Sunday, August 02, 2009

Second Life Redux

I've been musing on Second Life and it's possible uses. I'm quite certain I'll never develop an affinity for it, given that of all the 23 + 11.5 things it's the one that really requires dedication and an interest that extends beyond the school day. Either you like it or our don't. There are so many players out there that folks like me must be the minority.

I'm wondering if it couldn't used in High School or Middle School by kids who are already fans. The teacher wouldn't have to spend days teaching it since they students already know how it works. Since it requires an e-mail address it would be hard to use in elementary school like mine where many of the kids don't have one.

The Second Life Wiki has some interesting ideas. I really like the idea of using SL to facilitate second language learning. There is such wide gulf between the the regular ed and the ESL / Bi-lingual students. They don't mix or mingle and so many of the bi-lingual students are really mono-lingaul, despite being native born American citizens. This SlideShare (Hey, there is another 11.5 tie-in) gives a good and simple explanation.

Seems there now a Teen Second Life for kids ages 13 -17. Educators can buy private "islands" and that's an interesting concept. A social studies department could buy an island and the students could recreate the world of Ancient Greece, a Shakespearn theater, a Colonial market or the Battle of Gettysburg. It's not a project for everyone but it's one that could be given to the G/T students.
This sort of thing is right up the alley of many of them. Linden Labs appears to be the front runner with this sort of thing.

So, I still don't care for Second Life (but then I don't like Chemistry either) but I can see it has real potential in the high schools, provided the school has a teacher with passion and an IT department that is willing to unblock Second Life.

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