Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Virtual World Virtual School
I really should narrow the scope of my virtual school research. But, I just couldn't resist posting the Virtual Classroom Project on jokaydia.com . Jokaydia is an island in Second Life. The Virtual Classroom Project goal is to "provide a platform for educators to experiment with designing spaces for learning".
I have some definite opinions about Second Life. I'm not sure it's quite ready for prime time, much less K12 virtual school. This comes from my personal inability to navigate without looking aimless and impaired (I run into things and people.) I've tried to visit a number of educational sites within Second Life, but I have yet to get much out of them. So why am I intrigued? Why do I pop in from time to time? Truth is, I wonder if virtual worlds are the future of virtual school. To some extent, I believe that the virtual brick and mortar buildings, avatars, and conversations provide a feeling of being there that doesn't come from discussion boards, blogs, and other virtual school assignments.
Collaboration is all the buzz within the virtual school I am observing. (More on that in a future post.) They are having a hard time getting students to collaborate. My experience in online courses indicates that online collaboration must be facilitated. Students don't do it unless it's required. (e.g. Post your response and respond to at least 2 classmates.) In Second Life, collaboration just happens. Frankly, it's difficult NOT to communicate when you virtually bump into someone. Once the conversation is started, other connections are made.
Check out this example of a Harvard Law course in Second Life. Is this the future of virtual school? Is this the future of teaching?
Kemp, Jeremy, and Daniel Livingstone. "PUTTING A SECOND LIFE “METAVERSE” SKIN ON LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS." Google. Retrieved 1 Apr. 2008 http://126.96.36.199/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=cache:OuCR9FDE2EwJ:secondlife.com/businesseducation/education/slcc2006-proceedings.pdf%23page%3D22+