Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Trip to Second Life

On Tuesday night, I participated for the first time in a Second Life meeting. I had received an email from the Teacher Librarian Ning I belong to that read “Make plans to join your colleagues on Tuesday, March 16that 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT for a very special event, “A Chat with Sara Kelly Johns”. Sara is a candidate in the election for ALA President and she will speak to librarians about her platform and her vision for ALA.” I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out this environment and hear Sara's platform. I had to create an avatar for myself first and got my husband to help. Shopping in second life was just as frustrating as in my real life even with a thin avatar! I didn’t want to spend any real money, but there only seemed to be inappropriate outfits for free. I couldn’t possibly meet the future ALA president looking like a “lady of the night”! We eventually got an appropriate outfit and Tuesday night I transported to the location of the meeting. I was able to sit right next to Sara Kelly Johns. My cyber friend Buffy Hamilton was there for a bit too. Sara’s power point was available for us and a chat box appeared so we could ask her questions. I went back in forth between Twitter and the meeting so I could share some of Sara’s message. I loved her push for more collaboration between the public libraries and school libraries. She stated, “strong school libraries make stronger public libraries.” It would be a huge boost for school librarians if Sara is voted in as ALA president.

I have to be honest and say I am not really sure about the whole Second Life thing for use in education. I know that some schools have purchased islands and students create things in Second Life as projects. I am not a fan of video games, so the whole set up was uncomfortable in that way. I will say it was great “seeing” people while we chat. I feel isolated in the postings of my online Rutgers class because it is just words. I am visual and enjoyed watching the others participate in Second Life. Sara had a mic and spoke about her power point, which made the meeting more personal. I could also hear the passion in her voice something that would not have been achieved through just typing. So maybe teachers could have kids go to a class in Second Life even though they would be in the same real room in real life? Is anyone using Second Life in their library? Does anyone have any experiences in how this could be used for projects? Any examples they would like to share with me?

I am not sure if I will attend another Second Life event, but I am glad I had the experience. I feel if a parent or administrator questions me about the Second Life environment I will have a small background to answer. I enjoy trying out these new tools and seeing how the can benefit our students.

1 comment:

Dianne said...

Hi Amy,
SL can be a challenge, and although it has a few problems I see it more as an opportunity firstly for educators to get together for professional development as it allows people from different places to be together.

For students the immersion in creating environments would be the main educational value - recreating an ancient Roman town for an assignment, hooking up with schools in other parts of the world for language and cultural exchange is another benefit.

I do like SL - but unfortunately for me my time zone does not allow me to participate in very many events ;-(. Happy to meet you there one day ...Have a look here at a presentation I did on SL that was recorded - the sound is a bit scratchy