Second Chance for Second Life?


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Plenary given 16th October 2010 at the 4th annual SLanguages conference


The fourth SLanguages conference is being held in the midst of a sea change in virtual world education.

Although Second Life was not the first virtual world to be used for education, it was the first to become a focus of popular culture, and it has continued to be the main focus of educators interested in using virtual worlds since that time in 2006 when it was catapulted to people's attention as a possible 3D alternative to the flat web.

Although the mainstream attention has largely deserted to Facebook and Twitter, educational attention in Second Life has continued to increase steadily as more is learned about the value it and other virtual worlds can bring to distance learning in particular.

Recently, however, changes such as the impending closure of the Teen Grid and the announced abolition of the island discount for educators have seen many become doubtful of their existing and future in-world projects.

The Second Life Educators (SLED) list is currently dominated by talk of an exodus to open source virtual worlds such as Open Sim. What is interesting, however, is that these educators are not looking for an an alternative to a virtual world, simply an alternative virtual world. And they want it to be as close as possible to Second Life.

In this talk, I plan to take stock of what I have learned about language learning and teaching in virtual worlds, looking at some examples of what could be considered to be 'viable language learning' in-world, and to ask whether Second Life should be given a second chance by anyone now considering packing their virtual bags.

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Second Chance for Second Life?

  1. 1. Second Chance for Second Life Language Education? Baldric Commons (Graham Stanley)
  2. 2. APRIL 2006 May 2006
  3. 3. Esperanto & English Village Second Life early fascination "the absolute blurring between online and physical spaces" George Siemens, April 2006 Exploration & Blogging
  4. 6. Edunation & the Webheads HQ
  5. 7. Regular events on Edunation -> Slanguages May 2007
  6. 8. BritishCouncil Isle, Teen Second Life - 2007
  7. 10. British Council Isles in TSL today
  8. 15.
  9. 16. Platform for meeting online
  10. 17. 3D vs flat web for e-learning – a more meorable experience?
  11. 18. AVALON Business English course – competition 2009 & 2010 Situated Language Learning
  12. 19. Existing SL spaces to stimulate language production
  13. 21. Role-playing
  14. 22. Beginners –Teacher tools & displays
  15. 23. Use SL affordances – object manipulation
  16. 24. Use SL affordances – building / content creation
  17. 25. Careful Planning & Virtual Classroom Management
  18. 26. Don't be afraid to experiment!
  19. 27. Above all – Have fun!
  20. 28. Questions / Comments / Discussion time....