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The Village – A Great Idea – Your Help Requested

I was delighted to be contacted last week by one of our Humanities staff with the following email:

I presented Project 8’s new learning platform for next year, ‘The Village’ in the Humanities teachers toolbox on Tuesday. Our idea is for us to set up an imaginary world where students can create a community, developing alter ego’s through role play and using their imaginations etc.

The other major element to the ‘The Village’ is to create a virtual world where students can create their characters inside a virtual setting. We were thinking about building an online virtual community through ’Second Life’, and linking it up with the new VLE. Building the imaginary world virtually is an opportunity to create wider out of school opportunities, linking with home learning. I was wondering if I could  arrange a meeting with you when convenient, to discuss if this is at all possible? How would we go about it? What implications may be when setting something like this up?

Attached is my power point, which outlines our idea a bit further for your interest.

Appreciate your time and support on this, I will get us some cakes and coffee’s for the meeting!

This was accompanied by this presentation:

I was obviously delighted with such a fantastic idea and look forward to meeting the team tomorrow to discuss the ideas further.

However I have little experience of Second Life. Has anyone out there got experience of using Second Life in schools, I’d be really interested to hear of the pros and cons, bonuses and pitfalls. How easy is it to set up your own ‘safe’ areas? What’s the learning curve like? How easy is it to link Second Life to external content? How do you keep pupils safe in Second Life?

My second thought on this project is that it would make a fantastic project to collaborate on with another school or two from around the World. If you’re interested then please get in touch and we’ll see what we can make happen.

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  1. Hi

    I am an ICT teacher at a school in North Wales, part of the iNet cohort 3, I have always stayed away from second life but this idea has just made me jolt upright.

    I would be interested in some form of cross school project if it suited.

    1. Hi Allen,
      Thanks, I’m in the same boat as you, there is a seedy side to Second Life and for that reason I’ve never given it much time. But I love this idea, it’s simple yet powerful which is always a good start. Perfect for Humanities subjects looking at local and international issues.
      Will let you know how we get on thinking about this tomorrow.

  2. We looked at the potential for using Second Life as an extension of VLE/ELearning in our school and after some digging decided to reject it despite being very forward thinking regarding the use of IT/tech/online in the classroom (and outside it!).

    At the time that I looked into it there were too many uncertainties regarding safeguarding, bullying prevention and managing behaviour (i know there is/was an under-18 supposedly protected zone at the time of enquiry), not to mention the actual setup and design of the virtual world. You need to inject a LOT of time and effort into making it ‘not look rubbish’ in order to gain and maintain the kids’ interest.

    In the end, despite an offer to join in an international program to develop Second Life for education, it was decided that it would not be for us. Too many risks, too few proven benefits regarding attainment and student engagement.

    Sorry if that puts a downer on things, just my opinion!

    1. Thanks Jonathan, good to hear your views. I’ll certainly take your experiences on board as we investigate. From my investigations the ‘teen’ second life has been shut down so it’s all or nothing with the main thing.

  3. We have used SL for Teacher esafety training and have developed a range of builds including Learn 4 Life island – would be happy to chat about our experiences/practicalities of using SL if this would be helpful – IM Nic Byron in SL

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