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Hype and Second Life

SecondLife benefits from hype far beyond its actual impact in education. As educators, we have a fundamental drive to appear to have the answers. We see everything through a desire to colonize for learning pursposes. If students blog, instant message, blog, or play games, we want to use these for learning. This is generally a good thing. But it’s not always a perfect fit. Sometimes, we are further ahead to leave the natives to their tools and customs without seeking to adopt for our learning aims. I’m still undecided on SecondLife – it certainly has potential…but I haven’t been able to see the deep value. Stephen and Graham (see comments as well) have presented critical views. I have spent time in Second Life, happily flying around and trying to figure out what to do. Perhaps my concerns rest more with time required. For example, I listen to a fair number of podcasts…but I only do so when driving. I like text better for scanning – I’m in control of pace and depth. The learning nuggets held in Second Life require a fair degree of effort to acquire. It’s entirely possible that the learning is deeper in games…but I like my games simply to play. Once learning becomes a partly explicit task, then I feel like my play is manipulated toward ends other than what I control.