On Wednesday during our ECMP 455 class we had a presentation was on using Second Life (SL) in the classroom from teachers in Regina, Saskatchewan. Prior to this presentation, I had never heard Second life or knew what it was. For anyone who does not know about SL, it is a 3-D virtual world that users imagine and create their own world. Erik Van Dusen, Marcel Lorenz and Garnett Gleim shared their experiences with incorporating SL into their classroom. As well, they took us through a brief tour of their social studies project with the grade eight students. It is evident that great learning experience they have created for the students and the benefits of using interactive learning in the classroom. For their project, Regina Public School has their own island in SL, so the students and teachers can create their own place. The benefits of a virtual project is that the students and teachers can access it from school and their homes.
Many of us questioned the safety of using it with the students, but they explained how strictly monitored it is for others to join their island. The students have to create their accounts at school with permission from the teachers. As well, any adults that wish to join must have a criminal record check completed and permission to join. It was obvious the detailed planning and decisions made by the teachers involved with this project to create a successful learning experience for their students.
Personally, I thought SL looks very interesting, but I am not comfortable with using it in the classroom. I know that if I was to use it with my students, I would want to become more familiar with it. As well, I think that it was a great project for the grade eight students, but I am not sure how well it would work with younger children. I am planning on teaching early elementary grades, so I do not think that I would include it in my lesson planning. Does anyone use it with elementary aged students? What types of projects can you do with the younger students? Benefits? Problems? I definitely want to learn more about SL and hear other experiences from educators. I hope someday to create my own SL account and explore the possibilities of using it and how it could be used as an educational resource in my classroom.