Science in Second Life

AMNH visit - 31
I have been negligent at posting about how the "I Dig Zambia" virtual summer camp is going because we've all been so busy working on the camp all week.  Building upon the successful "I Dig Tanzania" camp last year, "I Dig Zambia" is a two-week intensive summer camp that brings together 11 teens in New York with 8 teens in Chicago to learn about evolution, biology, paleontology, and social and cultural issues in Zambia.  The camp takes place within the virtual world of Teen Second Life, with the New York teens logging in from Global Kids headquarters and the Chicago teens participating from the Field Museum of Chicago.

It's been an outstanding and challenging first week, both for our kids and the educators. Here's a recap of some of the cool activities we had our high schoolers engaged in.

[SiSL] Findings from Science through SL independant evaluation released 

If you are a regular reader to the blog, you might have followed along with our Science through Second Life project that we ran during the past school year. Well we are excited to announce the release of an independent evaluation that was conducted during this project. The project, funded by the Motorola Foundation, integrated Second Life and a wide range of web tools into a standards based high school science class in New York City.

Key findings included:

[conf] Barry Joseph SLCC 2008 Keynote: Living La Vida Ludic 

On 09.06.08 I introduced a term I have coined, "the ludic life," and discussed its implications for Second Life and learning. In short, Eric Zimmerman, the game designer, had been making the argument that we have entered "a ludic century." We once moved from an industrial age to an information age. However, we are now interacting with that information in a way Zimmerman finds best described as ludic, which is not to say everything is becoming a game but rather game/play dynamics, aesthetics and sensibilities will increasingly define our social interactions.

[P4K] Virtual environments for education 

In the article Virtual Environments and the K-12 Education, Kelly Czarnecki offers up a look at projects using virtual worlds in K-12 schools and what is being learned from them. Within that framework she brings up Teen Second Life and spotlights Suffern Middle School and our Science in Second Life program as a good example of enabling educators to utilize virtual worlds to engage students, specifically in Science, technology and programming.

Download the article as a PDF.

[HSGC] Video: Student Scientists Finish The Year and Go GREEN! 

The Science in Second Life year has ended and Ms. Rebe's fantastic students are enjoying a much deserved summer break! However, before school ended, everyone participated in one last science adventure - learning about more sustainable building and energy alternatives. They even did independent research and presented their findings both in Second Life and Real Life. The students were absolutely super. Everyone involved was really pleased they had the opportunity to work with such a great group!
Here's just a peek at their final work!

[SiSL] Teen's comment on their SiSL experience 

Last week saw Global Kids Global Science class come to a close, led by Tracy Rebe at our High School for Global Citizenship. It was the first OLP program to be developed and run within a classroom setting, mandatory and not optional. The program was designed to use Second Life during most sessions, as well as blogs, flickr, digital comics, and more.

Frankly, we had no idea which parts, if any would work. Now that the program has come to a close, Tracy reports that yes, the students developed an awareness and empathy to global science, environmental and sustainability issues, and did so in a way that was only possible through use of a virtual world.

Equally exciting are the quotes below taken the from the youth's final blog entries regarding their final words on the class. I am sure you will enjoy them as much as we did:

"One thing I learned about science in Second Life is that science is really not that hard. I always thought, "I can't do this," but now I have learned so much, like about sustainability and how I can help to make our earth better. I never knew I was this smart." -- Egypt

"I did not like science before I did this course. I wish I could have Second Life in each class. This is the most amazing thing that I've experienced in high school so far." -- Andrysse

[HSGC] /clap for Ms.Rebe's class 

If you look at students' responses below, you may say "you don't need to say much why you congratulate/cheer the students in Ms.Rebe's class", but I do want to talk little bit about what I have seen in Science through Second Life.

Students in Ms.Rebe's class had a quite unusual science class in Spring semester. Unusual because they had laptop computers instead of text books, because they were a click away from tons of information on any topic they want. They did not have hands on lab sessions which they liked in the fall semester, but they had many activities to do via their avatars in Second Life. They dug into garbage in virtual Naples without getting dirty, they were able to communicate with their classmates without walking into the class and were able to work without teasing them in the class. Most of the students pointed out that the group work they have done in Second Life was more productive than the group work in traditional class.

They looooved building even thought they thought it was the MOST challenging thing they did in SL. The fact is that they were able think beyond what they did in Second Life and come up with other possible ways to use SL is one of the great ways to understand that students did learn new ways of thinking in SL.

HSCC Everyone should be able to have access to second life 

I do recommend this second life to people all over the world because the would have the oppertunertity to be able to learn things that are dangerous like for example going inside an volcano. they would be able learn things that are about science and have fun at the same time.

{HSGC} final project 

it's kind of cool you know being in this class has changed my life physically and mentally so yea and it has helped me learn about computers and other places(meaning all around the world) and different states.

[HSGC] second life 

My experiences in second life was koolcool.gifim not sure if i would recommend because it depends on if you like using technology for your studies and projects.second life is a good experience for people that us.