Education in Second Life: Highlights from 2008

The world of Second Life is full of creative, innovative people from around the world, and the educators who teach and work inworld are no exception. Every semester hundreds of students participate in unique learning projects in Second Life. We’d like to highlight a few of 2008’s projects that we can all learn from and enjoy.

Second Life Education blog

Visit the Second Life Education blog (SLed blog) to read about many more great education projects from 2008.

Interested educators are also invited to join the SLed email list.

Hotel & Tourism Management – PolyU Resort Island

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University used Second Life for orientation for 400 freshman students.Over the course of three weeks, the inworld orientation program consisted of 7 individual learning activities: learning styles, multiple intelligences, active learning, academic honesty, classroom etiquette, citing references and hotel room design. They also held 3 competitions – parachuting, through the hoops and a fashion show, as well as 8 live sessions on learning challenges, plagiarism, library and open Q&A, finishing with a dance night and fashion show.

For details of the program see the Hong Kong Polytechnic University web site
Creator: Paul Penfold [RL] Paul Allandale [SL]
SLURL: HKPolyU Resort/121/167/26

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Virtual State Fair (Morrill) and Virtual County Extension (Morrill2)

The Virtual State Fair is home to the Cooperative Extension System, a collaboration of over 70 colleges and universities in the USA, providing educational outreach to communities and individuals via a network of county-based educators. Originally agricultural, the programs have expanded to include a broader range of topics such as personal finance, parenting, disaster preparedness, natural resources, and more. The Virtual State Fair offers a combination of entertaining activities and useful information for the general public.

College faculty, researchers, and educators are meeting regularly to collaborate on projects both in Second Life and real life. Second Life projects under development include family caregiving, turf grass, and integrated pest management. Classes on consumer education topics will be taught by extension educators’ inworld during 2009.

A short video of the Morrill islands can be seen on YouTube.
Creator: LuAnn Phillips aka Thynka Little
School: Cooperative Extension System
SLurl: Morrill/128/128/24

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Republica Dominicana Virtual

The Republica Dominicana Virtual project brings virtual worlds to the Dominican Republic. Several universities participate in the project including: students and faculty from the Technological Institute of the Americas (ITLA); the philosophy department from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo (USAD), oldest University in the new world; and the virtual headquarters for Funglode (Foundacion Global Democracia y Desarollo) hosting art gallerys, various historical landmarks, and a library.

Creator: Jan Herder aka Pausanius Raymake
School: Funglode (Foundacion Global Democracia y Desarollo) of the Dominican Republic
SLURL: Ontos /82/114/23/

Counselor Education in a 3D Virtual Environment

Victoria L. Walker – PhD. Candidate at Regent University – built a counseling training facility in Second Life providing student counselors a location to practice and develop their counseling, interviewing, and diagnosis skills with avatars that display many of the physical and emotional features students may encounter once practicing in their communities. The inworld counselor training simulates the features of a community counseling facility or a school counselor’s office while providing instructors with access to observe without distracting the student counselor or the “client” avatar during sessions.

Creator: Victoria Walker aka Zeana Tammas
School: Regent University

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Really Engaging Accounting

At the University of Central Florida, Steven Hornik aka Robins Hermano uses Second Life to teach a financial accounting course, and hopes to publish data he feels is among the first statistically significant empirical data showing a relationship between student engagement using SL and student performance. The course uses Second Life to help students learn the basic concepts of accounting through nontraditional methods.

The reason behind the project is simple, to engage the students in what is normally a very non-engaging course. Taught since the fall of 2007 when class size averaged 250, this fall class size was close to 900 students in one section, with 75-80% of them completing assignments inside of SL.

Creator: Steven Hornik aka Robins Hermano
School: University of Central Florida
SLURL: Teaching 4/68/158/22

The Hopkins Tibetan Treasures Multimedia Archive Project – The WylieWriter

Write Tibetan in Second Life. Tibetan presents a challenge for Second Life educators because of the complex way Tibetan words are written. This project allows Second Life educators to overcome the challenges of translating Tibetan words and write in Tibetan with the help of a proprietary system called the “Wall of WylieWriters”. This innovative teaching tool enables students and teachers to interact in Tibetan language classrooms in Second Life. Developed by Wamlabs of Shipley and the Eepaw Shop of Smoky. The project name refers to Wylie, the standard Tibetan transliteration method.

Creator: Bill Magee aka Wam7c Macchi
School: Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan, Funded by the Taiwan National Science Council.

SL Education Roundtable (SLER)

Hosted by Montclair State University, SLER’s mission is to provide a roundtable setting for interested parties to discuss various topics relevant to furthering the use of Second Life for education. Roundtables occur weekly and often have up to 50 participants. All are welcome to attend, whether presenting or just sitting in to learn about new possibilities Transcripts of past meetings are available in the Library Building just outside the CHSSSouth Amphitheater inworld.

Creator: AJ Kelton aka AJ Brooks
School: Montclair State University
SLURL: Montclair State CHSSSouth /128/156/22

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