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Sunday, July 1, 2007

SL Trend

It seems SL is getting more and more popular for teaching. Is it an addition, a learning trend, or the evolution of educational teaching and learning? I know myself I can log into SL thinging I will only be there for a few minutes and spend the day there with out a blink of the eye.

More and more eductors, such as Kathy Schrock and Will Richardson, are getting into the swing of SL - setting up offices and creating expert SL teaching status in less than a month. :-) Then there are the frontiers - the educators that have been in her for over a year and have a vested interest in teaching in SL - Kudos to those educators.

Seriously, who can resist the clothing, new places continually poping up in SL, the interaction with real people through avatars. It is just an amazing word. My avatar can do a lot of things I can not - like fly, build quickly, and wear clothing that in reality I would never be caught dead in. LOL SL fashion is a topic all itself. Dembe is at many times on the cutting edge of SL fashion and other, well lets just say she likes her wings and has close to 100 different types. :-)

I found out at real life training last week that video game addition was going to be added to the DSM4 making it a medical diagnosis for treatment and therapy. This posses a lot of questions in my mind. Are we encouraging an addition as educators? Does SL qualify as a video game? Will Video Addiction Support Groups be a new after school activity?

With the possibility of addition there is also good. It seems that gaming may improve spatial abilities, the ability to create and apply multiple strategies, and may help develop critical analyzing techniques according to research studies. However, does SL qualify as a video game? It is very unique and an evolution of the Sims. In fact, educational tendencies and uses exist and Sunday night seems to be a big educational meeting night in SL. :-)

Some articles to take a look at and decide for yourself"

http://www.secondlifeinsider.com/2006/11/01/computer-games-addiction-real-or-mythical/

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2006-02-08-gaming-addiction_x.htm

http://www.shapingthoughts.com/2007/02/17/discussion-about-second-life-and-world-of-warcraft-addiction-on-dutch-television

My own take as an educator, as long as Second Life does not get in the way of RL we are fine. Plus, as with all technology, we need to remember it is an instructional tool to help support the curriculum and learning of our students. We just need to remember that SL is not the learning object or an independent curriculum in the k-12 educational world.

Regards till my next post,
Dembe

6 comments:

Kathy Schrock said...

Dear Dembe,

I do not feel SL, in the way we are using it (and planning to use it) in the K-12 arena should be classified as a game.

My plans for professional development within SL stem from my experience with its engaging, collaborative features. It is just another venue to get quality professional developoment to teachers, in my opinion. What works well in Second Life is the one-to-many and many-to-many gatherings and collaborations that can easily occur and cross-over to real life.

See you in SL!

Kathy

Dembe Wellman said...

Hey Kathy,

Nice hearing from you, I was hoping you would voice up. The fact that you and Will and other great educators are looking as SL gives it more credibility. Unfortunately, there are still some individuals that view it as a game. Looking at a video game definition and comparing SL too it. I have to agree with you. However, it is still a controversal matter, especailly in my part of the counrty in the k-12 environment. However, I keep plugging along and writing and hoping more and more attention will be seen and the value of SL will be noticed. Personally, I feel as with any educational tool, as I mentioned earlier, moderation is the key and we are not to loose site of SL as a tool.

Thanks for your posting. I hope others share there thoughts.

Dembe ;-)

Andrew said...

I agree that second life has mammoth potential in education and its use in professional development goes unquestioned. But, the concern with student use is a valid one we need to consider.

As we know from research on the brain, the teens prefrontal cortex is still maturing, resulting in a deficient in reasoning skills, developing control over impulses and need for judgments skills. The teen’s still developing brain makes them more vulnerable to addictions. Are we, as educators, placing teens in an environment that mimics the gaming world, opens them to possible addiction and ignore the facts? Not if we embrace the facts and act accordingly.

I am not for the restrictions of any technology in schools but recognize the need to not only look at their primary potential as an educational tool but constantly consider the framework in which the tool is implemented. If a school is going to utilize second life as a learning tool, it is their responsibility to also teach gaming literacy, just like it is a school responsibility to teach internet literacy if student use the web.

As technologist we often see technology waves that we love to ride. But, let’s not get caught up in the wave and forget about the undercurrent that powers it. The undercurrent can, and will if we are not aware of it, pull us under.

Dembe Wellman said...

Andrew,

Thanks for reading and voicing your views as well. You also place some very valid concerns that have been brought out in the educational field.

It seems that SL is still in its infancy stage and its growth and potentional are till to be determined. However, right now it is a great place for professional development, professional meeting space and college level courses. We are just beginning to see the break throughts in SL with K-12 Education thanks to the work of Global Kids and Peggy Sheehe at Ramapo Island.

I still stick to the belief that moderation has its place in everything. And I am always an SL educational fan.

Regards, Dembe;-)

Milamber said...

I'm sorry to say that I agree with Dembe on this one completely. Yes I can see the potential here, but it really is a game to so many people.

Here is to making it educational!

I have been looking and blogging myself in Second Life and posting some items for educational purposes, but I know that I have also played in this second world.

As I said above, I hope we can make it educational, but if not... it is a lot of fun.

Dembe Wellman said...

Milamber - nothing wrong with learning and fun!!! I think I would have been a much better student K-12 if it had been a little more fun. I was a good student to begin with, but if it was more fun and built a little more on those emotional neurotransmitters pathways, I could have done even better. I think that is why I did so much better in my college, graduate and doctoral course work.

Thanks for reading and posting your views.

Dembe :-)

About Me

Cyber, World, United States
Dembe is an international educator that is a member of ISTE and EDUPODCASTING. SHe has created this blog for research and development as well as to document and make SL easier for other educators. Below, please check out the Educator's Survival Pack. It is designed to help new educators entering SL and Teen SL to Teach.

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