Educational Uses of Second Life

I talked about Second Life in my blog in October and I am excited about the potential of using Second Life to provide an online 3-D virtual reality world in education and training. Today, more and more colleges, universities, and corporations are building their virtual campuses and training facilities in Second Life. We, in education, should explore the potential of 3-D digital world in teaching and learning. Second Life could be a valuable educational tool for teaching the digital natives.

To learn more about Second Life, I recommend an outstanding wiki “Second Life in Education” created by Jo Kay and Sean FitzGerald. Their wiki provides a detailed list of educational uses of Second Life and many useful resources for teachers. Also, Jo Kay and Sean FitzGerald produced an excellent video “Introduction to Second Life, ” an introductory digital story/slideshow on Second Life and it’s Educational Possibilities.

Another outstanding video I recommend to watch is “NMC Campus: Seriously Engaging.” This is a promo produced by New Media Consortium (NMC) to provide an overview of the NMC ‘s virtual campus built in Second Life.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Second Life, Web 2.0. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Educational Uses of Second Life

  1. Pingback: The Grid Live » Second Life News for December 5, 2007

  2. Lou Ellen says:

    The examples of Second Life in Education were tremendous. What a great idea to have mock trials in the virtual world, especially using new technology laws. It provides a good way to explore and better understand issues pertaining to “real life” and technology. Working in radio, I was particulary entertained and interested in “The Infinite Mind” in Second Life. Think of the possibilities that this will open for all media types. Darfur, libraries, discussion groups, classrooms, training, tutorials…. the possibilities are truly limitless. If you can imagine it, you can do it in a virtual world. Virtual worlds like this can help make our younger generation more interested in a number of subjects instead of simply being streamlined to one particular subject. One could become interested in Psychology by visiting the UC Davis Virtual Hallucinations facility or in space and physics by visiting the International Spaceflight Museum. There are spaces for math, art, history re-enactments, travel, sports, and so many more. Learning a language has never been easier. You can interact with different languages as if you were studying in their land. It is truly unbelievable the massive amounts of information that can be studied, researched or simply browsed by going through Second Life. With all of this great information being used in virtual platforms like Second Life, where does this go in the future? My only guess is that we will have to start changing the way we teach and think about technology. It only makes sense to use this avenue for education as well as entertainment.

  3. Amy Thornton says:

    I have not used Second Life much myself, yet, because I am having trouble keeping up with everything I have to do in my “First Life” right now, but I have been to several conference presentations where they discuss how they are using Second Life in education and I find it very fascinating. One of the organizations that I belong too, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has an island in Second Life where they hold meetings and conferences. I attended a presentation at the Blackboard World conference last year where a few people from the Texas Blackboard Users’ Group talked about how they now use Second Life to hold all of there conferences instead of asking everyone to spend the money to travel to a location.

    Personally, I prefer the real world to the virtual world, but I think that Second Life can bring parts of the world to you that you might not get to visit in the real world, especially in education. It can give students an opportunity to interact with professionals in their field and learn from experts where in the real world this might not always be possible. I think instructors have to be careful how they use this type of technology especially I would think in K-12 to make sure students don’t get too caught up in the virtual world.

    I found the video created by the NMC about their virtual campus very interesting. That could be a great place for college students to congregate, interact and learn from each other. I thought the museum was very cool and being able to use the library to experiment and learn from the information available is a great resource.

  4. Shenetta Booth says:

    Second Life has become my favorite and a matter of fact is my topic for research. As part of the Second Life family, I can truly say it is a genius piece of software creation I have ever ventured. Second Life not only gives you the opportunity to create who you want to be in another life or form, but it also gives you the chance to do what you want to.

    I experienced Second Life when I first started attending Dr. Yuen’s class a year ago. He was excited about the application and I am excited about virtual reality do I gave it a try. Not only was I impressed dearly, however, I noticed that it was a world that anyone can go unimaginably anywhere. Second Life is the coolest thing I have ever touched as a software programmer.

    Second Life has so many features and enhancements that you can pretty much stay on the computer all day long. I experienced it first hand. LOL. I first started using Second Life and I know I stayed put for hours, just amazed. You can fly, drive, talk to strangers from around the world, literally, and even walk on water. I was amazed at all the things you can do.

    Second Life in education can become a major part of educational material, but if teachers and schools don’t know how to create a virtual school and limit those students to that particular school, it can be very dangerous. Students will be introduced to this life and they will go and create what they want.

    Major disadvantages of Second Life would be the offensive materials that are offered in the Second Life. The students can have relations, sell drugs, and whatever they want, so be careful. You cannot restrict another person rights. It’s the law in Second Life, but when it comes to education, students are restricted at schools, but remember you are introducing this life to them.

