Collaboration in Second Life - a nice example

I was in in Washington D.C. this last week attending the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technology Education conference. During the conference, I attended one workshop and one talk on Second Life. Both of the presentations were focused on Teen Second Life, which was interesting, but neither presentation did a very good job of illustrating how I would use Second Life as a teaching tool.

Julian Lombardi's blog has a short YouTube movie that comes pretty close. Be patient, the marketing pitch doesn't last forever.


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I like SL, but this seems like an awful use. There is something to be said about the artificial sense of presence engendered by MUVEs, but it seems like too much overhead and distraction just to conduct a meeting where the avatar plops down in a chair for a lecture or slide show.

I like the model being used by the Tech Virtual Museum Workshop where they prototype and collaborate on RL museum exhibits in SL. They are using the 3D world to do 3D things.

I think when there is a choice, it's absolutely best to be present in person.

But, when you talk about overhead, consider the amount of overhead that it would take to fly all three of the hypothetical people, in the video, to the same place, so that they could work on the presentation together. A simple 2 hour meeting would end up taking 3 days (2 days to fly, one day to meet), plus hotel, cost, food, loss of work time, and all those carbon credits have to get spent in the transportation.

It's true that web conferencing and the phone work too, but I use those tools myself and it's just not the same.

Unfortunately, schools aren't able to hire teachers who are experts in every kind of subject. Virtual environments like Second Life provide another means for all students to interact with people who are experts in their fields.

I taught an on-line class Spring semester and those students and I were in 3 different states. I didn't feel like I got to know the students very well at all and I'm sure they felt the same. It would have been nice to meet, all-together as a class, at least once or twice in a place like Second Life.