Schome & Second Life(TM)
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Second LifeTM is a 3D virtual reality world. You, or more accurately a representation of you called an avatar, can move around this virtual world, interacting with people and objects. You can build things and program them to behave in specific ways. You can pretty much do anything that you can do in the real world, and a lot more besides.
Unlike other such worlds, Second LifeTM lacks a purpose, there is no mission to complete or levels to move through. As in real life, the only purposes within Second LifeTM are those you create yourself.
There are several aspects to this which link with the first three steps in the schome approach:
Thinking more creatively
Kieron suggested that we might use Second LifeTM to try out ideas, which we couldn't implement in practice (because of expense, complexity, risks, etc). This seemed a brilliant idea - maybe having a 'lived experience' of something radically different might help folk come up with more creative visions for schome in the real world. So we started to explore ... and we now have islands on both the Main Grid and the Teen Grid of Second Life.
Schome is going to be a new form of educational system designed to overcome the problems within current education systems. It will meet the needs of society and individuals in the twenty-first century and will be a system which values and supports people learning throughout their lives.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
It is often argued that new technologies (ICT) change the things that people need to be able to do in order to be effective members of society in the 21st Century. It is claimed that ICT requires that we learn 'new things' - which we might refer to as 'knowledge age skills'.
It is clear that ICT does provide us with new ways of representing information - in the form of hypermedia, and perhaps even more powerfully as procedures (eg programs that can represent dynamic processes). In effect ICT has provided us with 'new tools to think with'. Most folk would agree that ICT has changed the nature of many disciplines (eg it would be difficult to be a historian or architect today without using ICT).
Second LifeTM may represent another new tool - which may provide us with different ways of representing knowledge and/or interacting with each other - and thus may impact on what we want from our education system (what we think it is important that people learn). Thus in order to identify what we think the aims for education should be we need to have some understanding of the potential impact of Second Life (and other 3D virtual reality worlds).
The views expressed within these pages are the views of the contributors. If you disagree with them, feel free to add comments to the discussion page (use the 'Discussion' tab at the top of the panel) or edit the article to give it greater balance.