I’ve just found the very useful JISC publication , ‘Getting Started With Second Life’, at 32 pages a succinct and very readable guide for educators that addresses just about all the core issues for newbies, from first signing up for an account through to answering questions relating to common mistakes and assumptions. The only shortcomings, so far as I can see, are the absence of [a] a few case studies across disciplines illustrating how SL is being successfully used in teaching and learning (which would certainly be useful to enthusiasts endeavouring to market SL to possibly sceptical colleagues), [b] some reflective discussion of paedagogical issues within a virtual environment, and [c] better practical guidance on preparing and managing lectures and classes, including in-world use of education tools as well as of ‘slashups’ such as Sloodle and blogHUD. But as an avowedly ‘Getting started’ guide it should perhaps not be expected to venture beyond the core basics. So, yes, a very highly recommended download.
The following is from the accompanying blurb on the JISC web site:
The guide has been written by representatives from several projects from within JISC’s recent Users and Innovation programme, which gave project teams the opportunity to work in emergent technology spaces that at the time were the domain of very few in higher education. These included multi-user virtual environments such as Second Life.
Through a structured community and careful brokering of connections both in the UK and internationally, a group of projects came together that looked at these then only potential learning spaces and tried to make sense of them for an already busy higher education market. Their results and outputs far exceeded those laid down in their project plans, and are a testament to not only the projects’ own hard work, but the help and input of a wide range of other U&I projects whose staff volunteered their time to user test and participate ‘in world’ with events and exercises.
Through the life of the Second Life projects information was gathered and analysed and, perhaps unsurprisingly, one area stood out as needing support more than any other – getting started. This then gave weight to the argument for a JISC Introductory guide to Second Life. And here it is: aimed at staff who are looking to connect through a virtual world to learning and research activities, this guide should be the first step in any proposed use of Second Life for learning and teaching, providing a step by step approach and a range of guidance in the key areas and issues.
‘Getting Started With Second Life’