This week, I explored the virtual world of Second Life.
Our course mentioned Second Life as an alternative learning space. Although it simply sounds like a virtual space for learning, the necessary things to know about Second Life is way complicated.
Briefly, it is a place where people can have a “second life” to decide how their avatars look and how they live. There are numerous places in Second Life.
Each site like the island is owned by people who paid for that space. Second Life has its currency that people can buy it on their website (marketplace) in the real world. As people can do whatever they want to in the virtual world, Second Life is more open to adults actually, and it contains some adult content which is not appropriate for teenagers. To solve that issue, they developed Teen Second Life in 2005 for teenagers. I might need more time to explore how that virtual world is.
Speaking of using it for teaching, I think it is not easy in most situations though it does have places like virtual labs and virtual university campuses where people can explore and learn. For students who would like to learn 3D modeling or chemistry, Second Life is an excellent place to see visualized contents that could enhance their learning experience. However, before participating in the learning and teaching activity in Second Life, there are many things to learn:
- Users need to understand Second Life’s philosophy, knowing how to walk, communicate with others, attend a lecture, and visit places.
- For teachers who would like to teach in Second Life, they need to rent or create a classroom that involves a premium membership fee per month.
- Users might get instant help when facing technique problems, especially when they need to interact or respond in a class.
In summary, fully engaging in Second Life requires not only time but also some expenses. Expensive hardware might be needed to have a better experience (auditory and visual) in Second Life. Payment is also necessary to have adequate tools to use. Most importantly, for teachers, designing the learning environment takes too much time.
So, for someone who decides to use Second Life for teaching, they need to consider those factors from a student perspective, as Second Life contains a new “worldview” for both teachers and students to explore.
How To Get Started in Second Life – New User Tutorial