Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Second Life

Today I began the 3D Gamelab quests for our Emerging Instructional Technology course. I was a little late on starting (ok, a lot late) because I've been sick for almost all of Thanksgiving break! LAAAAAAAME! But luckily I'm feeling a lot better, and so today I started, and hopefully, I'll finish the quests by tonight (extra badges for me!!).

I've been a member of SecondLife since last year, but when we started our new gaming module in EIT, I created a new account, just so I could try and learn along with the rest of the class. Initially, I liked SecondLife because it is so similar to a video game that I had a lot of incite to use it. In all of my gaming, I enjoy games and simulations that allow a user to explore and discover, rather than to fight or to compete with other players. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a little competition now and then, but I would rather be looking for new areas to discover on my map, or collecting every last blinking gem in Spyro the Dragon. Which I have done, in all 4 Playstation 1 & 2 Spyro games....

My favorite thing about SecondLife is that it provides a vast amount of places and people to discovery and interact with. When I first arrived at Welcome Island, I spent most of my time flying or running around, looking for things I could collect or interact with, and of course, things to pimp out my avatar :) Which eventually you find in SecondLife, because there are TONS of users who are eager to share items with you, be it clothes or landmark tags, which is just so nice! Searching for new places and marking them in my landmarks bar is one of my favorite things to do. I have already found the SecondLife Shakespeare Globe Theatre, and I creep around there from time to time, to see what's happening. You could spend literally days and days exploring in SecondLife, because there is SO much to see. Navigation is very important in this virtual environment, and users have to be organized if they want to keep from getting lost. That is something that I had to get used to, but I value my landmarks very highly now.

As far as using SecondLife in my educational future, I can see it being a great platform for my students to practice their creativity and discovery skills. These skills are extremely valuable in an English and Language Arts classroom, and I want my students to have every opportunity to foster their own creativity. I thought I could use SecondLife and the avatars to help students create their own fictional characters, and their experiences in SecondLife, wherever they might choose to go, might provide great inspiration for their writing. I would especially use this to help students generate topics for fiction workshops. I could also see using SecondLife for research, where students could use their avatars to explore and relive the many re-enactments through history (and literary history) that are out there in SL. What could be better than putting students right in a world with Shakespeare?! I have got to learn more about designing worlds in SL, so I could create my own spaces for students to interact and explore. Check out this video from Second Life Shakespeare Company, from King Lear, Act 3, Scene 7: Gloucester's Castle. PRETTY BOMB! Here's their homepage.

While researching for my final paper on gaming in education (in Professor Gao's course), I came across a series of articles talking about using SecondLife in different areas of education. Hsiao-Gheng Han's article "Second Life, a 3-D Animated Virtual World: An Alternative Platform for (Art) Education." suggests using Second Life to show students galleries of famous and historical art, techniques, and also allows them to see how they too may create and display their own art via SL. The Second Life in Education Wiki is an AMAZING resource, with all kinds of links to resources highlighting the uses of SL in classroom education, as well as ways for teachers and instructors to more greatly understand the medium so they can use it with their students. I have bookmarked the heck out of this wiki....

I must say, I have too much fun in Second Life, gaming for homework, than I should. But it's awesome. And thinking about the potential SL has for inciting motivation in my students to learn things that might otherwise bore them to near death, I get pretty excited. If you'll excuse me, I have some XP to be collecting...

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the depth of reflection that you provide in this posting. It is interesting to hear that you wrote a paper on Gaming in Education. I would be interested in seeing your ideas.