Sunday, February 22, 2009

Second Life revisited...

Do you have a presence in Second Life? Have you had meetings in SL?

I do have a SL persona, but I'm still a novice. I saw an article recently (and now can't find it :-( ) that was reporting on teacher professional development (TPD) taking place in Second Life. I think that's potentially a good use, reaching folks who are already in SL. I'm concerned however with offering TPD on non-Second Life topics to folks who aren't familiar with Second Life. There was quite a learning curve for me, and I had an expert to guide me.

But what troubled me more, was reading that the TPD was subsequently encouraging teachers to begin using Second Life for student instruction. Oh, I think SL can be a very useful platform for a variety of different learning experiences. My concern is that Second Life is not completely accessible to some people with handicaps. I think there's an obligation to point out to teachers when encouraging them to explore Second Life as an instructional platform, that there are issues of access. There are issues of access with a variety of uses of technology in education, and there are those of us who have been pointing out the access issues for a number of years. I just want to be sure that the advocates of Second Life mention the issue when encouraging educators to explore it. The point is to expand the reach of education not to restrict access to education by locating it in places that segments of the population just can't get to.


GeoJeff said...

Ray, I agree. There is a need for much greater awareness of accessibility issues. I have an SL avatar, and in fact I own a small plot of land. I have attended in-world meetings that have actually been a success for those able to participate. I am interested in knowing more specifically what audiences you think currently do not have access to SL who should.

Ray Rose said...

I haven't seen a solution for visually impaired users of SL other than providing a sighted guide sitting with the visually impaired user at their computer.

I also believe that someone with certain mobility impairments would have difficulty controlling their avatar.

Do you have some other experience?