A few weeks ago, I posted some of my random thoughts about Second Life. Since then I’ve had a chance to chat with some of our clients (unfortunately not in-world) about how they’re using SL to achieve their educational goals.
It was great to get a sense of some of the research potential for Second Life through conversations with folks like Dr. Bo Brinkman from Miami University. He gave me his insight into research such as Michele D. Dickey’s work examining the place of an interactive environment like SL in a hierarchy of learner engagement. And the re-creation of Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiments in Second Life. In short, one conclusion from the latter study is that people ascribe a similar level of empathy to SL avatars as they do to human beings.
Although SL use is still in its early stages, there seems to be a great balance between clients looking at the theory and educational psychology aspects and those focusing on how to better integrate SL into their teaching. I’ve had a chance to poke around the work being done by clients such as University of Texas, Austin, Seton Hall University, and Drexel University (this is actually the SLURL to Drexel Island). The thing that I’m still trying to figure out (as are a few folks blogging about SL and education) is: How do we integrate these initial activities more closely with e-Learning tools? I’m not sure of the answer just yet – though it is something that folks around here are talking about quite a bit. I know the interest is there among our clients, as it’ll be the topic of several sessions at BbWorld ’07 (semi related note: here’s my Second Life homage about BbWord). I’m just excited to see where this will take us as a community of users.