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An Introduction to Second Life

Here is just one example of a simple tutorial for using Second Life. This can be helpful for both educators and students who are learning to navigate in the virtual world. 

Second Life International Space Museum

Explore the TRUTHs Satellite in Second Life with this videocast of the exhibit. 

Welcome!

Education in Virtual Worlds (particularly Second Life)

The following source list and annotations explore how learners experience a virtual environment, primarily Second Life. Many online instructors seek methods to engage students in ways that go beyond videotaped lectures or textbooks pasted online, and 3D, virtual worlds may provide another avenue for connecting with classes.

 In gathering these resources, the following questions were considered:

·       How do different types of learners experience classrooms within a virtual environment?

·       Do currently existing systems such as Second Life have restrictions that may make online education difficult?

·       What type of classes can benefit from virtual environments?

·       How can instructors and/or institutions manage troubleshooting for students and teachers who are having difficulty in virtual environments?

Many research studies identify different types of learners who can be grouped by background, experience, interest, and age. It is possible that some students and instructors will be more resistant to virtual environments than others. Therefore, many educators have found it is essential to build and maintain a community for sharing ideas and resources.

This guide addresses three different aspects of this conversation that are often most important to instructors:

·       scholarship about the student and teacher experience in virtual worlds,

·       discussion groups for educators, and

·       practical tutorials in both text and video form.

Articles

Antonacci, Dave, Salli DiBartolo, Nancy Edwards, Karen Fritch, Barbara McMullen, and Rick Murch-Shafer. "The Power of Virtual Worlds in Education: A Second Life Primer and Resource for Exploring the Potential of Virtual Worlds to Impact Teaching and Learning." ANGEL Learning (2008):  <http://www.angellearning.com/products/secondlife/downloads/The%20Power%20of%20Virtual%20Worlds%20in%20Education_0708.pdf>Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

This is a primer for educators who wish to explore using Second Life in their classes. It includes plain-language explanations, as well as links to additional help.  In many ways this is an excellent research guide in itself because it lists, in plain language, useful resources and sites within Second Life that can help users get acclimated.  

Lu, Lilly. "Teaching 21St-Century Art Education In A "Virtual" Age: Art Cafe At Second Life." Art Education 63.6 (2010): 19-24. ERIC. Web. 11 March 2014.

This article describes a successful experiment in teaching art to undergraduates and graduate students through Second Life. It would be useful to review this as an example of a specific way in which virtual education has been used for this subject matter – and to explore how similar experiments might be used in different courses.

Conferences

"Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education." Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Educationhttp://vwbpe.org/. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

This is a (free!) conference that people can attend online to discuss topics of education within virtual worlds.

Discussion Groups

Many Second Life educators gather on Facebook to share information and questions. Here are some of the best discussion groups available. Though there are countless social groups that focus on Second Life, these are the top ones used by real educators around the world to stay in touch about this topic. This list was also vetted by a current Second Life educator.

“Education Inclusion in Immersive Worlds.” Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/education.inclusion.immersiveworlds/. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

From the About page: “A home for geeks and protagonists to queue in-line and rave about culture-changing innovations, here Education Inclusion in Immersive Worlds, as well as furthergoing innovations and ideas enhancing & benchmarking the implementation of Education Inclusion in Immersive Worlds and its outreach.”

“Second Life for Educators.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/sledfire/. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

From the About page: “This site is for educators interested in using Second Life for educational purposes - or more generally - those who want to jump ahead of the wave, and take a sneak peak at the emerging 3D Internet (More commonly know as Web 3.0) As educators, we are in for a treat!!!” 

"Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education." Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/67701516968/. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

From the About page: “Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education is a global grass-roots community event which focuseson education in immersive virtual environments. This open conference is organized by educators, for educators, to provide an opportunity to showcase the learning that takes place in this community of practice.”

Journals

Journal of Virtual Worlds Researchhttp://jvwresearch.org/. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

This is a fantastic resource that includes many well-researched articles about virtual worlds. Past articles include topics covering pedagogy, kids in virtual worlds, different cultures, and research toolboxes.

Research

Carr, Diane, Martin Oliver, and Andrew Burn. "Learning From Online Worlds; Teaching In Second Life." Learning From Social Worldshttp://learningfromsocialworlds.wordpress.com/. 18 May 2007. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

This is a blog-style publication of a formal research experiment that focused on teaching within Second Life. The overall experience of teaching in-world is documented with a very thorough attention to detail, and student reactions are recorded. Results demonstrate both pros and cons of teaching in Second Life, as well as methods for ways to improve.

Tutorial Information

"Video Tutorials." - Second Life Wikihttp://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Video_Tutorials. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

This is a direct link to tutorials for using Second Life. Many educators and students will need to familiarize themselves with the mechanics of navigating the virtual world before they can get any benefits from its use. 

"Second Life Education/Resources." - Second Life Wikihttp://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Second_Life_Education/Resources. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

This is another vast source of links and information that will assist a researcher, student, or instructional designer with using Second Life. Here a user can find links to virtual campuses and museums, videos of educators working within Second Life, and other essential resources. Please note that these links sometimes change, and occasionally some may not be valid.