TL Ponderings


Second Life

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on June 7, 2011
Tags: , , ,

Although many gen x’s and baby boomers have embraced Virtual Worlds and gaming, the statistics show that 11 – 15 year olds (.com gen) are the biggest participants (Jo Kay, 2010. Exploring the Metaverse; Kids, Tweens and Teens), these are my students and where my students are heading. The article by Dede, Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning (2009) identifies three ways virtual engagement can enhance educational opportunities; multiple perspectives; situated learning; and transfer, studies showing that students are performing better on tests within this environment then in standardised testing. Being a primary school TL, I think that the use of SL in primary education is a long way off. The use of Virtual Worlds in education will require an attitudinal shift in the user. Currently the vast majority of these tools are being used for fun, to  communicate socially, for escapism. I’m sure that there is unconscious learning taking place – better use of technology, netiquette, online collaboration, self-examination and reflection, multi-tasking. But the learning curve, commitment and  time needed to make any real time online Virtual World an effective educational tool, coupled with the need for further research into its benefits in the classroom will make this avenue a distant project for my students.

I viewed my time in Second Life as an opportunity to explore something different, I discovered that it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined and realised that I was able to transfer knowledge into the mechanics of this experience, making the using of it seem more common sense. Although I do think that I already have trouble keeping up with my friends in the real world so on a personal note wouldn’t have time for new friends in a virtual world. Moreover, the ability to be anyone you want online makes me sceptical about who you meet, they may not necessarily be who they say they are, a fact that I will be expressing regularly to my own teen and tween children.

References

Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning, Science, 323(5910), 66-69. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/cgi/reprint/sci;323/5910/66.pdf

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