Do you like the life you are living? No?! Try Second Life. Second Life is a virtual and networked world where anything is possible. Real people are able to join Second Life where they are able to live out their virtual lives together. Users unhappy with the way they look can take on a character that looks like their ideal self. People are able to build their virtual homes the way they want. If you do not like your current weather, you are able to virtually move to another environment. Second Life is the perfect (or un-perfect) world, exactly the way you want it to be. Rosedale (2008) noted that a virtual environment is ideal for the creativity process because of the reduced costs in creating things.
Dr. Thornburg noted that a disruptive technology is a new technology, which is like an old technology, but it is enhanced and a replacement of the old technology (Laureate Education, 2008). Second Life is that type of disruptive technology. Well, what is the old technology being replaced? Life itself. The user is able to build anything anywhere in the name of creativity and exploration.
Surrogates, starting Bruce Willis, pitched the idea of people living safely at homes while a perfect robotic representation perused the world, which is similar in idea to Second Life. Surrogates is a movie of people living in a utopian world behind a sensory system that is attached to robots. Unlike Second Life, the movie is limited to laws of physics whereas Second Life allows people the freedom to defy physics. View the trailer of Surrogates.
In terms of education, Rosedale (2008) noted that a virtual world allows people to communicate through 3D pictures. Pictures are more memorable than using words (Rosedale, 2008). Learning material can be presented in words and with pictures where the users are free to explore the content like a virtual fieldtrip. Second Life also has the potential to replace fieldtrips for schools. Instead of visiting a museum, students can attend it virtually and a their own pacing.
Are you a Second Life user? Leave a comment, tell us how and why you use it!
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2008).Emerging and future technology: Disruptive technologies. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Rosedale, P. (2008). Philip Rosedale on Second Life [Video]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ted.com/talks/the_inspiration_of_second_life.html.
New ideas rekindle ideas from the past (Thornburg, 2009). Technology today is a reinvention of ideas from the past. Cavemen used fire to light their nights. Prior to electricity from steam engines, underground gas lines were used to light up street corners. The long-lasting incandescent bulb was lit by electricity passing through tungsten. Now, compact fluorescent and LED lights are finding their place within homes. The basic idea is having light through a source. Cavemen had fire, and now we have energy-efficient light bulbs.
Online education has evolved over time like the light bulb has evolved over time, which is a reinvention of prior ideas. Online education takes ideas of face-to-face classrooms and applies technology to enhance the experience. Hiltz and Turoff (2005) noted that online education is starting to become a feasible substitute of face-to-face learning and distance learning. Face-to-face and distance education are heavily characterized as a teacher-centered model where the teachers provide instruction through PowerPoint presentations, lectures, sharing of notes by the teacher, and transmittal of static video. The current leap in online education is to offer a substitute of what prior models of education looked like.
The future of online education will incorporate learning theories that are more collaborative because information will become easier to share. Kelly (2007) noted that society is moving from getting information from static web pages to that of linking databases together. The effects of this is monumental because students will not only have access to static content that mirror face-to-face classrooms, but they will have access to collaborative resources for their immediate use as they solve a new problem or generate new ideas. Williams and Goldberg (2005) posited that “death-by-PowerPoint” would be replaced by an engaging and collaborative pedagogy as the number of online students increase. Society is moving from face-to-face education to an online format that mirror face-to-face education. Ultimately, the goal is to create a collaborative environment where deep learning outcomes are produced (Williams & Goldberg, 2005).
Hiltz, S.R., & Turoff, M. (2005). Education goes digital: The evolution of online learning and the revolution in higher education. Communications of the ACM. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.111.2270&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Kelly, K. (2007, December). Kevin Kelly on the next 5,000 days of the Web [Speech]. Speech delivered at the EG 2007 Conference, Los Angeles. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web.html
Williams, J.B., & Goldberg, M. (2005). The evolution of e-learning. Ascilite. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/84_Williams.pdf