This is a post by Beth Ritter-Guth on March 14, 2010 that I think is a useful tutorial on some of the features within Second Life.
Here are the 5 tool within SL that are covered in her article:
HTML on a Prim
Easy Peasy Menu
There is also a brief discussion regarding:
Educators in Second Life
I realize the article was written while many of these were in Beta form, but I think it is still useful.
Here is another site that is using Second Life as a teaching platform for Spanish instruction.
According to Learn Spanish in Castille and Leon:
“Second life relies on a set of tools, designed for Spanish teachers for when they are choosing the technology they will use in their online language classes. They include the following:
- Voice chat allows us to work in pairs or in groups.
- Second life allows us to incorporate authentic exercises taken from videos, images and auditions, as well as giving us access to certain websites.
- The written messaging system allows us to communicate on an individual basis with our students. We may well clarify the meaning of Spanish phrases with new vocabulary for them.
- We can create written notes for our students. This system allows us to work with the written texts that we created.
- We can add gestures to our character (avatar) to express a welcome, to affirm, deny, laugh and say goodbye.
- We can move ourselves and explain actions such as walking, jogging, skating, etc… We can also teleport to other islands and send our students ´avatares` to find information in other islands, as practice.”
I thought that it might be helpful to share what some students who have used Second Life to learn Spanish thought:
Read comments of students who participated in the Penn State University Spanish I course taught using Second Life
Publications > The Language Educator > See it in The Language Educator?
Student comments from Professor Gloria Clark’s Fall 2007, Spanish 1 course at Penn State University:
Second Life is very cool, creative, adventurous, and self explanatory. Learning in books is good but not as good as being able to experience it, visiting places, meeting Spanish speakers. Second Life is just great.
I learned more from Second Life than from a textbook because it was more engaging and you learned so much without realizing it. Second Life was a fun learning experience.
Second Life is a very effective tool for learning Spanish. Unlike workbooks and textbooks, 2nd Life keeps students alert and motivated to learn. Work done out of the textbooks, while are effective may prove monotonous at times.
I feel that it was a lot easier to incorporate Spanish with Second Life because I get to a point of where I’m sick of looking at textbooks and workbooks exercises.
Compared to the use of standard workbooks and textbook exercises I thought Second Life was a good balance of interactive learning & a fun way to “see” Spanish-speaking islands.
Second Life is more interesting. But it can be distracting because there are so many things to do and change. In class is more personal, Second Life seems a little impersonal.
The use of Second Life definitely added to understanding/experiencing some Spanish culture. The book was helpful with the culture but not nearly as much as Second Life. Second Life made the class exciting and worthwhile.
Much, much more fun. I actually looked forward to coming to class and doing the exercises.
Textbooks don’t allow you to speak to people all over the world. They can only teach you the words. Second Life allowed me to speak to Spanish-speaking natives and helped me learn the language better.
Second Life is a good change every once in a while. It does help to see what other things are in Spanish. It also helps send the message through us more effectively sometimes as well as help us better understand what you’ve just learned in the textbook.
It was way better than using a textbook. I felt like I was playing a game, yet learning at the same time. It was the most fun I ever had learning Spanish.
It contributed to my learning by letting me see Spanish in action.
It is more fun to use Second Life. If it is more fun it is easier to learn.
Kept me interested.
I think it works better almost [than the textbook]. Because I learn by doing instead of just sitting listening, your actually interacting with it. I was skeptical at first but ended up really enjoying it, once we got it working properly.
It is different. I learned the culture of the Spanish language. I would however find it extremely difficult to learn or take a class in Second Life.
Here is a Wiki where a group of passionate language teachers interested in or already teaching in Second Life share their thoughts, learning and resources.
Here is a great website by Avalon with lots of information and resources regarding using virtual worlds, such as Second Life, for language education.
They also have a Ning site that is well worth checking out: