As teachers, we are engaged in a “full-contact” competition. We are competing for the attention and academic success of our students and it requires our minds, bodies, and our entire heart and soul to be successful. (Ben Johnson, 2012)
At Nesna University College (HiNe), Social Informatics took another Web 2.0 step in 2008 as its teaching moved from Blogs, Wiki, YouTube and Facebook, into Second Life.
One of my focus areas in my teaching of Social Informatics was how people, both young and old, utilized the Internet as a tool for staying connected in small and large communities. Second Life was therefore a very interesting service, and I felt it was only logical to move some of my lecturing into SL. (See “Second Life“, 2008).
The students involved in my experimenting with Second Life enjoyed exploring the various possibilities and some even bought their own “house”. As part of their work with Project Getting Involved they were given the task of analysing the possibilities for using Second Life as a place for a Norwegian virtual police station (Faremo, et.al., 2007). But together with the students I was also exploring SL as a virtual learning environment. My conclusion was that it might well be used as part of flipping the classroom in the same way as using Twitter as a lecturing tool, but that SL had a greater value as a tool students might use for creating or exploring as part of a concrete task. And as most other digital tools it works best if it is used as a part of a package of distributed lectures; Blog with topical posts consisting of short video lectures, sound lectures, Slideshare-lectures, text and then short meetings in SL and Twitter to discuss chosen aspects of, for instance, a task.
Some research papers on using SL in education
- Second Life in higher education: Assessing the potential for and the barriers to deploying virtual worlds in learning and teaching
- Extending the Classroom through Second Life
- Development and evaluation of a virtual campus on Second Life: The case of SecondDMI
- Virtual world teaching, experiential learning, and assessment: An interdisciplinary communication course in Second Life