So says Philip Rosedale, the man who invented Second Life.

Tags: second-life, virtual-worlds

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Some will, some won't. I live in Wichita, Kansas, and work for an educational service center in Hutchinson, KS. Many of our member districts are very small, rural districts that can't afford the variety of instruction that larger districts can -- like Art education, for example. Art education that can be delivered virtually may be the only way students in those districts have access to that subject area.

But the size of the district doesn't preclude the presence of computer access in the student's home, or computers available to the student in the school.

Virtual delivery doesn't need to reach a full classroom of students in each district -- it can pick up one or two students, here and there, and because it's distributed across many districts thanks to the virtual delivery system, it can be economically viable. Is it as good as having a teacher in the room at the same time? Probably not. Is it better than nothing? Probably.

John--I'm in Kansas, too! I get your point but wouldn't it be much more efficient to show students an art lesson on video? Again, I ask--what art professional is going to have the time to to develop dozens of art activities in a virtual environment. I feel like John Stossel--"give me a break". haha. N.
That depends upon what you mean by efficient. More homes are likely to have DVD/VHS players to play the video, but if you deliver the lesson that way there's little or no direct interaction between the teacher and student. Without that interaction, how can you responsibly give credit for a class? That interaction is much easier using web-based solutions. Check out Kevin Honeycutt's Artsnacks for a specific example of the potential for that sort of interaction. It's not everything it could be, and it's just starting up, but it's a step or two down the path.

Also, a web-based delivery model requires no physical media for delivery. DVDs and Tapes are cheap, but they're not free, and the cost of mailing them around is also an impediment to shipping around discs or tapes. And there's the time problem -- delivering virtually can happen in a few minutes (depending upon download speed) while delivering physically takes days (or more, depending upon the efficiency of the fulfillment staff shipping the tapes -- it would be hard to assume that they would be as efficient as Netflix).

As for what art professional has the time to develop dozens of art activities -- probably not one who already has other duties delivering art activities live in the classroom -- at least not at the same time. It would make sense that it would take as long to develop a new activity for online delivery as it would to develop it for a traditional classroom or for video delivery -- with the additional complication of the challenges of the medium for content developers who are new to that medium. The right art professional would have to be someone with a great deal of facility with online communication and computers.

The added bonus of online virtual delivery is that it lends itself to community development -- there's no reason why a single person needs to develop every activity that is used -- a library of activities can be quickly compiled if a network of art professionals contribute. That's much more possible in an online environment than it is in the traditional classroom or in video delivery.

It's far from perfect yet, but that's part of why it's fun to be working there -- lots of room to make a difference.
OK, John we shall agree to disagree. I retire in a few years so my virtual self will not be meeting virtual kids in a virtual classroom. I'll continue to work with my kids the old fashioned way, and enjoy an occasional hug. Have a great day--five days til school starts! N.
What an interesting article! I do find SL fasinating, the whole experience has shifted my perspective to think about the future of teaching and learning. In world my name is Meg Writer I "live" on Eduisland II, this is my location



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