SecondLife.com: Are Virtual Worlds the Future of Education?
SecondLife.com, or Second Life, is an interactive "internet-based virtual world", which people enter in the form of a digital "avatar". The visual quality and number of environments, options and opportunities continues to expand- in addition to being a place where people can live out their fantasies and experience unearthly realms, some educational institutions are finding it a useful teaching tool:
Salmon believes that Second Life constitutes a good example of "edutainment" - the idea that students are more likely to learn if they are first amused. An example of how this works in practice is the programme developed for archaeology students at Leicester. While learning about the ancient culture of the Sami, the indigenous people that live in the area we call Lapland, the students used Second Life to meet in a virtual representation of one of the tents that the ancient nomads would have used for worship.
"Instead of the students looking at a diagram in the classroom discussing what it would have been like, they were able to go into the tent and experience it and take part as if they were members of the society," says Salmon.
See also this somewhat related story, posted today: