I gotta get a Second Life

I’ve been putting it off, mostly because my first life seems to be so hectic. You know, my Facebook friends take up a lot of time, and I’m trying to boost my LinkedIn score. There’s cat boxes that need cleaning, plants that need watering, the groceries don’t seem to cook themselves, and I’ve got to write this blog that I’m the only one that reads. In between all of that I’ve got this pesky job to go to.


But today, I was convinced I should give Second Life a try. I admit I had it on my ToDo list for a while, but just couldn’t commit. “Its’ new, “ I told myself, “let someone else work out the kinks.” “It’ll just crash my computer,” I had convinced myself. I didn’t want to get motion sickness from trying to fly. Besides, what if my Avatar made me look fat?

If, like me, you were holding off on Second Life, I was encouraged to give it, well, a Second Thought (can I trademark that?) after a presentation by Lauren Thurman and Lori Weedo from Escambia County at FETC today. Lauren and Lori were Second Life enthusiasts who were dabbling in the environment until a few extra dollars, and really just a few, became available.  Escambia County purchased its own island in Second Life last June. Just slightly over 6 months later, they’ve done an amazing job of making it homey and establishing quite a comfy virtual pad.

The presenters noted that most of the interaction on their island up to this point has been collegial information sharing, but they have an exciting professional development scheduled for their teachers who will meet face-to-face once and then will spend in-depth time in Second Life exploring the new National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers. They will model technology to learn about integrating technology. What a great idea! We even got to chat with the teacher who will run the professional development, through her avatar, during the session. (My apologies for not recording her name.)

Lauren and Lori had some helpful information if you really want to take the plunge. They recommended that you join Second Life in an educator-specific area. Second Life has an education area and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has an island that is educator friendly. There are several plug-and-play education-specific features you can use or even import into your own island when you get around to dominion building, or you can visit some of those already run by school systems and education providers. Seminole County has been using Second Life, as well, and I look forward to Diane Lewis’s session tomorrow where she will briefly mention their work.

There was a more helpful information, but I don’t need to tell it all to you. You can find it at Escambia’s Second Life blog at Second Life Educators of Escambia County (SLEEC) at http://sleec.edublogs.org. If, like me, you’ve been putting off getting your Second Life, get takeout one night and follow the Getting Started link on their blog. I may meet you there. Just don’t tell me if my Avatar makes me look fat.

About the Author

John is a contributing blogger for T.H.E. Journal Online. You can read more about John and his blog at TeachLearnTech.com.