It’s interesting to see how learning is changing, and that while you might live half way around the world, you could be “attending” any number of universities with this technology. Apart from the avatars being a little creepy at times (and quite contrary to one’s real appearance) and the environment being a bit like a dream-state, the concept is fascinating. It beats simply sitting in front of a webcam and the more “primitive” (I know… a curious thing to say, considering we are only on the cusp in using the “advanced” technology of Second Life) forms of distance learning.
In terms of learning history, I’m wondering how virtual historical personalities might be integrated into the programing and how interaction with the personalities might enhance learning and understanding… Just think about it this way… “and for today’s guest speaker we have… [enter your favorite historical figure here].”
For a little more background on the use of Second Life in distance learning, check out this link to the Second Life: Universities and Private Islands wiki. Also take a look at this rather recent clip from Duke University’s School of Nursing.