Thursday, 10 July 2008

Snapshot of Second Life in UK HE and FE

John Kirriemuir (one of our authors) has continued his investigations into take-up of SL in the UK. His May 2008 Eduserv report is now available.
To the question : Has your institution’s library taken an interest/role in developing in SL? most survey respondents either gave no reply to this question, or a negative one. About half of those who gave a non-negative reply indicated that their institutions library was interested, but not actively developing.

There was a phrase he picked up somewhere : "It was that librarians going on Second Life is like the geography teacher at the school disco!" Librarians trying to be where th students are. The criteria for him must be derived from some construction of what higher education is about; "so, in brief, how does Second Life contribute to the acquisition of metacognitive skills? And, if it does, does it also simultaneously undermine that process, through a combination of reduction of attention span and rational constructive capacity, and a disregard for truth in an environment in which the imagination, pretence, and wishful thinking tend to become the predominant norms?"

1 comment:

Sheila Webber said...

Obviously I was one of the people in this report who mentioned active engagment from the library here at Sheffield Uni (with Lyn and Jenny).

There is certainly no point in using Second Life just to "look cool", as if there is no pedagogic rationale for what you are doing in SL the students will find it dull, rather than cool.

"Imagination, pretense and wishful thinking" .... hmm .. sounds like like Higher Education financial planning rounds rather than Second Life ;-)
Interesting that "imagination" is used prejoratively there (I would hope that my students WOULD use their imagination and creativity) - also - what evidence is there that use of virtual worlds reduces people's attention span per se? I would say there's almost the opposite problem - people getting too immersed.

I think that John's series of reports is going to be very useful in providing snapshots of developments and a variety of viewpoints, anyway, lots of fuel for discussion!