…or cult as some people would have you believe, is one of several pejorative comments that I am sick and tired of hearing! “SL is nothing but cartoon characters social networking”! And, if last night is any indication, then the “Church of Second Life” and the “cartoon character” comments will be on peoples tongues for a long time! Victoria has already blogged about this, so I won’t rehash what she’s said, but I will give you my take on the situation. I went in-world yesterday with the intention of getting some research done to help friend and colleague KJ Hax, but oh what a night it turned out to be. The ISTE ET workspace that Hodjazz and Kathy have put together looked more like ISTE HQ on EduIsland on a Sunday night! It started out innocently enough, I met Hodjazz for a tour and some feedback on the ET blog space, at the same time I was Skyping with Victoria about personal things we both wanted to share. Then, Blogsar came in and as for the rest of the evening…. well let’s just say that there was a certain amount of dissention among the troops! I started to share with Vic some of the convo between Hodjazz and Blogsar; I suppose if anything *bad* comes as a result of the convo, it puts the responsibility squarely in my lap 😦 Victoria has had previous disagreements with Blogsar regarding SL, but when she joined us last night, the rest of us sort of stood there not saying much. Since I did a lengthy response on Vic’s blog (between the time I started this and now), I am going to copy that here. I don’t think I can put it any more succinctly than I already did there.
Hodjazz and KJ have both brought further insight into this conversation, and that is good. I would feel bad to think that Will went away thinking that he couldn’t have an opinion or an open conversation with any of us, or that he has been judged or misjudged for same. We need Will, and Gary (Steger), and everyone else who is willing and able to explore SL‘s educational implications -whatever their opinions happen to be. Victoria also makes a very valid argument for the responsibility that is owed by someone many look up to and admire for their knowledge and insights into educational technology.
I tried to make an analogy last night, but it was lost in the furious typing that was going on between Will and Vic. The people in that room last night range in age from 36 to fifty-something; I bring this up because the analogy is a musical one and based on the time frame they represent. I would venture a guess that all of us did or do listen to good old rock-n-roll music at some point. Now, think back to when your favorite groups were doing their thing, and you couldn’t believe how AWESOME and INSIGHTFUL and RIGHT-ON it was. Think, Pink Floyd, The Who, Emerson Lake and Palmer… (Ok I’m dating myself here) I could go on and on, but the point is, in recent years the musical offerings from these people and the others of their ilk who are still writing and performing, have become stale. There seems to be nothing new coming from the *genius* that they exhibited in earlier times. A recent quote from Bob Dylan sums it up, “I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really…” hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture? I am not inferring that Will is a “washed out” rock star, only that sometimes when you have been doing something for a long time, and are considered an expert in your field, it is easy to rely on what is comfortable and well known. It is that way for all of us to one degree or another. What we must remember here is that the best learning cannot take place unless the learners are pushed to the level of discomfort. I think we are all in the “Zone of Proximal Development” (Vygotsky) in SL. And it is never easy to shed the beliefs and behaviors that have served us so well in the past. We are not all at the same level of practice or understanding of educational technology, and we ALL must be willing to continue to learn and grow to whatever comes next. Take it from an “Old dog” we can learn new tricks -and enjoy doing it!
I pray that we all may continue to learn and grow and help each other as educators do; and that if we disagree with each other’s opinions that we are able to do so with grace and kindness.