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Wednesday, June 09, 2010


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It can only be Languagelab.com .


Ignatius Onomatopoeia

I'd like to plug The Virtual Theorists' Project, on the Montclair State University virtual campus. Edina Gumbo and AJ Brooks (SL) put this together for Gumbo's graduate students studying Counseling theories.

The project not only has a chatty Freud bot ("Iggy, tell me about your childhood") and virtual offices / displays for other psychologists, but a really strong interactive project: the Pyramid of the Personality.

I wrote about the project here:


The landing zone was last at this SLURL:


I don't know how Gumbo has assessed the work done by her students, but I'm sure she'll provide information.

My students who toured the site (while studying Freud's Civilization & Its Discontents in another required first-year course) found that they "got" the Freudian model of the personality after exploring the Pyramid. The visual metaphors clarify why the ego, superego, and id are so different and how they balance each other in a stable personality.


At Washington State University, it's pretty good for media conferences, and for getting a new hairdo.


Betsy Price

I think the jury is still out on how SL is going to fit into education. At the University of Texas at Brownsville we have spent the last semester investigating what we have to do to involve faculty and students. Surprisingly, because of filters and other silly things IT does to rule campus Internet access, we needed to do work to get SL on campus computers and provide workshops and one-on-one training.

The other is the high learning curve. Right now it is like the beginning of the Internet that users have to develop material as well as do the technical and art part. It's still early adopter time for educators.

However, my guess is that SL will 1. become a virtual campus for online students that will provide the atmosphere they miss from a residential student. 2. be an experimental environment as faculty and staff learn how to integrate SL. 3. Students with diverse learning styles, physical and learning disability students, and social learners will flock to it as an alternative way to learn.

Eventually the Internet will be to SL as silent films were to talkies.

Betsy Price

Giulio Prisco

My comments:


I don't think much will change in practice. I think LL is stopping going after those dinosaur organizations which could never be persuaded anyways (as Gwyn says, "the bad image of SL as a sex-only VW is too strong... The harm is done and LL cannot fix it.", and focusing on consumers AND leaner and meaner organizations. In my post I recommend some relatively simple developments which, I believe, would make the consumer-oriented SL much more suitable for professional collaboration as well.

Jack Buxbaum

I love the analogy that eventually the internet will be to education as silent movies were to the talkies!

I will be beginning to pioneer this fall (2010) to train and intro SL into voluntary curriculums. I definately see the glass more than half full for SL to be appropriate for "hybridized" 21st Cent. Education skill set building. We are writing the curriculum this sumer for integrating standards from ISTE into our high school this fall.

A Learning curve is absolutely anticipated but it won't stop the journey. I feel that a self-regulated learner, a student who may actually become self-regulated through them finding interest in school from having access to SL within school, will become engaged and motivated to contribute as well as to stay on task.

Marc Weinstein

I am very excited by the value of the 3-D Internet and the OpenSim platform for quality educational experiences. Here are a few quick thoughts. More to come in the days ahead.

1) The learning curve in SL is steep, but will over time, no doubt, flatten. I think it is inevitable that the average hardware cash-strapped students own will more easily handle graphics in the years ahead. Also, our experience confirms what researchers have found, i.e. digital natives do manage the technology more handily than digital immigrants. (I do realize that the average age of most SL residents is above 30, but the average SL resident is not the average adult learner.)

2) One factor that may slow the growth of SL in education is that many universities see distant learning as a way to generate revenues through economies of scale. I see the value of SL (and similar environments) as enhancing the quality of education and not the cost effectiveness of education. I am particularly excited by the ability to use SL for synchronous seminars for our part-doctoral students who live quite a physical distance from our university.

3) In the area of k-12 education, I think much can be done with simulations to complement traditional curricula. This does require some upfront investments that could be funded by grant activities.

Professor Spingflower
aka Marc Weinstein, (Florida International University).

IntLibber Brautigan

The most effective teaching project in Second Life is the Governance Team. Better than any civics lesson, it is teaching thousands of users each day of the value of constitutional rights, due process, and freedom from the tyranny of a secret police organization.

tiopete Renard

I use SL to teach Historic Preservation on NMSU’s Aggie Island. My classroom space resembles my RL outdoor classroom with campfire and native plants but also has a virtual blackboard, whiteboard/screen, landmark giver, note giver, etc. I deliver live voice lectures with lots of slides, etc and my students can visit and see slideshows, and blackboard notes whenever they choose.
I have a distinct advantage teaching this class in SL because SL has a large number of accurate historic sites including locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the World Heritage List (see the Google Earth kml files on my web page - http://nmsua.edu/tiopete/sl-register-of-historic-places/ ).
My students and I can visit these locations and discuss the architecture, setting, historical importance, and even interview the builders/residents.
I am also designing a detailed and accurate build of a simulated arechaeological site which my students can excavate and document, collecting and proveniencing the individual artifacts, analyze the stratigraphy and prepare a site report, all without destroying the RL past.
In addition, my students prefer SL to standard asynchronous, text-based distance learning. The interaction in SL is far superior to the exchange of email or on-line chat rooms.
see y’all in SL
tiopete Renard

Adele Ward AKA Jilly Kidd

I think the London School of Journalism sim is an excellent example of how 3D internet can be used for education, and in fact it convinces me that this is one of the best uses of SL.

