Over the past
year there has been a growth in Shambles of areas related to Social
Networks and Virtual Worlds .... e.g.
Environments | Social
Networks (Web 2.0) | Second
Life for Educators |
Second Life www.secondlife.com
The summer of 2007 will be known, to me, as the summer I was reborn
... no, not a religious experience (well
maybe it was) .... but a rebirth into a virtual environment
.... yes ... I'm now well and truly in the 3D virtual world Second
Life (SL) with
the new name "Shamblesguru Voom" and a new head of hair
... and what a great learning experience it was (still is) with
other SLers popping up all over the place offering to guide and
help me through the experience whenever I needed it .... not only
learning the skills but also with many of the ongoing debates focused
on how SL can support teaching and learning.
To make it even more exciting, last summer, Second Life launched
their 'voice' capability; previously individual communication was
only text based using instant messaging (IM) and chat .... but now
with a microphone and headset SLers can, in addition, talk to each
other using voice if they wish to.
Two people I'd like to particularly thank who eased my pain was
Takeme Homewood and KJ
Hax (both these are their SL names ... not their real names).
KJ (aka .. Kevin) gives up his time above the
call of duty helping others all over the place, and is one of the
two people who started SLOLAR
.... to provide learners with not only skills but somewhere to practice
their skills and a community to facilitate the sharing of those
skills with others. Kevin is a full time educator in real life (USA)
.... I think I was lucky to catch him in the holidays.
Takeme (aka ... Jenny) I met while she was actually
building a complete Island for someone and so I could watch how
that grew over a few weeks .... since that time she has been a wonderful
mentor on all things to do with the technical side of navigating
around SL but more importantly with building skills and relevance
to teaching and learning. She is not only a skilled builder but
also an educator in the UK .... a powerful combination of attributes.
Jenny is available to help others
on a commercial basis ..... so if you are an international
school looking for a presence in SL , or wanting to give your staff
CPD in SL .... or a supplier to schools looking for another strand
to your marketing policy or to raising your profile then I
can highly recommend Jenny.
I cannot help but think back to SARs a few years ago when many
schools were closed for weeks across S.E.Asia .... it was a time
when Int.Schs. boosted their efforts and budgets to grow their in-house
LMS, CMS, VLE so that the schools could continue even though the
students stayed at home. What a pity that Second Life was not available
to the same sophistication as it is today ....
This 3D virtual environment would be a brilliant addition to supplement
the schools present online learning platform (for students and staff)
and at very little cost once set up (regular membership of S.L.
But please note that there are a number of issues to consider, not
the least is online health and safety .... but in most cases there
are solutions to satisfy these worries.
Maybe something to consider
for your schools Pandemic/Disaster Policy?