flying around (being good scientists) to check out this new phenomenon. As best I could follow what was going on, the white dots were now swirling all about. If one touched you, you went with it. The next thing I knew, I was flying over ISTE Isle, which is quite a remarkable sight! My pictures don't do it justice. It was like having an out-of-body experience. I swear I saw a city in the clouds too, but if there was, I can't find it now...

As I started fumbling with the controls to rejoin the group, I crash landed on the edge of the island as the waves swept in. It was a beautiful sight watching the dolphins jump from the water. I must admit, I took my time taking pictures here before teleporting back to the group. I am so thankful for a small opportunity to explore this part of Scott's creation. If not for whatever strange occurrence brought me there, I would never had explored or really experienced this world of Scott's.

Not long after rejoining the group, people began saying their goodbyes. They had talked about meeting up later with headsets back on. I hope they got the chance.

I went back later that night and just wandered around a bit. It was strange to think that just a short time ago, I could have hung out with Scott there, but now he was gone. He's gone on ahead again... I can't wait until I catch up with him.