Genome Island: A User's Guide
|The Greenhouse and Gardens|
|The Upper and Lower Terrace|
|Genomes and Bioinformatics|
|The Gene Pool and Atelier|
The Abbey of St Thomas is a simple white building riding the crest of a gentle hill. Two banks of windows look out onto a greenhouse and gardens in which Mendelian inheritance patterns are demonstrated. Inside the Abbey is a painting of Mendel in his abbot’s robes, an old photo of Mendel with his fellow monks, and lying on a downstairs table, a fading copy of Mendel’s famous paper on plant hybrids. A fire takes the chill out of the winter air. In the reading room upstairs, a chessboard is set out, waiting for somebody to make the next move.
In the virtual world of Second Life, the Abbey shares Genome Island with other buildings, gardens and pools that house representations of the work of other geneticists: the structure of DNA, genetic coding, genome organization, a human chromosome gallery, genetic regulation, bioinformatics and population genetics. Science progresses by the creation of virtual worlds that overlie everyday and not-so-everyday phenomena. The metaverse of Second Life provides a vision of that world that anyone can enter and experience. If you are an instructor thinking about bringing a class to Genome Island, this guide is for you. If you are a student or even just a casual visitor to Genome Island, feel free to peek!
There is no fixed pathway for moving through the various activities to be found on Genome Island. In the sections that follow, each activity is treated as an independent entity. You may want to start with Mendelian genetics in the Abbey or with DNA in the Tower. The Human Chromosome Gallery in Tower can provide a useful transition point between molecular genetics and inheritance patterns. Much of the information you find in this Guide will also be found in notecards associated with the signs that describe each activity. In general, reading the informational notecards will give students the background needed for making sense of the activity.
Genome Island is not intended to be instructor-free. This is a place where instructors and students can can meet and talk about genetics. Since most activities can be used for multiple purposes, instructors can define the context in which each activity should a approached. There are meeting areas in several locations around the island: the expanding conference table in the Abbey, small (but also expanding) tables in two gazebos, beanbag chairs on the Cell and Tower Terraces and the Genome Science Theatre for larger groups. Most of these are placed so that text or voice conversations in different areas will not interfere with one another.
Your Passport to Genome Island: If you are already a Second Life resident, click on the Genome Island Landing Point URL below to teleport directly to Genome Island. If you have not visited Second Life before, see the following links below for information on getting your free Second Life account and browser.
|Genome Island Landing Point: (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Genome/118/145/53)|
At the Genome Island Landing Point , you will see several objects:
Genome Island Guest Book: You can click on the Guest Book to sign it. I am interested in how other people use the island for teaching and learning, so if you are an instructor with a class, please tell me something about yourself, and drag a notecard with the information into the Guest Book.
Genome Island User's Guide: The User's Guide links to this page, and also offers you a notecard that gives you a list of activities on the island and the location of each.
Genome Island Survey: If you are visiting Genome Island with a class, please visit the survey page to report on your experience.
Genome Island Scavenger Hunt: The Scavenger Hunt is an activity that can be used to practice your navigational and communications skills and will also introduce you to various areas of the island. Each station of the Scavenger Hunt gives you instructions about how to get to the next. Each station is marked by a numbered rotating yellow box.
Teleport Row: Near the Welcome sign, you will see a row of object that look like lollypops. There are teleporters that will take you immediately to other regions of the island. There are teleporters here for the Abbey, Tower, Gene Pool, Atelier and Terrace. To use one of the teleporters, right-click on it, and then select the location in one of the left sectors of the Pie Menu. In addition to the teleporters, there are two stations that will give you a Landmark (the Second Life equivalent of a Bookmark) to another location. One of these will give you a teleport to the SciLands Orientation Walkway. Traveling the SciLands Walkway is a simple way to learn basic Second Life skills. The other station takes you to the adjacent island of Biome, where you will find other biology-related material.
Genome Island Riding Tour: Near the Landing Point you'll see a cube that offers you a riding tour of the island. Just click on the chair to sit and begin your tour. The tour is in four sections: Abbey and Gardens, Terrace, Tower, and Gene Pool. Each section of the tour ends near the beginning of the next section.