Thursday, May 31, 2012

Big learning week in Second Life

This was a big week for learning about teaching in virtual worlds!  I attended a lecture in Second Life by Dr. Peter Miller (Avatar: Graham Mills), from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool on the topic of “Immersive Learning in Microbiology in Virtual Worlds.”  He provided examples of virtual laboratories in Second Life and OpenSim that are used to teach laboratory skills to students.   The examples included a simulated microbiology laboratory created by Aalto University in Finland, a virtual genetics laboratory created by the University of Leicester in Second Life, and the BIO-ZONE in OpenSim.  I visited the Virtual Genetics Laboratory where I had to wear a HUD (Head-Up Display?).  The HUD provided me with relevant information and instructions on how to use the lab.  I quickly learned that I know nothing about genetic but I did get to wear a lab coat!  Here’s the link (SLURL) for Media Zoo where the lab is located  

Again I am pondering how to use what I am learning for teaching in my subject areas.  I definitely see the benefit of virtual laboratories – especially for online courses.  However, I still wonder how I might use virtual worlds to teach my students about human resource management and HR.

Here's a snapshot of me (SHIPPY) at the Genetics Lab!

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm learning!

I teach graduate and undergraduate management classes at a state school in Pennsylvania.  I'm taking a class about learning and teaching in virtual worlds, therefore, I titled my blog, "Learning About Teaching In Virtual Worlds." 

I am not new to second life.  I've been playing around in SL for over 3 years.  I first came to SL to attend an academic conference at Open University's Second Life campus.  I never made it to the conference.  But I did make an avatar!  Since my first visit, I have returned to Second Life - always interested but not quite sure how to use virtual worlds in my teaching.  I created an extra credit scavenger hunt for my undergraduate students to complete.  I held an optional class in Second Life - student could attend class in person or "attend" in Second Life with an avatar.  That was interesting!  But the educational value of Second Life is elusive to ME.  I feel there is something of value here for me...I hope this class will help me to discover what it is.

So far I've learned a lot.  I learned how to create a blog - that was easy!  Another tool in a toolbox of too many tools.  I'm thinking that I could use a blogging tool to replace the Journals that I have my Leadership students keep...would that save me (and my students) time?