  5. 陳旭能 says:

    Second Life較適當之翻譯我認為應稱為「第二現場」;在其模擬3D提供全方位現場體驗之情境下,使用者可以隨時選擇任何主題並於「現場」學習、交流。只要克服頻寬不足所帶來之問題,此項教育科技將確實有效地提高教學效果以及便捷性,使其成為真正的虛擬教室。
    不過,目前台灣在教育科技的運用程度現況上,Second Life因政府教育單位積極度以及各項配套措施、設備上均較為不足;企業則因投資效益及使用動機等方面考量,在職業訓練上亦較少涉及;故Second Life之發展與應用仍尚待努力。

  6. 陳旭能 says:

    Second Life較適當之翻譯我認為應稱為「第二現場」;在其模擬3D提供全方位現場體驗之情境下,使用者可以隨時選擇任何主題並於「現場」學習、交流。只要克服頻寬不足所帶來之問題,此項教育科技將確實有效地提高教學效果以及便捷性,使其成為真正的虛擬教室。
    不過,目前台灣在教育科技的運用程度現況上,Second Life因政府教育單位積極度以及各項配套措施、設備上均較為不足;企業則因投資效益及使用動機等方面考量,在職業訓練上亦較少涉及;故Second Life之發展與應用仍尚待努力。

  7. Sung-shan Chang(Charles)張松山 says:

    e-Learning(數位學習)、virtual schools(虛擬學校)就是學習者與教學者不再受限於傳統面對面授課固定時間、地點的限制,可以隨時隨地透過網路進行互動教學,學習者可以依自己的學習環境及狀態彈性的調整自己的學習進度;教學者亦可視學習者的情況調整其教學進度,充分發揮有如一對一教學的實體效果second life更是可以虛擬角色人物扮演,從事第二人生事業,在歐美頗受歡迎。近幾來E-Learning在國內的推廣已有了一些成效,但大多集中在企業內部的教育訓練市場;B2C的市場則由於學習者的學習習慣尚未改變、質疑數位學習的成效、經濟不景氣、網路頻寬,加上國內整個E-Learning環境尚未成熟健全的種種因素下,呈現成長緩慢的現象。所以目前經營E-Learning的網站都積極尋找出最能兼具學習成效及興趣的教學模式,期望能將E-Learning生活化及普及化。
    E-Learning(數位學習)及virtual schools(虛擬學校)涵蓋面相當的廣,而且定義也常因為個別需求或環境的差異會有所不同,但是概念上可以簡單的分成:1.Participants:包括學習者及老師。2.Content:進行數位學習所需之數位教材。3.LMS(Learning Management System):負責提供虛擬的學習環境 以進行線上教學、討論、學習活動、評量、學習紀錄及進度追蹤等功能之學習管理系統。 等三個要件。虛擬學校的設計與應用理念包含了三大學習活動:1.瀏覽 (navigation) 的學習活動:此是指學習者運用瀏覽器,根據學習需求,主動在網路上閱讀各種學習資源。亦即學習者運用感官中的“看”或“聽”來獲致語意性知識 (semantic knowledge)。2.學習檢視 (ongoing assessment) 的學習活動:學習者在學習歷程中,充份運用線上測驗、搜尋、作業、或呈現作品 (artifacts) 的方式,來評量或檢視自己的現階段學習成效,以獲致程序性知識 (procedural knowledge) 與策略性知識 (strategic knowledge)及3.人際互動 (communication) 的學習活動:人際互動的學習活動是指人與人之間的討論、觀摩、與合作學習等活動。
    我覺得e-Learning優、缺點都有,但也不是絕對的,通常是一體的兩面。工具技術如果懂得善加利用,e-Learning自然是學習的利器,相反的,就會變成學習的絆腳石。茲將e-Learning的優缺點分析如下:
    一、時間管理:
    A優點:Any time any where,在任何地方、任何時間學習者都可以學習。可以24小時全年無休,隨時想學就能學,時間彈性化。
    B缺點或限制:就客觀環境而言,限於裝備經費,在沒有e化設備的地方,e-Learning完全無效。就學習者心態而言:「反正隨時隨地都能學,明天再說吧!明天復明天….。」
    二、知識(資訊)來源:
    A優點:大量的資訊和知識,學習資源豐富,除了既有的教材之外,在網際網路上可快速尋找更多的資源,對於企業智慧的累積及知識管理有很大的助益。
    B缺點或限制:四面八方來的資訊太廣泛、太多,資訊真偽虛實難以求證。knowledge沒有經過系統化的整理與消化吸收,就會變成garbage,易造成學習者的負擔。
    三、學習紀錄:
    A優點:健全的教學平台可以完整紀錄學生或員工的學習歷程和學習結果,讓學習者或指導者(教學者)可以檢討學習過程和成效。
    B缺點或限制:各種點閱次數、時數的紀錄只是學習行為量化後的參考數值,但是卻常被誤認為那就是實施e-Learning的學習效果,而忽略了學習者的認知或行為是否真的被改變(最重要的)。
    四、教學情境:
    A優點:利用多媒體、影音互動教材,可以有效將知識以文字、圖片、影像、聲音等加以整合後呈現給學習者,甚至可以虛擬實境,讓學習者在虛擬的環境進行學習,減少訓練所可能產生的危險。
    B缺點或限制:大部分只能夠傳授知識性的內容,對於情意方面(如:情緒管理、思考能力、創造力培養等)或需要親身操作的課程(實習課目或體育項目)還是藉活生生的老師來指導成果較佳。
    五、學習模式:
    A優點:以學習者為中心,強調主動求學為主要的學習模式,學習者自行安排在最想學習的時候主動去學習,會學得更快、更好。
    B缺點or限制:主動學習是一種「理想」,人還是有惰性和健忘症的。若對於沒有興趣的課程,大部分的人還是要有人盯著才會去學習,否則可能會一曝十寒。
    六、教學進度:
    A優點:規劃良好的學習路徑可以依照個人的學習能力和學習進度來進修,正確引導學習者循序漸進的學習,反覆學習,可以學得更紮實。
    B缺點or限制:一般人並不具備自行規劃學習進度的能力,若要個人自行規劃學習進度,可能不是很容易,最後可能還是得由e-coach代為安排一套一元化的學習進度。
    e-learning, virtual schools, and Second Life在台灣未來會愈來愈受歡迎,這是無庸置疑的,但是我認為當前網路學習及虛擬環境的幾個困境:1.缺乏人際互動、2.缺乏認同感,無法積聚形成一個有向心力的學習社群、3.學習專注力 (learning engagement) 太低,學習者在網路上大多是不經意的瀏覽網頁的表像,超媒體所特有的資訊過荷現象 (information overload)及4.無法掌握資訊,以進行深度的學習等等都必需加以思索及謀求有效解決之道,如此才能發展應用得更加理想。

