Want to spend an hour in the future? Then listen to this interview with Sarah Robbins, who is known online as "Intellagirl," and who teaches an English class in Second Life at Ball State University. Her class meets twice a week--once in person, and once in Second Life. "Are they learning," she is often asked, "or just goofing off?" This is exactly the kind of question that Sarah is likely to give to her students as an assignment. And wait until you hear her describe the experience of asking her students to change the gender of their avatars for a day.
- Sarah has observed that some of the friendships she has seen develop between her students appear to be very influenced by their interaction in Second Life.
- She noted that "everyone becomes more gregarious" there. The class currently self-selects to those who may already be technology-comfortable, since you have to own a laptop or computer good enough to run Second Life (the school's lab computers are not), so she is not sure if that will still be the case when anyone can take the class.
- The experience in Second Life is much more realistic than one might think, and it's memorable and believable to hear Sarah talk about feeling uncomfortable because of a clothing choice she made for her avatar at one point.
- Sarah herself spends "only" two hours a day on average in Second Life (she says it has basically displaced television viewing for her); she often visits other educational campuses and art exhibits.
- She characterizes the early adopters who populate Second Life now as "very intellectual."
- She believes that virtual worlds will have a profound impact on how we communicate and view each other (I agree).
- Sarah has, with a grant, purchased virtual land (and "island") called "Middletown," where she and her students meet, experiment, and "build" exhibits.
- It was also very enlightening to hear Sarah talk about the impact of having Second Life be built primarily by the actual users, and how that differentiates it from other virtual worlds. She believes it is the key to its success.
- Joystiq.com: Second Life added to University's curriculum
- The Boston Phoenix: Right-click to learn Second Life offers students a virtually real education
- The Chronicle of Higher Learning: Second Life Keeps Chugging Along
- San Antonio Current: Game Theory
- Dagens Media: Bland Jan Guillous "pladdrare" kan man r'kna in namnkunniga personer
- The Christian Science Monitor: Real learning in a virtual world
- USAToday: Real learning in a virtual world
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