As I have been continuing my research into Second Life as a virtual learning environment I have begun to face a serious technical issue. That is, Second Life software does not fully support Windows Vista, thus the program keeps crashing. Since this blog is part of an assignment, and not really a soapbox, I will limit my comments about VISTA to one word: USELESS!
Since I can't explore Second Life as I would like, my post this week will focus on introducing a few useful links for educators in Second Life.
First off, is EDTECH Island's site http://edtechisland.wetpaint.com/?t=anon hosted by Boise State University.
The site has links to a few lectures which discuss implications of Second Life education as well as the list of classes for BSU students. One lecture worth noting for instructional designers is the Webinar by Dr. Lisa Dawley, the designer of EDTECH island, who addresses the issues of needs analysis and course design in Second Life. She stated that traditional ID models such as ADDIE are too strict for virtual learning environments and technology enhanced learning. Since most of us are just beginning to learn about these models its nice to hear a different perspective.
Another website worth mentioning is the Second Life Education wiki http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life_Education_Wiki
This site provides information and links to various Second Life materials for educators.
Finally, the site http://sleducation.wikispaces.com/educationaluses – Second Life in Education provides links and information for both experienced SL users and newbies.
To really understand virtual learning, we as educators need to experience it as learners. The virtual learning environment of SL can be intimidating, or like Tim said, “"The Sims" on steroids”, but I feel that we need to really explore and get a feel for it as soon as we can. More than that, as instructional designers we need to see how virtual learning is understood through the various filters of learning theories and eventually step back to develop and/or support new theories that can help drive our instructional design. We might not particularly be using SL for our future careers, but the implication for our careers in the instructional design field is tremendous.