CCK08 – Suggested Reading & Collage About Education in Second Life

(This post is about the Massively Online Open Course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge being taught by George Siemens and Stephen Downes from September to December 2008. Over 2000 participants have signed up, and I am facilitating the Second Life cohort for the course. Over the following months, I will be posting about the experience, home work assignments, and other materials related to our activities.)

Suggested Reading for CCK08 & CCK08SL

Not that those of us in the CCK08 course don’t have plenty to read and keep up with already, but I’ve received quite a number of questions about the Second Life cohort of the Connectivism class. If you aren’t sure what Second Life is, what virtual worlds are, or why they might be applicable in a connectivist context, I think Sarah Robbins-Bell‘s article Higher Education as Virtual Conversation might be a good text to read.

She writes:

We know that the demographics of Facebook, Digg, Fark, and World of Warcraft are the same as the general demographics of college/university students. So, why don’t we see the same levels of participation in the social media that are used in the classroom (typically, learning management systems) as are evident in the social media that students engage in voluntarily? I think the problem is that our pedagogy often isn’t ready for an increase in conversation.

She goes on to examine the specific characteristics of virtual worlds and how they are manifested in the Second Life platform, a good primer for those who aren’t familiar with it, and continues with an analysis of how these platforms can facilitate an increase in conversation and dialogue – between and among students, students and instructors, and students and the world. More than just conversation, she demonstrates how they can be used to facilitate active and participatory knowledge making (and some things we SHOULDN’T do in virtual worlds that can shut down that kind of knowledge making).

A persistent world offers persistent learning opportunities. It is up to the instructor and the student to define and explore what kind of activities will be useful for the learning goals of a particular course, but it’s possible that many of those goals can be accomplished in the community at large rather than in a delineated space intended for “learning.”

Second Life Education Multimedia

If it’s still hard to imagine what kinds of educational projects are taking place in Second Life, Claudia L’Amoreaux (SL: Claudia Linden) gave a keynote yesterday at the Holland Open 2008 conference in Amsterdam, accompanied by this beautiful and rich Vuvox collage called “Open Mind”. Take the time to explore it, it contains many types of embedded media.

Hopefully a few minutes with these resources will give some sense of what the Second Life cohort is on about in the Connectivism course.

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