Second Life is a “game” or virtual world, that some are arguing that it is appropriate to use as a professional development tool for educators, administrators, and even students. Two aspects that I thought were fairly interesting about the program was the ISTE SigVE [Special Interest Group: Virtual Environments], which every 3rd Thursday of the month will have guest speakers in a virtual setting. There have been many speakers, including a woman from the National Defense University in D.C., a professor from Harvard, and many more. I do like the fact that you can listen to a group speaker that you may not have got the chance to listen to otherwise, as well as the fact that they could still be across country while it is happening. The other aspect I found interesting was the Virtual Pioneers, which was started by a group of history teachers searching for a virtual representation of past worlds, and today’s wonders. Just a few things you can view include the Renaissance, The Globe Theater, and Versailles. Which allows students to explore, and in a sense, experience the worlds their teachers are sharing with them. Which I
believe will help with comprehension not only of the subject, but of what life was actually like during the era. But like any educator, I have my reservations about it. It makes me nervous because: 1) you never really know what is going on, on the internet in general but specifically virtual servers. So by having my student on something like this would be really nerve-racking, because you don’t know the people on there other than your own class. As well, it could be abused by your students or facility members. Though you would hope this wouldn’t happen, there is always the “what if”.
Even though this virtual world seems to be geared toward educators and schools with sections such as VWBPE Annual Conference [Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education] and VWER [Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable], I would still approach with caution. But I am considering trying this myself, in order to properly gauge my comfort level with it, because with the rise in technology use, it may be a good way to keep my students engaged.