Last night we had an informal get-together at the Potlach Commons on Edu Island II. It was meant to be for CAVE members, and anyone else who should happen by to join the conversation. Well, what happens when you throw a party and no one comes? You have a party anyway -someone always shows up! That is exactly what happened last night. I discovered that Existential Paine, an SL acquaintance, has thrown in the proverbial towel. That is to say, he no longer sees the current value of SL for education.
I was upset by that information, and upon reflection I realize why. It is not so much that he has changed his mind about SL’s possible use in the classroom, but that he will be missed as a part of the educational community there. I never got to know him all that well, but it seems to me that he splintered from the very group he founded, as well as many of the people connected to it. Nevertheless, Exis will be missed, and the “affinity group” of which he was part, will be affected by the loss of his insight and opinions.
That said, we went on to have a great conversation that KJ very eloquently blogged about, but here I’d like to share the comment I made on “Story of my Second Life”. For whatever it’s worth, I believe it is the greatest strength of SL at the moment.
I have noticed, that you have a talent for bringing people together, and adding insight and direction in your writing and conversation. You are often able to illuminate the “big picture” for those of us who sometimes become stuck in the minutiae of the moment. You ask the right questions in conversation, and do it in a way that causes no pain to the participants. In fact, I think that you offer many of us fodder for reflection, which makes us all learn and grow -and sometimes stretch a bit as well. This is a real gift, one that many people including me have benefited from in SL and outside of SL.
I have certainly revised my take on the uses of SL for education, mostly for all of the reasons some of our SL acquaintances have jettisoned altogether. I think that for many of us, we can envision more Ramapo Islands-type of work being done, but also understand that presently, that is out of reach for most of us. However, I see the education community in SL as being the strongest, most diverse collegial group, of which I have ever been a part. What I have learned about education and SL in the last four months is staggering in its breadth, and maybe because I am “just” another classroom teacher -not working on a doctorate, not on a fast track to a district office, not a blogger of renown, not a PD specialist or technology coordinator, I value the learning and friendships that SL has afforded me immensely.
I am blessed and proud to call you and Victoria friends, and to work and explore with you, for as long as we don’t run into a dip, a curve, or a cliff. And if those obstacles should appear in our paths, I know that we three will be together, and that will make all the difference.
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