SL Keynote Presentation

Peggy Sheehy (Maggie Marat-SL)
Catherine Parsons (Victoria Gloucster-SL)
Kevin Jarrett (KJ Hax-SL)

K-12 Panel: “To Affinity and Beyond: Fostering meaningful and productive relationships in a virtual reality environment”

Notes:

  • SL is primarily a community forming site.
  • MUVE (SL) allows people to view the “world” through they’re own actions. Unlike an online course that has walls. SL allows each person to experience the course/class/environment as they want to…on a personal level.

Thoughts:

A great presentation that really looked at the social part of SL. How students are working together, collaborating on projects and taking learning to a new level.

An interesting discussion started after the presentation about resistant teachers, and walls that put this type of space on hold.

We are all in SL trying to figure this place out. Some of us are ahead of others in finding the answers but so far it’s following the path of other technology adoptions. There are some people who look at it and aren’t willing to jump. We are still struggling to get schools/administrators/teachers to understand the power of web 2.0 tools. As we move more and more online those tools are getting easier and easier to ‘sell’. But SL is a whole new level. A level that many look at and don’t get, mainly because many of us don’t get it yet. But also because it’s completely different. It is the Matrix. You plug yourself into another world, interact with different people on a different level.

Personally I am struggling with what makes SL different from other online learning environments. One thing that really hit me during this session was that the learner is in complete control of their learning environment. In an online learning environment the student is confined by the program, the layout of the course, the links that the professor provides. You have to be somewhat self-directed but for the most part the teacher still takes you through the learning process.

In a virtual world, the learner truly is in control of their entire environment. Each student can and does interact with that environment on a personal level. I see the environment through “my eyes”. I am truly in control of everything. From what I view, to how I view it. I decide where to go and when to go there. There is a freedom about virtual spaces that can not be replicated in Moodle or Blackboard.

Of course this is where our fears come from. This fear of freedom. The fear that if we give students a choice allow them the freedom to choose that they might choose not to learn. Or learn something we were not ready to teach.

I had a moment yesterday in class. The students where scanning YouTube looking for videos for their projects. One student happened across MLK Jr. speech and stopped to watch it. Another student happened upon a video from the V. Tech shootings and stopped to watch it. These were learning activities that were not chosen by me, but by them. Is it my place to tell the students “I’m sorry you can’t learn about that now?”

Freedom is very powerful, but it also scares us. I live in a communist country where the fear of freedom drives decisions. Where you go, what you do, what you view, what you say, are all feared.

The fear of freedom….I have to think on this a little more!

[tags]SL, SLbestpractices07[/tags]

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