I am learning about new stuff. New, because I have never used it. Today it was second life. I am doing an online course and as part of it I have an assignment in Second life. I had tried second life before and I found it confusing.
Maybe it is because I am not a big on games myself. Correction: I am not big on “graphic adventures”. Anyway, I tried it again and found it less confusing. New questions came up. How can this be useful for learners and educators? This is a double question: first wondering about it’s actual usefulness and once decided that it is somehow useful, attempt to define the “somehow”.
I tried the website of UDIMA, the Online University of Madrid. Graphics were appealing and if you were comfortable with controls, you could move around easily. There was no interaction because it was a Sunday.
Now this last sentence brings me to the real purpose of this post: which tools and for which purpose. To put it in a different way. Tell me what your purpose is and I will tell you which tools you may need to use. In the same way as we do not address different audiences even if the topic of a conference is the same, so it happens with IT tools in education.
Obviously, using second life in College degrees populated by the “gamers generation” is the ideal environment. It allows you to create a customizable environment. This virtual reality could make up for the coldness of online courses. For the consequences of having your own avatar do your job in class or elsewhere, you may want to watch “The surrogates” starring Bruce Willis.
If you do not need the appeal of fancy environments or flashy things, a decent website will do the trick. Use moodle or any alterntive to it and within it you can use many different tools.
I also tried today the course’s Wiki. Someone was modifying it so I decided to write this post instead and when I finish, if it is open to modifications, insert this link.
I found it messy. I do not know anything about tags, which might be the reason. Otherwise, I am the one who tells their students: “when you write your exam, remember: margins, space between the lines and clear handwriting (yes, they are done on a piece of paper)”. I believe the same applies to websites and if people are going to share a document such as a wiki, formatting it should be “for dummies”.
I still believe that a wiki is a very good idea. If you are going to write an article or a book or publish anything done in a team, using a wiki would be a good place for brainstorming, for sharing the results of research and to critisize each other – in a positive, good mood…
There are miriads of possibilities out there, but the way to go is simply: whatever works. If it is flashy but it does not suit the purpose, out with it.And as I said, I am not very sure about Second life. Maybe that is why there were very few people… as they say: get a life!
And that’s all folks!