Exploring Second Life for Foreign Language

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Exploring Second Life for Foreign Language[edit]

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Quick Lesson Information[edit]

Grade Level: 9th Grade - High School
Subject: Foreign Languages
Sub-Subject: French, Spanish, German, Italian
Length/Duration: 45 min
Technologies Used: Desktop or Laptop Computer (PC or Mac) connected to ther internet, Second Life Software, Second life Character


Introduction[edit]

Through technology and the Internet we have a great opportunity to enhance learning through different mediums. Exploring Foreign Languages through Second Life will give students the opportunity to chat with other language learners, chat with native speakers, learn about a different culture and create teachable moments. Using Second Life as a tool can help students obtain a greater understanding on a language concept or cultural concept.

Education in Second Life Video



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Things to Think About Before Developing a Lesson[edit]

  • What is missing from your current lesson plan that you would like Second Life to help with?
  • What concept are your students not grasping?
  • Are your students "tech savvy" and mature enough to be introduced to a new kind of digital learning?
  • Does your class set-up lend itself to having students on computers during class?
  • Do you know of any other locations currently using Second Life to interact with them?


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Quick Benefits[edit]

Listed here are some quick benefits to using Second Life for a Foreign Language

  • Provide an interactive learning space
  • Instantaneous feedback for students
  • Students can develop conversational and written skills faster
  • Introduce a learning environment that can be accessed outside of a classroom setting



Learning Through Second Life[edit]

Here is the website to get started:

https://secure-web36.secondlife.com/my/?lang=en-US

For the first time the students are logging in please make time for students to create an avatar through the Second Life website. This will probably take 10-15 min for a class of 20 students.

Also for the first time logging on you will need to install the software on to the computer that is going to be used. This time can be shortened if there is a school technician that can pre-install the software for you.

You can choose a location that is best suited for students that you have explored previously and that you think would benefit the students the most.

Have student explore the land and chat with other avatars. It might be best to include a sheet for things that students need to find as to encourage exploring the land.

After about 30 min of exploring have a set of question ready to ask the students. Here are some good examples of some questions:

  • What did you see in this land that is similar to what we have been talking about in class?
  • What is something that we have not talked about in class that you saw in the land that you explored?

Hopefully, this discussion about the land will foster some questions and curiosities about the language that you teaching, but also about the different culture.



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Investigate Second Life Before Hand[edit]

To avoid any major concerns, it is a good idea to create an avatar on Second Life before hand. You may want to check survey a world before sending you class exploring there. Also, it may be a good idea to create the avatars for your students so you can set some security features.

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Is Second Life Safe?[edit]

Although the majority of Second Life is an open forum and there can be some mature content there are ways to ensure some security. Follow these links below to learn more.


Promoting A Digital Learning Environment[edit]

Promoting a digital learning environment will give the students a different perspective on the curriculum that can help in a students understanding (Son, 2009). With this activity teachers have to opportunity to be deliberate in what they are teaching students. In Philosophy and Teaching by John Dewey he tells us to make students aware of what they are doing and their purpose of an activity (Dewey, 1916). Having the students participate in new activities can be refreshing for students as well as instructors. These new activities can create involved discourse that might lead to some teaching moments for the instructor that might not have otherwise happened. Some activates and discourse that happens in a classroom becomes routine and can become predictable for both the students and the instructor (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999).

  • A warning to teachers and students, using Second Life should be incorporated as part of a curriculum and not serve as a crutch for a curriculum. Second Life has the ability to get people hooked to their avatar and their digital land (Delwiche, 2006).



Enhancing Learning Through Second Life[edit]

Enhancing Learning Through Second Life provides instructors a chance introduce something new to learners. Second Life for Foreign Language Learners can help increase language skills, help with grammar and spelling as well as increase students’ conversational skills. Learning though Second Life hopefully will help students as well as instructors further understand the notion that intentional learning can happen outside of a classroom and outside of traditional learning environments (Brown, 2008).



References[edit]

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education (pp. 28-48). New York, NY: The Macmillan Company.

Stigler, J. W., & Hiebert, J. (2009). The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world's teachers for improving education in the classroom (pp. 15-23). New York, NY: Free Press.

Son, J. Y., & Goldstone, R. L. (2009). Contextualization in perspective. Cognition and Instruction, 27(1), 51-89.

Delwiche, A. (2006). Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) in the new media classroom. Educational Technology & Society, 9 (3), 160-172.

Brown, J. (2008). Teaching 2.0: Doing more with less. Retrieved from http://vimeo.com/7650988