…. and you just might find it useful in your profession, as well!; Read on …..
Some of you may have already experienced Second Life, the internet-based multi-user virtual environment (MUVE) created by LindenResearch, Inc. (we call them Linden Labs in-world). Others of you may have heard of it, but have never explored it and may even be set against it and all it stands for. Whichever you are, or if you are someone who has never heard of it before reading this post, I ask you to make a decision to give it a try this summer.
DEN is working on establishing a presence in Second Life. Be sure to keep an eye out for exciting announcements in the near future about it. Why would a community of educators want to have anything to do with a virtual world? Well, it is hard to explain, which is why I’m inviting you to sign up for an account (they are free) and check it out firsthand. I have been in Second Life for a very short time, but in that time, I have discovered it to be at minimum a great place to collaborate with like-minded educators. ISTE recently hosted a conference performed solely in Second Life. It was well-attended and provided a lot of useful information to the technology-minded educators in from all over the world. Through these collaborations, you meet educators, not only from the United States, but from other countries, as well. There is something extraordinary about realizing you are talking to a teacher in Brazil with whom you have much in common and there is so much to learn from each other!
Other than that, there are all kinds of educational applications in Second Life. Historical reenactments, learning physics through building, architectural design, tutoring, the list goes on and on. Some interesting effects have been observed on students with disabilities, who find themselves in a world where they have no limitations.
The reality of Second Life is that most school districts probably block it. It would take a great deal of effort to convince the powers that be to change that. Even if it is not blocked, you might find the application cumbersome, as SL residents often find their computers lacking sufficient resources to run it properly and the SL servers themselves at times are slow. Nonetheless, even if you don’t end up using it in the classroom, Second Life is a valuable tool for your own professional development, collaboration, and well, you WILL have fun, too! Join us!
Look for me in-world, I’m Celestia Cazelet. Anyone in Texas already a resident? Post your SL name here so we can all keep an eye out for each other!