Monday, June 2, 2008

Skeptical Educator? Second Life & Education

“Inside the Lab” Podcast, a Discussion on Education in Second Life" (transcript incl)

I know a lot of educators who are skeptical about Second Life (SL) and virtual worlds (VW) in general. And rightly so. I was one such educator, and I know how the skeptics think. And I still tend to watch with a critical eye as virtual worlds are sprouting from everywhere now, and educational uses of these worlds continue to develop.

VWs like SL are still in the early stages of development, and the technologies being used are newer, so there are tech problems and challenges, which can be frustrating.

Having said that, I have spent enough time, and participated in enough discussions and classes in SL to say that I am convinced virtual worlds are here to stay. And educators as a group are contributing in some of the most innovative ways.

Lastly, I will say this - if you're an educator wondering about SL, I would recommend you take a look at the link I've included above. I would listen to that just released podcast and/or take a look at the transcript (you can get the links to sites that way).

But I wouldn't stop there. I highly recommend you create a Second Life account and then spend some time there, (20-30 hrs. minimum attending educ. events, classes, tutorials, networking, etc.), and then judge for yourself. That part is key. One can not fully understand how teaching and learning in SL is very different from other online forms of teaching/learning without experiencing it yourself. I am more convinced than ever that it is just not possible any other way.

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