The LSJ is the top college for journalism in the UK and they also teach other forms of writing. They use SL to let their tutors meet with distance students, and they also bring in their RL lecturers to give talks which can be attended by their students and by anyone from SL.These lectures are free and include Q & A - they would be expensive in RL so this is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring writers on SL who can't get to an RL course.

One of the best things about the LSJ sim is that the owner of the LSJ has decided to give free space to others so that the island gets used regularly and to encourage collaboration and enjoyment.

For this reason it's one of the most interactive education sims, with a writing community and events from SL as well as coming in from RL. SL writers, readers, publishers and performers mix with LSJ RL staff and students.

There are free fiction workshops with author Rae Lori on Saturdays and Sundays, regular readings by poets who display in the Ars Poetica Gallery (the largest display of poetry by writers on SL), regular chances to meet expert podcasters to find out how to make your own audiobook for free, readings to launch the Muse-Pie publications which invite submissions by writers on SL, talks on how to get published by me (I'm an author and publisher and the sim manager for the LSJ). There's also far more but I would fill your page!

Recently the LSJ sim hosted the first Author Convention and Exhibition in two space ships above the island, with a week of events including open mics as well as the other events listed above. The LSJ have decided to give the exhibitors permanent free space in these space stations. Included are all the RL publishers I've found on SL with signs giving information on how to submit manuscripts.

How else does the LSJ use the technology available on SL? The lectures are filmed so that they can be broadcast and seen by students who couldn't attend, and we will also be making audio broadcasts from now on. For those with hearing difficulties other methods are used to provide text.

I will be writing about all of this and publishing articles on Publishing Talk, the Reed Media blog which most UK publishers have a feed too, and international publishers to. So it will hopefully draw attention to the positive ways SL can be used for education.

Here is a list of the main areas of LSJ Island with SLURLS in case you'd like to visit. I organise the Written Word project on SL as well as the LSJ sim so some parts are a collaboration between both groups.

London School of Journalism SLURLS:

London School of Journalism Amphitheatre HQ

LSJ ACE Space Station with Publishers, Authors, Publications, Performers and the largest gallery display of poetry on SL

Woodland Tutorial Cabins for RL tutorials between LSJ tutors and their distance students, and also free writing workshops for SL writers with author Rae Lori.

Southbank Theatre where RL LSJ lecturers give talks on journalism which can be attended by both RL students and anyone from SL. These lectures are free to attend and include Q & A.

Beach, Seastage, Cafe and Writers' Huts with writing animations and sleeping bags. Free accommodation for writers to come and use as they please.

Ferris Wheel, Pirate Ship and the Written Word's Virginia Woolf House and Poetry Society SL Stanza building. This is partly for fun and partly a wealth of resources for writers. All venues can be used by others for free for nonprofit suitable events, or for a donation to support the LSJ on SL for a ticketed event (not that this usually happens!)

Hope this is helpful and it's also very interesting to me to see the other projects. The Virtual Colleges Fair is a very useful exhibition to me for meeting others organising educational projects. The libraries on Info Island also have a list of colleges on SL, which is also on Wiki, but I find it's not complete. There are more than 100 colleges and universities on SL, I believe. My personal other favourites are the Open University and the beautiful Cornwall College sim. And Rockcliffe are incredibly active and interactive with the SL community.

Adele Ward AKA Jilly Kidd

About the steep learning curve - The LSJ has combined instructions on their website with a good orientation centre on the island. Unfortunately, with Viewer 2 changing everything I'm just in the process of updating the orientation centre. With some users on Emerald at the moment, or still on Viewer 1, this is a bit tricky. However, the important thing is probably to get the orientation centre right for newbies.

RL students don't seem to find it too hard to come on for tutorials if they can log on at the tutorial cabin or the lecture theatre and be helped to find out how to sit down and talk or type. The lectures have always gone very well even with a roomful of newbies.

As part of this the avatars were created and set up in place for the students by LSJ staff.

The other thing is that the LSJ works both ways - with students coming it from RL to meet their tutors and lecturers, and also an open invitation to the SL community to attend. This has never led to griefing as it has only been genuinely interested people coming to lectures and workshops.

One of the best uses I have personally found for SL in education has been in teaching workshops and I've done this for my own Written Word project and for Humber College on SL. Sitting with the feeling of being in a room with a workshop group has advantages as it really does feel like an RL workshop somehow.

SL has extras that an RL workshop can't have. We combined it with a Google group so that people could pass a file a week beforehand to let the group critique in comments on Word. Then we discussed their writing in a weekly workshop, and at the end the writer got all the files back from group members with the critique in writing too. Extra discussion could then also take part on the Google group.

The important thing was to apply the same professional standards to the selection of the group, the methods used for workshopping, and the handling of any problems. If anything I've found people on SL are more willing to contribute and are more open about their critique.

I think it's important to use SL in combination with all of these other methods to get the full benefit of what it can add.

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