One of the things that keeps being said is that social networking improves communication, and facilitates ‘being comfortable’ for the millenials. Kids use social networking to help them settle into their teen world. Because of Myspace or Beebo, teenagers can walk into a party, or walk around school and know people beyond their immediate ‘sphere of influence’. Better than vertical streaming of pastoral care groups in schools (used to help students associate with each other by putting kids of different ages together) online social networking can broaden and enable friends and conversation seamlessly and effectively. Those who are reluctant to talk, or who rarely contribute in a classroom setting, find themselves more able to communicate in a digital environment.
Isn’t it interesting that these same effects are observed when learning takes place within a virtual setting, such as Second Life. Students at Suffern Middle School in Second Life are learning how to manage their avatars and how to use this environment as their classroom.
You have to read the discussion to see just how to focus learning in Second Life, and how millenials can successfully communicate in Second Life.
This is an unedited, unabridged log of the discussion held today by the student group who are reading Snow Crash: (Please remember these are 8th grade students!) The remarkable thing is that in a typical classroom setting these kids would never be able to get to the level of thought and focus as they do in SL!
Great post! Actually I had a play with Second Life last week for the first time, after spotting a youtube video on one of my favourite singer/songwriters, Suzanne Vega. She was the first major recorded artist to perform live on Second Life in 2006. I couldn’t believe my eyes, a virtual performance? I guess you couldn’t really describe it as such… more like a real performance in a virtual setting.
I have to admit, as a teacher, I’d need a lot more practice before I could get my head around how I might use this one in the classroom! 🙂