Friday, July 15, 2011

SL as a Teaching Tool

On June 23 the Express, a D.C. local newspaper, had a short, short article on Second Life titled “The Advantages of Avatars: Virtual worlds give new meaning to ‘distance learning.’” The article didn’t offer any opinions that haven’t been expressed before since the beginnings of SL, mainly, that Second Life offers interactive possibilities beyond that of the purely textual online tools such e-mail, twitter and Wikipedia. However, it is because I have read this sentiment time and time again that it becomes clear to me that those who write about it, in this case, a journalist, are just reporting what is told to them. Journalists years ago wrote about how Second Life would impact long distance learning but how much of that has actually come true?
To a certain extent, yes, I have encountered genuine attempts to use SL as a teaching tool but I don’t see it to be as wide spread or as influential as it was predicted to be. The question is what factors are impeding the success of what has been considered to be the future of interactive education? The factors, in my opinion, are more than just practicality and hardware compatibility. It’s also an issue of the public’s perception of what SL is.
These are some heavy, overarching questions and statements, but we would like to know what is your opinion about Second Life as a tool for TEACHING (focusing primarily on that, not about other academic issues for the time being). Would you benefit from having class in SL versus flipping through Powerpoint presentations? If you’ve had or have witnessed successful instances of it utilized in this way we’d love to know!

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At August 10, 2011 at 6:36 PM , Blogger Carina said...

I did an indep study in SL, the focus of which was interviewing educators. The #1 obstacle was the learning curve. It's extremely time consuming to teach people how to use Second Life well enough that they can really interact with the world in a deep and meaningful way. You can read my interviews here:


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