Evening in SL

I just spent an evening in Second Life and saw some cool things and went some cool places.  I can definitely see the educational merit and the possibilities of the application.  I was interested in using SL as a tool to submerge students in a location so that they could take a 3D virtual tour.  My first stop was my favorite city, New Orleans.

Daiquiri on the BalconyHere is me enjoying a Daiquiri on the balcony of a French Quarter apartment

Inspired by New Orleans, I then travelled to Bon Temps, the fictional setting of the Sookie Stackhouse novels and the HBO show True Blood.

In front of the sign

Standing in Front of Merlotte's Bar

The view from Vampire Bill's porch to Sookie's house.

I had a lot of fun exploring the setting of my favorite book/show and I was thinking about what I could do with this experience in the classroom.  Islands like this are not available in Teen SL and that is unfortunate but I thought instead that students could build the setting together, take on roles from the book and other town citizens and role play parts from the book. We could also expand the events of the book past the ending.  I think that that would be an amazing way to have students immerse themselves in what they are reading and respond to it.  This would be very similar to the project that I did where I had my students simulate being homeless in the game The Sims 2 however the major difference would be the interaction between all students that was just not possible in The Sims 2.

It is unfortunate that places like this are not available to students in Teen SL.  I think that taking an art class to tour The Louvre and discussing the art or to view architecture in ancient Rome would be an amazing application.  There are options for SL that I can think of but I am disappointed by the restriction and limitations.  By no means am I saying that we should take students into SL, it is no place for a child, that’s for sure. I wish that some of the same locations were available on Teen SL.  Maybe someday someone will create these kinds of locations for educational groups to visit and use in the future.  Hmmm?  Maybe I have a new career option?

Whatever the case may be, I will give SL a try in the capacity that I described above next year.  I will give myself a lot of time to explore the possibilities and learn to use it before I jump in with my students.

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2 Comments »

  1. sm45rt Said:

    I agree with you about the exciting possibilities that are available. I was very uncomfortable in the world and would probably not feel capable of pursuing it. I mentioned the culture project to a relative of mine who is a teacher, she said, “why would you bother, and spend so much time?” I was shocked, but my answer was easy-student engagement in learning. If I were you, I would jump right in-good luck.
    Michelle

  2. erikvandusen Said:

    Hi there,

    Hope you don’t mind me creeping on your blog. I stumbled upon it somehow and I just wanted to confess that I’ve used my adult avatar on the adult grid of SL to tour my grade eight students from time to time. For example, last month we paid a visit to the Holocaust Museum and to Anne Frank’s house. Though you have little control over what other avatars “do” while on the adult grid, I have found that many places that we would deem educational are very lonely and are probably safe for a quick visit. So much potential here!

    Erik


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