The educational possibilities of sites like Second Life are enormous. I didn’t realize that these virtual worlds existed and am really intrigued by the implications in the classroom. At the same time I am concerned about the safety of these virtual worlds for K-12 students. Although limited in its scope the Teen Second Life appears to be the best option for 9-12 classroom environments. I was explaining the Second Life concept to my 15 year old. I described to her how a virtual world would enable a whole classroom of students to visit the Sistine Chapel without ever leaving the classroom and she commented, “Oh, you mean it would make learning fun”? It is sad to think that learning being mundane and boring is the status quo in many 21st century classrooms and that something as simple as going online to a virtual world would enhance the experience for technologically savvy students.
Another aspect of Module 6 that I had no idea even existed are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). These courses offer educators and students the opportunity to enhance their learning free of charge and at no risk. For example, if an educator is teaching a computer science course but wants to get educated on the latest form of pedagogy related to artificial intelligence, he would have to go no further than online website Coursera . I was also surprised to learn that The University of Mary Washington was one of the first universities to offer this form of instruction. Paul Stacey in his online blog stated that UMW’s online course DS106 was the first of its kind to offer students the opportunity to choose assignments from an assignment bank. He stated, “This model of having course participants collectively build the course assignments which are then used by students in future classes is a hugely significant pedagogical innovation”(Stacey, 2013). I believe that students interested in immersing themselves into their curriculum could greatly benefit from this form of instruction. I definitely see myself encouraging high school students and even my own children to take advantage of this resource.
Stacey, P. (May 2013). Musings on the Edtech Frontier. Retrieved from http://edtechfrontier.com/2013/05/11/the-pedagogy-of-moocs/