¨A virtual world is a genre of online community that often takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment, through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects. Virtual worlds are intended for its users to inhabit and interact, and the term today has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of avatars visible to others graphically. These avatars are usually depicted as textual, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional graphical representations, although other forms are possible (auditory and touch sensations for example). Some, but not all, virtual worlds allow for multiple users¨ as stated in Wikipedia (2011).
One of the most popular online worlds is Second Life (SL) launched in 2003 by Linden Lab. This world is inhabited by the so-called residents which are impersonified by avatars created by people like you and me who give person and life to such avatars and life a life where you can do unthinkable actions not possible in real life. SL was first created with the aim of socializing, participating in group activities as well as individual and trading. With this purpose in mind, SL has its own currency called Linden dollar and residents can earn money by doing a number of different activities with the aim of purchasing goods, properties, services, etc.
At the very beginning, virtual worlds were used only for video games, but as time went by, they became more real and vivid and they started to be used for educational purposes among others, and it has to be said, for a totally new approach to education: more vivid and therefore, more meaningful and everlasting for students.Now, after living in this amazing world I suggest you to create your own avatar, it´s for free, you can fly, live underwater, and do a number of interesting actions you would never dare to do in real life. But be careful, virtual worlds are, as real ones, inhabited by different kinds of people with different reasons for being there. There are risks but there are also incredible opportunity for living the experience. I´m Nairuby Sarowsky in Second Life. Take a tour, you won´t regret!
If you are not sure about creating an avatar and living a Second Life, maybe this tutorial would be a great starting point