Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Not the warmest welcome at KZgunea

On my travels I have noticed a number of Basque sims in Second Life, but so far all the ones I have tried have resolutely refused to grant me access. However, today I noticed a little quartet comprising 3 brand new sims, and one that the map suggested was quite well advanced: KZgunea. On the basis that "nothing ventured, nothing gained" I attempted a teleport and was pleasantly surprised to find that this was successful.

A rummage (and translation) of the KZgunea reveals the following: The Basque Government has initiated the so-called Plan Euskadi in the Information Society whose aim is to boost information technology in all social levels: basic education, citizenship, business, culture and government. The KZgunea Project, launched in 2001, is the creation of a network of free public courses for the training and use of new information technologies, particularly targeting those with least access to new technologies such as the elderly and unemployed, with the aim of closing the "digital divide."

(Apologies for some shaky English there - but most of that was a Google translation.)

It is therefore not unreasonable to see the project setting up in Second Life. The site does look somewhat incomplete, comprising a bar and a number of closed buildings. An attempt to sneak inside one of the closed buildings revealed a classroom, but I could get little more information before I was summarily ejected and automatically teleported home! Nevertheless, this glimpse served to confirm my expectations - with a number of virtual schoolrooms being readied for use with KZgunea Project clients. A number of (presumably) familiar basque landmarks are dotted around the island. However, aside from the famous Guernica oak tree - Gernikako Arbola - I can't claim to have recognised them. Presumably to help fund the island, there are several small information kiosks that link you to commercial websites. Most, if not all, of these are for Spanish IT companies - so I would guess they are also sponsors of the project as a whole.

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