Friday, November 19, 2010

Experience in Second Life

Retrieved from Google Images
A few weeks ago I joined Second Life not knowing what kind of experience it would be. Since then, I have created an avatar and explored many places, chatted with people from Scotland, learned how to dance, and found many valuable resources that I could incorporate into the higher education courses I teach.

With all the new social medias available, many educators ask themselves, "How can I use this in my classroom?" or "Would this be appropriate for the students I teach?" Those were some of the same questions I had before joining Second Life. My background and experience is in special education. Currently, I teach courses to pre-services educators who want to be endorsed in special education. How can Second Life provide resources to the students I teach? I recently did a search on Second Life under the category of education and disability to see what I could find. I was pleasantly surprised at the resources available in this virtual world and how these places provided information for real world resources through URLs, blogs, contact information, etc. After I conducted a broad search on disabilities, I decided to search for information on specific disabilities such as autism, ADHD, multiple sclerosis, etc. Again, places I teleported to in Second Life provided accurate research, resources, and webpages on each specific disability.

I created a Landmark Card  listing and describing the locations in Second Life that pre-service educators could visit to learn more about disabilities. Some of these locations provide support and guidance for persons with disabilities and their families.

  • Assistive Speech Technology Research Labs - ASTR's mission is to explore the possibilities for people with disabilities through the research of speech technology. There are projects to view as well as a 3D Visual Scene on the balcony.
  • Virtual Halluncinations - The virtual hallucinations project seeks to educate people about the mental illness schizophrenia. By entering the UC Davis Simulation Center, you have the opportunity to experience how a person with schizophrenia feels.
  • Club Accessible and Accessible Builds - This club allows people with disabilities to dance and meet others with disabilites. It also provides accommodations.
  • MS Island Nederland - This island tries to have a positive influence on the well-being of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). There are links to research about MS, meeting spaces, and a dance club inside an elephant's belly. This island also has many other activities for persons to participate in.
  • Virtual Ability - Their mission is to help people with disabilities to enter virtual worlds and provide a supporting environment.
  • Healthinfo Island - This island offers several resources for people with disabilities to chat with others who have similar disabilities.
  • CF University - Cystic Fibrosis University - This is a campus that has resource links to information about cystic fibrosis as well as a memorial fountain dedicated to those who have lost the battle to this disorder.
  • Austim Awareness Center - HealthVillage - New York - This center offers facts, web pages, myths, and the history behind autism. This center has teacher resources such as how to set up your classroom, termininology, and a plethora of other valuable information on autism.
  • GimpGirl Community - GimpGirl Community's mission is to bring women with disabilities together in the spirit of support, positivity and inclusivity.  This place provides statistics on women with disabilities, resources, housing, support, and art.
  • The Center for Positive Mental Health - A place for support and discussion of anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other mental health concerns, managed by a psychologist.
  • On With Life - Located in Ankeny, Iowa, On With Life provides intensive rehabilitation for persons with a Tramatic Brain Injury and/or stroke.
I would love hear your thoughts on Second Life. Do you think teachers could use locations created in Second Life as an educational tool?

1 comment:

  1. Billie,

    I had never really used Second Life before this class. I found myself, like you, very impressed with the information it contained. I think it would be great to use as an educational tool if the adult rated content was not present (I am however looking at it from an elementary perspective). Great tour tho.