aaalisonnn's Second Life Literature and Libraries Tour
The SL Globe Theatre
Principality of Amalfi-1750
The Origin of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Sci-Fi Expo-Sci-Fi Island Library
In creating this tour, I learned more about Second Life than I ever have before this point. It was essentially similar to a research assignment: I had to choose a topic I was interested in, find sources (in my case, places) that supported the topic, and synthesize a type of report of my findings. My tour card became my piece of writing, because I had to tie each location on the tour into the broad topic I had chosen. I tried to explain to users how each one of the destinations I picked could help people come to understand an aspect of literature more deeply, or give them library resources to further their research. Anyone could navigate through this tour, if they knew the basics of Second Life. I could imagine assigning something like this to my English students, to help them become more familiar with a piece of literature, its setting, or characters. If there is not a credible location in Second Life for students to visit, I could even challenge them to plan their own SL rendition of a novel's setting. If they had the SL skills, and were ambitious enough (and we had enough TIME), they could even work as a class (with my help) to create a virtual version of say, Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. The Yorkshire moors could come to life, in Second Life!
The greatest thing I have observed in my experience of Second Life is the unlimited potential for creativity. Creativity is one of the most valuable things that students can access, in and out of the classroom. Placing students in a SL environment, and giving them the opportunity to create their own character, explore new places, and contribute to their surroundings could be very powerful in terms of motivation. Of course, if I were going to design an English unit using Second Life, I would use it as an enrichment tool, or grounds for projects, rather than holding class there all the time, because I do think students need to have real face-to-face instruction in order for them to stay on task. The key is planning and structure, and teachers must work ahead of time to ensure that they have created a safe, direct, and user-friendly environment in which students can participate. I would use a 3D Game Lab quest type of assignment system for my students, in conjunction with Second Life, so students would have a clear objective, time frame, and video instruction/support. Using mixed media, combined with in-class activities, could provide a great experience for students who might not have had a very good experience in English courses before. Second Life is fun, but mostly, it's fascinating. I have had a great experience with the module,and I hope to continue investigating and learning!