Thursday, July 3, 2008

Give Second Life a try!

I have been wanting to know more about Second Life and have been avoiding learning about it (yes, me, avoiding learning) because..
A) it looks complicated
B) it looks like playing and
C) I haven't had time.
BUT - many, many educators that I follow that I know for a fact know way more than me, have said, "You HAVE to learn about Second Life."

First of all, what is Second Life?
Second Life® is a 3-D virtual world created by its Residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of Residents from around the globe.
  • From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.

  • You'll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow Residents. Because Residents retain intellectual property rights in their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other Residents.

  • The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the inworld unit of trade, the Linden™ dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online Linden dollar exchanges.
**taken from

This is where your elementary students will go after they outgrow Webkinz, Club Penguin and other virtual worlds. These are real places where people work, earn money, learn new things.

In the session I went to they showed us a nursing school using Second Life for interaction building lungs, to discover which are healthy or not. In another session, a college literature professor has built her literature classroom in Second Life and students must visit "Beowulf"'s area to interact as a part of their assignments. Students all "show up" at a designated time.

Pros in Second Life here at NECC encourage you to get out of education areas and go into other areas to make connections with people and business. They say, "If you are going to be a part of the future, you can not NOT go into Second Life."


So...taking my own advice about "getting wet"...even though I was unsure...I dove in. I built an avatar (character that represents me) in Second Life and was "born". (That part was a little scary - you just fall out of the sky into a virtual world.) Then I found out really quick that if you don't walk and move somewhere, the next person born will drop in on you. That was weird. So I began moving around the beginning island that is set up to orient you with how to use your avatar. There are mini tutorials to run through.

I ran through some more the second night and began to get tired of strange people like me who didn't know how to work the darn thing - we're all running into each other! I went to seek out Kevin Jarrett, my twitter pal, for some help because he has been saying for months that Second Life is a must do! He said he'd straighten me out in a few minutes, and he did! He got me off that island and got me over to the Educators Island so now I am there in my virtual space! Whoo Hooo! I can't wait to see what comes next.

Now it's time for me to make connections - to hook up with other educators who can direct me to the learning available. There are online events, projects to view and places to exciting! If you've been on this journey yourself --- I can't wait to hear your tips. If not, consider stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new!


Debby Cothern said...

Wow Melanie - I really don't know what to say. Good for you! I can't wait to hear the stories to come.

Cursillos in Christianity said...

Do you think that Second Life will be a tool you will use to impact student learning or do you see it as more of a tool for building relationships with other professionals?

dayle said...

You're right - this does sound like too much "play" for me. At my age I've got other ideas about where I want my "second" life to be. Having said that, I think I understand the implications for networking worldwide in what seems like a safe environment. I think I'll have to see the educational benefits before I would be willing to get involved. Remember I'm still trying to decide if I want to get involved with Webkinz (with that Gorilla Wes gave me for my birthday) so I can better understand the world my K-1 students are growing up in, so maybe that's a better first step for me! However, I hope you'll keep posting about it - maybe I can live vicariously through your adventures or maybe you'll convince me that the educational benefit is worth the risk!

Melanie Holtsman said...

I can understand your hesitancy. This is definitely not for our students, maybe not even middle schools students...but seems to be a place where you can grow and learn as an educator in your professional walk. So, I'm there for now - I'll keep letting you know what I learn. :)

Gayle said...

Melanie, thanks for your piece on second life--I've been thinking about it a lot lately too. I enjoyed hearing your perspective. I may have to give it a try!

KK Cherney said...

Well, mentor, I guess I will have idenity by Monday. I am just diving right in.