Do You Use Second Life or other Virtual Worlds With Your Students?

Do You Use Second Life or other Virtual Worlds With Your Students?

Hayley really needs our help! She is one of the students studying to be a teacher and has to do a presentation on Second Life. Understandably she’s new to Second Life and virtual worlds so is finding it hard to relate to their usefulness in the educational world.

Anyone whose seen me in action in Second Life with my perfect sexy body knows that while I have THE WALK to go with my avatar — Virtual worlds aren’t my area of expertise. Definitely I’d recommend Hayley spend time checking out Jo Kay‘s and Sean FitzGerald‘s Second Life in Education Wiki — it’s an amazing resource for educators. In terms of age Teen Second Life is for 13 to 18 year olds only and Quest Atlantis is for 9 to 15 year olds only.

Using Second Life For Student Literacy Projects

Dean Groom was nice enough to talk tonight with me about how he uses Second Life with his students. Currently he has thirty year 9 students working on a Shakespeare project to create 2 minute Machinima.

The students have 6 weeks of 1hour per week in class to:

  • Create a story board for their play
  • Make their own outfits for their avatars using Photoshop
  • Build their own set for their play
  • Learn to manipulate their avatars and use the camera to film the performance
  • Film the scenes in Second Life and edit their movie using iMovie where they will add the voice to go with the avatars

Each week the students are required to complete reflective writing — you can check their progress here. The students chosen were those struggling with literacy skills. Not only does this process help them visualise Shakespeare’s work better but they also gain a wide range of other skills including collaboration, leadership and improved digital literacies. Dean also commented that these projects often open up the shy, quiet students who become more confident as a result.

Here is a video of his students working hard — right at the end you will hear two students discussing their set design.

Final Thoughts

Please share your knowledge and experience to help Hayley with her presentation this week:

  1. Do you use Second Life or any Virtual Worlds with your students? If so how?
  2. What have been the benefits of using Virtual Worlds?
  3. What have been the challenges?
  4. Can you suggest any resources for her to check out?

Please feel free to leave your comments here or on Hayley’s post.

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8 thoughts on “Do You Use Second Life or other Virtual Worlds With Your Students?

  1. Hello,
    I currentluy am working out of the classroom so haven’t used virtual world with my own students but I have been working with Dean Groom’s students on their machinima project. I think the benefit of using vitural worlds is the depth of immersion that it offers and the challenge of creating in a 3d environment. That has been the biggest learning curve for me. I have never done anything in relation to design and the building in virtual worlds stretches me out of my comfort zone.
    The challenges of virtual worlds is the bandwidth and the speed you can work in there especially when you have a crowd in the world. I would check out the second classroom ning for more information.

  2. Hi Lauren, thanks for your comment. It really helps getting feedback from others on how we as teachers can use second life (or other virtual worlds) in the classroom. I was just wondering though, how do you and Dean Groom monitor the students and what they are actually doing?

  3. Hi Hayley,

    I have a group of students working in Quest Atlantis (QA). They range from grades 5 to 8, and are spread around the state. They are highly able students, who need extension and challenge.

    Because there is an enormous range of quality curriculum tasks (quests, missions and units) already created, it is possible to link the QA activities in with classroom priorities, or the student’s area of ability or interest. A recent feature is for teachers to be able to amend activities to make them more relevant to individual requirements.

    QA has the reward features of gaming, combined with the social and relationship building capacity of Web 2.0, and is intrinsically motivating and engaging.

    For my students an important element is that they can look at all quests, and then negotiate having specific quests made available to them. This means they can have ownership over their learning, and can move into new areas through negotiation.

    Other teachers who have a different cohort of students have made mention of the way in which students achieve at a much higher level in QA than in their F2F classes, and how the learning becomes applied to the F2F world.

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