This is a technique I attribute to my K12 school's brilliant director, Vincent Durnan. He attributes it to another colleague, who probably passes on the credit for its concept to another: Like folk music melodies, methods of collaboration are never really original :). For our porpoises, at the very least we get some good talking points for the actual presentation. Maybe we'll put together some kind of online flyer from these. Hmmm...(sgm)

You have the time it takes between the time the elevator doors close and reopen on the destination floor to explain why it is important for educators to be conversant with Second Life, and to consider using it for their teaching and learning. To help them do so, they need to attend our little workshop at NECC.

Read a relevant article about "The Escalator Pitch" that quotes Google's 8 word pitch--very intriguing...

Ding. Swoosh. Clump. The button's pushed...

- scottmerrick scottmerrick Oct 10, 20073D virtual environments on the Internet are gaining status in some sectors of educational technology as "the new internet," or "Web 3.0," though proponents prefer the term "3D internet" or "3Di." The interaction of "avatars," graphical representations of oneself, over the internet, is by many considered to be a development comparable to the very creation of the World Wide Web. IBM's research and development to redesign the basic personal computer in order to handle the audiovisual demands these environments place on computer systems is an indication that corporate entities are taking note, as are the hundreds of thousands of dollars large corporations are investing in establishing "inworld" presences.

At the same time, our educational establishment, based on an agrarian system of teaching that is increasingly irrelevant and ineffective, is, by and large, failing us. Evidence to this effect is incontrovertible (a Google search for "education system failing" returns "about 22,400,000" results). An increasingly vocal group of educators and educational change advocates are calling for radical measures to ensure that our children are ready for what Ian Jukes calls "information bombardment" in their lives as learners, workers, and human beings in the 21st century.

The most robust 3D "metaverse" is Second Life, a virtual world that as of this writing boasts 9,921,129 "residents" (a problematic statistic for a number of reasons) with 1,460,924 of them having logged in over the past 7 days (a more accurate statistic for usage information). Online now are 30,398 of these avatars. While a great deal of these users may be online for less than educational reasons, there is a small community of educators working to take advantage of Second Life to inspire student enthusiasm in their learning. Come to our workshop session and see some of the reasons why.

Lisa Linn
The education community in Second Life has grown exponentially in the last six to eight months. With an increase in the higher-ed presence, use by traditional universities and educational institutions, as well as use by educational entities like Sloan-C, and Discovery Education Network; the numbers of K-12 teachers in traditional schools in search of more meaningful and relevant ways to reach and teach their students has increased dramatically as well.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has instituted a presence on MySpace as a means of reaching the dropouts and disillusioned students who have disconnected from the system. At the same time, The National School Boards Association recently released a report on the necessity of teaching social networking skills in schools, and understanding its relevance in education and business. The report cites that social networking sites and 21st Century skills are more heavily accessed and used by "non-conformists" (relevant stats to be added here), and that these users will remain on the cutting edge learning actively often on their own, in the future.

Second Life and other virtual worlds may be the single best mode of social networking in existence at this time, allowing for a level of synchronous communication never seen before or used for this purpose. In the 1980's the business jargon of the times was "networking" -to gain status, approval, and position within whatever sphere one was involved. At this time, 20 years later, it is "Social networking," yet as a result of the predominant users of the technology being 'tweens, teens, and twenties, it is reviled by much of the education and business establishment as being frivolous, dangerous, or irrelevant. How can we change these negative assumptions made by so many? Explore the possibilities Second Life has to offer and see for yourself.

Jane Wilde Marlboro College Graduate Center is a small cutting edge high tech program for educators, internet professionals and business managers. For a year the College has been exploring the use of SL for teaching and publicity. I am teaching the first fully on-line/inworld course the college has offered. Called Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds the course is part of the Masters of Arts in Teaching program. It has drawn students from Vermont, Massachusetts, Georgia, California and London England.

The advantages of SL to facilitate bringing a class together from all over the world, and providing a sense of presence not found in Blackboard and Moodle courses is important. I see my challenge as using the environment to explore different ways of teaching, not just replicating a first life classroom. We are experimenting with the power of varied communication methods to engage students with different styles; meeting with experts from around the globe, constructing learning experiences.