Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Educational Spotlight Rountable in Second Life

I attended this roundtable event in SL yesterday. It was held in ISTE's brand-new four-sim auditorium (click photo).
One official count was 143 attendees (amazing, and the sound was excellent). There was very little notice that this event would be taking place, my understanding was that it was put together in about 24 hrs (try that in real life (RL)!).

It was moderated by Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins, PhD Candidate, Ball State University and author of Second Life for Dummies.

Panelists included:
Suriawang Dapto (RL: David Warlick) from http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/
Kathy Dryburgh (RL: Kathy Schrock) from http://nausetschools.org/lighthouselearning/
Maggie Marat (RL: Peggy Sheehy) from http://ramapoislands.edublogs.org
Bernajean Pinazzo (RL: Bernajean Porter) from http://www.digitales.us
Eric Reuters (RL: Eric Krangel) from the Reuters bureau in Second Life
Westley Streeter (RL: Westley Field) from http://www.skoolaborate.com/

Sarah posed the following questions, which panelists answered and discussed with the audience:

* What is the biggest change in education you would attribute to technology?
* What is the biggest change in your own work that has been influenced by technology?
* How has technology changed the way you define "learning and teaching"?
* How has Second Life changed the way you teach and/or learn?
* What one tech innovation would you wish for? How would it change education?

This event was interesting, informative, and well run. And it was also encouraging for someone like myself and others like me. Folks who see the potential of virtual worlds. People who are excited/stimulated/encouraged by what is taking place in Second Life, especially related to education and educators. People who see Second Life not only as another teaching tool, but something more. Something that allows us to connect in ways we have never been able to connect before - globally, quickly (as occurred here) - a way not only to enrich our experiences with immersive learning opportunities, but a way to collaborate with others on a deeper more immersive level.

It can be difficult to explain. Social networks are nice, and learning management systems can be useful, but SL goes beyond, far beyond. It allows us to socialize and work/create together - to produce things which in turn others can benefit from and build upon.

Second Life is not perfect. There are issues related to stability, ease of use, and the ability to run SL on light weight machines (cell phones/handheld devices, inexpensive computers, etc.). These issues are being addressed. I have learned to be more patient, and I have learned that SL is worth it. I left this presentation feeling hopeful and excited about the future of virtual worlds. They truly can have a positive impact on our world (and for me, they already have).


Intellagirl said...

I think beyond any stability or access issues, the biggest ramification of SL is that events like yesterday happen on a regular basis. I'm always amazed at the brilliance that happens when so many educators are able to put their heads together.

Robin Ashford said...

I too have been amazed by the quality of many events I've been able to attend in SL. So much better in many ways than traveling to hear speakers - no cost but an hour of my time, and I learn about cutting edge technologies far ahead of the conference circuit.

Thanks for commenting, Intellagirl/Sarah.

-Robin Mochi/Ashford