A number of Universities are now opening cyberspace campuses in Second Life, allowing students around the world to participate in the three-dimensional world.
When I talk about this, it’s amazing how negative educators are about the idea — something that is very much in it’s infancy, and evolving/improving on a daily basis. They compare it to learning models literally hundreds of years old and call out multiple issues:
- Lack of interaction (Somehow this wasn’t a problem when we were shipping videotapes of their lectures back in the 70′s)
- Technical issues (Yes, I used to try to get higher-ed faculty to use email in the 90′s — they are some of the most technophobic folks on the planet. But their learners are immersed in this world, so they’ll come along soon.)
- Violence or assaults (Glad this never happens on a college campus.)
- Intellectual property issues (Also glad this never happens in the real world.)
- The learners won’t listen to me lecture (Supply your own sarcastic comment here — I’m not even going to waste the effort.)
Elliott Masie said it best five years ago, when he said “there’s no such thing as e-learning.” We never had chalkboard learning, or filmstrip learning, or overhead projector learning. It’s all just learning. The form factor will continue to evolve.