If you find your First Life a bit of a bore, or you’re simply interested in exploring other means of being, other means, being virtual, then perhaps a Second Life is for you! A second life can afford you all kinds of opportunities that you simply cannot find in the first life such as the ability to fly, to teleport to far away places (think: Dorothy/Kansas), to build a rocket launcher, (even if you have no knowledge whatsoever of rockets or launching or industrial engineering) and to meet all kinds of interesting avatars, some in the shape of orange raccoons. Yes, this and much more awaits in the world of Second Life. Besides all of that, Second Life does offer some exciting new avenues for education and learning. The education sector is just exploring these opportunities now so it is an exciting time to be involved! We’ve nabbed some great Second Life resources for you this week as well as a few other odds and sods such as Library news, new web tools and e-learning articles from EDUCAUSE. Read on!
Second life is what you make it
Do you have a Second Life? Well Mohawk College does, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it! In this week’s podcast we’ll discuss Second Life basics, and speak to Wayne MacPhail, the creator/designer of Mohawk’s Second Life property. Find out more about this fully interactive online environment that’s taking the real world by storm.
Looking for more podcasts about Second Life and its educational applications? Check out Who’s On Second, Wayne MacPhail’s podcast on “nonprofits and educators jacked into second life”. These podcasts are great introductions to Second Life and the commentary is always interesting and insightful.
More second living
And if you just can’t get enough information about applications of education in Second Life well, have no fear. Here are a few that we’ve found particularly helpful:
SLED is a blog about educational uses of SL with lots of scripts and ideas for application, Second Life Education wiki is a comprehensive list of resources for educators that includes a directory of organizations involved, mailing lists, and ideas while Second Life Tutorials is a short list of tutorials covering the basics of creating things in Second Life….very useful when building rocket launchers and other useful apparatuses for the Second Life classroom. See also this interesting article from The Register about the importance of virtual communities.
Tired of looking at plain old text lists of books? Check out this short slide show that shows off some of the new titles coming soon to a Library @ Mohawk location near you! These are just a few…there are lots more new titles coming…don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted.
New content added to facultyspace and BRAINlinks!
We’ve added some new sites to facultyspace and BRAINlinks and here are some highlights. Do you teach statistics or do you need to use statistics for a study you are doing? Check out the newest site added to facultyspace: Exploring Data. This website provides curriculum support materials for teachers of introductory statistics but it also makes statistics palatable! New to BRAINlinks we have a PowerPoint presentation from one of our own Mohawk instructors called Resumes that get interviews! If you are teaching a class on this topic, this PowerPoint presentation just might give you some good ideas. Another new site is Timeline of History. Even if you hate art, you will love this site for all of the colours and interactivity! Definitely some good times can be had!
Grab bag of web tools
Need to create a web page but don’t have web design software (or HTML skills)? Google to the rescue! Google offers free web page creation software (as well as free hosting) for your web page design needs. Be sure to check out usability guidelines before making your page public though. For example, these excellent guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and these guidelines for homepage usability from design guru Jakob Nielsen. Purple flashing leprechauns just don’t cut it anymore, unfortunately.
If a whole page sounds like too much of a commitment, perhaps you’d only like a place to store resources, such as course readings with some commentary for your class to read? In that case, try Google notebook. Similar to a blog, it allows you to post commentary but the emphasis is on collecting and tagging web resources. Only want your class to see it? Make it private so that the world can’t peek in.
If you’d like to collect web resources for your class to look at and add virtual sticky notes to the web pages to draw their attention to certain things, then perhaps diigo.com is for you. Diigo is like the other social bookmarking software sites we’ve discussed in the past, with the difference being that you can create private groups to share resources (think: class groups) and you can add notes to individual web pages (right on the page!) Fun times definitely await!
Some new and exciting content has just been added to EDUCAUSE. First off, check out this article: Wikis and Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool. A great overview of the applications of this new technology in academia.
In their “7 Things” series, see 7 Things You Should Know about Facebook. These 7 Things articles are nice, little backgrounders that give you just the facts, ma’am.
If you’re into the big picture, then maybe you want to check out Top 10 Challenges of the Academic Technology Community. Who doesn’t love a top 10 list now and again?