Virtual Ability Island.

Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to visit the Island with classmates this week. However, I had heard about the Island from students who completed the module last semester and became interested. So I made the point of visiting the site in my own time.

Visiting Virtual Ability Island.


I was hoping to speak to some of the islands inhabitants, however there were no members present when I visited. I must admit I was a little apprehensive about opening a dialogue with the members. This was partly due to the fact I was showing up unannounced but mainly because I was unsure of the kinds of code of conduct in terms of interaction. I did not want to act in a way that may seem insensitive to the users. I made a point of visiting the Islands web page https://virtualability.org/ prior to the visit to see if there were any guidelines, but I could not see any.

I began to travel around the island to explore some of its features, there was a host of activities and facilities for the members to use. There were sensory games, such as Duckhunt, which I could not resist.

Feelings of Nostalgia.

Another unusual, feature of the Island was its constant inhabitant, Bob the monkey. Bob is an automated chat bot. At one stage, I found myself discussing the very nature of reality with him. It was incredible to see the amount of responses he was capable of. It is a testament to the islands creatures.

There were also sports recordings being played on some of the screens in locations around the island, it would have been great to discuss this with a member of the community as my initial reaction to this was to wonder if members with movement disabilities may find this disheartening, but as I questioned it further, maybe they could never attend a live sporting event and this was their opportunity to view it with others in the same position. The website states that all of these features are efforts to offer members information, encouragement, training, companionship, referrals to other online resources and groups, ways to contribute back to the community, and ways to have fun.

I cannot truthfully say I have been a member of a community like this one. My generations version of this was 2d chatroom, some of which I do remember having the ability to pick an avatar, but they simply do not compare, the lever of support found in this cite is vastly superior. This is due to the research online communities becoming apparent and showing the impact they can have on their users live.

The visit gave me time to reflect on my own framework for ethical digital engagement. According to the digital citizenship website, there are 9 themes, which include, digital access, digital commerce , communication and collaboration, digital etiquette, fluency, health and welfare, rights and responsibilities and security and privacy.

How we treat people online, how we communicate with other users, the image we convey of ourselves are the important questions that build up the ethics of digital engagement.  How we respond to each of these issues will build up our own framework for ethical digital engagement. In an era where cyber bullying is at an all time high and the effects never more apparent, it is essential to question one presence online and evaluate ourselves as online digital citizens.

References

http://www.virtualability.org

http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/nine-elements.html

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