For those of you who are looking for a way to connect with others using Second Life for Education there are two very good listserv’s that are available.
The Teens list is not as active as the Second Life list (mostly higher ed), but these are both great resources.
Yesterday I posted to the Second Life list that I needed coordinates of a small island on the adult grid so I could go and walk around and get a feel for the size. I am debating between one and two small islands for the PacRimX project (more on that later). I immediately got a few replies and was able to go to a great island that has been set up for educational purposes. This island is called “Edunation“. I think this is a large island, and not sure if educators can buy an island of this size.
While visiting this island I ran into another educator that was there researching Second Life. It turns out he is also a K-12 educator, and is very new to this whole virtual world thing. We struck up a conversation and I shared the vision of PacRimX with him. He was interested and said that he had worked with a project that connected kids across the globe using video conferencing. I took a few minutes to show him a few quick tips for SL, and even gave him a quick demo of how to rez an object and how to apply a texture. I gave him the links I am posting in this message for the listserv, then I had to leave to take my 8 year old son to Cub Scouts in RL (real life). He was very thankful for the time I had taken to help him out, and we said goodbye.
I am sure that this newcomer to Second Life is not unique. He was there just “looking around”, trying to see what others were doing with Second Life and education. This chance encounter clearly indicates to me the growing interest in virtual worlds and education. We are all ambassadors of this new world, and I hope that everyone takes some time to make the newcomers feel welcomed, and that we all share our knowledge so we can expand our ranks and bring a positive force to these virtual worlds for education.
Far too often we only hear about the negatives of students getting online, and about all the online predators that are waiting in the shadows to exploit them. We need to show that there are good places for kids to go online to learn alongside other students.