Can military veterans benefit from Second Life?

New Mexico State University prides itself on being a military friendly school.  We decided, as managers of Aggie Island in Second Life, to create on our island an area for our active duty and veteran students.  It is attached to the Information Commons as we, or should I say the two librarians in the group, are viewing it as a special collections with resources for our veterans.

Second Life can provide the same benefits to veterans and military that it provides to other users.  Mainly that of creating a sense of shared intellectual space while allowing them to maintain a separation between themselves and their avatar.  This separation creates a comfort zone in which the library user feels more comfortable asking questions and seeking help.

As we build this area, we struggle with the question “What do resources do veterans/military need, and how can we provide that for them?”  What are we hoping to achieve with this area?”  In partial answer to the later question, military and veterans tend to have some unique needs.  Unlike other students, the military does not have the luxury to put their schooling first.  They must put their duty ahead of everything else, including their families.  As a spouse of a veteran, I am all too aware of that.  Also, combat veterans view the world very differently than most of us.  Have you noticed that student that is in the back of the classroom where all points of entry are within view an they are alert and aware?  That student may very well be a combat veteran.  By having a separate area, we can tailor it to meet their needs.

What are your thoughts on the matter?  Do you have suggestions for resources or tailoring a space?  Are you a military student or veteran?  What are your needs?  Visit us at http://slurl.com/secondlife/NMSU%20Aggie%20Island/45/3/22.

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~ by jenymn on December 18, 2009.

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