Posts Tagged 'disorientation'

Journeying without direction into Second Life

A few days ago I decided to venture into Second Life (SL).  I was tempted by ISTE‘s attention to SL in its publications.  Although I got motivated too late to join the SL Community Convention on September 5-7, I felt that it was better to be late than not at all.  So, as directed, I went to the SL site and chose a name and avatar.  Although I need to adjust my avatar (whenever I figure out how to do that), at least I’m in (so to speak).  I tried to navigate around the site, but got completely disoriented and exited.  It’s certainly not uncommon for us “traditional educators” (as John Jamison calls us) to feel disoriented in this 3D virtual world.  In fact, disorientation has been discussed for some years by those who wrote about Web 2.0 technologies like wikis for example.  Brian Lamb (2004) has written about feeling disoriented in relation to reading wiki sites because of unfamiliar organizing structures.  But he believes that “recovery” can happen.  So, I am hopeful that with some assistance from fellow SLers and more exploration on my own, I can get a foothold and make some sense of it all.  For now, though, I have retreated to familiar text to learn about SL.  I went to a SL for educators wiki and read the proceedings from the 2007 Second Life Education Workshop in Chicago.  There I found some interesting facts.  First, I learned some new terminology – always helpful in negotiating a new culture.  Then I found that many presenters reference a book by James Gee (2004) called What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy.  I think I will have to get my hands on this book.  Vicki Suter and Ellen Frazier from Pepperdine did a presentation called “Sl as Possibility Space.”  From them, I pondered their definition of learning: “a social practice involving doing and being rather than an individual process of knowing.”  John Jamison (a.k.a. Virtual Bacon) commented in his “Tips for Dinosaur Wrangling” that Second Life cannot be understood from the outside. People need to get in it in order to understand it.  In other words, it needs to be experienced.  That makes sense.  I wil be diving in soon.  I also learned from Sarah Robbins (a.k.a. Intellagirl Tully) in her talk on “Enagement in SL Learning” her definition of engagement: a student’s willingness to spend time and energy on leraning.”  She believes that Sl can be a source of motivation for many students in a variety of courses especially online courses where students tend to drop out at higher rates than they do for face-to-face classroom courses.  So…there’s lots more to learn about and do in Second Life, but for now, I’m taking a break.


September 2019
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