...or how to change a stance in 6 weeks... Yesterday, I had the pleasure of riding up to Montpelier with our district's tech director for a meeting on 1:1 devices. He asked me how Second Life was going. Six weeks ago when someone asked me that question, I rolled my eyes (such an adolescent gesture on my part) and said something that made it clear I was in this because I'm part of the Master's program. My response yesterday? "Oh, it's fun - you would not believe how much fun."
Frank thinks about this for a bit and then played "devil's advocate" in asking me of what use this would be in education. I explain the classroom concept of gathering around Esme, sitting on seats (or the ground) that are really little red disks, the challenge of keeping track of the various threads of conversation, the field trips, and the assignments that push us to learn both on our own and with the help of our new friends. We talked about different ideas for class discussion in virtual classrooms and why this would work for teachers and students. As our conversation went on, I was a little startled at the strength of my advocacy, considering my previous opposition to it.
My position now, 6 weeks later? This is a wonderful tool, one of many that today's teachers are fortunate to have at their disposal. Just like any sophisticated tool, however, it takes some practice, creativity and commitment to figure out how to use it effectively. It doesn't satisfy every circumstance and every teacher. Find me the tool that does!