Learning in Second Life
A few posts back I was moaning about how I don’t get Second Life, despite the fact that people are saying it’s the next big thing, that the Internet is heading into SL because you can visit other people, exchange stuff blah blah. I tried it; I got bored fast.
But then I came across news about an academic who is teaching architecture by creating a virtual classroom in SL complete with four islands where he and his students can create structures and interiors. Terry Beaubois is the architect and academic who has the avatar of Tab Scott. Beaubois’ SL avatar visits and reviews student design work in a 3D environment.
The interesting thing about architects (hubby is one) is traditional training doesn’t involve them in collaborative work. When they hit the ground as an architect, they are then faced with managing projects that include builders, clients, contractors and so on. They have to be very good project managers.
So training architects in SL makes a whole lot of sense. This is something I can get my head around as it gives students a rich, sensory, immersive experience. Here are some examples of student work – image credit Catalyst. Click on thumbnail below for fuller detail.
Students would be able to model complex scenarios and co-create structures with fellow students. This I totally get. You can check out the process of architectural design by Beaubois’ students here on YouTube.
And unlike an old dog, I can learn new tricks. I’ve become quite interested in a new free virtual world – Metaplace (alpha). It seems Metaplace will be easier to deal with than SL for me anyway. You can create your own virtual, multi-user world pretty quickly. If you have no programming bone in your body like me, you can use one of their templates. Pretty cool.