Teaching in the Virtual World of Second Life
Instructor Julia Meritt described the challenges she faced in constructing a classroom environment in a virtual world during a faculty showcase in October 2013. Meritt collaborated with Instructional Technologies Support (ITS) to create a second grade classroom in Second Life where her real-life students could practice classroom management while in the virtual world. Meritt worked with Emin Saglamer in ITS who was the technical lead on the project. Salwa Khan, also in ITS, assisted with conceptualizing the project.
Meritt is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at Texas State University, who teaches undergraduate courses.
As shown in the video below, it took almost eight months from the first moment of inspiration to the day in February 2013 when Meritt’s students assembled in a computer lab where they entered the virtual world in avatar form to play their parts as teachers and students.
Much of the time was needed to construct the virtual classroom, the child avatars and the misbehaviors that the children would exhibit. This was the task of Emin Saglamer and his Research & Development team.
Meritt says the experience was a new one for her and for her students who found both advantages and disadvantages as they played their parts in the virtual classroom.