Education in Virtual Worlds, Second Life

Canadian Educators Flood Second Life

The Canadian Press issued a well-rounded article outlining the various Canadian educational entities that are using Second Life as an educational tool.

The article states that not only are professors across the country joining the fray, but that tutors and government-sponsored tutoring services are also using the virtual world as a place to find students. Tutors such as Ajit Singh of TutorJam note that shier students unwilling to openly declare their confusion over a subject feel more at ease in the anonymous world of Second Life.

“They cannot clearly state that they are not ‘getting it,’” he told the CP. “And this tutoring service is right in the privacy of their homes, so kids can just open up.”

The story also cites Canadian SL success stories, such as Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario. After funds were cut for RL practice sessions on border-crossings between Canada and the US, Loyalist joined Second Life and created a border crossing sim that dramatically increased student grades.

Lyle Wetsch, a professor at Memorial University, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, noted that using an emerging technology has an impact on the students impression of the teacher.

“Students have this expectation when they come into a classroom with an older professor, like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re not up to date,”‘ he told the CP. “But when you’re more up to date on some of the emerging technologies, it starts to lend some credibility.”

These schools currently have a presence in Second Life: Loyalist College, Memorial University, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, the University of Saskatchewan, Ontario’s McMaster and York universities, Nova Scotia Community College, LaSalle College in Montreal, the University of British Columbia, B.C.’s Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

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