Sunday, July 15, 2007

Learning in virtual worlds: Future or fad?

Educators now have several years of conducting classes in 3D virtual classrooms behind them and are beginning to publish more and more good material on this environment. One publication devoted to this environment is the journal eLearn Magazine. A recent feature article
Another Life: Virtual Worlds as Tools for Learning discusses the special qualities of the avatarian experience in Second Life, and answers the question, "are virtual worlds a breakthrough technology that will forever reshape learning and business? Or are they this season's over-hyped fad?"
The article asks us to look at the technology with fresh eyes, and look for what are the special sensibilities and opportunities of the virtual environment. The article identifies five "sensibilities" special to the Second Life environment:
  • The Sense of Self
  • The Death of Distance
  • The Power of Presence, Sense of Space and the Capacity to Co-create
  • The Pervasiveness of Practice
  • The Enrichment of Experience
The article is well worth the time it takes to read. Or you can view a video by one of the article authors discussing the same concepts; Virtual Social Worlds and the Future of Learning

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