MSN Encarta now has a page up about Education in Second Life:
The article does a good job of covering both the pros and cons of the Second Life platform in education. The closing paragraph gives a good summary:
“Ultimately, the truth that Second Life encourages people to communicate with one another seems to be the key to accepting this developing world. “I’m against technology that lessens your quality of life,” says Malone, but, “Second Life is changing the definition of what socialization is.””
On the PacRimX Island, we added a group of Modesto students about a month ago now. These were mixed in with the four founding students that have been online since December. These two groups quickly got to know each other, and were soon meeting up every night to talk and share tips about how to build in Second Life. We’ve recently added dorm rooms for the students, with no real instruction to them on what to do with these rooms. It was only a day before the first student started putting up pictures from his “real life” in his dorm. This quickly spread and other students are now putting their pictures up. I’ve seen several student led classes pop up on the island when someone asks how to do something. It will be even more interesting in the next two weeks as the 35 new Kyoto students start coming online to see what social interaction takes place between the two groups.