  8. Sung-shan Chang(Charles)張松山 says:

    e-Learning(數位學習)、virtual schools(虛擬學校)就是學習者與教學者不再受限於傳統面對面授課固定時間、地點的限制,可以隨時隨地透過網路進行互動教學,學習者可以依自己的學習環境及狀態彈性的調整自己的學習進度;教學者亦可視學習者的情況調整其教學進度,充分發揮有如一對一教學的實體效果second life更是可以虛擬角色人物扮演,從事第二人生事業,在歐美頗受歡迎。近幾來E-Learning在國內的推廣已有了一些成效,但大多集中在企業內部的教育訓練市場;B2C的市場則由於學習者的學習習慣尚未改變、質疑數位學習的成效、經濟不景氣、網路頻寬,加上國內整個E-Learning環境尚未成熟健全的種種因素下,呈現成長緩慢的現象。所以目前經營E-Learning的網站都積極尋找出最能兼具學習成效及興趣的教學模式,期望能將E-Learning生活化及普及化。
    E-Learning(數位學習)及virtual schools(虛擬學校)涵蓋面相當的廣,而且定義也常因為個別需求或環境的差異會有所不同,但是概念上可以簡單的分成:1.Participants:包括學習者及老師。2.Content:進行數位學習所需之數位教材。3.LMS(Learning Management System):負責提供虛擬的學習環境 以進行線上教學、討論、學習活動、評量、學習紀錄及進度追蹤等功能之學習管理系統。 等三個要件。虛擬學校的設計與應用理念包含了三大學習活動:1.瀏覽 (navigation) 的學習活動:此是指學習者運用瀏覽器,根據學習需求,主動在網路上閱讀各種學習資源。亦即學習者運用感官中的“看”或“聽”來獲致語意性知識 (semantic knowledge)。2.學習檢視 (ongoing assessment) 的學習活動:學習者在學習歷程中,充份運用線上測驗、搜尋、作業、或呈現作品 (artifacts) 的方式,來評量或檢視自己的現階段學習成效,以獲致程序性知識 (procedural knowledge) 與策略性知識 (strategic knowledge)及3.人際互動 (communication) 的學習活動:人際互動的學習活動是指人與人之間的討論、觀摩、與合作學習等活動。
    我覺得e-Learning優、缺點都有,但也不是絕對的,通常是一體的兩面。工具技術如果懂得善加利用,e-Learning自然是學習的利器,相反的,就會變成學習的絆腳石。茲將e-Learning的優缺點分析如下:
    一、時間管理:
    A優點:Any time any where,在任何地方、任何時間學習者都可以學習。可以24小時全年無休,隨時想學就能學,時間彈性化。
    B缺點或限制:就客觀環境而言,限於裝備經費,在沒有e化設備的地方,e-Learning完全無效。就學習者心態而言:「反正隨時隨地都能學,明天再說吧!明天復明天….。」
    二、知識(資訊)來源:
    A優點:大量的資訊和知識,學習資源豐富,除了既有的教材之外,在網際網路上可快速尋找更多的資源,對於企業智慧的累積及知識管理有很大的助益。
    B缺點或限制:四面八方來的資訊太廣泛、太多,資訊真偽虛實難以求證。knowledge沒有經過系統化的整理與消化吸收,就會變成garbage,易造成學習者的負擔。
    三、學習紀錄:
    A優點:健全的教學平台可以完整紀錄學生或員工的學習歷程和學習結果,讓學習者或指導者(教學者)可以檢討學習過程和成效。
    B缺點或限制:各種點閱次數、時數的紀錄只是學習行為量化後的參考數值,但是卻常被誤認為那就是實施e-Learning的學習效果,而忽略了學習者的認知或行為是否真的被改變(最重要的)。
    四、教學情境:
    A優點:利用多媒體、影音互動教材,可以有效將知識以文字、圖片、影像、聲音等加以整合後呈現給學習者,甚至可以虛擬實境,讓學習者在虛擬的環境進行學習,減少訓練所可能產生的危險。
    B缺點或限制:大部分只能夠傳授知識性的內容,對於情意方面(如:情緒管理、思考能力、創造力培養等)或需要親身操作的課程(實習課目或體育項目)還是藉活生生的老師來指導成果較佳。
    五、學習模式:
    A優點:以學習者為中心,強調主動求學為主要的學習模式,學習者自行安排在最想學習的時候主動去學習,會學得更快、更好。
    B缺點or限制:主動學習是一種「理想」,人還是有惰性和健忘症的。若對於沒有興趣的課程,大部分的人還是要有人盯著才會去學習,否則可能會一曝十寒。
    六、教學進度:
    A優點:規劃良好的學習路徑可以依照個人的學習能力和學習進度來進修,正確引導學習者循序漸進的學習,反覆學習,可以學得更紮實。
    B缺點or限制:一般人並不具備自行規劃學習進度的能力,若要個人自行規劃學習進度,可能不是很容易,最後可能還是得由e-coach代為安排一套一元化的學習進度。
    e-learning, virtual schools, and Second Life在台灣未來會愈來愈受歡迎,這是無庸置疑的,但是我認為當前網路學習及虛擬環境的幾個困境:1.缺乏人際互動、2.缺乏認同感,無法積聚形成一個有向心力的學習社群、3.學習專注力 (learning engagement) 太低,學習者在網路上大多是不經意的瀏覽網頁的表像,超媒體所特有的資訊過荷現象 (information overload)及4.無法掌握資訊,以進行深度的學習等等都必需加以思索及謀求有效解決之道,如此才能發展應用得更加理想。

  9. Kemp says:

    I have played a bit with Second Life, but do not fully understand it yet. My plate is full now, and things are sliding off both sides. However, I plan to explore Second Life more this summer.

