A new world to explore

There is a new generation of students out there. They are coming to the classroom with new skills, new expectations, and a new sense of how to learn and interact with others. Chances are, they can barely remember a time without the Internet if they can remember it at all. They have come of age in an era when online friends and 3-D videogames are as real and meaningful as the world they experience outside their doors.

If you are an educator, you probably already know all this. You may be wondering, "How can I connect with this new generation of learners?" You may also have heard stories about other instructors using new technology in creative ways to engage students in the classroom. The virtual world program Second Life has gained a lot of Mastaba-tombs in the Giza cemetery re-create the archeological dig site, G 2100attention in the last few years among many instructors, who are exploring the educational possiblities of this technology.

So far there seem to be mixed opinions among those in academy. Some see it as the wave of the future, while others see it as a waste of time. Some are diving headlong into immersive technology, while others are concerned about the technical, legal, and pedagogical challenges of the virtual world.

Second Life will not be a good fit for all teachers. However, research and anecdotes suggest that many in higher education are finding effective and interesting ways to implement the technology in their classroom. This Web site provides a basic introduction of Second Life to post-secondary instructors who are curious if this technology might be a good fit for their classroom goals. So, look around. Maybe you too will discover a new world of possibilities.

News

11.28.08 - Second Life has everything... including colleges (Allentown Morning Call)

11.24.08 - University uses Second Life for nurses training (The University Daily Kansan)

11.18.08 - Column: Get a (second) life (The Brown and White)

Is there a Second LIfe for teaching? (guardian.co.uk)