Wednesday 8 August 2007

Teaching English in Second Life

Over the past few weeks I've been pretty busy teaching my first English students on a Business English course I have been developing for Second Life.

The experience has been pretty daunting with myself and the students having to come to terms with the complexities of the user interface and I have felt at times that my fifteen years of 'real world' classroom experience and the subconscious habits and reflexes that I developed over that period have totally deserted me.

The introduction of voice within SL has certainly made a huge difference, though there are still problems and bugs to be ironed out. Though to my surprise I did find myself drilling a group of advanced learners to help them with their word stress, something I rarely do in the 'real' language classroom. To my relief though, the number of students in the class seems to be steadily increasing rather than decreasing and they seem keen to come back for more.

As part of the course I've found it necessary to give a lot of help with the user interface, especially with some of the complexities of manipulating the voice client to get students into pairs and groups without having to shift them across the island so they don't overhear each other.

I've created these videos which have been really useful both for myself and my students, so I thought I'd share them here. I hope that anyone involved in teaching in SL finds them useful, and anyone who isn't involved gets some insight into how this tool can be used, particularly for language learning.

  • This one shows how you can get students into pairs or groups, so that they only hear the people you are working with. (Be careful though. This feature still seems to be a bit buggy)
    View the movie
  • This one shows how can use the 'Active Speaker' panel so that you can change the volume of the other speakers around you or mute them.
    View the movie
  • This one shows you how to create a note card to take notes during the lesson.
    View the movie
  • This one shows how to copy notes from Second Life note cards into a Word document (If you want to keep copies of your notes outside of SL)
    View the movie
  • This one shows you how to share and pass note cards to other avatars / students.
    View the movie
  • This first one shows you how to set up the interface so that you can listen to audio and watch video.
    View the movie
  • This one shows you how to use the camera tools to take pictures / snapshots within Second Life.
    View the movie

Hope you enjoy and benefit from these. Please feel free to leave comments.

Best Nik Peachey

My eBooks and Lesson Plans