Thursday, February 15, 2007 - Be virtually fluent in no time..... BETA!

This is a potentially wonderful service.

I'm not sure whether all of you (or any of you) know about Second Life. This is a virtual world with graphics and interaction to rival many games. It is not a game but rather a virtual space that enables people to interact with avatars (computer representations of you) and objects.

This type of immersive environment has real potential for language learning and, not surprisingly, there are a few areas in Second Life dedicated to language learning (primarily ESL). However, these spaces lack a certain polish that I think will be necessary for wide spread usage.

Language Lab and others like it might be the future in this realm. I say "might" because they have not officially launched yet and thus I cannot check them out. I have a request in to them to check the place out, let's see if they get back to me.


P.S., if anyone is interested in getting into Second Life, let me know. I can walk you through some of the steps and I can provide some resources and advice.


Mary Spaeth said...

Cool but scary. I've got enough to do in my first life and I actually enjoy it! :-) If I have to choose between sitting at my computer and taking a walk or reading a book or enjoying coffee with friends or or or or, the others all win. Sadly, however, the computer already occupies more of my life than I like. I can honestly say that thanks to time lost to the problems I encountered two weeks ago, and even the daily glitches that crop up, I won't be able to find time visit my daughter for a day when she flies from Houston to Munich this week. I'm not sure technology is worth it. :-(

Mary Spaeth said...

Follow up...went back to Language Lab to show it to a friend. I don't consider myself particularly "mood" proned, but I must say that the second visit to the possibiities of studying a language in the virtual world is rather amusing. I may give it a try.

Dan said... pick :)

Just kidding, kind of. I think that the idea is wonderful. I didn't say revolutionary because the concept has been around for many years. For a more recent treatment, see the Matrix trilogy.

However, the actual development of these spaces and services that ease your entrance into the spaces is potentially revolutionary.

I don't see this as a cure all for education. The same problems will arise after the bells and whistles fade from awareness. Innovative teaching is still needed regardless of the environment.

However, just as with the current focus on CALL, this next wave will emphasize new approaches to instruction and renewed focus on the needs of the students. So, I hold out a lot of hope for these technologies moving forward.


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