Saturday, December 22, 2007

Second Life

No, I am not a cat who has nine lives and is soon to begin living my second one.

Second Life is a virtual world that has totally been created by it's users. Going public in 2003, it has exploded and today is inhabited by millions of people from around the Globe. Users create fully customizable in-world avitars. On any given moment in Second Life (or SL if you're speaking in-world), you will possibilty come across a various array of different characters. I, myself, have not been a member very long; however, the things I have learned and people I have met up to this point have been very exciting!

You may be asking yourself, why should I be interested in SL? Simply put, it's use in education is becoming more prevalant. Just today I met a librarian in a Chicago school district that specializes in technology who has a big part of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) in SL. Yes, to answer the second question you may have. ISTE has a group in SL that hosts many different events, including a "social" on Thursday nights where technology educators from all over the world meet to have discussions. How exciting is that?!? Personally, I don't ever have the opportunity to share ideas with others except those in my own little world and those around me. Now, because of this group, I will be able to share ideas with educators from all over the world!

Many universities from all over the United States are also getting involved. They use SL as a place to go and have chat sessions with their students about their RL subject. There are even teachers who use SL as their classroom! How exciting is that?!? Although I have not gotten into this part as of yet, you are able to enable voice chat. Your avitar will actually be speaking your voice!

Let's talk about price. This Web 2.0 tool is free, but you'll soon realize there are things that do require money. The in-world money is called lindens which can be purchased with RL (real life) dollars. I will say, though, there is a lot of things you can do that are absolutely free. If you never want to spend a single RL dime, you don't have to spend a RL dime. There are even ways to make lindens in-world, but that would be something to do after you had really been involved in SL for a while. An example of a RL person making SL lindens - a co-worker of my husband's is a singer who has a singing career in SL. RL people pay linden dollars to hear her sing at various concerts. I'm actually attending one this afternoon! These jobs are never something you would do to make much RL money, but can help get SL money without having to pay RL dollars.

Check it out! If you're one who enjoys discussion with others to improve education, you'll be glad you did. Everyone is very nice and helpful so don't be shy about asking questions. That's how you learn. Everyone there was new at some point and are eager to help you enjoy SL. If you already have a SL account, please look me up and send me an IM! I would love to chat with you. If you ever create a SL account, I hope you'll look me up as well. I would definitely help you out any way I can! I am JennAFuzz Gabardini. Please feel free to ask questions or discuss SL here!

I do plan to eventually start a SL blog for JennAFuzz which will share her exciting adventures in SL as well as share things that I am learning through her because of educator groups I am a part of. Once I have created that blog, I'll post the information here.

I hope to see you in SL!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bringing School to the Information Age Article

It's been a while since I posted. It may look as if I have posted 2 times in one day; however, the post right before this, Web 2.0 tools, has been written for a while, I just forgot to post it! If you did not read that, please visit that post to gain a basic understanding of what Web 2.0 tools are.

The place where I work gets several educational magazine subscriptions, one of those being Edutopia. The subscription being passed around to me and my co-workers is the July/August 2007 issue (yes...sometimes we are a little behind, but we still read the information!). There were several articles I felt worth of sharing, but the one I really want to high-light is the editor's note.

Please read and add your comments!

Editor's Note: Bringing School to the Information Age
written by James Daly, Editor-in-Chief of Edutopia
July/August 2007 Edutopia Magazine Article

I feel like this article hit the nail on the head! The last 2 paragraphs really express the need that students have for schools and educators to "jump on board" and began to use technology in their classroom. I know there are several teachers out there who still do not see this as a need, but whether or not they see it, the need does exhist. I also realize there are many teachers who see it as a need, but do not know where to begin and are even scared of the technology. The good news - people, like myself, exhist to help you in those frightening endeavors! Never be afraid to ask for help. We welcome that and are excited to encourage and assist you along the way.

For links to additional articles I thought were outstanding from this issue, please visit my wiki and click on the Instructional Technology Articles link in the sidebar.