K12 Confrence on Second Life
This was a great confrence for anyone trying to figure out just what this whole Second Life thing is, and how it is relevant to education. There was far too much information to summarize here, as the presentation lasted over two hours, so I’d just like to focus in on a couple of neat ideas. If you would like to watch the entire voicethread, click here!
The blonde cartoon avatar is Wesley Fryer, one of the guest speakers who joined our ECMP 355 class. It’s a small world when it’s all connected with wires, isn’t it?
The one comment that really got me was that “the community and world that’s growing will reflect the values and norms of a worldwide society.” It’s really amazing to think about a worldwide society with it’s own worldview. What could a world-wide-worldview mean for the future? Could we see better communication between countries as a result? If people can learn to understand each other better over this virtual medium, can we avoid future wars and conflicts? Can we foster a new sense of acceptance and understanding for other cultures in today’s children?
I was very thankful for the info that this presentation gave on the debate about SL’s usefulness in education in light of the fact that adults and teens must stay on separate versions of the game. I learned that there is a way to create islands for teachers and students. It involves having a criminal record check, and purchasing a secure island that no unauthorized avatars can enter and your students can’t leave. It really seemed a lot simpler than I expected.
Also, I loved the discussion of how SL can be a tool for young people to discover who they are. Teens are at a critical stage in the development of self-identity, and being able to experiment in this virtual world allows students to fiddle with who they are. It can help to break through shyness, allow students to better observe the results of different attitudes they display, and allow for experiments in body image through decoration of their avatars.
I’m starting to be able to move around SL myself- I can’t wait to go check out some of the islands this presentation listed. One of my first stops will definately be ISTE island, one of the education centers in SL.