virtual conference

I’ll be attending some conference sessions at the Second Life Best Practices in Education Conference 2007 today from the comfort of my office–or I could be at home in my pajamas (you don’t know). Follow the link to read about it and consider joining Second Life to experience an immersive world as an educational space. I’ll report back later today with more on the conference.

Here’s a slideshow of my visit to the conference poster session and two lecture sessions. They were terrific educationally and in the cool sense.

The first session on “Asynchronous Student Orientation,” by Catherine Soderstrom (SL) of Texas Woman’s University, described how an instructor organized orientation documents for new students. What a great and necessary idea. Part of the orientation was a scavenger hunt that helped students hone in-world skills, like customizing their avatars, meeting and communicating with other people in-world, doing a little building, and visiting a library and checking out a book. Students had positive responses, I’m sure because they were having fun as they were learning about this immersive world.

This session was conducted via written chat, as most conversations occur in SL, and it was interesting to see how well you could make a 15 minute presentation. There was at least 30 minutes of Q & A following, with lots of good questions.

The second session was a Keynote Presentation by Kenny Hubble (SL) of Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario. The keynote featured live audio, making it very much like real life, except that I couldn’t tell if my seat was uncomfortable 😉

Hubble covered a broad spectrum of topics associated with Loyalist’s beginnings in SL. Perhaps the most significant point was how a rural college could offer its students interaction with the world–literally–through SL projects. There was too much to cover here, but Hubble described a class, “Topics in Journalism,” that conducted discussion sessions in SL, instead of in a typical discussion board. One student even garnered an internship with the Second Life News Network (SLNN) through his experience.

Well, I’ve had some other things to do in the afternoon, but the conference goes on until midnight (pacific time), so I’m heading back to see what else is going on.

Cool, very cool.

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Categories: education

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