TCC08 Keynote: Why Do We Need A Second Life?

Teacher avatarPresenter: Dr. Barbara P. McLain, Professor, Music Education and Secondary Instrumental, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

In Second Life: Professor Lilliehook

“Change ahead requires vision now”

Visions for change

  • Touch screen computers
  • Holographic displays
  • 3D TV
  • Merged technologies

What would you do as an educator if you had a holographic display?


  • Social networking
  • Visual communication
  • Diminishing attention spans
  • Multitasking
  • Game-based learning
  • Improved bandwidth & access
  • High def screens
  • Touch screen interfaces
  • Merged technologies
  • Open source software
  • Internet subscription software

Overview of Second Life

  • Wants to explain why people are so excited about it
  • She thinks its a little ahead of its time–we’re catching up, but it’s slow
  • Free software, but land costs
  • Grid: how land is laid out
  • Archipelagos for land
  • In-world economy of Linden Dollars
  • Avatar Creation
  • Tools available

Says better help from other people than the in-game help

Everyone has art ability–everyone can build

Library of Congress has a Second Life

Educational growth in SL–nearly anything can be taught in SL. Growth is like previous growth of online education

Second Life & virtual worlds are a new movement, but SL isn’t the first world and won’t be the last

Minimum Needs for Teaching

  • Space (Borrow, buy, or rent)
  • Skills
  • Time–she calls it “wonderful time” but there is a learning curve

Why Second Life Education

  • No subject left behind!
  • Many classroom limitations gone–size, space
  • Engaging–banish lectures
  • Address more learning styles
  • Research opportunities

Research from Intellagirl:

  • 91% of students see the internet as a place for answers
  • There are more online gamers than golfers in the world

Schools are not the only places to go for learning

How Second Life Education

  • Active, student-centered learning. If you’re just going to do a lecture, don’t do it in SL–there are better avenues for that.
  • Peer groups

Selling Second Life Education to Administrators

  • Match to institutional goals
  • Collaborate with prior successful projects
  • Look for unique opportunities

4 Types of School Administrators

  • Sherman Tank: always has to be in control, has to be their idea. Give them the credit so you can get your stuff.
  • Social Butterfly: include pictures in your proposal
  • Teddy Bear: 75% of administrators–they are worried about porn, access for all–they are the nesters of the world, want to protect us.
  • Picky Picky: their avatars will look exactly like they do in real life. They will check all the details

In the chat: “But almost every major technology has been propelled forward by pornography! See, all we’re doing is leveraging the most recent porn delivery platform for instructional purposes. We did it with the web, we can do it with SL. ^_^”

Responding to Naysayers

  • It’s more than just a game
  • There’s porn online and in the convenience store down the street too, not just in SL. It’s a matter of choice.
  • It’s cheaper than Blackboard.
  • “It’s too complicated”: So is web design, but we have online courses
  • “The avatars are too sexy”: So are some of the profs (at least in Hawaii where she teaches)

Q: Community college environment is more concrete and don’t see this as part of their academic environment
A: She provided a zip file with a sample proposal, research, etc. Just like when online learning started, you share the quality examples. Sometimes you have to wait for those administrators to retire though.

Read the other liveblogged posts from this conference.

Image: ‘The Teach

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