    There is now a virtual hospital on Second Life in which nursing students can gain practice. There was explosive growth of simulation in nursing education during the past few years with numerous dissertations published in 2009 about simulation. Although I am a proponent of simulation, the equipment is expensive, and one of the simulators requires medical gases for full operation. Furthermore, an instructor has to be physically present to operate the simulator and guide the scenario. It seems that Second Life could offer a viable alternative as well as a useful learning experience.

    I look forward to having the time to explore Second Life more fully.

  10. sirui says:

    This post drives me to think about the differences between second life and argument reality. Supposing that sitting in classroom, but through AR, a real 3D world would appear in your textbook, what a surprising education experience learners would obtain! The content specific of AR guarantee its multiple usage in different areas. Once you decide what content to cover through AR, what you need to do with AR is just enjoy the course. What about second life? Will it have the same effect or even better influence to education?

    Actually, second life software is also creating a real 3D world. Dr. Yuen talked about the potential of using Second Life to provide an online 3-D virtual reality world in education and training. Second life has been applied to create virtual campuses and train facilities, which make campus boundless and enlarge the learning environment. Also, from the perspective of economy, Second life save money for educational organizations, by creating virtual training environment without paying money for renting or buying equipment.

    As for me, Second life is still a very new field. I have tried to use Second life the software in lab, the virtual context did attract me a lot. It seems that everything could happen in reality could happen in Second life. If Second life had a great potential in assisting education, I would like to try it in language teaching class. Context is an important factor in language learning, and it is also the emphasis of future language teaching. Second life owns this feature to create a real context to help learner touch the language. From vocabulary to syntax, a real language context would definitely be the number choice for language learning.

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