Advantages to Second Life
It allows people to meet online, without having
Good way to listen to a speaker.
Some interesting places to explore.
The thing we found most useful was being able
to talk to other people there. Seeing the avatars
makes the conversation seem more real than just
talking over the phone.
It can take a while getting the technology to work.
It’s difficult for a large group to all talk together.
It’s harder to see or read many things than on a regular
But most importantly, it’s not real. The water isn’t wet.
The dolphins do the same jumps over and over. There are
no insects in the trees. If I wanted my students to be in an
“immersive environment,” it would be nice if they could be
immersed in the real world.
Is that possible?
What if a class could visit and explore a real
location in Second Life?
If one person was in an interesting place, and had a video camera, a
whole class could go on a virtual tour. We could talk to each other as we
A tour could be recorded for later, or if the tour was done live, the class
could ask the guide questions as they went, and the guide could focus
the camera on what the class wanted to see.
All of the computers for a class could be connected.
A class could move through the regular internet the same as we can
move in Second Life, having conversations, and showing what pages we
found that the rest of the class might want to look at.
You could click on other avatars to see what they’re looking at, or to join
them on a different page.
This would let the teacher provide more guidance to the class, and would
help to make sure students were working on the class project, rather
than downloading songs.
Shall we look at the whales next?
Sure, let’s all go to that page.
I could envision Second Life as a place to prepare
students for real life experiences. Using the Alamo as an
example; (I do remember it.) If there were a Second Life
American Museum of Natural History; students could
explore the virtual museum together and choose the areas
that they want to focus on when they go. It would be
impossible to see everything at the Museum in one day
and difficult enough to get one field trip together. Having
students visit a virtual world as preparation would enable
them to have ready expectations and to create inquiry
questions in advance. The familiarity they gain would help
them get more out of their visit.
Museums in Second Life
Retrieved from: http://landmarkisland.ning.com/
Manipulate the Environment
Simulate dihybrid crosses to demonstrate
independent assortment on Genome Island
Why Second Life?
It’s fun! Activities that feel new can increase engagement and spark
creativity…but could it be made to feel like more than another video
Waldorf philosophy believes that brains are negatively effected by
“screen time.” Television reduces creativity and causes children to get
lower scores on IQ tests. This philosophy supposes that it’s the media,
not the message. There is no such thing as good screen time; it doesn’t
matter what you watch. All screen time is bad for creativity. But SL
might challenge this as it allows for interaction but without physical
self-consciousness. The communication that occurs is something
different than face-to-face however. There are nuances in
communication that are missing in a virtual world.
Other Useful Places
Other types of social networking have the
potential to help create a classroom
environment with open learning and inquiry
based and personalized learning experience.
Students could be given homework and quizzes,
they could ask questions of the teacher and each
other they could explore at their own pace, and
learn from the interests of other students.
Student Made Places
Student “science rooms”
Have students develop
their own personal
space devoted to
whatever they find
interesting in the course
Have students visit each
other’s spaces and
Second Life for
Best thing about SL is the networking and the
potential to access professionals in the field who
live far away and with whom you would
ordinarily not have contact. The ability to
contribute to creating worlds in SL is another
component that could be interesting to
professionals and students alike.
Daniel McNulty’s presentation on the PATINS Project.
We found that the ability to ask questions at any time through
text messages was a great benefit of using this technology.