Thursday, July 24, 2014

EDUC - 8848 Module 4 Blog Post

The Disruptive Power of Second Life

Second Life – A Disruptive Technology  
Six useful forces that drive emerging technologies on a path of change are: evolutionary technologies, rhymes of history, disruptive technologies, science fiction, increasing returns, and Red Queens (Laureate Education, 2009). Disruptive technologies, as one of these forces of change, have become almost common language within the educational field. However, the term disruptive innovation was coined by Clayton Christensen, which describes a process by which a product or service start out at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up and displace established competitors (Clayton Christensen, 2014).  Dr. Christensen explained in his media segment that disruptive innovation transforms a product that was so historically expensive and complicated that only a few people with a large amount of money and skill had access to it. A disruptive innovation makes the technology much more affordable and accessible that a larger population than before has access to it.  Second Life can be seen as an emerging disruptive technology that disrupts expensive virtual world technologies and will most likely move up to the top of the virtual communication market.

Technology or Innovation that Second Life Displaces
Second Life might have emerged from social networking sites, and their accompanying social trends such as group chats and multiplayer gaming.  As an emerging technology, second life not only disrupts virtual meeting technologies such as telepresence, but also online discussion boards. Businesses from various industries are now capitalizing on second life innovations, using them to eliminate travel cost because they are able to connect live and direct via avatars within second life environments. 
Also, I think that cloud computing has opened the door for the expansion of second life particularly where processing power is concerned. This is because processing can now be carried out by numerous servers on server farms. In other words, anyone connected to the internet these days can enter second life environments with almost any type of device (computer, tablet, smart phones or smart TVs).

Another emerging Technology Possibly during the Next 10 Years
In terms of possible future impact, I would say that second life technology will most likely bring about both negative and positive impacts to society.  For example, maybe in the future, online education will run live in second life environments. Maybe face-to-face learning might dwindle because of the richness of second life in the future, especially if second life evolves to the extent where the entire environment becomes holographic and include digital senses technology such as smell and touch.  One negative consequence to having an enhanced version of second life is that people might spend too much time in their “second life” and not in the real world. Persons with obsessive personalities may become addicted to the technology and end up losing their sense of how to communicate in the real world.

Christensen, C. (2002). The innovation economy: How technology is transforming existing industries and creating new ones [Video]. Retrieved from
Clayton Christensen. (2014).Disruptive Innovation. Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (2009). Emerging and future technology: Six forces that drive emerging technologies. Baltimore, MD: Author.


  1. Ena,
    Nice post. I enjoyed your commentary. You said Second Life might become one of the more popular virtual experiences in the future. With higher ed retreating to find alternatives that allow for more control, do you feel this can still be true placing Second Life at the top of virtual communications?


  2. Hi Stacey,

    Thank you for your response. I think as social media continues to introduce the general public to virtual worlds, eventually, people will be more open to Second Life (SL) for education. Also, Moore's Law will help to bring Second life to the top of virtual communications in that our systems are becoming more powerful than before and will eventually eliminate buffering issues associated with SL environment.

  3. Hi Ena,
    Great post! I like that you are able to find videos that enhance your blog. You write about the social issues that might come along with virtual realities. Do you think that the lack of normal consequences to actions might increase those "negative" actions. As a result the educational environment becomes less educational. What could an educator do to help prevent this type of "negative" behavior?

  4. Hi Ena

    Nice Post

    What safeguards can be incorporated into Second Life when used in educational environment to limit negative responses and how would you incorporate them?