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David Anthony Colarusso - Sadly not Havoc Dinosaur
Intermittent musings on the law, science, education, technology, design, and life. Also, I build things: furniture, software, reasoned arguments... To learn more about that, click a persona below for my eponymous website.

Second Life in the Secondary Curriculum

by David Colarusso - May 22nd, 2007

Kate Farrell’s a good friend of mine, and this talk was an expanded version of something she delivered back at BarCampScotland in March. For those of you who don’t know “Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 6,615,666 people from around the globe.” Kate’s take on Second Life is much like Robertson’s take on gaming. It’s about meeting learners where they are and engaging them. There is a nice flattening effect here too, very Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat.

Kate works with students on the Teen Grid, an area of Second Life off limits to un-approved adults. In the past she’s worked with groups in New York and Amsterdam, creating virtual environments, everything from a Quidditch field to a virtual downtown.

Right now she’s working with Global Kids to help students in New York design a game to be built by students in Washington DC. You can find Kate’s take on these projects at her blog.

She described some other educational efforts in Second Life, and introduced Hugh O’Donnell who is working in Dunoon Grammar School with students in Second Life. Unlike Kate’s work, Hugh is using this mostly as new space for traditional learning, allowing learning to continue after students leave the physical classroom. You can find out more from Hugh’s blog on the project.

Kate then picked things up again, talking about how Second Life allows for cross-curricular lessons. Everything from exploring social stereotyping to 3D modeling. She hit upon just about every subject, excepting physical education. Personally, my inner capitalist likes the idea of setting up shop in Second Life and selling your wares. Nothing’s more relevant than making a living. Heck, maybe I’ll start tutoring in Second Life.

We were then treated to a little tour of Second Life and the Teen Grid. Kate even created a simple object at the audience’s request. Oddly, they asked for a coffin?

Entry Filed under: Technology in Education

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