Sunday, October 14, 2007

Education in Second Life - Mini Tech Review 1

Second Life has recently become one of the cutting-edge virtual classrooms for higher education. It fosters a welcoming atmosphere for administrators to host lectures and projects online, selling more than 100 islands for educational purposes. Students can be engaged in social learning activities and find it enjoyable to interact with other avatars while learning in this space. Among the more active educators in Second Life are librarians. There are numerous libraries within what is referred to as the Info Islands. A virtual reference desk in SL is staffed by real life volunteer librarians for many hours every week. They also teach workshops there to help librarians and educators learn more about Second Life.

Late in 2006, a trend emerged whereby large consortia purchased several islands comprising an archipelago of education-focused land. The land is then subdivided into smaller parcels and rented to colleges, universities, and educational projects. Typically, land is rented for as little as $200 per year and comes with permission to use some common space for larger events. The consortial model has allowed for many more institutions to offer participation to students and faculty within a learning-centered environment. There are now many universities, colleges, schools and other educational institutions researching the use of Second Life as an environment for teaching and learning which offers a community of practice and situated constructivist learning.

Ball State-related Second Life resources links:

CMD in Second Life

Going Virtual: Libraries in Second Life

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