Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ain't Got No Time...

On January 27th, I outlined 7 excuses we give for not adopting technology in the classroom.

#2 "I don't have time for my 1st life let alone a second life!"

Few outside of the teaching profession understand how demanding the classroom can be. You simply can not provide instruction, let alone high quality instruction, without a tremendous investment of time and energy above and beyond normal school hours.

Caring educators are understandably guarded about how they spend their time and when somebody attempts to introduce a seemingly Sci-Fi concept like education in the Virtual World, it is not surprising that the pitch forks and torches come out in full force. It should be self evident that no single instructional methodology or teaching tool is right for all instructors, and all classes, in all schools, with all students, at all times. Project Based Learning, flashcards, and lecture all have their place in our schools, but none of these approaches works well for all students in all classes.

Bottom Line: The virtual environment known as "Second Life" may not be right for you. (at least not with your current subject, school, and students) What is Second Life?

Second Life is a 3D virtual world providing sensory rich, immersive environments in authentic contexts that are ideal for experiential learning. The format encourages active participation allowing students to construct knowledge and has already been embraced by a multitude of public schools and prestigious universities.

How is it used in education?
Examples of educational activities already taking place in Second Life include: Role play, simulation, cultural immersion, literature circles, personal image, virtual tours & field trips, collaboration, medical training simulations, historical recreations, foreign language studies, emergency response, organizational psychology, global awareness, art, math, sociology and science.

I had the pleasure of meeting Peggy Sheehy last fall at a tech. conference in N.Y. Peggy is a modern day pioneer who spearheaded the introduction of learning in a virtual environment at her public school in Suffern County.

Peggy graciously invited me into her school to observe the Junior High students there at work in the virtual world. Never, in all my years as an educator have I witnessed such an enthusiastic, informed, and enlightening discussion by teenagers about classic literature!

I took dozens of page of notes and left feeling this is how education could be.
Less apathy, more enthusiasm. Less memorization, more critical discussion. Less assigned work and more students asking if they can stay after school!

Is the virtual world right for everyone? Absolutely not. But neither is tapioca pudding. (By the way, I LOVE TAPIOCA PUDDING!)

No comments: