Monday, March 31, 2008

Educause Presentation

I was on a panel today at the Western Regional meeting of Educause speaking on Second Life. It was a very interesting presentation because the people we were presenting with originally had their presentation entitled "Second Life from the Slow Lane." Imagine their surprise when they found themselves on a panel with John Miller! But the really interesting part is that while we are working with simulations and models, these two are actually working out the human dimension to Second Life. Their work in SL is connectivity rich while we are programming rich.

Jeffery Lamb is using Second Life with his Spanish class to basically create a "semestre abroad" approach. In Second Life, his students go to a virtual Barcelona and Mexico and talk with native Spanish speakers. He also makes them use the Spanish "Segunda Vida" client so when they want to change their avatar's hair and such they have to learn the names of the various body parts and colors in Spanish. This is terrific because the students then have a natural, invested interest in learning the language. And then when their hair is right, they are hanging out with native Spanish speakers. I found this more exciting than any of the programming or widgets I have seen in SL. This is what it should really be about -- people working and learning together. I want to bring this to our college and to our state!

Here is the blurb from the program:

Teaching and Learning in Second Life
Session Details

Track 1
Monday, March 31, 2008
4:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Room of the Dons, Lobby Level

* Geoffrey B. Cain, Instructional Designer / English Instructor, Tacoma Community College
* Jeffrey Lamb, Spanish Instructor, Solano Community College
* John Miller, Nursing Instructor, Tacoma Community College
* Sandra Rotenberg, Librarian and Distance Education Coordinator, Solano Communityt

This panel discussion examines both the process and product of teaching in Second Life from the perspectives of instructors and an instructional designer. Participants will see how instructors use Second Life to teach foreign languages and nursing, illustrating the breadth of possibilities virtual reality offers to introduce students to other cultures and clinical procedures. The experience enhances students' critical thinking, decision making, and diversity awareness.

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