Virtual Worlds are genuinely real spaces for learning

The school year is rushing to an end. Amazingly, we’re soon closing off the first decade of the new century that was going to be our hallmark of innovation and change. We promised ourselves we would put industrial models of schooling behind us.

For some this leap into new modes of learning is more than they can take on. For others it’s the natural extension of what learning has to be for our connected, mobile-enhanced learners.

I hope the next decade brings magical things for us all.

One thing we know is that we need to bring ‘out of school’ gaming and virtual worlds activities into the daily learning cyles of our students. We need to bring back the connections between school and home, and be prepared to provide environments that are authentic to the technology use of our students.

Here’s an article titled Virtual Worlds are genuinely real spaces for learning which I’ve had published in the recent issue of Access, the national journal of  the Australian School Library Association.   Have a read!

Thank you to my various friends and colleagues who so willingly shared their knowledge and information about their own explorations of virtual learning environments.

A new look to your Second Life

Second Life Viewer 2, now in beta, is the next generation of Second Life viewers that makes it easy to explore and socialize in Second Life with a familiar, browser-like experience, enhanced search, and fully integrated web-based media capabilities. Test Drive Second Life Viewer 2, Now in Beta by downloading here.

Web 2.0 in Libraries – 2D and 3D

Thanks to Sheila Webber for providing a constant flow of information related to libraries. Her Information Literacy Weblog provides real up-to-date gems year after year – she saves me time I must say!

I have also always enjoyed Sheila’s photography that provides a nice contrast to the steady information flow.

Two recent posts to worth picking up on:

2D Libraries

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) launched two new guidance toolkits at the annual SLIC Further Education Conference, on 3 December. One of them was A Guide to Using Web 2.0 in Libraries. Add this to your report collection/bibliography!

3D Libraries

Event in the virtual world, Second Life.

When: Monday 14 December 2009, 8am-9am SL time (for

times elsewhere see http://tinyurl.com/yff6e96 )  (oops, I’m not likely to make a 3am meetup!)
Where: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infolit%20iSchool/127/244/21/
You need a SL avatar and the SL browser to participate

Kim Zwiers (Kim Holmberg in RL) “Researcher, lecturer, entrepreneur” from Abo Akademi, Finland will give a presentation (in voice) and lead a discussion (in text chat).
See http://kimholmberg.fi/tag/library-2-0/
http://www.slideshare.net/kholmber/presentations

Teen Second Life – Wascana Island

A quick tour of some of the places on Regina Public Schools’ Wascana Island on the Teen Second Life grid. It shows some of the places for gatherings and meetings as well as showcasing two “in-world” projects that are currently (2008-2009) on display.

Soundtrack: Moderato – Alexander Blu (Creative Commons)

Blog o’ the month on ISTE island

What happens when I get behind in my RSS reading?  Oh My!!  A tweet from Scott Merrick alerted me to the good news!

Welcome Judy O’Connell’s “Hey Jude!” blog to the RSS feed in the Blogger’s Hut at ISTE Island in Second Life, chosen by vote on a polling object and now featured in the Hut with its topic headers happily inviting the browser to open up and check out the incisive and informative blog posts Judy shares.

So now, take Scott’s advice:  get thee on over there (SLurl) to the Blogger’s Hut and try your hand at voting for one of March’s nominees. They’re all international, “honoring the International in ISTE” and they all have an education-in-virtual-worlds focus.

Who knows? You may find a new favorite for your very own RSS aggregator!

The nominees are:

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Back to [Virtual] School

The most recent issue of EDUCAUSE has a fantastic focus on Virtual Worlds in their Back to [Virtual] School issue Volume 43, Number 5, September/October 2008.

“Whether it is Second Life or another virtual world, this foundational movement is not going away. The question to be addressed in the coming months and years is how higher education and, subsequently, individual institutions will determine the best way to continue to move forward with virtual worlds”

I highly recommend a read. I have grabbed for myself the PDF copies of “Virtual Worlds? Outlook Good” and “Educational Frontiers: Learning in a Virtual World“. You might like to pick out other articles for yourself.